Rover Data Systems found that some of our customers provided Field Service to equipment or goods that they manufactured. These clients had no real method for tracking field inventory or repair parts. It often got lost in going from one field location to another. Working on the problem in conjunction with our clients, Rover Data Systems created an M3 Field Service application that can be used by any company that needs to support and incorporate their Field Support activities. The native integration capabilities of M3 have made it possible to integrate Field Service with other company applications like Finance, Sales, and Distribution and Inventory.
The M3 Field Service application tracks field inventory in various states in field locations that you define: repair stock, replacement, etc. You can loan parts and still track them from location to location. Your business benefits by having up to the minute, real-time status of your entire inventory and costs. You control and monitor field inventory to assure that you maintain needed levels for customer service while still controlling inventory costs. This eliminates lost inventory and assures that costly emergency orders are limited.
With M3, your company can create invoices for billable time and parts usage that are directly posted into the accounts receivable system. It also allows you to schedule preventive maintenance and to track all customer activities and costs. This eliminates billing issues and assures that you get revenue in a timely manner, while maintaining high customer service standards.
The M3 Field Service application performs complete serial number tracking and parts movement history. Separate warranties can be maintained and tracked for parts, labor and travel. Preventive maintenance scheduling is done based upon pre-determined product and service cycles. Labor, parts and miscellaneous charges are captured on a field service order and automatically generated as invoices within the M3 financial module.
Finance and Accounting
The M3 System includes complete, easy to learn and use applications for financial functions such as Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and General Ledger. The M3 Financial Applications are designed to let you easily modify them to fit your business processes. For example, the Accounting department has complete ability to define:
Month-end close procedures
This allows M3 users the ability to run financial operations as they desire instead of conforming to new standards, making workers more efficient and cutting training and implementation times.
M3 is designed to allow you to perform normal operations while completing period-end processing. The rest of the company can operate normally, and efficiently, and can keep entering and fulfilling orders while the books are being closed.
Finally, since all M3 applications reside within the same system, the Sales, Purchasing, Inventory, Production and Service applications can be set to automatically generate financial application records. This improves efficiency and rids you of the costs of re-keying of data or data entry errors.
Purchasing/ Receiving/ Returns to Vendor
Purchasing materials at a fair price from a reliable vendor is critical to running your business profitably. More and more companies are realizing the importance of managing their suppliers and supply chain and M3 contains everything you need to properly manage your purchases and the receipt of ordered goods. M3 Purchasing includes a complete purchase order history and it allows you to make receipts and debits to individual orders. Since all M3 applications are internally integrated, you can automatically accrue items in the Accounts Payable application. This eliminates double entry and possible errors.
M3 even provides the ability to generate purchase recommendations and to rank your suppliers in terms of their historical performance. Vendor performance ratings are critical if you intend to take advantage of new purchasing and inventory techniques. M3 Purchasing also provides you the flexibility to define your purchase and supply chain requirements and to change them as your business changes.
Retail/ Point of Sale
Whether you are a retail operation with many point-of-sale locations, or simply have a walk-up window where customers can buy your product, a complete and easy to use Point of Sale system is imperative to your success. Your Point of Sale system, and the personnel that work them, are your face to the customer. Making the buying experience easy for your customer will lead to happy customers who will return and bring their friends.
A strong Point of Sale system is much more than just putting a cash register on a counter. While the actual retail screen being used is important, equally important is having that part of the operation integrated with a strong business software system. Strong pricing capabilities with sale dates, customer-specific pricing for regulars or corporate accounts, accurate inventory views to know what is available. These are all components of a strong Point of Sale system. Consider also, what else must go on for you to run your business. Purchasing and receiving of parts, returns to vendors, accounting, inventory, marketing. Doesn’t it make sense to have a single software product that helps you with all of it?
Manufacturing/ Production/ Shop Floor Control
If you have one or more manufacturing facilities, you know the importance of having quick and accurate access to information about what is happening on the shop floor. For today’s small to medium manufacturer, it’s not good enough just to throw a work order out the back door and hope the production personnel have it ready when the customer needs it. All information about customer needs, current facilities load, personnel, available components and subassemblies needs to be monitored to make sure this vital part of your business is in sync with the rest of the company.
M3 allows the definition and control over as many manufacturing facilities as you desire, treating each independently or together, depending upon how you want to run your business.
Sales/ Shipping/ Returns
Sales and Marketing are crucial to the revenue plans of any growing company. No company can meet their revenue targets without finding new customers or without completely satisfying their existing customers. Customers want a vendor who has an easy to use order and customer service process. They don’t want to waste time with vendors who have inadequate systems to satisfy them. M3 recognizes the need to provide an easy to use and flexible order processing and customer service system. We give you everything you need to provide an easy and complete order entry application that includes up to date data on the prospect, their individual sales quotations, and inventory status. If customers call to question an order, M3 maintains a complete sales order history, a history of any returns, shipping and receiving information and sales analysis capabilities. M3 also seamlessly converts quotes to sales orders to improve your fulfillment capabilities. Order entry and sales personnel have real time access to on-hand and available to promise inventory to prevent customer satisfaction issues that result from mistaken promises of inventory status.
Today, companies are looking for applications that allow them to track prospects, customer contacts and orders, and sales and marketing activities. Some companies even purchase specialized applications for the Sales Department. These sales applications become
Islands of Information with no connection to the other systems in the company. Companies are then forced to try to integrate these sales systems with their other systems to provide a complete view of customer information. This can be costly and time-consuming. Rover Data takes a different approach. Within the M3 System, we provide a complete set of sales applications that are internally integrated to the rest of the company’s systems. There is no need to spend time and money attempting to integrate a specialized sales application with the rest of the company. Inventory Control/ Distribution
Over the last few years there has been a great emphasis placed on managing inventory and the supply and demand chains. Excess inventory causes increased carrying and storage costs. Too little inventory or misplaced inventory can lead to lost sales and revenue. Companies dealing with tight margins and demanding customers need to manage all of their assets. The need to manage inventory, to increase inventory turns, to satisfy customer schedules, and to synchronize the demand (sales order) and supply chain (purchase orders / work orders) to ensure optimum profitability, has placed tremendous demands on modern manufacturing companies.
M3 was designed to give businesses the ability to control and monitor their inventory in the most flexible manner possible. The M3 Inventory Management and Distribution applications allow you to define inventory and warehouse locations and the optimum balance of materials within those locations. Optionally, you have the ability to utilize bin and lot controls to quickly and efficiently locate parts in your warehouses. As always, our native application integration insures that you can maintain real-time inventory views across multiple locations and warehouses.
Executive Information System (EIS)
Modern executives and business owners need the ability to quickly assess the condition of their business. Technology can provide executives, Line of Business (LOB) managers, and owners a view of key business indicators online or in printed report format to allow an instant, up to date understanding of critical business conditions.
Rover Data Systems created the M3 Executive Information System (EIS) to give our executive users the information they need to monitor day-to-day operations. This information snapshot provides key operational success measures, including month, quarter and year-to-date performance metrics. At a quick glance, or by running standard or custom reports, an executive can see information on booking, shipments, purchases, and cash received and disbursed in a high-level format.
ACE Utilities and Report Writer
In designing the M3 System, Rover Data Systems set out to create a series of integrated applications that provided a best of breed capability, but which were easily customizable to customer business processes at minimal expense. The ACE Utilities are the foundation upon which the M3 product was developed and provide various tools and processes to control and make adjustments to the application. These include an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Security, Process Control, and modification logging.
Work Flow Management (user alerts)
Work flow has many definitions. One of the most generally accepted definitions is that work flow is the capturing and development of interaction between people and information systems to trigger an appropriate action. With that in mind, Rover Data Systems has developed a system that allows the definition of an unlimited number of activities.
In today’s fast-paced business environments, it’s not always sufficient to wait until you run a report to find out if an activity you were waiting for has occurred. With the M3 system, users can set triggers on any event in the system that will notify them when it occurs. These notifications can come in the form of an internal message through our standard messaging system, or an email, delivered to any number of recipients they choose.
Imagine the power of knowing immediately when a selected part that you were waiting for is received. Or that a customer order has gone on hold for some reason. There is virtually no limit to the numbers and types of user alerts that can be set. Additionally, user alerts can be made to be one-time use, or persistent, meaning the alert happens every time a selected event occurs.
The Work Flow Management system in M3 allows you to define reliable and repeatable activities that will help ensure that you and your people will have the information they need when they need it.
The concept of Project Management has grown beyond simply creating a timeline of events, printing out a schedule and then hoping everybody involved can keep to the schedule. With M3, projects can be tracked at a cost and transaction level that will provide you with the level of detail control you need to make sure your project is successful and profitable.
Projects can come in all shapes and sizes. Some projects involve a new Marketing initiative that involves tracking activity with customers and prospects. More involved projects can involve a new development effort that includes everyone from Engineering trying to design new products, to Production making sure their machines can build the new product, to Sales and their efforts to sell it. Along the way, it’s important to track the true cost of the effort. In the design phase of a project, there may not be any sales orders or work orders against which costs are captured. These costs are such things as engineering and drawing, product design and inventory and parts that are used in the design and testing.
With the M3 Project Management system, you can track labor and overhead costs and well as material costs to each step of a project. Considering that there are an unlimited number of steps and sub-projects that can be defined, you get an unparalleled ability to track your costs and compare expenses to income.
The planning processes are the heart of any business. In this era of reduced margins and increased cost pressures, it is vitally important for companies to have up to the minute information on their capabilities and the production plan. Small errors in managing the planning process can add costs, which turn a profit into a loss. Missing inventory at critical points in the sales and/or production process, not scheduling people or machines optimally, or simple mistakes in planning can mean the difference between staying in business and failing.
At Rover Data Systems, our history of managing the planning process has made us very aware of the critical importance of these applications. In fact, we started the business because we saw that this area was not being adequately addressed by many of the existing products. Our goal is to give you the management and planning applications you need to run your business profitably and efficiently.
Engineering/ Product Configuration
Engineering resources are valuable and expensive. Giving engineers the proper tools to do their jobs quickly and efficiently, and to allow them to focus on core engineering activities, is of greatest value. The M3 Engineering application is designed to allow your engineering resources to make the best use of their time. M3 provides a powerful and flexible product configurator that lets engineers create the proper options once and store them for sales and order entry personnel to use to complete orders without using additional engineering resources. This makes the whole firm more productive and cuts the costs of errors. M3 also provides engineers with easy access to maintain the Parts Master, Bill of Material, Product Cost and Product Configurator
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is all about managing the interface and relationship with your customers. It was once thought that CRM was a separate component to both your business and your business software. That thinking led businesses to hire independent personnel and provide them with independent software tools to handle the task. This will inevitably lead to isolation and islands of information that are not shared with others throughout the company.
CRM is a business philosophy, not just a software element. It is a decision made by business owners and managers to better identify their customer needs and to give their employees the tools to improve or maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. All employees, right up to the CEO, should be on board with supporting your CRM plan. That means that everyone must also have access to the tools and data to help them.
M3 provides you with the tools and information you need to successfully manage your customers and your processes. There is no need to spend time and money attempting to integrate a specialized sales application with the rest of the company. The advantage of having these tools fully integrated with the rest of your ERP business software is obvious.
While there are some main points to CRM, CRM permeates the entire company and therefore should also permeate your entire software solution. You can’t simple bolt on a screen that’s called CRM without making sure it’s fully integrated into the entire system.
In today’s marketplace, it can be imperative to have a Business-To-Business (B2B) or Business to Customer (B2C) interface available for your customers to place orders, verify inventory and check on the status of shipments. The M3e e-commerce module can be used in one of two ways. First, it can become a complete web site and the primary landing spot for your customers on the web. Or, it can be linked to your existing web site and used as a shopping cart tool. Either way, your customers get a variety of benefits.
Even above the benefits your customer will receive, think about how your company can benefit. Customers can check on the status of a shipment, including tracking numbers, right on the web site, without having to call you can tie up one of your sales people. This leaves them free to make more sales.
Once your customer places an order, that order is delivered directly to the M3 system and can either be held for review, or sent directly to the sales order file for immediate processing. You get a seamless flow of information directly into your system.
Integrated on line with M3
Familiar cart interface complete with pictures, descriptions, pricing and availability
Product search by keyword
Featured products display
User defined featured messages
Save shopping carts for later adjustment and checkout
Credit verification and credit card processing
Real time inventory views
Customer specific pricing