Industrial Distribution had a chance recently to speak with Marisa Betancourt at Infor. Betancourt is the FACTS Product Manager/Senior Business Analyst for the software company, and filled us in on what the FACTS programs was created to do for distributors.
Industrial Distribution: Tell us, in a nutshell, what FACTS was created to do for distributors?
Betancourt: Infor FACTS was created to enable small to mid-sized distributors to manage their inventory and overhead through a streamlined Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. With its integrations and the manner in which it has evolved, FACTS has become a superior solution that helps distributors to take control of their business and become more efficient in both day-to-day and future forecasting processes.
ID: The press release says that Distribution FACTS “help distributors quickly respond to changes to satisfy customers and meet increasing demand.” How does it do this? What components make the product capable of this?
Betancourt: Components of FACTS that support this statement include:
Buyers Control Center
The way buyers typically determine buying targets is to “top off the truck,” by simply purchasing more of their A and B items (i.e. products they know will sell). This method makes it difficult to achieve buying target on the next order because distributors already have too many of the items they typically rely on. Instead, FACTS temporarily adjusts the review cycle up a few days, enabling buyers to purchase the correct proportions of everything and pick up items that would have gone critical in those added days. This keeps the purchase line in balance/sync, and prevents warehouse space issues and emergency buys, etc.
Think of this like a command center where, through integration with an exception control center, decision makers have the ability to create, update or manage purchase orders. They have one place to control how purchasing is done and reduce non-value, enabling the buyer to be more proactive across the board.
Exception Control Center
Under the old approach, buyers would wait until things became due or after the fact to act on issues. Now we created functionality to bring questions and concerns to buyers as they happen. For example, if there is a huge purchase that the system sees as unusual, it asks if this is a repeatable event and if not, will immediately remove the purchase from the usage history or leave it to create a shorter or longer lead time.
Frozen Controls and expiration limits
When a product is entered into the system for the first time, it’s optimum to put the frozen controls around it to evaluate the usage. FACTS will automatically provide the user with expiration dates and reporting so that the user is reminded to check on the control to determine whether the desired affect or result was achieved.
These are just a few examples of what FACTS 7.8 delivers.
ID: What processes are being effectively streamlined because of FACTS?
Betancourt: FACTS streamlines processes such as purchasing, returns, exception controls and inventory management. By eliminating redundancies and automating manual steps, FACTS allows distributors to increase overall efficiency and speed.
ID: The release also mentions that the user interface is updated in the new 7.8 release. What kinds of updates have taken place, and how will this new interface better serve the customer?
Betancourt: The user interface has been updated to Infor’s new user-interface standard, which provides a consistent and sophisticated user experience. The enhanced look-and-feel streamlines overall usability with improvements to screen layouts, placement of controls and a new color scheme throughout.
To learn more about FACTS by Infor, please visit http://www.infor.com/product_summary/distribution/facts/.