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Computer system update & index: vendors field new computer products and systems for wholesalers.

Micro Vane announces dBEV 9.0, a "new age in pre-selling" with laptops

"The beverage industry doesn't settle for the status quo, and neither do we," so says Micro Vane, Inc., the well-established Kalamazoo, MI-based vendor of beverage distribution software systems. Micro Vane was founded 13 years ago, and now says it has a customer base three times larger than any other vendor, with over 900 systems sold.

"With the inception of the Windows '95 operating system, PC owners can expect to optimize performance of their hardware using the multi-tasking and multi-threading capabilities," states Brad Fonger, company president. "In keeping with the changes in technology, Micro Vane's latest release, dBEV 9.0, scheduled for distribution during the first quarter of 1996, is Windows Aware."

Fonger says that new dBEV features include an interface to Micro Vane's General Ledger module, expanded reporting and invoicing options, and enhancements to Order Entry, Route Tie-Out Entry and Maintenance.

Micro Vane is also helping its customers prepare for a "new age in pre-selling" with the launch of a new Laptop Pre-Sell program. The company new product was developed in response to numerous customer requests for a multi-functional system (running on laptop computers) which could provide quick access to account-specific information at the "touch of a button" while at the retailer site.

Bob Pursel, vice president of marketing says, "Laptops offer a definite competitive edge by allowing our customers to move the power of dBEV closer to the people who rely on it most to effectively sell, service, and manage their retail accounts - the pre-salesmen, sales supervisors and sales managers."

Micro Vane declares a number of benefits for the system:

* Pre-salesmen no longer have to watch their "window of opportunity" pass by while waiting to get printouts of a specific report. They now have quick access to up-to-date customer information (Accounts Receivables, sales history, point-of-sale placement, cooler facings, tap line history, pricing, etc.).

* Daily customer (call) stop schedules can be set up for five-day or four-day (holiday weeks with each stop assigned as either a tel-sell call or on-site visit. Tel-sell accounts are assigned a "call frequency" to ensure they are visited on a regular basis.

* Using the new Survey, Competitive Pricing, and Retail Information tasks, distributors can gather solid customer demographics and important sales and marketing information that can be used to help determine market strengths and weaknesses.

* The profitability of case and draft packages with similar brands competing for the same customer dollar can easily be compared allowing sales managers to develop better strategies for promoting a particular brand.

Micro Vane says that nearly 300 (of 900) dBEV customers have purchased Norand hand-held computers (and interface software) from Micro Vane to help expand their marketing capabilities and control costs. According to Bob Blaauw, national product marketing manager, "Hand-helds help the user monitor inventory movement and help the wholesaler provide better customer service and sell more product."

Micro Vane says that its success as a VAR (value added reseller) of Norand hand-held computers, coupled with a "commitment to quality customer service," earned the company the Norand VAR Quality Achievement Award for the fourth consecutive year, "a record that no other beverage distribution software company can match," says Larry Glass, vice president of sales.

Micro Vane says that strong commitment to quality customer service was the driving force behind the development of their own CNE (Certified Novell Engineer) Service program to help customers efficiently manage and maintain their Novell networks.

The program enables customers to receive assistance with the design, installation and configuration of their Novell network, as well as training on network basics and network administrative duties.

"In addition to being fully qualified to install and service Novell networks, our (3) CNEs are training to become Microsoft Certified Professional Product Specialists," says Stacy Israels, support supervisor. "That way they can help our customers configure their existing networks to communicate with other types of file servers [such as Windows NT]."

Micro Vane offers interfaces to Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Gallo, Guinness, Heileman, Miller and Stroh communication programs. Micro Vane also offers an interface to RoadNet, a routing software program developed by RoadNet Technologies, Inc. This interface program is used to determine the most efficient routing for pre-sold orders and driver-sell stops.

Beverage Solutions, Inc. improvements

Beverage Solutions, Inc. of San Diego reports substantial product enhancement in recent months. "BSI has been growing rapidly over the past year," says Richard Rogers, BSI controller, "and we are currently working on many new and exciting features to be released with our Beverage Distribution System (BDS) package in the future."

According to BSI, the BDS system includes the following modules: route accounting, sales analysis/reporting, automated sales forecasting, discounting and promotion, inventory control, automated driver settlement, distribution reporting, ranking reports, brewery reporting, state/federal tax reporting, new & lost replacement reporting and automated order tracking.

"We do more than train a user to use the Beverage Distribution System," Rogers says, "We stand behind every installation. Every BSI customer receives in-depth employee training and installation support."

One product improvement this year was the enhanced BDS discounting function. According to BSI, an account can now belong to more than one discount group. BSI says that the improvement will allow a salesperson to discount product differently for different customers. Products are assigned to various discount schedules, and all discount schedules are assigned to a discount group. The group is then assigned to all specified customers. In previous releases, BSI says, an account could only belong to one discount group. "In today's competitive market," Rogers says, "that is no longer sufficient. Therefore, we have the ability to assign a maximum of five discount groups to an account." Rogers says that myriad other improvements have been made to the module.

ICS introduces Data Warehouse

Intelligent Computer Systems, Inc. (ICS) of Lancaster, PA, recently announced a new software module called the "Data Warehouse." The Data Warehouse is used to export detailed data elements from ICS's AWARD host software in formats acceptable to they myriad software packages available in today's PC marketplace. ICS says that these easy-to-use packages can then be used to create advanced graphics, sales presentations, customized reports, price lists\banners, etc.

Invoice data, product and customer sales data/history, as well as competitive data can be exported using the Data Warehouse. Any variable within the standard AWARD reporting system may be specified to further define what data is exported.

With the Data Warehouse, ICS says it has expanded the open systems approach to include both hardware and software. "No longer will AWARD users have to rely solely on ICS to get extraordinary information they want in a specified format," says Andy Hodge of ICS. "even non-technical users should be able to do it themselves."

DCI introduces Routeman Jr.

During 1995, Data Consultants, Inc. of Centreville, VA, announced the availability of Routeman Jr. According to DCI, Routeman Jr. is a notebook-based program for salespeople. To use the system, a salesperson enters the products desired, using pop-up menus, and the quantities needed. Routeman Jr. extends the price, with any promotions automatically reflected. Promotions are multi-tiered, and allow for mix and match. Sales histories (route-book) are maintained for the last eight purchases for each product for each customer, and orders are transmitted via modem to the host computer. DCI says that there has been growing demand among wholesalers for using off-the-shelf portable computers rather than proprietary special purpose computers. DCI says that this approach can provide advantages in both cost and utility.

CAPS Logistics adds mapping capability to Toolkit V3.6

According to Caps Logistics, version 3.6 of the Caps Logistics Toolkit now offers a new way to graphically present a distribution territory. "Raster maps" which resemble paper road maps, have been added to the Toolkit program. Previously, the program included only vector maps to provide longitude and latitude points.

In addition to the new mapping options, Caps says that version 3.6 includes linear and mixed integer programming capabilities. Users can now export data to an external solver, and reimport the solutions back into the Caps Toolkit.

"The improvements in our last release focused mainly on usability," said Dr. Bill Nulty, vice president of engineering for CAPS. "In version 3.6 we've given users more options for modeling their systems and finding solutions."

Roadshow International merges with Synergistic Systems

Roadshow International of McLean, VA, and Synergistic Systems of Neptune Beach, FL, have merged. Roadshow has been a leading provider of map-based routing software; Synergistic Systems has specialized in data solutions for the less-than-truckload shipping market.

According to the two companies, the merger will offer expertise in wireless routing technology for pickup and delivery fleets. Roadshow says that its Roadshow P & D system integrates dynamic routing with wireless mobile communications to provide cost reductions for pickup and delivery operators.

Insight Survey Manager

Insight Distribution Systems of Hunt Valley, MD, has released Survey Manager, a relational database that reports on retail outlet data collected through Insight's handheld software. According to Insight, the program, coupled with a mobile computer, can collect and report information in any retail category necessary: facings, displays, taps, retail prices, P.O.S. items, ads and coolers. The system will allow salespeople to compare marketing activity collected on surveys to sales, and record grade or zone placements on P.O.S. and displays.

Insight says that users can establish as many surveys as necessary, classified by route or customer. The system will allow a user to compare facings with competitors, and view the quantity of each product on display.

A P.O.S. report can be printed by zone to see where point-of-sale items are places, and a Taps report can illustrate the number if taps for the user's brands. Competitive taps can also be factored in to provide a tap-line total.

Reports can be generated by any product group, including by brand families.

Insight Presale Routebook

Insight Distribution Systems of Hunt Valley, MD, is offering its Presale Routebook for Windows, which runs on Norand's Pen*Key system. "Our Pre-Sale Routebook for Windows not only handles routebook functions," says Insight president Max Landman, "it graphs data along with profit calculators. It can also display any report produced by Insight Sales Manager, our relational data base sales and profit analysis product."

Insight says that the system provides a number of benefits:

* Case quantities are easily entered in columns, just like in a paper routebook.

* Products can be selected from a list, avoiding invalid product numbers

* Product sales history can be displayed geographically, and facings can be counted during the inventory process.

* With the unit's Virtual Ticket feature, Insight says "What you see is what you get." The company says that this feature allows a salesperson to check detail information and confirm with the customer before leaving the account.

Overall, Insight says that using the Pen*Key system and pre-sale routebook can provide substantial advantages. "You can see buying trends and use them to negotiate more shelf space," Landman says. "The built-in utilities also enhance your sales capabilities, and the pie-charts you can generate will drive home your sales message."

Data Consultants offers Routeman NT

Data Consultants, (DCI) announces the immediate availability of Routeman NT: the Orderman and Muscleman programs. The products were unveiled at DCI's annual consumer seminar in 1995.

According to DCI, Orderman provides a flexible order entry capability in DCI's Routeman PC and Network-based software system. Based on DCI's Routeman Jr. technology, Orderman features pop-up entry of customers, items, and orders. Promotions and inventory availability are accessed in real-time during order entry.

DCI says that Muscleman is an entirely new management reporting system. The program operates in the Windows '95 environment to bolster reporting flexibility. "All is possible with Muscleman," says DCI president Bill Scheft. "DCI provides extensive data dictionaries to its Novell Btrieve-based file structure for limitless access and filtering capability. Additionally, the format of reports are easily defined by the user."

DCI reports that Orderman and Muscleman, combined with a revamping of DCI's Accounts Receivable, constitute the release of Routeman NT (New Technology).

Descartes Systems Group offers Competitive Edge

Descartes Systems Group of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada offers the Competitive Edge route distribution system. According to the company, the program features core modules for: off-truck order processing; pre-sell order processing; cashier sales order processing; customer service order processing; tel-sell order processing; telemarketing order processing; hand-held interface; accounts receivable; price & promotion control; route settlement; sales analysis and inventory control. Optional modules for features like general ledger and accounts payable are also available.

According to Descartes, the design features of the Competitive Edge" make the system the most advanced on the market today."

RELATED ARTICLE: MITSUBISHI FUSO FOR 1996

As part of the November 1995 Transportation Report in Modern Brewery Age, outdated specifications for Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America's vehicle offerings were inadvertently and regretfully published. Based on information gathered earlier in the year, the specs were correct until the June, 1995 introduction of the 1996 lineup of MFTA cab-forward diesel trucks.

Incorporating the most extensive advancements MFTA has made in its vehicles in a single model year, the 1996 product line covers Class 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and features new aerodynamically styled cabs, completely redesigned interiors, improved chassis and an innovative manual transmission (automatics are also available). Model offerings are:

CLASS 3 FE/FE-HD GVWR: to 13,500 lbs CLASS 4 FE-SP GVWR: 14,500 lbs CLASS 5 FH GVWR: 17,995 lbs CLASS 6 FK/FM-MR GVWR: to 25,995 lbs CLASS 7 FM-HR/FM-SR/FM-SP GVWR: to 32,900 lbs

Full details about all the new and improved features on the Mitsubishi Fuso line of Class 3 to 7 trucks is available from dealers or by contacting the company directly.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jan 29, 1996
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Previous Article:The right choices.
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