Web-enabled workflow: Synergy solution simplifies collaboration in smaller organizations

Collaboration technology isn’t just for big companies anymore. Today it’s just as important—and readily accessible—to small and midsize businesses.

03/06/2009



Harry Merkin, a VP with enterprise systems vendor Exact Software , wants you to know collaboration technology isn’t just for big companies anymore. Today it’s just as important—and readily accessible—to small and midsize businesses.

While enterprise systems contain vital company data, only a small number of employees typically work with those systems, says Merkin.

“There’s another group of customer-facing people—sales staff, marketing types, and financial and business analysts—and they’re usually isolated from that information,” Merkin adds. “They don’t have access [to ERP]. And typically they’ll have their own systems, but they’re different, and the groups might sit in a different building. They speak a different language, and as a result, they’re creating islands of information in their everyday work.”

That argument resonates with Bruce Wright, director of IT at Georgetown, Mass.-based UFP Technologies ,

To kick-start that collaboration in November 2006, UFP deployed Exact Synergy, a Web-based application that incorporates elements of CRM, and workflow, project, and document management in a single tool. UFP started using Exact Synergy to support its CRM needs, and then Wright began looking at ways to incorporate more business processes.

The first one he chose was the sales opportunity process.

Salespeople offered the perfect opportunity for testing out a collaborative tool since they tend to work in silos, even though they need involvement with people from different groups—e.g., customer service, engineering, and estimating. Wright and his team built the sales opportunity process into Synergy as a four-step workflow.

“Everyone who needed to collaborate in this [workflow] was involved, and it kind of took off from there,” he says. “We started looking at a lot of business processes, and different ways of using Synergy workflows.”


UFP Technologies, a designer and custom converter of foams, plastics, and natural fiber products, is using Exact Synergy—a Web-based application that incorporates elements of CRM, and workflow, project, and document management in a single tool—to refine its business processes ( photo courtesy UFP Technologies ).

Another workflow UFP Technologies implemented early on was already built into the Synergy system. The company added a link to its Web site that allows users to submit a request for information, or a request for quote. When that happens, the request is routed through Synergy, where an account is automatically created and a three-step workflow is kicked off.

Since implementing that workflow, UFP—which gets approximately 200-250 requests a month through its Web site—has been converting approximately 15 percent of those leads into customers.

According to Wright, one of the key benefits of the system is the way it builds in accountability. Everyone involved in a process can see who is responsible for which tasks, and who is or isn’t fulfilling those tasks.

UFP also uses Synergy to share documents that are attached to particular workflows, or information created and captured through the workflow itself—such as when a salesperson creates a new account card. This means all users of the system have access to the same information, and that always makes a big difference in the bottom line.











No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me