Headquartered in Illinois, with offices in Massachusetts, Arizona, and Saskatchewan (Canada), WilloWare helps businesses maximize their investment in GP with add-on modules which focus on end-user efficiency and ease-of-use.
According to Klenzman, the most common issues faced by their customers are the need to do more with less, improving accuracy (in order entry, production, fulfillment, etc), and increasing the business heartbeat (the rate at which business is conducted). WilloWare develops software which helps customers address these needs through Dynamics GP, such as Alerts in GP PowerPack which pop-up to remind users of something important, to CompleteCount which improves both the speed and accuracy of conducting physical inventory counts. He said listening skills are key to their success—“A huge aspect of creating good software is communication—being able to listen to somebody and completely understand their needs.”
WilloWare has two sides to the business, Packaged Products, and Products For One (aka custom). The packaged products focus distribution and manufacturing, although they have modules covering nearly all aspects of Dynamics GP. LabelLink, their barcode printing solution, facilitates label printing directly from GP, eliminating the time-consuming and error-prone task of keying labels into another software package. GP PowerPack, is a suite of over 100 enhancements, many derived directly from listening to customer requests. BOMImport, an example of WilloWare’s effort to integrate systems into GP, is an integration utility which makes it easy to perform regular import and updates to Bills of Material from an external data source.
The customization services, which WilloWare calls Products For One, are where WilloWare’s unique skill set really shines. “One aspect that has contributed most to our ability to help businesses gain maximum benefit from Dynamics GP, is that all of us have extensive work experience outside of the computer software world,” said Klenzman.
A huge aspect of creating good software is communicationbeing able to listen to somebody and completely understand their requirements
“We can brainstorm with our customers about process redesign while also imagining how to support them through software.”
One example of a Product For One comes from a jewelry distributor who needed a way to automate allocation of scarce inventory to backorders. WilloWare worked with them to change their business process from a back-office “pushed” order fulfillment, to a warehouse-driven “pull” system. The custom module applied the client’s business logic to identify which orders to fulfill first, how much inventory to allot to each customer’s order, and it optimized shipping costs by figuring out how to combine a customer’s orders. The result was a 67 percent increase in the average order size, which decreased the number of employees needed to fill orders while simultaneously decreasing shipping costs.
In another instance, WilloWare designed a custom order fulfillment module for a nutritional supplements manufacturer who needed to find the most efficient way to pick from multiple Units of Measure, and to allocate limited inventory to their distributors. With thousands of SKUs stocked in multiple units of measure in the warehouse, an efficient pick was critical. The software calculated the ideal pick by Unit of Measure, which was fed to the client’s Warehouse Management System, and then routed to employees’ handhelds in different zones in the warehouse. This solution increased the picking rate by 30 percent.
With success stories like these, Klenzman envisions a bright future for WilloWare and Microsoft Dynamics GP.