Take your manufacturing mobile with “mix and match” apps for shopfloor, sales, and field service employees
The concept for Bezlio came to me after 15 years building custom applications for manufacturing clients. I knew the mobile solutions on the market (not many) and their cost (usually too expensive). I also understood how different each manufacturing operation is from the next and, therefore, how difficult it would be to develop an affordable, one-size-fits-all app to cover them all.
So I didn’t.
Instead, my team designed Bezlio to be an integrated platform for delivering an array of customizable solutions to address manufacturers’ unique needs. In our thinking, robust mobile apps would bring greatest value to three specific groups—shopfloor employees tracking labor and materials, sales representatives connecting from the road, and field service engineers on site with customers—and we created a “mix and match” system to suit them all.
Bezlio is extremely flexible, but with so many options, where do you begin and how do you build from there?
“Matching the Transaction to the Action” for Shopfloor Productivity
Many Bezlio users start on the shopfloor to boost efficiency among their largest employee segment. As I often told consulting clients over the years, the goal here should be to “match the transaction to the action.”
In other words, make sure you perform the transaction in the ERP system at the same time you complete the physical action in the manufacturing environment.
Unfortunately, that’s not so easy with Epicor ERP, because much of the necessary functionality can only be delivered on a full PC at a kiosk. That’s how materials handlers, for example, wind up running around with little scraps of paper in their pockets to remember what transactions they need to record the next time by the ERP station.
But guess what else is in their pockets? A smartphone. By getting rid of the paper and allowing employees to use their mobile devices to enter purchase order receipts, issue materials, track location transfers, process finished good receipts, and so on—well, you’ve got a much more accurate and efficient system. That’s what Bezlio makes possible as a secure interface for Epicor ERP, and rolling it out to materials handlers is turnkey.
Doesn’t seem terribly hard, right? And if you get a handle on materials, where can you go from there?
Probably the highest-impact use case for Bezlio clients is labor tracking, and the results can be startling. Take for instance one client who began tracking employee labor and reviewed gross profitability after just one month. They were shocked to discover that several product lines were operating at a loss.
This isn’t uncommon. Manufacturing time studies are frequently out of date and labor standards can be inaccurate. Nothing beats current data for driving good pricing decisions, but manufacturers have typically been reluctant to implement ongoing labor tracking because it wastes so much employee time walking back and forth to kiosks—or at least it did, before Bezlio.
The Benefits of Remote Sales Productivity, Underscored by COVID-19
There was a time when mobile solutions for salespeople were considered “nice to have” but not essential. Their main purpose was to help sales representatives be more productive on the road. But laptops could suffice, and for manufacturers doing more inside than outside sales, remote connectivity wasn’t such a big deal.
Then came COVID-19 and the bulk of sales employees started working from home. Whether or not the pandemic initiated a permanent change, it’s clear that mobile-friendly tools are crucial right now and can ensure agility down the road, for regular sales situations and when responding to the next Black Swan event.
The Mobile CRM bezl offers an easy-to-implement option to provide your sales reps with access to the Epicor ERP and CRM data they need, in an intuitive, sales-friendly format. This bezl allows salespeople to find and update customer details, check and refine quotes, and enter and edit call logs—all with no VPN or bulky client application to run.
Sales reps can also set follow-up dates and order their dashboards based on upcoming tasks to keep prospective deals moving forward. Plus, they can gauge confidence and establish anticipated close dates for an accurate pipeline assessment.
Because active customers can be the best opportunities for new business, the Customer Tracker is a great add-on after the Bezlio CRM interface. This bezl allows salespeople to dig deeper into customer details to see orders, shipments, invoices, and more, thereby delivering the complete transparency they need to build on existing relationships to drive more revenues.
Need one more advantage? Give sales reps the Part Tracker, too—because you can’t overstate the positive impact of providing an immediate answer to customer inquiries about parts availability!
Better ROI from Field Service by Extending the Client Relationship
Field service is becoming increasingly popular throughout the manufacturing industry, but many companies aren’t getting the full benefit. Often overlooked is the close engagement between field service technicians and the customer. Whereas many manufacturers will focus only on successful installation or repair events, the on-site activity can also help take a relationship to the next, more profitable level.
The fact is, a customer sees every employee, regardless of their formal title and role, as an extension of your company. If they have questions, they’ll ask the person standing in front of them.
So consider what happens if you arm field service technicians with many of the same tools you do the sales staff. For example, if they have the Customer Tracker bezl, they can find out what’s going on with a shipment or whether a payment was received.
And with the Part Tracker bezl, they can save a lot of time—and deliver better customer service—by instantly accessing parts availability information, without calling or emailing back and forth with the home office. Should the parts in question represent an upgrade, congratulations, you just added revenue to an existing account!
Your Bezlio Implementation
Bezlio is multifaceted in the extreme—see here for just the Epicor ERP Bezl store— so where do you start? Consider selecting your biggest pain point or untapped opportunity, whether that’s in field service, sales, or production. Apply a single bezl to tame one process. Then, once employees are comfortable with the new capabilities and workflow, rinse and repeat with an “interlocking” bezl.
Need more help than we can provide in a blog post? No problem! Bezlio isn’t just a technology—it’s a service, too. We’re always eager to introduce manufacturers to our bezls and help them develop a roadmap to “bezlize” their operations. So reach out anytime (and there’s no time like the present)!