CRM, Shop Floor Data Collection for Made2Manage

Provider targets SMEs with customer relationship management solution, adds real-time visibility into operations

Provider targets SMEs with customer relationship management solution, adds real-time visibility into operations

Indianapolis — October 15, 2003 — Made2Manage Systems, a provider of enterprise software for small and midsize manufacturers, is rolling out a manufacturing-specific customer relationship management (CRM) solution in conjunction with the latest release of its flagship enterprise business suite, along with wireless shop floor data collection functionality intended to improve operational efficiency and back-end system intelligence.

Version 5.5 of the Made2Manage Enterprise Business System, slated for general availability this month, will include M2M Sales Center, a new Web browser-based CRM solution designed to provide improved account, contact and opportunity management functionality within the system's standard offering at no additional cost, according to the solution provider.

The CRM solution uses a secure Web interface to give remote sales management and sales support personnel CRM functionality and real-time access to the customer data contained within the Made2Manage Enterprise Resource Planning (M2M ERP) back office.

Using a connected client via Made2Manage's M2M Gateway technology infrastructure, manufacturers can access Sales Center to retrieve such CRM data as account status, field service information, shipment times, product pricing and product catalogs.

Using Sales Center, sales personnel can store and retrieve opportunity information, such as stage, potential, probability of close, products, activities and contacts. In addition, the solution provides remote employees with quote and sales order functionality, including a built-in product configurator intended to help manufacturers perform detailed, complex quoting.

Chris Slater, IT administrator for Press Seal Gasket Corporation, a manufacturer of high-quality gaskets and gasket accessories and a M2M Sales Center Beta customer, noted that when his company's sales reps have been traveling and calling on customers, they have not had a way to connect to the firm's back office and access the most recent data on the status of an account.

"Not being able to respond to customer questions on sales orders or shipments in a timely manner impedes both the productivity and credibility of our sales force," Slater said. "Now with M2M Sales Center, our sales team can focus on selling and employees across our organization have better visibility into our sales activities."

Made2Manage says that Sales Center was designed specifically to meet the requirements of small and midsize manufacturers with limited information technology (IT) resources and little tolerance for operational disruption. M2M Sales Center is not meant to replace the provider's integrated SalesLogix solution through CRM Connect, which is targeted at larger manufacturers that need forecasting, untethered access, automated work flow and other advanced features, Made2Manage said.

In other Made2Manage news, the solution provider was releasing M2M Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) as part of version 5.5 of the Enterprise Business System.

SFDC uses wireless transmission methods, including barcode, radio frequency and LAN/WAN, to collect real-time data from the shop floor and integrate it into the enterprise system for improved operational efficiency, according to Made2Manage.

The solution provider says that SFDC can help users realize a more efficient manufacturing environment by replacing paper-based reporting and manual data entry with wireless technology capabilities. The solution enables the retrieval of receiving, inventory, shipping and labor functions at the source, as well as automated synchronization of this data with the Enterprise Business System.

As a result, M2M SFDC can help provide greater visibility into the enterprise, improved communication with suppliers and business partners, and overall process improvement, Made2Manage asserts.

"Automated data collection technology enables us to synch timely and accurate information captured at the plant floor into the enterprise system," said Stan Oskiera, vice president of operations for Edmund Industrial Optics. "The Shop Floor Data Collection module enables us to optimize the information contained in the Made2Manage Enterprise Business System, providing our sales team with up-to-the-minute accurate inventory and order information for improved customer service."

Hardware independent, SFDC supports input terminal devices from Symbol, Intermec and Zebra that utilize a thin-client architecture to collect and transmit data, which the solution providers says allows for increased ease-of-use, better remote monitoring and improved serviceability and cost efficiency when compared to a client-server system. In addition, the SFDC login module initiates a user's menu — in English or Spanish — based on assigned access rights for increased security and productivity.