When it comes to the engineered-to-order business at Grundfos PES in Brookshire, Texas, Ron Bowie is a sheriff. From the pre-selection of contracts to project delivery and beyond, the project manager ensures order and discipline.
Problematic First Years
Peerless Engineered Systems (PES) got involved in the engineered-to-order (ETO) business in 2000, when the company was relatively small. Initially, PES did not have dedicated project managers and, consequently, the company’s first years into its ETO venture were problematic.
Because the ETO business requires that engineers design and build custom-made pumping solutions to fit customers’ specifications, many changes are made to the original plan as the project evolves.
Applications engineers worked with salespeople, but quotes did not always match final requirements. The resulting corrections caused delays and profit erosion.
Restoration of Order
This is where the role of the project manager became essential. The ETO business requires a salesperson to give the customers what they want. The project manager, on the other hand, is the lawman, who restores order, making sure the customers get what they have actually paid for. This includes all modifications and extras from the original quotation, which may need to be renegotiated to arrive at the final pumping solution.
But though he plays the role of lawman, Ron Bowie is ironically a direct descendant of outlaw Jim Bowie, famed for inventing the Bowie knife. Ron’s weapons of choice, however, are well honed project planning and negotiating skills.
And despite his penchant for the black Stetson hat – symbol of the bad cowboy – around Grundfos PES, Ron Bowie is all sheriff.