December 20, Lilly Software Associates Inc. (LSA)
(www.lillysoftware.com), a privately
held enterprise applications provider for small and medium sized manufacturing
and distribution enterprises, announced that its users in a range of industries
are adding on to their VISUAL solutions and integrating the
customer relationship management application, VISUAL CRM. Recent
time-saving enhancements to the product, including faster access to data and
improved Microsoft Office integration, have reportedly helped
to significantly boost fourth quarter CRM sales. According to the company's
officials, over 120 Lilly Software customers have purchased VISUAL CRM in the
last three months.
latest VISUAL CRM release, version 3.2, includes over thirty-five enhancements
aimed at enabling customer service representatives to respond promptly to customer
concerns and to be able to view detailed information to answer questions, to
track customers, record data, and enter tasks into the system. Users can now
also create mail merges quickly and integrate data with other back office tools,
while with the ability to capture Microsoft Outlook e-mails
into the database and attach them to any VISUAL CRM record, companies should
be able to access accurate information and improve communications both internally,
as well as with customers and prospects. Version 3.2 also offers expanded security
functions, more advanced searching tools, improved integration with Crystal
Reports, and increased support for the Remote Synchronization
December 5, Lilly Software announced the generally available (GA) release of
VISUAL Enterprise Project-Based Manufacturing, a solution for
companies that manage complex business projects. Over the past 10 years, Lilly
Software's tightly integrated VISUAL Enterprise applications
have evidently been successful for contract and commercial manufacturers. With
the release of the Project-Based Manufacturing edition, however, these companies
should now gain advanced tools geared specifically to help them deliver on-time
and on-budget, as the product incorporates Lilly Software's traditional enterprise
functionality such as patented concurrent finite scheduling, production & inventory
control, e-business, financials, and logistics with additional tools for Work
Breakdown Structure (WBS), project management, earned value reporting, and project
costing, control, and execution.
VISUAL Enterprise Project-Based Manufacturing is a solution that should help companies to manage tasks throughout entire project lifecycles. It includes a comprehensive WBS that should allow users to build a hierarchical definition of their project reporting elements, and it supports the planning of multiple projects. The system also includes features that enable managers to develop and manage costs from Request For Proposal (RFP) through project completion. Users should also be able to capture costs from engineering, procurement, production, inventory, and other activities, and perform scheduling and analysis, while the tightly integrated functionality should allow them to handle budgets for proposals and approved programs and copy those budgets into work orders and relevant project milestones. Users should also be able to establish multi-type, multi-year rate codes for direct and indirect costs and expenses. VISUAL Enterprise Project-Based Manufacturing reportedly also offers project control and execution features that enable users to maintain contracts, set up terms and conditions, and take advantage of tools for risk management.
November, Lilly Software also announced the availability of the Throughput
Improvement Primer (TIP) package. Leveraging the success
that it has had with the VISUAL DBR and VISUAL Power
Boost solutions, Lilly Software developed this offering to help VISUAL
customers and prospects more rapidly realize the value of implementing Theory
of Constraints (TOC)/Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR) management techniques, while minimizing
the cost of their initial investment. The TIP package includes four days of
TOC expertise and training, where companies should develop high-level implementation
plans for using DBR disciplines and strategies to manage production. During
this training, top management and production teams will work together to identify
their bottleneck resources, discuss how to apply the DBR methodology against
these resources, and recognize the impact of these changes on their financial
bottom line. As part of the high-level plan, the teams should also create a
timetable for achieving their financial goals.
Software designed VISUAL DBR to be an integral part of its VISUAL Enterprise
solution, and it includes the software as part of its VISUAL Power Boost offer
to help companies establish and maintain a process of ongoing productivity and
profitability improvement. Offered in the spirit of the arrangement described
in Dr. Goldratt's book "Necessary But Not Sufficient", VISUAL Power Boost provides
companies with the VISUAL DBR software bundled with training in the strategic
and tactical applications of TOC from some of the world's most highly regarded
TOC experts. Lilly Software has partnered with the Avraham Y. Goldratt
Institute (AGI) and Constraints Management
Group (CMG) to offer training and consulting services
in all aspects of TOC, particularly in Drum-Buffer-Rope techniques.
VISUAL DBR provides the planning tools to help companies exploit their capacity constraints, satisfy existing market demand, and deliver products on time. The product should enable companies to maximize the use of a Capacity Constrained Resource (CCR), reveal other hidden capacity, and use time buffers to create schedules that help deliver products on time. It is an approach to regulating the flow of work-in-process (WIP) at or near the full capacity of the most restricted resource in the manufacturing chain.
is Part One of a four-part note.
Two will discuss Market Impact.
Three will be a Competitive Analysis. Part Four will cover Challenges and make
above capabilities seem to be a continuation of the company's strategy espoused
earlier in the year with the current Release 6.2.8. VISUAL Manufacturing,
where the vendor accelerated its development into vertical markets with new
enhancements that target the needs of selected industries. The enhancements
have been focused on understanding the unique requirements of critical market
verticals, such as the automotive, biomedical, precision tool and instruments,
electronics, and aerospace & defense (A&D) industries.
Lilly Software's new automotive functionality should provide automotive/EDI users with the features to enable them to dynamically manage distribution operations on a customer-by-customer basis. The automotive capabilities in version 6.2.8 should streamline the EDI order entry and fulfillment process and ease the task of managing complex orders. They should allow companies to verify order details, maintain price matrices for parts by customer and date, establish shipping information, modify accumulators, and create thermal labels for orders. By integrating with Customer Order Entry, the automotive tools should offer the real-time data that users need to improve customer communication. The functionality also reportedly integrates with VISUAL BTS, Lilly Software's barcode transaction system, to simplify shipping procedures and enable companies to consolidate pack lists, create Advanced Shipping Notices (ASNs), and automatically generate invoices.
business processes easier was also the goal of other features in this release,
specifically the added support for both macros and user-defined reports. Macros
are small script-based programs usually developed by the application user in
response to a specific local need, as they can simplify the most complex tasks
by automating time-consuming processes and eliminating the chance of incorrect
data entry. To that end, the new version supports macros in many windows, such
as the Manufacturing Window and Customer Order Entry. Additionally, VISUAL now
supports user-defined reports from many application windows, thereby allowing
them to create reports that contain only the information they specify, as it
uses VISUAL database fields from any of the database tables that the manager
can normally access. Users can also take advantage of Seagate Crystal
Decisions to design and compile reports, which they can then run from
the User Reports menu.
keeping with its tradition of listening to customers' requests for enhancements,
Lilly Software also announced the release of a new add-on module called VISUAL
Price Book, which is a flexible pricing and commissions tool that integrates
with Lilly Software's VISUAL Manufacturing's Order Management window and other
ERP pricing packages. It should allow companies to work outside of "standard"
methods by selecting any level of "creative pricing" to determine prices, discounts,
commissions, and order terms. With this application, users can establish price
breaks based on cost or quantity and adjust figures "across the board" to eliminate
redundant adjustments. They should have the flexibility to, for example, set
up prices by customer, part, market, commodity, or groups, and to also easily
define commissions for their sales staff. The application maintains its definitions
in a separate database from the ERP database, with derivations available through
an open COM interface, allowing VISUAL Price Book to be a centralized solution.
Expanding Customer Communications
up its vertical strategy, at its recent annual User Conference in October, ENVISION
2002, LSA both celebrated its 10 year anniversary and launched a new
initiative to establish and support Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within its
customer community. The SIGs should help Lilly Software to better capture the
specific business requirements of vertical industries, particularly in the areas
of automotive, A&D, and biomedical. The company has a variety of users within
these industries and it is prepared to win more customers through the activities
of these groups and the release of several new products.
To facilitate the initiation of the SIGs, Lilly Software featured Special Industry Forums that allowed current Lilly customers to participate in discussions on their particular industry needs. This was the first opportunity for group members to meet and talk about their issues with Lilly Software representatives. After the conference, Lilly Software will offer a mechanism for customers to have continued dialog with the company and other industry users.
Lilly has steadily been building the foundations for growth in the vertical
markets over the last year. Prior to coordinating the Industry Forums, Lilly
released two products that incorporated vertical-specific functionality: VISUAL
Enterprise version 6.2.8 and VISUAL Enterprise Aerospace and Defense.
VISUAL Enterprise version 6.2.8 includes new automotive functionality that allows
companies to dynamically manage distribution operations on a customer-by-customer
basis (detailed earlier). To help the A&D industry handle its complex orders
and project management requirements, Lilly Software also released VISUAL Enterprise
Aerospace and Defense. Resembling very much the above VISUAL Enterprise Project-Based
Manufacturing, the solution incorporates standard functionality that should
help companies control costs, track resources, and manage operations so they
can deliver on-time and on-budget.
aiming at the lower-end of its target segment, Lilly Software Associates' solution
for small manufacturers, VISUAL Jobshop, has reportedly been
experiencing substantial growth despite the overall economic malaise. Lilly
initially released the product early in 2001, and Jobshop sales have reportedly
steadily increased worldwide, over 300% since October 2001. With customers currently
in twelve countries, including the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Taiwan,
and Mexico, Lilly expects sales to remain strong as it announces its latest
release, VISUAL Jobshop version 3.5, thereby possibly settling the hash of the
likes of ACCPAC and Sage/Best Software.
newest Jobshop release reportedly offers tighter integration with Intuit's
QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise
small business financial software and coincides with the release of QuickBooks
Pro 2003. In addition to integrating Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable,
and General Ledger information with VISUAL Jobshop version 3.5, QuickBooks users
should now be able to automatically populate Jobshop's database with existing
customers, vendors, and inventory items from their QuickBooks company file.
address accounting needs, VISUAL Jobshop has always had the ability to import
and export data with QuickBooks, allowing customers to handle miscellaneous
business expenses, clear invoices, manage payroll, pay bills, and produce financial
statements. As a member of the Intuit Developer Network, Lilly
Software has enhanced its latest VISUAL Jobshop releases using the QuickBooks
Software Development Kit (SDK). Working with SDK,
the company has reportedly enabled Jobshop to automatically update and validate
information from QuickBooks, allowing users to maintain data integrity between
VISUAL Jobshop is touted as an affordable software solution for small manufacturers with engineer-to-order (ETO) and make-to-order (MTO) production strategies that want to remain competitive in the short term, while migrating toward a more comprehensive product, i.e., VISUAL Enterprise, in the future. It provides tools that small businesses need to simplify their quoting, order entry, inventory control, production, labor tracking, shipping, and invoicing. Jobshop is also available in Spanish, which has reportedly helped Lilly Software deliver a strong competitive advantage to its Latin American customers and helped expand its sales around the globe. The product includes do-it-yourself implementation, user-friendly Windows features, and an extensive variety of customizable reports, and might be a good fit for companies that want to combine the ease-of-use of QuickBooks accounting with effective manufacturing capabilities to successfully manage their shop floor.
concludes Part One of a four-part note.
Two will discuss the Market Impact.
Three will be a Competitive Analysis. Part Four will cover Challenges and make