Some 18 months ago in Marelli Motori, we began exploring the idea of creating a Product Configuration Tool, we had several options, among them, a far-reaching web-oriented solution, proposed by a couple of systems integration consultants, that would have solved our task and provided a launch platform for practically any other functionality we would have dreamt of. Today our intranet includes a set of rather complex functionalities, the Product Configuration Tool, and Sales Force Automation, along with other minor yet useful features all interwoven with our ERP. In essence, we have the making of a company portal accessible worldwide.
What the consultants proposed was the adoption of internet technologies as a mainstream communication channel; on the onset we were skeptical, a web-based product configuration tool seemed too complex for the technology, a prototype was suggested, and the rest is history. During development we were supported by these consultants, that not only implemented our original task, but also taught us how to stand on our own, and made us realize the far-reaching possibilities. We are now able to evolve our company portal; however, the consultants are still valuable for complex tasks and experienced points of view. They’ve asked us to envision Marelli Motori as a container of scattered, inhomogeneous information that can be accessed harmoniously and fast from a single channel, the web. The company portal is evolving as functionalities are perfected, added, and woven with the company processes; we have a means of documenting, testing and perfecting these processes.
We are building the portal with KeyVisions eSite, a content management software product designed to ease web developments, see www.keyvisions.it for a detailed description, simply stated, it focuses on the company data sources, interacts with them rendering informative units, named contents, in web pages. It is based on Microsoft technologies and handles multilanguage. One last note, the look of our portal has not received particular attention due to budgeting reasons.
Portal Functionalities (visit http://extranet.marellimotori.it)
Sales Force Automation
Purpose: manage sales activities with particular attention to quotations.
Features: agenda (personal, branch (office), and public), customer management (visits, quotations, and orders), quotation management (creation, revision, attachments, document workflow, automatic generation of localized forms), message workflow (internal messages within the system, automatic e-mail generation), quotations relayed to the technical department for validation, statistics (visits and quotations per client, agent, area, product mix, other).
Purpose: log and monitor changes in technical drawings sent to our suppliers.
Features: determines automatically if drawings are modified, highlights the suppliers involved, and automatically generates a localized form inclusive of drawings list to be sent to these suppliers (the listed drawings can also be sent to a printer queue).
Commercial Product Configuration
Purpose: guide the sales force in the selection of products.
Features: substitutes a technical expert in the selection of the most appropriate product based on a client request. It determines in real-time: the price, the delivery lead time, the datasheet, and the feasibility of the request. Outputs power curves, and space requirements along with a technical dictionary.
Technical Department Automation
Purpose: manage the technical department workload.
Features: highlights differences between BAAN and the ad-hoc software used in the technical department; handles jobs queues and machines logs.
If you have any questions or need additional information, contact Mr. Gianni Lorato supervisor of intranet development and maintenance.