The Business Edge 2.0
When asked about the mission of Computer Insights, Inc, Dennis R. Cowhey, CEO responds with a question of his own, “As a Fastener Company, are you being forced to do more, in less time, with greater accuracy, with less people? If so, you have come to the right place. The BUSINESS EDGE is unlike other distribution and manufacturing software. Our mission is to solve the system problems faced by Fastener Companies.”
The BUSINESS EDGE IS SIMPLE
He said, “You need a system that will handle your complex needs, yet be easy enough for your existing personnel to use. In order to do that, the system has to be easy to understand. Still, it needs to handle all of the various transactions that your business requires. You don’t want to have to use “work arounds” to get your work done. Every time you have to do something outside your software, you introduce time wasting errors and confusion. In order to be truly useful, the software must be both comprehensive and easy to use. Easy to use is easy to say, but most software does not deliver on this promise.”
When Computer Insights created The BUSINESS EDGE, they went to their clients’ locations and they observed their client’s employees actually doing their work. Computer Insights then designed and redesigned the screens of The BUSINESS EDGE until they exactly matched the activities that occur in a Fastener Company.
The system has all the same visual cues, mouse clicks and keystrokes, regardless of the function that the users are performing. This design is unique and it is one of the keys to the universal appeal of the system. The result is that once users understand any part of the system, they intuitively understand the entire system. Cross training is a breeze. New hires get up to speed in hours, not weeks. Implementation is easy and much quicker than other systems. The BUSINESS EDGE is truly a different kind of software.
Now, with the introduction of The BUSINESS EDGE 2.0, each user on the system can choose whether to use a Windows graphical User Interface or the traditional Wire Frame™ character based interface. Each of the interfaces has advantages and since they can be used interchangeably, by people in the same company, working off the same database, users of The BUSINESS EDGE truly have the best of both worlds.
The BUSINESS EDGE IS FOCUSED
Denny explained another major difference, “We developed The BUSINESS EDGE strictly for the Fastener Industry. All of our software development and marketing efforts for the past 16 years have been directed toward Fastener Companies. We have software that handles all aspects of the industry, from manufacturing, to distribution, to vendor managed inventory and more. Our industry focus pays off hugely for our clients since it completely eliminates the usual communication gaps that occur when the business people are trying to explain to the technical people what is needed.”
Denny’s enthusiasm bubbles over as he continues, ‘We know how important pricing is to you. We understand that in order to be effective, labels have to be an integrated part of the system, not an afterthought. We realize that in this industry, many Customers and Vendors will have a different part number for the exact same part. We built into the system the ability to change units of measure from each to per hundred to per thousand, etc. on the fly. We allow for up to 39 characters for each of the part numbers (yours, your customer’s or your vendor’s). We have built in features that handle what the market will bear pricing. We even have a crystal ball inquiry that shows all the product that is coming and going out in the future, so you can fully utilize the existing Inventory on the floor.”
When it comes to Inventory management, The BUSINESS EDGE has the easiest to use and most sophisticated Automatic Replenishment System available. This system examines all the information about usage, on hand position, open sales orders, open purchase orders, lead time and stocking objective.
Based on the information that it finds, it actually produces requests for quotes for items that can be ordered from many vendors. Then it creates purchase orders for things that are always ordered from one vendor, e.g. branded products, or products that have a preferred vendor. Then it looks at the products that must be kitted or processed (plated, drilled, through hardened, etc.) and it creates processing purchase orders for them. Finally, it looks at the raw parts that are going to be needed to produce these products or kits, and it creates requests for quotes or purchase orders for the raw parts as well.
All the documents are already created, eliminating hours of data entry and putting an end to errors. The user simply reviews the documents and has the system eMail, Fax or Print them to send them to the Vendors. All through the entire process, the user has complete access to product inquiries that show all the information that is needed to make an intelligent purchasing decision.
The BUSINESS EDGE IS EFFECTIVE
In order to be truly effective, a system must be more than efficient. It must not only do things easily, it must do the right things easily. The only way to really know what is the right thing to do, is to immerse oneself in the industry. That is what Computer Insights has been doing for over 16 years. They are big enough to properly serve their clients and they are small enough that they still have client service at the absolute top of their priority list.
With the introduction of The BUSINESS EDGE 2.0 they are continuing their tradition of service and excellence. All of the existing clients will receive The BUSINESS EDGE 2.0 upgrade at no additional charge. This is unheard of in the distribution or manufacturing software business. They know of no competitor that has done this. The full graphical system is not only offered at no additional charge, it also shares the database with the traditional Wire Frame™ character based screens, so that each user can decide for themselves to use the traditional or the new system.
Denny makes it clear, “Every step of the way, we do things from our clients’ point of view. Isn’t that what you want in a fastener software company?”
Computer Insights, Inc. made a number of announcements recently that demonstrate the advanced thinking and progressive actions of Computer Insights, Inc. With the introduction of The BUSINESS EDGE 2.0 the company further enhances their commitment to the Fastener Industry, IBM and Linux.
The BUSINESS EDGE IS COMPREHENSIVE
The BUSINESS EDGE is a complete system that handles the needs of both Distributors and Manufacturers of Fasteners.
Dennis Cowhey, CEO explained some of the important capabilities of the new system. He said, “We know that in a Fastener Company, time is of the essence. Everyone’s day is a series of interruptions and the interruptions are often more urgent than the planned work. Because of that we designed The BUSINESS EDGE 2.0 so that virtually every part of the system can be reached from any screen using a handy drop down list at the top of the screen. This means that no matter what a user is currently doing, when something else comes up, the action can be suspended and the new issue can be handled. When the interruption is handled, the user can simply select the tab where they started and resume their work. “
All of the capabilities of The BUSINESS EDGE are fully integrated. They operate together seamlessly. The idea is to only do something once and have it affect every part of the company database that needs to be updated. Many of the modules are very specific to the Fastener Industry. The system includes complete lot control and traceability. Ithandles outside processing and kit building easily. It has a module that offers complete integration into the Able Label System. It has a complete Container System for Importers so that they can know what is on the water andproperly assign the importing and shipping costs to the products. It has a laid in cost system that enables the users to add costs to transactions after they occur. It even has the ability to merge products and combine their history. This need is very common in the Fastener Industry because of the vast number of similar parts and errors that happen in entering them. It rarely occurs in other industries.
The Order Entry System includes the normal order entry process, but it has capabilities that make it especially valuable to Fastener Companies. When an order is entered for a product that a customer has purchased before, the last sale date, quantity and price automatically appear on the screen. There is a flag that will allow the user to automatically copy the last price to the current price as well.
Along with a virtually unlimited number of price tables and contract prices, commission driven pricing is also supported by the system. This method of pricing allows the salesperson to select a letter code instead of typing in a price. The letter code determines both the customer’s price and the salesperson’s commission.
Prior orders can be duplicated so that repeat orders with many line items require a minimum of time to enter. Once the order is duplicated, it can be easily edited to change the purchase order number, or change quantities or prices. Items can also be added or deleted from the order.
Customer part numbers, special prices, customer specific units of measure and any customer specific instructions can be automatically applied by the system. Everyone gets everything right because the system helps them, rather than being an obstacle.
Orders can also be imported from the Vendor Managed Inventory system.
VENDOR MANAGED INVENTORY
The BUSINESS EDGE includes a complete Vendor Managed Inventory system. The basis for this system is the creation of bin labels for each VMI customer. The data for the Bin Labels is entered or uploaded to The BUSINESS EDGE. The bin labels that are printed by the system include the customer bin location and either the customer or vendor part number. They can also include the minimum and maximum for the bin. Beyond that, with the full Able Label integration, the labels can include a drawing of the part as well. These labels are affixed to the customer bins.
Palm Pilots or other portable devices with integrated scanners are then used to create the orders. Often Computer Insights clients will have their salespersons take the orders, while in other instances, the end user customer actually scans the bins.
In either case, the order is uploaded to The BUSINESS EDGE server (over the Internet or from a cradle) and an order is automatically created in The BUSINESS EDGE.
During the entire process, no one has to key in or write down a part number. The order is perfect because it is based on information that was provided by the system in the first place. The result is exceptional customer service and a huge reduction in work.
The ultimate goal of the VMI system is to improve customer service, enhance customer loyalty and improve margins. The whole system is designed to be used by non-technical people so it is easy to implement.
ISO 9001 SYSTEM
The BUSINESS EDGE has an optional ISO 9001 System. Not everyone needs this, but if they do, having it fully integrated into the rest of the system results in significant efficiencies. It also makes ISO Audits a breeze. The ISO Module includes:
- Corrective & Preventive Action System
- Daily Reminders of Past Due Corrective & Preventive Actions
- Control and Calibration Records of Measuring Devices
- Daily Reminders of Assigned Tasks and Past Due Calibrations
- Reports in System Help Analyze Data
- Export Data into Excel for Custom Reports
- Approved Vendor List
- Product Inspections
- Maintenance Logs
- Stores Critical Product Specifications, Inbound & Outbound Communications.
IBM PLAYS A BIG ROLE
For many years now Computer Insights has been committed to Linux and IBM. Other distribution software companies are following conventional wisdom and using proprietary solutions from Microsoft like SQL Server and .net. Meanwhile, Computer Insights has stayed the course with Linux and IBM in order to provide a lean and mean, highly specialized and easy to use system. It’s not the most conventional approach, but it has proven to be a very effective one.
- Linux brings open innovation to all IBM server and storage system platforms, freeing datacenters from vendor lock-in with choice and flexibility to scale their business on the fastest growing operating system in the world.
- IBM supports Linux on all IBM servers, storage and middleware, offering the broadest flexibility to match a company’s business needs.
- IBM is a leader in the Linux community with over 600 developers in the IBM Linux Technology Center working on over 100 open source projects in the community.
- All major server and middleware vendors support the Linux platform. IBM offers the broadest range of server and middle -ware products for Linux in the industry.
Computer Insights has been serving the Fastener Industry exclusively for many years. Their dedication to the industry has paid off for their many clients. They are big enough to serve and small enough to care. They have continued to develop and improve their program and all of the development has been directed specifically at the Fastener Industry. Their people are courteous, helpful and knowledgeable about the Fastener Industry. They have followed a different technology path than other software vendors in this industry. The result is a very cost effective and useful system. They are truly making a contribution to our industry.
For More Information
Computer Insights, Inc.
108 South Third Street
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-2912