Lilly Software - Product Enhancements Remain Its Order 'Du Jour'

TOTALsupplychain Evaluation Center
Feb. 18, 2003

On December 20, Lilly Software Associates Inc. (LSA) (www.lillysoftware.com), a privately held enterprise applications provider for small and medium sized manufacturing and distribution enterprises, announced that its users in a range of industries are adding on to their VISUAL solutions and integrating the customer relationship management application, VISUAL CRM. Recent time-saving enhancements to the product, including faster access to data and improved Microsoft Office integration, have reportedly helped to significantly boost fourth quarter CRM sales. According to the company’s officials, over 120 Lilly Software customers have purchased VISUAL CRM in the last three months.

The latest VISUAL CRM release, version 3.2, includes over thirty-five enhancements aimed at enabling customer service representatives to respond promptly to customer concerns and to be able to view detailed information to answer questions, to track customers, record data, and enter tasks into the system. Users can now also create mail merges quickly and integrate data with other back office tools, while with the ability to capture Microsoft Outlook e-mails into the database and attach them to any VISUAL CRM record, companies should be able to access accurate information and improve communications both internally, as well as with customers and prospects. Version 3.2 also offers expanded security functions, more advanced searching tools, improved integration with Crystal Reports, and increased support for the Remote Synchronization module.

On December 5, Lilly Software announced the generally available (GA) release of VISUAL Enterprise Project-Based Manufacturing, a solution for companies that manage complex business projects. Over the past 10 years, Lilly Software’s tightly integrated VISUAL Enterprise applications have evidently been successful for contract and commercial manufacturers. With the release of the Project-Based Manufacturing edition, however, these companies should now gain advanced tools geared specifically to help them deliver on-time and on-budget, as the product incorporates Lilly Software’s traditional enterprise functionality such as patented concurrent finite scheduling, production & inventory control, e-business, financials, and logistics with additional tools for Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), project management, earned value reporting, and project costing, control, and execution.

VISUAL Enterprise Project-Based Manufacturing is a solution that should help companies to manage tasks throughout entire project lifecycles. It includes a comprehensive WBS that should allow users to build a hierarchical definition of their project reporting elements, and it supports the planning of multiple projects. The system also includes features that enable managers to develop and manage costs from Request For Proposal (RFP) through project completion. Users should also be able to capture costs from engineering, procurement, production, inventory, and other activities, and perform scheduling and analysis, while the tightly integrated functionality should allow them to handle budgets for proposals and approved programs and copy those budgets into work orders and relevant project milestones. Users should also be able to establish multi-type, multi-year rate codes for direct and indirect costs and expenses. VISUAL Enterprise Project-Based Manufacturing reportedly also offers project control and execution features that enable users to maintain contracts, set up terms and conditions, and take advantage of tools for risk management.

In November, Lilly Software also announced the availability of the Throughput Improvement Primer (TIP) package. Leveraging the success that it has had with the VISUAL DBR and VISUAL Power Boost solutions, Lilly Software developed this offering to help VISUAL customers and prospects more rapidly realize the value of implementing Theory of Constraints (TOC)/Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR) management techniques, while minimizing the cost of their initial investment. The TIP package includes four days of TOC expertise and training, where companies should develop high-level implementation plans for using DBR disciplines and strategies to manage production. During this training, top management and production teams will work together to identify their bottleneck resources, discuss how to apply the DBR methodology against these resources, and recognize the impact of these changes on their financial bottom line. As part of the high-level plan, the teams should also create a timetable for achieving their financial goals.

Lilly Software designed VISUAL DBR to be an integral part of its VISUAL Enterprise solution, and it includes the software as part of its VISUAL Power Boost offer to help companies establish and maintain a process of ongoing productivity and profitability improvement. Offered in the spirit of the arrangement described in Dr. Goldratt’s book “Necessary But Not Sufficient”, VISUAL Power Boost provides companies with the VISUAL DBR software bundled with training in the strategic and tactical applications of TOC from some of the world’s most highly regarded TOC experts. Lilly Software has partnered with the Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute (AGI) and Constraints Management Group (CMG) to offer training and consulting services in all aspects of TOC, particularly in Drum-Buffer-Rope techniques.

VISUAL DBR provides the planning tools to help companies exploit their capacity constraints, satisfy existing market demand, and deliver products on time. The product should enable companies to maximize the use of a Capacity Constrained Resource (CCR), reveal other hidden capacity, and use time buffers to create schedules that help deliver products on time. It is an approach to regulating the flow of work-in-process (WIP) at or near the full capacity of the most restricted resource in the manufacturing chain.

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