The HP97 in the French construction industry.
I am working for a company that supplies aluminum profiles to the construction industry. Its main brand, Technal, had its origins in France and was in the avant-garde of the industry.
Their customers are window-makers. They need to calculate offers for their customers, based on the size of the windows and the model of the window used. The company sells aluminum profiles that are cut to length and joined into windows and doors. Prices for the different profiles and accessories vary.
There are now sophisticated cad-based budgeting systems, and you can imagine a spreadsheet-based budgeting system on the cheap. But at the end of the seventies and beginning of the eighties, these options did not exist.
Technal then decided to offer their customers a way of easily preparing offers to the final-final customers. They offered them the HP97, with cards with programs and data, so that new price lists could be sent easily (please remember that, at the time, the fax was being introduced; the only business computer was the apple ][; and the HP41c had not been introduced yet). They sold several hundred units.
Here is a little bit of the story - you need to be able to read French to understand it!: