Lots of local software companies dream of doing what HTE is doing with its PlantWatch software platform. Get it up, running, easy to use, and attract a growing list of paying customers.
“It really came to maturity about three years ago,” says Dan Reed, president of HTE.
The Auburn Hills-based firm creates software for the manufacturing industry. It started off making custom platforms for companies 25 years ago. Today it sells about 20 software products. PlantWatch allows the end user to monitor production while building their own system to maximize cost reduction. HTE just sold the platform to MTD Products, which is using it to monitor and control 25 scanners for error proofing and traceability. It’s one of about a dozen firms using the product.
HTE has enjoyed prolonged success with sales of PlantWatch because of its “so easy an end user can do it” philosophy. The company created the software with the idea that integrating it into the users’ operations should happen seamlessly and without any problem. That allows the customer to cut out integration costs, which makes it about one-third less expensive than competing products.
“There are thousands of software products out there and every one needs integration,” Reed says. “Ours doesn’t.”
The “so easy an end user can do it” philosophy is a lesson learned over time for HTE. The company and its nine employees and one intern toiled for more than a decade making software for other people before creating a platform for everyone. Then it realized it needed to make it as simple to use as possible, finding its stride and hitting it.
“We’ve done it for other people for years,” Reed says. “It probably took us 15 years for us to do it for ourselves.”
Source: Dan Reed, president of HTE
Writer: Jon Zemke
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