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Distributors: the only business software you'll need. courtesy of Softrend Systems

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Q1: Michael, you describe Foundation 3000 as being a unified business operating software. Why does this matter to your customers?

In the past many companies have invested in Accounting Software but that doesn’t help them gain efficiencies throughout the enterprise. They end up needing other software to fill the void or else they are trying to manage with multiple spreadsheets.

Foundation 3000 was designed to meet almost 100% of a business’s software operating needs and we did this one customer at a time. We worked directly with our customers to understand their business and ensure that our product was easy to use and truly met their needs. In addition to strong accounting functionality our system enables high speed order entry with all the relevant information at a Customer Service Rep’s fingertips with embedded EDI software. It manages the warehouse, purchasing, shipping, truck routing, Customer Relationship Management and Sales Force Automation. We take their business on the road with our Mobile Sales and Delivery applications and to the internet with our E-Commerce Web Store. Many of our customers are diversifying their businesses into counter sales, rentals, job costing, services or manufacturing. They get this all in one product. We are that one phone call they make and everything is designed to work together.

Q2: In the Jan/San industry ensuring that all vendor claimbacks and rebates are tracked and claimed is an absolute necessity as it comprises a significant amount of profit margins. This is often a manual effort and delays can cause cashflow deficiencies and lose a company money. Do you have a solution for this?

Foundation 3000 has worked very closely with our customers to build the functionality that Jan San customers need. Some systems can track vendor price increases and allow users to react accordingly in order to pass those changes on to customers. What very few, if any, do is react to changes to claimback contract amounts. In fact, most ignore this factor completely, and what can result is pricing that is not competitive enough, or even worse, the lowering or cancellation of a claimback/rebate by a vendor can render pricing that is below acceptable margins. Foundation not only monitors claimbacks/rebates so that margins are maintained, but they can be recorded well in advance of effective dates to enable timely customer price notifications. They can also, at your option, be applied to commission calculations as well as profit margin reports.

Many suppliers require reports to be submitted regularly which summarize sales activity involving claimbacks or rebates. Foundation not only provides these reports, but in many cases provides vendor-specific export capability to facilitate the transfer of data directly into the vendor's system. A historic trail of agreed costs, mill costs and claimback amounts is maintained not only to enable advance price adjustments, but also to provide quick visibility on past trends, as opposed to maintaining only current values, which some systems do. Because of the way customer and item links are structured, Foundation makes it easy to change contracts, avoiding the tedious procedure of altering contracts on a one-by-one customer basis.

Q3: Especially in this economy distributors need to monitor their margins very closely in order to remain profitable. How can Softrend help?

Foundation 3000 has numerous tools to assist companies in optimizing the revenue from every customer and each order, to ensure costs and prices are accurate and updated on a timely basis, and to have the right inventory available in the right place at the right time.

Costs from containers and purchase orders can have multiple charges from multiple vendors attached that are prorated by weight, volume or value and accounted for in any currency. These costs are added to the currency converted cost of the inventory to ensure you truly know what are your costs and margins. In A/P invoices are matched against the receiving and purchase order charges.

Standard import routines are set up to easily load updated vendor prices (as well as their catalogues). The system allows you to set up rules by customer for price notifications. It will alert you and send the notifications via email or fax to your customers automatically. As well, as you are entering orders alerts can be applied to advise when anything is below a certain margin percentage. Margins can be calculated either with or without rebates and claimbacks.

With Foundation 3000 lots and expiry dates can be applied to your inventory to better manage any recalls and to allow you to choose to ship older inventory first from a drop down list thereby reducing dead stock and improving margins.

When entering orders prompts suggesting additional items to offer to your customer as well as alternate items for out of stock situations.

Foundation 3000 was built utilizing the Gordon Graham Inventory Management methods. It constantly monitors your inventory purchases and sales and identifies seasonal items, irregular lead items, high and low sales items, extended stockouts, new items and single customer dominated items. It will even alert purchasing to not buy items where a single customer dominated item is no longer being purchased by that customer according to its usual buying patterns.

Callback inquiries can be set up to ensure your reps follow up at set time intervals after a sale – this can result in increased sales and helps to optimize should you be offering a time specific service.

Selling high volumes at a good margin mean nothing unless you can collect the cash. Foundation 3000 provides some very powerful tools to streamline the collection process – dated notes, alerts, task scheduling, and credit checks on every order and shipment.

Q4: These days it takes as much work to keep your existing customers happy as it is to find new customers. How can Softrend make this easier?

Our Web CRM has all the sales force automation pieces you would expect to help you manage leads, opportunities and campaigns, and also has the tools to help you better manage your customer relationships. All the information about a rep’s customers, their credit, backorders, sales history, and even which are due to reorder. All is configurable by person and allows for multiple types of graphs and reporting all with drill down to source data. Alerts and task lists assist the rep in ensuring he is in touch at the right time with his important customers.

Q5: Many of the vendors that Jan/San distributors work with are very large multi-national corporations. These companies are insisting that purchase orders are sent using EDI. At the same time, some customers are insisting on transacting using this method for sending orders and receiving shipment notifications, invoices, etc. How does Foundation 3000 handle these requirements?

We are seeing a lot of companies out there who are paying a lot of money for an outside EDI software package. Then, on top of that they may either be paying a lot to try and integrate it to their accounting software or else they are using double entries in both systems.

With Foundation 3000 we have our own EDI software embedded in the base package and we have all the mappings for major suppliers already complete. All a user needs to do is establish a relationship with a VAN (Value Added Network) and then they are all set up to transact paperless. This is free EDI software and no integration work is required - a huge savings in dollars and time.

Q6: I’ve heard so many complaints from companies that they can’t easily get the management information they need out of their systems. How does Foundation 3000 help a company in this area without costing them a fortune?

We like to brag that we are masters of data migration and reporting in our implementations. We really believe in putting what a company needs to run their business into our system. You will not see another system with as many standard reports as us and we provide you with easy to use tools to create your own. If there is something that you feel is necessary to run your business and you don’t see it there let us know. If it is something everyone needs we will add it.

Foundation 3000 comes with templates for your forms and a very easy drag and drop interface to place the information you want where you want and to make the forms your own. You can have multiple formats of each form so if you have some customers who have specific requirements for what they need to see (i.e., add their part #, total and group differently, etc.) you can create a different format and then indicate what format a customer gets and in what way (fax, email or print) and the system will take care of it for you. The same happens on the vendor side.

You can easily create your own reports and financial statements and all can be exported to Excel, or faxed or emailed right from inside the system. You can choose to run your business paperlessly!

Q7: The last thing a company wants is to have to replace their system after a few years because the software company has not kept up with current technology trends. What can they expect with Softrend?

Softrend has been in business for over 10 years and we have a very high customer retention rate. This is because of our ability to listen to our customers and due to the fact that we are continually updating our underlying technology so we are never out of date. There is no reason for our customers to ever have to buy another system. They will always have up to date technology that they can grow with.

An example of how we embrace current technologies is with our mobile applications. Sales reps can see customer history, statuses, CRM and take orders from their iPhones, Blackberries, Windows 6 phones, laptops or tablets in real time or if required, off line and then synchronize back to the server.

Our Mobile Delivery applications shows drivers their deliveries and in either real time or on an off line basis, use signature capture technology to update the order with the proof of delivery and have it printed on the customer’s invoice. The same solution is available for counter sales.

Q8: We are seeing more and more distributors taking their business to the internet. How can Softrend help them get there?

We have our own E-Commerce Web Store that is totally integrated to the base system. You can choose which of your inventory items or groups you want shown in your web store (and can even have different inventory shown by customer with their specific pricing) complete with pictures and unlimited descriptions. Orders are placed and sent back to the base system either in real time or held for approval depending on your business processes.

Templates are provided allowing you to choose whether to show inventory in a list or box layout. You can have unlimited numbers of levels of groupings. Customers can view their orders, invoices, A/R, and inventory levels (if you choose). You can post promotions or sales with effective dates.

With our Web Store you can be up and running in just days and never have to double enter inventory or orders again.

Q9: Michael, thank you so much for sharing your passion about your product. How do companies learn more?

Our reps would love to talk with interested companies directly to fully understand their needs. We will then set up a demo that can show how Foundation 3000 can work in their business. You can either call our office at the number here, email us at sales@softrend.com or request a demo on our web site. Let us exceed your expectations

posted on 3/25/2010