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AutoForm: Yes, you can be both fast and accurate

The story:
Swiss company AutoForm provides software solutions for sheet metal forming; it is one of the world's leading companies in this industry.

Next Inc. began working with AutoForm in 2010, when the company decided to switch from a Japanese distributor to a wholly owned subsidiary.

AutoForm took the market by storm in the mid-1990s, with a software solution that was many times faster than competing products. The trade-off was that it also was a little less accurate. However, in the early stages of the design process (and especially with automobiles), speed is much more important than accuracy. The closer to actual production, however, the more important accuracy becomes. Many customers therefore used AutoForm for some parts of the process, and different software for others.

Now jump ahead 20 years. AutoForm is still very fast, even if the difference is less dramatic with today's much more powerful computers. The big difference is that AutoForm is now as accurate as any other product available, something repeatedly proven in independent testing.

The problem was that the Japanese market was not aware of this important fact. Over the span of two years, we challenged this misconception in a multitude of ways. We updated AutoForm's Japanese website, its printed catalogs and other print material to better communicate the true advantage of AutoForm.

We worked closely with the highly specialized trade press to try to change the misperception—by advertising, through various tie-ups and media events, as well as with the placement of highly technical articles in select media.

We created a quarterly customer newsletter containing customer case stories and testimonials, as well as product information.

We produced an animated video that shows the viewer how AutoForm's software solution can be integrated with the sheet metal forming workflow. And we planned, designed and managed the company’s booth at trade shows.

The message—fast and accurate—is now very clear.