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Improving Efficiency

We have identified more than 150 ways in which you can use IFS Applications 2002 to cut costs and improve efficiency in the most basic tasks that every business must perform. Here are just a few examples.

Create customized products, without customized prices
Manufacturing has come a long way. Customers now expect to be able to specify the product configurations they want everything from colors to materials, special features and add-on accessories.

The ideal approach is to offer, and capture, customization choices at the point of order whether it’s face-to-face with a sales representative or via an extranet. This helps to maximize the value of every order you take.

With the configure-to-order module in IFS Applications 2002, you can capture configuration requirements and present possible combinations at the point of order and then tell your customer when the finished product will be ready.

And with a clear configuration matrix and system for product customization, you can fine-tune your production schedules and processes reducing paperwork, materials waste and engineering workload.

Solve your customers’ problems quickly and efficiently
When customers have problems or complaints, it’s vital that they are reported and followed up efficiently. IFS/Support Center™ makes sure this happens. Customers can access the Support Center via a collaboration portal to report problems and track progress toward solving them. Similarly, any employee can file a report detailing a customer’s problem and track its progress.

If a problem has already been reported (and solved), this information will be held in the IFS/Support Center database leading to a speedy resolution and a satisfied customer, as well as a workforce with increased job satisfaction.

Get to know your customers better
All your customers want to believe that they are special to you at the top of your mind, all the time. They will get irritated if they continually have to repeat things they’ve told you before.

IFS/Sales and Marketing™ includes web portals that put customer information in front of anyone who needs it (and is authorized to see it). No more embarrassing silences; no more “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” Quite simply, outstanding customer service achieved through unconstrained information flows.

Get paid faster
Late payments put the squeeze on cash flow and are among the main causes of business failures. Which of your customers are late in paying their invoices? And why? Is it because the customer is unsatisfied? Have they complained, and is their complaint flagged against the corresponding invoice?

The latest version of IFS Financials™ gives full information about accounts receivable to the people who really need it: not only your accounts staff but also your salespeople who deal with the customers from day to day.

You can focus your efforts on chasing only those customers who have no excuse for late payments, and avoid causing annoyance to others who have a valid reason for not paying a particular invoice. And you can make sure that when a customer does have a complaint, that information gets quickly to the people who can sort the problem out.

Cut the cost of handling invoices
The hidden costs of processing incoming invoices are frightening on average between $50 and $80 per invoice! Pushing paper invoices around your offices almost inevitably leads to delays and late-payment penalties or missed early-payment discounts.

With IFS Applications 2002, you can use IFS Personal Portal to streamline invoice approvals. Users are alerted when an invoice arrives and reminded when the payment date draws near. They can access details of the invoice, including a scanned image of it; and approve payment without needing any indepth knowledge of the financial systems.

Keep complex collaborative programs on track
When a large and complicated project involves collaboration with multiple partners and suppliers, administrative chores multiply. It can be difficult to monitor quality and keep the work on time and on budget especially when much if not most of the work is being done out of house.

IFS Applications 2002 is designed to solve just this kind of problem. IFS/Collaboration Portals™ give all parties your own project staff, partners and suppliers, as well as your customers easy access to “to do” lists, management data, performance measurements and project documents. Information can easily be shared and updated at all times.

Reduce your foreign currency costs
Doing business in multiple currencies is risky and expensive: You’re exposed to fluctuations in exchange rates and currency exchange fees. IFS Financials allows you to analyze cash flows according to currency and make sensible decisions to reduce costs, for instance, by hedging against exchange rate fluctuations or by changing the currencies in which you issue invoices.

Secure the resources you need for new projects
In the early stages of planning a project, allocation of skilled and qualified personnel is often a matter of optimistic guesswork. It’s hard to get up-to-date details of people’s skills, qualifications and availability.

Two new features in IFS Human Resources™, “My Available Project Resources” and “Competence Finder,” give planners access to reliable information with which they can build sound project plans. You can instantly find out who has the skills you need and if necessary, bring people together to provide the right combination of skills. You’ll know when people will be available, how much they will cost and what gaps you have to fill.

Cut time-wasting in your maintenance organization
A large facility may have hundreds or even thousands of engineers involved in service and maintenance activities. Each person’s work is influenced by the activities of others; each person needs access to manuals and documents that may be in use by others. And scheduled activities are always being overtaken by unforeseen events.

It’s not unusual for people in a large maintenance organization to waste 50 percent or more of their time searching for documents, waiting for one task to be finished before another can be started or waiting for parts and material.

IFS Enterprise Asset Management™ helps you cope with the complex dynamics of this environment. Managers can use Gantt charts and other tools to schedule interdependent activities and optimize resource usage. Engineers can access up-to-date documentation electronically, instead of chasing around for the manuals they need. And communication via handheld computers and messaging to mobile phones helps you cope with life’s little emergencies.

Eliminate documentation delays
Administrating all the documentation involved in a complex project is a significant task typically accounting for two percent or more of the total project cost. When many different players including customers, partners and suppliers must approve blueprints and other documents, delays and costly errors are almost inevitable.

With IFS Applications 2002, you can use the Personal Portal to remind people when documents have to be approved. You can also make these documents easily accessible via the web eliminating the costs and delays involved in circulating paper documents and ensuring that everyone always has the latest revision.

Improve the accuracy of your forecasting
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to make a customer unhappy, it’s having to tell them that you’re out of stock of the product they want, and would they mind waiting a few weeks or months while you make some more?

On the other side of the coin, there are no prizes for overestimating demand and ending up with large stocks of out-of-date products.

IFS Collaborative Demand Planning is designed to avoid such embarrassing and expensive pitfalls. With this tool, you can easily involve your distribution channels distributors, wholesalers, even retailers in your supply chain planning. You’ll quickly see the impact of seasonal variations and other events and make new plans accordingly.

For your downstream distribution channels, the process is simple and rewarding. And for you, it means you have spies on the street giving you the lowdown on what you should and shouldn’t be making.

Build quality management into your processes
Quality management and assurance, according to standards such as the automotive industry’s QS9000, are now prerequisites in most operations. But “bolting on” the required procedures to established processes means extra work for all concerned.

It can be hard to get everyone committed to following quality assurance routines and gathering the management information needed for analysis and continuous improvements.

IFS/Quality Management™ allows you to integrate quality routines into all processes as they are performed. With mandatory entering of quality assurance data at all phases, everyone becomes involved in quality assurance, administrative overheads are cut and compliance with the standards is assured.

Improve your service efficiency
When things go wrong a machine breaks down or routine maintenance is due, your customers want a clear, unambiguous answer to one simple question: When will my problem be fixed? With IFS Service Management™, you can answer that question. At a glance, you can see who is available and qualified to do the work and when. And at a stroke, you can put the wheels in motion.

IFS Service Management can automatically allocate tasks and generate work orders. Managers can see at a glance what activities are planned and approve the resource allocations.

Using the collaboration portal, your customer can track progress. And the system can automatically generate and send emails, or messages to mobile phones, when matters are urgent.

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