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21st Century Software Solutions for Door, Window & Façade Industry
Software has changed the way we do business in the 21st century. These amazing programming tools can manage a range of business processes right from the inquiry stage to site installations. Fenestration companies in India can now benefit from the variety of software available to enhance their business.
Fenestration industry software can be categorised into two types. To begin with, let’s talk about software that specifically focuses on designing and fabrication of doors, windows and façades; here the profile and the hardware database play a key role. Then we have ‘Enterprise Resource Planning software’ (also known as ERP systems) which can manage an array of your entire business. ERP systems bring all business processes and data to one platform. This not only increases efficiency but provides real-time visibility for your fenestration business.
Design and Fabrication Software
Design and fabrication software is equipped with databases of numerous well-known architectural profile system suppliers in aluminium and uPVC. These easy-to-understand programs make it possible for users to design doors, windows and façades in software with a choice of profiles, hardware and accessories. The software leads you through the entire design process of fabrication step by step, so you do not miss out on any component. Fenestration companies should consider software’s core features and functionality against their business requirements. 21st-century design and fabrication software comes with essential features such as ‘material optimisation’ to minimise wastage, project cost analysis, project labour report, bill of quantity, supplier purchase orders, quotations, work orders, delivery notes and invoices.
Some intricate features of design and fabrication software include the calculation of U-values for energy saving and the auto-generation of structural analysis reports. On the production front, the software automatically calculates all the necessary data and transmits machine-readable files to your milling and notch machining centres.
A most interesting feature of the software is the CAD interface. Most prominent fenestration software comes with an internal CAD interface which is simple and user-friendly. An easy-to-understand arrangement of all relevant functions provides you with a ready-to-use CAD output. For your architect’s delight, these CAD outputs of door, window and façade show you all the profile elements with hardware as an overall cross-section.
Design and fabrication software can prove the best fit for SME businesses who want to focus on areas such as design and fabrication. Since these software emphasise on engineering aspects of the fenestration business, they commonly do not come with modules like customer resource management, stock management, job tracking and procurement.
Doors, Windows & Façade ERP
Enterprise Resource Planning systems, commonly known as ERP systems, are a perfect fit for owners who want complete control over their fenestration business. A bird’s eye view of the entire company allows managers to precisely monitor and plan business activities much more efficiently by using big data to generate various Business Intelligence (BI) reports, and precisely forecasting business events which helps managers make faster and timely decisions.
In India, fenestrations businesses have invested heavily in enterprise software solutions to monitor and grow their business. The year 2017 saw some prominent fenestration companies investing millions in the development and implementation of these ERP systems. A single enterprise software that typically integrates all areas of your business including sales and marketing, customer resource management, project planning, manufacturing, quality assurance, dispatch and site management.
Fenestration ERP systems will typically use a combination of different modules to manage activities and tasks. The most common modules include:-
1. Customer resource management
. Document management system
3. Project costing and management
4. Stock and procurement
5. Production planning and tracking
6. Sub-contract management
7. Delivery and transport
8. Site installation
9. After sales
In the last couple of years, we have seen CEOs taking a keen interest in Barcode and RFID Technology. Barcode-based tracking is now commonly used in India to maintain stock and inventory.
More recently we have seen RFID technology entering the industry mainly to track crucial production stages. Production tracking is a core function of the ERP system; a module that allows stakeholders to precisely monitor production of doors, windows and façade. Systems that allow production managers to track a “single product” by creating time stamps for every production event. A bird’s eye view of the software dashboard can allow managers, and owners to monitor every stage of production live. Automation is the key to the ERP system’s success. A software that can increase visibility, grant total business control, increase timely coordination, send advance warnings and alerts, eliminate business redundancies, increase profits, and gain a significant competitive edge in the marketplace.
Configurations, Implementation and Training
Fenestration software configuration and implementation can be complicated and challenging, as every company is different, and so are their business processes. Over the years, we have seen a significant rise in software acquisition. Investing in the right software is an important decision, but most companies commonly ignore the implication of implementation and training of software. While products-based software requires less time for implementation, ERP systems need at least a month to complete this stage. Both implementation and training are crucial stages that cannot be ignored; a buyer needs to consider the cost of implementation and training which will easily add about 2030 per cent of the software purchase cost.
In recent years, most software companies have offered additional implementation and training packages whether you are buying a bespoke solution or a ready-to-use product software. You want to implement the system accurately. Although these packages would add a cost to your software budget, it is of vital importance to implement the software in a defined manner into your business. Software training is another crucial stage where minimal emphasis is given. Training is strongly recommended for staff and stakeholders. Software is worthless if its users do not use it correctly, or to its maximum capability.
Latest Technology Trends
More recently we have seen a steady rise of bespoke or tailormade fenestration software. Whilst in software development, we have seen a rise in demand for modules like “LIVE alerts” for customers and business owners through SMS and email. Another interesting module we have seen is a dedicated “company messenger” integrated with the ERP for inter-departmental communication; here chats can be linked to LIVE JOBS for internal records. Demand for a customised dashboard for each ERP user with their daily tasks, reminders and favourites charts and graphs are common requests. Recently we have seen more developments in site management areas where business wants software users to measure, snag, track, and report through an “ERP MOBILE APP” from remote site locations.
“Human ability to harness data in software systems is now empowering fenestration companies in India to take actionable decisions and offers spurs to boost sales and fulfil customer demands.”