Preston Stewart uses a ubiquitous landmark in Illinois to explain his company's business: the grain elevator and storage silo.
Many need to be built to different specifications and managed in a particular way depending on the elevation, scope and wind reading.
And those specifications could run as long as 30 pages, an amount of material no busy farmer would want to read and digest.
That is where Oak Brook-based Configure One, where Stewart is business-development manager, can help. The company offers a package in building and managing the structure.
Configure One, founded in 2000, provides web-based solutions to the development and management of products owned by large and small companies, including large companies such as Black & Decker as well as silo manufacturers and the farmer down the road.
The company provides what it calls configurator solutions as well as price quotes for businesses. Using the software packages developed by the company, manufacturers can reduce the lead time on developing specifications and use historical data to speed up repeat orders.
And the bottom line, Stewart told Illinois Business Daily, is to "save money and make more money" for manufacturers and other businesses downstream.
Configure One began life with a simple question: Why not get involved in price and product development solution software based on the web? It was a growing business at the turn of the century and has morphed into an even bigger company as cloud-based solutions have become the norm.
The company employs 56 people in Illinois and also has an international staff, including workers in Harlow in southeast England. Configure One now works with companies such as Emerson Electric, Dow Corning, Mitsubishi, Otis Elevator, and Stanley Black & Decker.
Stewart said one of the keys to the company's success is its sales staff, many of whom are experienced and trained engineers.
As a private company, it does not have to reveal its turnover, but Stewart said the company has grown about 10 to 15 percent in recent years. And over the past six months, the workforce has grown by between one and three employees, a big number for such a tight operation.
The business-development executive also said the company has tentative plans to expand into Asia.