For Lou Grypga of Aegis Commerce, providing business management software really only solves half of the problem. "It (software) is just technology unless you understand the industry where it will be implemented," he says. "When you know what fabricators are looking for and then deliver products that help satisfy their needs, then you add true business value."
Aegis adds value through Stone Logic, a web-based management tool that gives countertop fabricators control over their estimating, ordering, scheduling and inventory functions, and which synchronizes with financial accounting packages like Quick Books.
"Since we are web-based, we have built what we call the Aegis portal," Gryga explains. "This enables fabricators to be totally connected with their kitchen designers, retailers or builders, by providing remote access to their quotation and scheduling status."
When a dealer generates a countertop quotation using the fabricator's Internet portal, the quote is immediately forwarded to the fabricator for review. The fabricator makes any necessary corrections or revisions and approves the quote by clicking on the "Accept" button. The dealer goes back to his customer for approval. Once the customer signs on the dotted line the dealer informs the fabricator the quotation is an order using the StoneLogic portal. The fabricator then puts the job into production and schedules templating, fabrication and installation.
Of particular interest to many fabricators is the inventory control system built into the Enterprise version of StoneLogic. "We enable the fabricator to purchase and receive raw materials and finished goods within the system. We automatically generate bar code IDs, and we have written a full application with the Microsoft.net framework that operates on a pocket PC scanning device. Thus, a fabricator can walk around the yard and, by pulling up a production order on the pocket PC and scanning the slab, he can allocate that slab directly to the sales order."
StoneLogic is available in the Office version, which includes quotes, order management, scheduling and synchronization to a financial system; or in the Enterprise Suite, which includes a production module, inventory module, the creation of bar code IDs, production scheduling and the gateway interface.