It’s pretty difficult, and often costly to extend your ERP system to mobile devices, but Flowfinity’s customizable platform bridged the gap between the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and our ERP system – safely and responsibly. It’s really the glue of the solution.
Headquarters: Herndon, VA
Sector: Construction Materials
Function: Sales Quotation Approvals
Solution: Instant notifications of price changes and immediate executive approvals
Benefits: Higher customer satisfaction, more profitable operations
Lafarge North America is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the U.S. and Canada with a workforce of 15,500 in more than 1,000 locations. Gypsum, also known as wallboard, is one of its three key divisions. As a leading construction materials supplier, Lafarge needed to improve the efficiency of translating pricing changes for raw materials to their customers in its Gypsum division.
The existing system was slow and relied on pagers, phones, and laptops – which did not help to respond fast enough to changing market conditions. Lafarge already had a substantial BlackBerry deployment to 1,500 users companywide. The challenge was to allow management to complete pricing approval requests faster by extending JD Edwards ERP system to BlackBerry in order to transmit instant notifications of price changes and support immediate approvals.
Flowfinity Platform offered Lafarge a solutions development kit that meant they could implement the wireless system faster and with less risk than a traditional development project. Flowfinity brought in one of its system integration partners, CGI, to implement the solution and integrate it to the existing ERP system. CGI, a leader in providing systems integration services and consulting in North America, developed the Mobile Pricing Approval solution.
The resulting advanced notification solution is a simple process. When a price approval is required from a particular sales manager the ERP application passes the request to the Mobile Price Approvals system. The price approval request form is immediately transmitted to the manager's BlackBerry handheld by the Flowfinity software. The sales manager now has everything they need to make a decision on the handheld: customer information, date of transaction, as well as old and new prices. Most importantly, they have the immediate ability to accept or reject the pricing change. If they reject the change they can submit comments to explain the decision. The information is then transmitted to the backend system and the sales person can act on it immediately.
The benefits of the solution include:
- Quicker response times to customers
- Immediate access to back end systems which affect company profitability
- Less reliance on being tied to the desktop
- Ease of use and availability
- Fewer devices to carry, including laptops
- Less reliance on telephones and reduced cell phone charges