Monday, December 30, 2013

Realtrac ERP Software Development Team. Alpha Phase Blog

Greetings all,
This is Matt from the Realtrac development team. As you've probably heard, Realtrac is busy preparing a brand new release of the Realtrac ERP system. A little more than a year ago, myself and a group of talented developers set out to rewrite Realtrac from scratch. Our job was a tough one. We wanted to build on the obvious strengths of Realtrac while bringing it up to current standards. 2013 sure is an exciting time to be writing job shop software. Computers are fast and powerful, letting us provide more functionality in Realtrac while maintaining it's speed and ease of use. In addition, everyone uses the web, people have miniature computers in their pockets and data is no longer siloed in it's own locked up store.
Realtrac has lots of announcements coming up about these sorts of capabilities But first, I just wanted to give everyone an idea of just what we've been doing for the past year.
Writing an ERP system is a pretty monumental task. What at first may seem like a simple set of screens with some accounting figures, is, to quote the most lovable green animated figure I know, Shrek, "like an onion". Onions, like an ERP system, have many layers. What on the surface appears to be some simple accounting figures and statistical data turns out to be a set of complex business rules underneath. And most importantly, all the data talks and interacts with one another.
Rewriting an existing product like Realtrac only compounds the difficulty of the task. We want to write a system that's friendly to existing Realtrac 9 users, while opening it up and making it more powerful than ever. Keeping the simplicity and speed while providing a platform that would let a small business grow, and would let Realtrac grow with it.
So our first few months around the office looked a lot like a college classroom. Developers learning the basics of Realtrac. Talking with our experienced sales and support team to understand the breadth and depth of our customer base. (The most important thing you learn is that no 2 companies do things the same, and writing software to help rather than hinder them is a difficult task.) Whiteboards were furiously drawn upon, then erased and started over from scratch. Repeat, repeat!
But eventually, we found ourselves with a great foundation to build the "Next Generation" of great ERP software upon.
The next step? A bunch of highly talented software developers (I often call us "nerds", but I'm not sure everyone appreciates it as lovingly as I intend it) put our nose to the grindstone and got to work. We've also been very lucky. Every one of our coworkers, from ownership to management to our awesome sales, support and office staff has helped us along the way. They frequently threw fresh coffee (yum) and chili (yum) in to the office to keep us going. Every 3 weeks we'd have a big meeting with our entire team and show off our progress. This constant feedback loop meant we never strayed too far off task, everyone saw what we were doing, and our momentum just kept building.
This past August, we had several milestones that were a pretty huge deal. First, we had an amazing group of our customers take the time out of their busy work schedules to come here to Livonia and spend a day with us looking at the new product (more on that in a minute). Second, we shipped our first official build of Realtrac 10 to our "internal customers" (a fancy way of saying, people other than the Realtrac nerd team started using our software. For a developer, there's nothing quite like that feeling of a year or more of work culminating in people actually using your product. It's really fun to build new things and release them to the world.)
Oh, so yeah, along the way we had some awesome customers come in, take a look at our product, give us feedback and help us determine where we are going in the future. Needless to say, it was a busy day. Even better, everyone liked what they saw and were ready to deploy Realtrac 10 at their organizations!
As we sit here in December, we're ready to enter in to yet another new phase.
All of our Realtrac team have been using Realtrac 10 since August, and in November we commenced on our Alpha testing at an existing Realtrac 9 customer location. Our alpha test has gone amazing. We've gotten some great feedback and redesigned some systems. Build, test, fix, repeat. Every bit of feedback, every change that goes in makes the product better than it was immediately before.
This new phase I speak of? This week and next, we are deploying Realtrac 10 at a select number of customer sites as Beta tests. These customers are kind enough to invite us in to their place of business, take time out of their schedules to learn a new product, test the product, and give us feedback. For many of our customers (and likely you as well), their time is the most precious asset they have. So we understand what a great gift this is that they are sharing with us.
Good news for them though is that in exchange for their time, we're looking to deliver an amazing ERP system that builds on the strengths of Realtrac 9, while delivering all sorts of cool new functionality.
Hopefully this gives everyone a quick idea of what life is like here at Realtrac HQ, development department. After our first set of Betas, I'll post a quick update to let everyone know how it's going. And we still have that issue of all those vague teases I mentioned in the introduction. More on those, and some of the great new features in Realtrac 10, later.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Top Ten Reasons for Your Company to Use REALTRAC ERP Software as Your Pace Car!

The Top Ten reasons for your company to use REALTRAC as your Pace Car!
  1. Pole Position REALTRAC will give you the power to be the leader of the pack in your industry by being recognized as the best in quality, innovation and customer satisfaction.
  2. Analysis – REALTRAC will show you an analysis of your company. A grandstand view of each customer, each vendor and each product line or service – What you find may be surprising, but your investment will quickly pay off.
  3. Profitability – Owners constantly look for ways to change or adapt their business for maximum profitability. REALTRAC gives you a view of your income and expenses which allows you to measure your current and past profitability and project future profitability. This allows you to analyze and assess your current status which in turn helps you make the decisions for a maximum Return on your Investment.
  4. Growth – The sole purpose of a business is to grow. Companies grow organically because needs change all the time. REALTRAC offers a synopsis of your company’s structure. Shows you where opportunities for growth exist and gives you the confidence to make those big decisions that every owner has to make.
  5. Pit Crew – REALTRAC is the industry leader in product support. With over 50 years of experience our Account Specialists and Tech support team are unparalleled. They will offer you the guidance and confidence for maximum usage of the REALTRAC machine shop software.
  6. Efficiency – REALTRAC allows you to find new ways to optimize operational efficiency in order to increase productivity and reduce costs. REALTRAC gives you Real Time access to information so that owners can identify key requirements and challenges on the fly and then align solutions to make solid business decisions without delay.
  7. Leverage – Being in business is about teamwork. Leverage your staff and employees by allowing REALTRAC to give them the confidence about the role they are performing, its importance and clarity about the benefits to be gained if they deliver, then you’ll see productivity soar.
  8. Tracking – With REALTRAC, whether its sales estimates or shipping, you have much less of your business to manage. REALTRAC assists the status of your entire operation; from management to inventories to implementation.
  9. REAL TIME – REALTRAC is Real Quick in Real Time with Real Profits. The job shop software plays a significant role in improving your business by giving you access to real-time manufacturing data to improve operational and personnel decision making, and ultimately, customer satisfaction.
  10. Finish Line – REALTRAC gives your business the much needed horsepower to win the race to the checkered flag by optimizing your business’s performance. This leads to more profits, revenues, market share and brand influence.
Join the REALTRAC family and WIN the business race today!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Success Story: Unique Manufacturing

Unique Manufacturing in New Iberia, Louisiana is a company that makes it their business to do the impossible. Started just eight years ago, by four people with a lot of industry experience, but no real capital, Unique Manufacturing set out to make parts for the oil industry that no one else was able to make. Patrick Broussard, one of the owners, is proud to note that not only do they make parts that others thought were impossible, they didn’t realize that starting the kind of business they did without a huge investor was impossible – so they did it anyway. The first machined part Unique Manufacturing produced was a $200 pin. Today, they regularly produce one-of-a-kind parts for deep sea oil production; some can cost over a million dollars.

Realtrac ERP Software | ERP System
These towers now sit on the sea floor to stabilize oil pipelines and ensure against damaging ruptures.

The parts they produce are mission critical elements on large drilling and pipeline operations that have to be absolutely perfect and have to be delivered on time, every time. Producing a part that can tolerate operations at three to ten thousand feet underwater requires a flawless process start to finish and the team at Unique understands how to control every aspect of production. On time delivery is also vital to their operations. Big drilling rigs and pipelines need big ships to support them. These ships are brought in to do a job and are a very costly part of doing business. If a part is not delivered on time, hundreds of thousands of dollars a day can be wasted waiting. Unique Manufacturing does not keep their customers waiting – ever.

In an operation that makes the impossible every day, they needed a way to manage scheduling and their production process to meet these critical deadlines. To better manage these quality and delivery demands, Unique turned to REALTRAC Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. “If you are going to make things that no one else can make you have to have procedures and processes that work” said Mr. Broussard. “REALTRAC works the way we do to follow every detail of our operations” he went on to add. Unique leverages all of the modules of the REALTRAC software to support their operations, but Mr. Broussard highlighted the job scheduling features, the ability to track a project from raw materials to finished parts for quality controls and documentation features as those elements that are critical to how they do business. Unique started using this ERP software just months after they started the business and have not looked back. “All of our management team has immediate access to all the information they need all the time.” said Patrick. “We don’t even sweat quality audits like the API Q1 or the ISO 9001 or the IS0/TS 29001; all the information and documentation is in REALTRAC”. They were able to pass their audit the very first time they applied for API Q1 certification because their operations meet all the key standards and because all of the documentation was available and complete in the ERP software. “It isn’t just about audits; we have to have complete documentation on everything to make in order to prove, if necessary, that it was manufactured perfectly.” commented Broussard. I guess you’d say that makes us ‘lawyer- proof’ ” he added with a slight chuckle. The quality Unique delivers, however, is not taken lightly. Sea floor drilling operations depend on perfect parts, and so can the ecosystems that surround those operations. Building impossible parts and making sure they are always perfect is just what Unique Manufacturing delivers, there is no other option. “For us, REALTRAC is our ‘resident expert’. No one wastes time running from one person to the next with questions about a process or a project. It is all in REALTRAC and everyone who needs it has complete visibility on a project with just a few clicks.” Said Mr. Broussard. “Our operations run smoothly because they have to. If you are doing impossible things every day you have to have a firm grip on every aspect of your process and we do that better than just about anyone else in the business.” he continued.

“It is interesting”, commented Mr. Broussard. “We figured out pretty quickly that using the REALTRAC ERP software also helped us solve a few productivity issues as well” We tossed out our time clocks and relied solely on employee log in feature to track time. Pretty soon, hour long coffee breaks were no longer an issue.” Just about every man hour can be assigned to a project when you can track productivity with this kind of precision.
Realtrac ERP Software and ERP Solutions
Machining parts that are bigger than some offices is pretty routine for Unique Manufacturing – they do the impossible almost every day.

For Unique Manufacturing quality control, and on time delivery are absolutes and they would not be in business without being able to deliver against these key metrics. Doing so profitably is the key to achieving the impossible and growing the business at double digit rates. Whether your business delivers parts no one else can manufacture or whether you compete aggressively with a long list of competitors ERP software makes it easier to do it successfully. Companies of any size can benefit from ERP software; the return on investment can be measured in weeks, not years. Find out more today. If good, easy to use ERP software can help Unique Manufacturing do the impossible, imagine what it can do for your operations.