|| Office Work's
a Lot Quicker
happy to save time using the OIW Database designed by Chicago
Ornamental Iron Works is a small, family run iron manufacturer located
in Northwest Indiana, providing iron columns and custom iron welding
for large construction projects. Much of their daily process is focused
on managing the manufacturing and sales of steel columns.
October 2004 / --
The day-to-day activities of a small business often revolve around
a few, specific processes. Particularly when a business is specialized,
customized database applications provide far greater returns in time
and effectiveness when compared to the available shrink-wrapped products.
Such is the case with Ornamental Iron Works (OIW) and their inventory
and invoicing database.
For more than 40 years, OIW managed both inventory
and invoicing manually, on paper. This was not optimal for managing
production and maintaining accurate inventory of each product. For
one, there was no automated log of inventory sales or replenishment,
making it a near impossible task to track product stock. This method
also made forecasting the ordering of raw materials tedious and
Need for Customization
Feeling that it was time to move away from managing the business
on paper, Paul Halfman of OIW investigated shrink-wrapped, small
business management software including QuickBooks and Peachtree
but found that these and other available programs were missing key
functionality for their needs and were unnecessarily complicated.
The company wanted an application that would not only automate their
manual processes but would also be easy to use by individuals with
little or no computer training. When the available market software
failed to meet the requirements, Halfman began looking into custom
solutions and met with the consultants at Chicago Software Solutions
Ornamental Iron Works manufactures
steel columns for large and small construction projects.
"I had spoken to different companies prior to
employing the services of CSS but none of them conveyed an understanding
of the business world. CSS really impressed me with their knowledge
of business management from their history of working with companies
involved in manufacturing," said Halfman.
After reviewing the core software needs, OIW and
CSS honed in on the functionality and decided upon a user-friendly
interface that was simple and quick to navigate. Within about 30
days thereafter, the developers at CSS created an integrated invoicing,
inventory and customer database that maintained ongoing records
of inventory. This perpetual inventory management function allows
OIW to track what inventory is available on the floor and which
pieces are pre-sold, eliminating any possible miscalculations when
CSS was able to incorporate all specific functions
that OIW either formerly lacked or had handled on paper. Dynamic
notation enables OIW to implement custom notes on invoices and bills,
specific to each client. The system allows for multiple invoice
types, including batch prints, customer invoices, merchant invoices,
shipping slips, packing slips, all documents that are essential
to the billing and shipment process. Because of truck weight limits,
the weight calculation feature helps them to gauge how many truckloads
are necessary for delivery. The application also prints envelopes
with OIW letterhead and billing addresses.
Available in Seconds
"Monthly reports which took hours to compile now take only seconds
to print out. Weekly inventory counts that were always inaccurate
and time consuming are now done automatically and are correct. Daily
tasks such as invoicing, calculating shipping weights, composing
merchant receipts, billing copies, packing slips, shipping slips,
printing envelops, and inventory adjusting are all now centrally
coordinated and available in seconds. Our staff can now focus more
on tasks directly related to productivity and less on the ones that
don't," said Halfman.
Where a pre-packaged software would have only
met part of OIW's needs, CSS was able to tailor an application exactly
to their requirements. The refined functionality, coupled with the
easy-to-use interface makes it a simple program to master.
About Chicago Software
Chicago Software Solutions
is a full-service, custom software provider focused on improving
business practices through technology. With experience in database
applications, office tool customizations, Internet development and
PDA applications, Chicago Software Solutions works closely with
each client to provide the solutions they need.