On October 16, Lilly Software Associates (LSA) (www.lillysoftware.com),
a privately held enterprise applications provider for small and medium
sized manufacturing and distribution enterprises, announced VISUAL
eBusiness version 3.0, the latest release of its online solution
designed to help businesses streamline processes, improve productivity
and increase efficiencies through the use of Internet technologies.
Lilly also released VISUAL eBusiness NOW, a new application service
provider (ASP) option that should deliver speed, flexibility, and affordability
through Web hosting. Version 3.0 supports business-to-business (B2B) and
business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions for both make-to-stock (MTS) and
make-to-order (MTO) environments. It is an extension of Lilly's ERP and
warehouse management system (WMS) products, allowing manufacturers and
distributors to post catalogs and pricing information on the Web. The
self-service features of the application allow customers and distribution
partners to view pricing, order status, product features, and product
believes that, with the opportunity to implement the application either
through an integrated module within the VISUAL product suite or via Lilly's
new ASP option, manufacturers and distributors can easily get started
with their e-business initiatives.
is Part One of a two-part note discussing Lilly Software's recent
announcements. Part Two will discuss the Market Impact of the announcements
and make User Recommendations.
Lilly Software is offering both a Foundation and an Extended Edition option
for VISUAL eBusiness version 3.0. Lilly includes the foundation module
with its core functionality in the VISUAL Enterprise product suite. This
module provides VISUAL users with the essential features to quickly set
up storefronts and allow their customers access to product listings by
category, product searches, product pricing, detailed parts specifications
and part availability, as well as lists of substitute and cross-selling
manufacturers and distributors who want more advanced features, Lilly
Software encourages its users to purchase VISUAL eBusiness Entended Edition.
This package complements the Foundation capabilities, allowing companies
to further customize their sites and post customer-specific promotional
items, identify top-selling items, assign shopping carts and personalize
shopping experiences to individual preferences. Other features include
enhanced searching capabilities, shipment tracking capability, increased
security and an account management option. Extended Edition enables online
customers to create multiple wish lists of items, request for quotations
(RFQs) and estimates, and provides options for a configurable view and
express entry. These features should empower customers by allowing them
to control their shopping experience.
VISUAL eBusiness NOW, companies reportedly receive: (1) the latest release
of VISUAL eBusiness software, (2) ASP Web hosting from Lilly Software
for their integrated VISUAL eBusiness solution, and (3) bundled consulting
services to help them configure the site to their needs. Lilly Software
claims to provide the software, the hosting and the consulting for an
affordable monthly fee, enabling VISUAL users to jumpstart their e-business
strategy at low risk and low cost. VISUAL eBusiness NOW may allow companies
to focus on their business while having Lilly Software manage the Web-based
application. Manufacturers and distributors have a variety of other hosting
options available to them with the VISUAL eBusiness software, including:
- ASP hosting
by a Lilly Software Sales Associate Organization
- ASP hosting
by an external Internet Service Provider (ISP)
hosting within their own company site
that by selecting its hosting services, companies should take advantage
of secure communications, fully automated virus protection, tape backup
procedure, remote file storage, monthly site statistical reporting, usage
trend reports and 24/7/365 system support. From its center, Lilly's expert
technology staff will maintain company sites, keeping information confidential
and safeguarded. The data center pledges to provide high performance server
solutions, security detection via redundant, load-balanced firewalls,
backup CAT generators with unlimited fuel capacity, strict physical security
and reliable environmental controls.
Although not achieving the growth of the golden late 90s lately, Lilly
remains profitable and without a long-term debt, while investing heavily
in R&D (33% of revenue) and consequently rounding up a compelling product
portfolio for its target market. After almost a decade of serving the
small-to-medium end of the discrete manufacturing and distribution market
with one of the first Windows-based manufacturing software solution with
a graphical metaphor, Lilly has a good handle on what these companies
are looking for - a reasonable pricing, software solutions that return
results quickly, and rapid implementation timeframes.
Software's financial success and double-digit revenue growth until recently
have been attributable to the understanding of the requirements of SMEs
that wish to acquire most of their business applications from a single
source. Also positively impacting the sales of its flagship product suite,
VISUAL, has been its intuitive graphical user interface (GUI).
VISUAL Manufacturing suite is a shop floor oriented ERP system with embedded
finite scheduling and constraints management in mind. Its advanced planning
and scheduling (APS), which is based on concurrent scheduling of materials
and capacity, has been patented with the US Patents. Focused on make-to-order
(MTO) manufacturing, the product also features strong built-in manufacturing
execution system (MES) capabilities.
notable difference with VISUAL is the ability to use metrics and tools
not found in almost any other ERP system to manage throughput in an orderly
way to increase customer service and profit on a period-by-period basis.
Consequently, with its intuitive and easy-to-use graphical nature, the
VISUAL suite enables companies to capture accurate, real-time data about
their plant-level business processes using ERP, E-Business, finite scheduling,
MES, Quality Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and WMS
big recent license driver has been VISUAL CRM, part of the VISUAL Manufacturing
suite. The product supports marketing campaigns, sales force automation
(SFA) tools, product configurator, call center, and customer service functions,
and it is fully integrated with the rest of the VISUAL product components.
While one can refer to those as basic CRM functions, the SME market should
appreciate the native integration. As a result, field service can, e.g.,
be scheduled from within the core ERP system, which is able to display
availability of field service resources and repair parts.
the beginning of 2001, Lilly introduced VISUAL Jobshop, an integrated
manufacturing solution for small, entrepreneurial companies. While the
company has been reaching down-market with Jobshop, it has also been attempting
to expand up-market by adding capabilities to support multi-site manufacturing
and distribution customers. To that end, Lilly features the software that
supports the needs of distribution companies with its VISUAL Distribution
product. While many peer ERP products support picking and putting away
requirements, a vast majority of them do not have the ability to manage
an order that might require kitting, assembly, or light manufacturing
in the distribution center.
the company also released VISUAL DCMS, a radio frequency (RF)-enabled
warehouse management system (WMS). The primary enhancements focused on
expanding lot, serial number, and expiration date tracking capabilities.
New functionality also includes support for third-party logistics (3PL)
notable new offering is VISUAL TMS (transportation management system),
designed to facilitate the shipping process - by bidding rates from multiple
carriers, it may significantly reduce the freight cost. Also, customers
can track orders' status in an end-to-end fashion - from order management,
via the factory plant, to the transportation. The stand-alone nature of
the Distribution and WMS products expands the company's opportunity well
beyond its manufacturing stronghold.
concludes Part One of a two-part note on Lilly Software Recent Announcements.
Part Two discusses the Market Impact and makes User Recommendations.