Each business has unique challenges. The case studies below convey some of the challenges our current clients have had and how they addressed them using our order entry software and services. Hopefully you will find that one of them comes close to the challenge that you might be having, but if not, please feel free to contact us with any questions or challenges you might face and whether we might be a fit for you.
Case Study 1 – Custom Order Entry Requirements
A produce wholesaler had been using a customized, terminal based system for nearly 20 years when they began to worry about the non-serviceability of their equipment. When their terminals inevitably began to break, the vendor was no longer around to repair or provide new ones. It was time to transition their business to a new system, however, they had grown accustom to their current system and wanted to retain as much of the functionality as possible.
One of the crucial features of their existing system had to do with the customized order entry software. Specifically, they had a process of entering the quantity and unit of measure together and the system would split it out into the proper elements. For example, if someone ordered three cases of zucchini, the order taker would type in ‘3C’ and the system would discern what was meant. Since they could easily see 200 orders per day and each order could have 20+ line items, it becomes clear as to why it would be important to conserve keystrokes. That’s potentially 4000 keystrokes per day saved by not having to hit ‘Enter’ between the quantity and the UOM.
Along with a variety of custom reporting and category pricing, Input Automation met their requirements and today, this customer has been using the system daily for over 8 years.
Case Study 2 – Complex Replenishment Logic, Scalability
An importer of food products began growing significantly – testing the scalability of the system that Input Automation had first provided them over five years before. Specifically, the process of replenishing inventory was a severe challenge. With six week lead times coupled with tight expiration dates on some of the food products, ordering too much inventory risked loss due to expiration while ordering too little risked customer dissatisfaction from lengthy stock outs.
The existing process was to run a report showing how much of each product was used last year for a given period of time then the computer calculated a recommendation based upon that expected quantity and adjusted for whatever was on hand and on order already. The process was very manual and the procurement manager actually used an external spreadsheet to assist with the actual ordering.
Due to the growth, Input Automation’s initial order entry software was expanded to incorporate far more extensive data and pull it all into one configurable ‘spreadsheet’ within the system itself. The user has the ability to tailor the recommendation formula by adjusting lead times, growth factors, and safety stock targets. By pressing a button, the resulting spreadsheet automatically creates a purchase order that is then sent to the vendor. Lastly, extensive metrics are kept so that any products that suffer from either too much or too little inventory, past purchase decisions can be reviewed and the formula adjusted as needed to reflect the 20-20 hindsight. The result is a very sophisticated replenishment system that rivals the logic used by systems costing 10 times as much.
Case Study 3 – The Quickbooks Wall
A company that provides outsourced copying of medical records for hospitals was using Quickbooks for the invoicing of its customers. They could reach 5000 invoices per month and they had to frequently archive data so that Quickbooks could manage the volume. Still, simple P&L reports could take over 30 minutes to run. The company loved all of the Quickbooks invoicing functionality and did not want to give up their knowledge and familiarity with the product, but they were hampered by the slow performance.
Input Automation supplied a separate invoicing system that posted summary invoice information (as well as cash receipts) into Quickbooks. This solution allowed them to maintain Quickbooks as their core financial software but off load the data storage requirements into a SQL Server database (built for higher volume data needs). As such, they are currently maintaining over 7 years worth of invoice history on each client and running reports in Quickbooks is faster and does not need the periodic archiving.
The differentiation of tasks was logical and practical – Quickbooks is used for tax compliance and company financial matters while the Input Automation system is used for the daily invoicing and deposit needs. The only real crossover was the posting of invoices and deposits, which they could do daily, weekly, or monthly as desired.