The ninth annual FeneTech user conference is being held this week at the Cleveland Hyatt at the Arcade. A theme of the conference has been the “three Ds,” as identified by company president Ron Crowl—discovery, discussions and defining.

“The emphasis is on the three Ds:  discovery, finding new ways to make your business run better; participating in the discussions; and defining a plan of action,” said Crowl. “Let’s see what we can learn and apply to our businesses to make them better.”

Four seminar tracks ran consecutively both today and yesterday, providing attendees with varying levels of programs from which to choose. This morning’s sessions included scheduling, capacity planning, releasing production and remakes; price configuration for glass; price configuration for doors and windows; and purchasing and receiving. 

One popular session focused on Web Center enhancements. Web Center is FeneVision’s quotation software, which allows customers to use their own sign-ins. Some of the newest features discussed at the conference include new pricing changes and CRM integration.  This version also includes schedule discounts, set-up order value discounts, customer discounts and energy surcharges. Surcharge options range from editable features to fixed pricing.

New at this year’s conference was a session called “FeneVision for Executives,” attended by a number of chief executive officers from door, window and glass manufacturers.

“This is a year for focusing on improvements everywhere – operations, marketing, everything involving people, processes and technology,” said one attendee, Geoff Roise, president of Lindsay Windows in North Mankato, Minn.

Roise also mentioned that his company is aiming to eliminate the use of paper as much as possible, and hopes to adopt the use of tablets on the production floor.

Craig Morris, director of engineering for FeneTech, explained that in addition to optimization tools, FeneVision also provides business performance metrics through its Dashboard product, so that customers can analyze data based on a variety of criteria, and identify top customers, trends, etc. The purpose of the discussion was to determine what, if any, other data will be instrumental in helping these execs run their businesses more efficiently, explained Crowl.

Shelley MacKenzie of Home Hardware in Canada said she was attending the conference for the second time and that the major benefit for her is sharing tips with other attendees. “You get so much more information from other users who share tips with you,” she says. “It’s so much better than reading manuals.” 

Martin Mayer of MGT Mayer Glasstechnik of Feldkirch Austria, a manufacturer of curtainwalls and insulating glass, also is attending to “learn some new functionalities.”

“I’m also interested in using tablets for our sales staff,” he added. “ … Our goal is less paper in our plant and to have a modern, more flexible software solution.”

The conference concludes tomorrow afternoon.

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