Web portal streamlines order entry for dealers in the field
Custom orders go straight into production through product configurator Portal
Tara Liners, an Alabama manufacturer of quality vinyl pool liners, works through a network of pool dealers and distributors across the United States
Tara’s internal business systems enable ERP sales orders to automatically flow through CAD, job scheduling, production and shipping processes.
The challenge was that dealers and distributors were not connected to Tara’s systems. This caused inefficiencies and data entry errors, increased support costs and delayed delivery.
TwinEngines developed a Dealer-Distributor Web Portal to connect to Tara’s Fourth Shift ERP system. The Portal can configure custom pool orders remotely, as well as connect to the Sales Order Workflow, Order History and Quote Requests.
Tara Liners manufactures pool liners for standard pools and nearly 20 custom pool shapes, each with its own order form. Picking the right order form was not easy, and completing the information was difficult. When dealers and distributors entered all the information correctly, then Tara could manually enter the order into their ERP system. Not the most efficient process when everything worked right. Inevitably though, an order would have an incorrect dimension, missing information or a typo that led to back-and-forth phone calls, faxes; sometimes requiring the distributor to make a second trip to the pool to re-measure.
Tara knew it needed to streamline the order process for its distributors, and empower them with the tools to configure liners, track orders and request quotes. At the same time Tara could operate more efficiently and reduce costs.
Tara Liners wanted to leverage the web to make it easier for their dealers and distributors, but not create a tool that was too technically sophisticated for their long-time partners.
- The solution had to integrate to Tara’s Fourth Shift ERP system.
- Entering an order had to be intuitive and straight forward with automated features guiding the configuration of the pool liner.
- Diagrams and images were needed to demonstrate the rules for dimensions and pool configurations.
- Business rules had to be built into the solution, but in such a way that Tara could modify the rules without requiring an IT developer.
- Tara customer service and distributors needed to be notified when orders were successfully submitted, when approvals were required and when pool liners shipped.
- Dealers and distributors can register for the portal online. Each individual account identifies the profile for payment and shipping methods and business rules for placing orders.
- The pool liner price is automatically calculated for distributors based on the costing algorithm for the pool shape and dimensions. Dealers associated to a distributor place their orders and their representative is notified to finalize the order.
- Orders, customer data, pool shape information, and order status are synchronized daily between the web portal and internal systems.
- As the customer enters in the dimensions of a new pool liner, a dynamic configuration tool displays a model of the pool shape with the measurements. The real-time, visual representation helps ensure accurate, one-time data entry for orders. Built-in rules on dimensions and features such as steps and coves also help eliminate data entry errors.
- Email confirmations contains all the pool configuration data and order information for distributors. All orders, including any phone and fax orders, are listed online for a customer to view liner details, and track shipments.