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System Overview / Features
Integrated Business Management Software
Ibcos Gold is a fully integrated suite of business management software, meaning that transactions in one area impact other areas of the system. This highly integrated approach is one of the fundamental strengths of the Ibcos solution; stock values and cost of sales are fully managed by the software. Each module links, wherever possible, to related parts of the system, for example, a PDI job on a wholegood/vehicle is a linked cost on the sale of that item. An integrated approach provides accurate management information in all departments and becomes a sound basis for good management decisions. This also enables Gold to process unusual business transactions that are typical in a dealership business, examples are:
Ease of Use
Using a familiar “Windows style” layout of screens, with multiple tabbed pages, ensures the system is easy to navigate with clearly displayed information and intuitive data entry. Most programs incorporate a “drill down” facility to interrogate multiple levels of underlying data without the need to change screens. Powerful look-ups, offering complete search flexibility, are available throughout the system to locate the required record albeit a job, advice note, wholegood/vehicle, hire equipment, customer, supplier or nominal account.
Accurate Up to Date Data
Gold does not rely on scheduled end of day update routines. The system works completely in “real time”, giving the reassurance that any report printed or enquiry made will contain the most up to date information. With all modules being fully integrated, and updating in real time, all nominal ledger and management reports will produce accurate information at any time during the day/month.
To support the real time data processing a period based accounting system is used. Separate period ends are run on the Sales, Purchase and Nominal Ledgers giving the flexibility to leave the Purchase or Nominal Ledgers open after the close of the Sales Ledger. In any open period, transactions may be posted to the next period, i.e. into the future, so there is no delay in posting. This facility extends to the financial year end when the final period may be left open, even whilst transactions for the new financial year are entered.
Using multiple levels of system security, users may be restricted from accessing certain areas of the system or from carrying out particular functions or viewing certain data. A grid of security codes indicates the menu options that individuals, or groups of users, may access. For example, access to the Payroll module may be completely prohibited or access to the Nominal Ledger reports can be prevented even if the user is allowed to post journals; this restricts access by program. The Terminal Manager also allows the prevention of access to entire modules, as well as specifying company and depot access, whereby users may be prohibited from entering a depot other than their own; this restricts access by terminal number. The Personnel Security specifies the security level for viewing data such as cost prices in the Parts, Workshop and Wholegood modules. It also sets the ability to carry out functions such as the deletion of lines from a job or advice note, the generation of credits, the creation of new part numbers and much more.
Together, these security options over offer tailor made security for each individual user or department.
Microsoft Excel Integration
The Windows version of Gold has a facility for direct export to Microsoft Excel. All lists on screen, for example the Customer Enquiry current tab, can be exported to Microsoft Excel using a single button. In addition, all reports can be created in Excel as worksheets with column headings. Reports may also be printed on a Windows shared or local printer, printed to a network printer or previewed as a .PDF.
Using an ODBC driver external applications such as Microsoft Excel, Access, Word, Crystal Reports or other ODBC compliant applications, can interrogate data from Gold. Every data table and field is available via ODBC. This enables the user to design their own reports and, at the touch of a button, the data can be refreshed.
Report Saving and Batching
At month end, to ensure that the system is not tied up for an unnecessary length of time, the enhanced reporting options may be utilised. Each user may save their own individual default report criteria, enabling each report to be run quickly using the stored settings. The report may also be printed using different settings and will still revert to the stored criteria on the following run. Separate reports may be batched to run in a batch queue. This sequences each report in turn, to be printed together at a convenient time. These may be set to run automatically after the nightly backup.
Using these facilities leaves the system free to be used instead of locked down to print large reports.
The Document Management System has the ability to store emails and attachments in various areas of the system for future reference. A separate server and backup system is used for Document Storage. Many different file types are supported including: Word, Excel, Rich Text, PDF, HTML, CSV and image files. Basic document types are set up and maintained, by Gold, to provide a general basis for storing incoming documents; the documents are stored away “linked” to the event/record to which they relate. The linking is built by the Gold system automatically in many scenarios. Common types are:
Paper documents received can be scanned and emailed direct to the Document Store using a network scanner. Where a supplier is able to produce electronic (EDI) invoices, Gold is able to store these and provide an automatic process to match the invoice to the purchase order(s) raised. Where paper documents arrive, multiple separate documents can be scanned together and emailed to the document store in one go. The Document Analyser is then used to separate the documents into batches and store one or more of them at a time to the relevant area of Gold. This “roll through” option allows quick storage of a large number of documents.
This technology can be a tremendous time saver especially in a multi-depot company. Documents stored at individual depots can be viewed at all depots subject to security; this removes the need for passing paperwork around the offices/depots.
Ibcos Gold is unusual in the market place, combining the advantages of a true Windows system with an option for a traditional “Text Based” (Classic) look and feel. For existing customers the Classic view offers the possibility of utilising their existing equipment and minimising their further investment to upgrade. This could, potentially, include dumb terminals and older pc’s which can work as a terminal emulator. In a multi-depot environment, where depot link bandwidth is an issue, the Classic view can be used where Windows would be unusable. Data is stored on a central Linux database server and accessed concurrently by both Windows and Classic users. This means that both types of user are 100% up-to-date, and working on the same central data. New customers almost always take the Windows option to have the latest technology, other than with small installations, a Windows server with Terminal Services is used to host/run the Gold application.
This Dual Screen interface, with its option of any combination of Windows or Classic views, makes Ibcos Gold an ideal platform in an ever-changing business climate.
SMS Text Messaging
Keeping in touch with Customers and Prospects is a vital part of running an effective modern business; good customer contact improves customer satisfaction and increases repeat business. Ibcos have developed an integrated SMS Text messaging into Gold to assist with this process.
Some Options can be automated such as letting a customer know that parts on order are now in stock or reminding a customer that their vehicle or machine is due into the workshop on a specific day. The CRM Mailshot system can send automated messages to all extracted customers to invite them to an open day/demonstration or as a reminder of forthcoming events.