By Clayton Moore
It’s been a long time coming, but Clients First Business Solutions might just have the software solution that many aviation companies have needed. The company has recently released Dynamics AV powered by AX, a practical new product that makes enterprise resource planning much easier, more robust and more useful than ever before.
Enterprise resource planning is integral to any company’s day-to-day operations. “Enterprise” is the company. “Resources” include personnel, inventory, money, receivables and other concrete aspects for managing a business. “Planning” is that essential part of running a business for which few managers seem to have enough time. As a total ERP solution, Dynamics AV provides enough functionality and tools to integrate the management support of all those operations into one heavy-duty software product.
“This is the software that runs your entire business, from inventory, purchasing, resources, human resources and manufacturing,” said Peter Joeckel, managing partner for sales and marketing in the Texas region. “It’s been under development for several years, and now we’re really excited to be rolling it out.”
In fact, CFBS was ready to go to market with a more basic version of its aviation management tool when the events of Sept. 11, 2001, dealt a devastating blow to the aviation industry.
“No industry was more affected than the aviation industry,” said Bill Pierce, director of customer service. “It was obviously not the time to launch a product designed for companies that were now experiencing financial challenges on a scale never before imagined. Timing is everything. So, we made the decision to postpone introduction of our product until the economic picture improved.”
The key to Dynamics AV is its foundation. A powerful and flexible Microsoft platform branded as Microsoft Dynamics AX powers the software. It’s designed to cost-effectively support customizations that are necessary for customers to adapt, grow and maintain a competitive edge for their businesses.
“Microsoft has several applications for managing resources, depending on what kind of market size a company may have,” Joeckel explained. “On this high-end Microsoft Dynamics AX application, clients have one of the most technologically advanced pieces of software in the marketplace. It allows companies like ours to find industries and write specifics that meet the industry’s requirements. Dynamics AV powered by AX is specifically intended for those who build or maintain airplanes, their engines and any related functions, as well as maintenance and repair operations or general fixed base operations.”
CFBS software is unique in many ways. While many ERP solutions are good at either manufacturing or project management, very few are flexible enough to handle both functions within the same framework.
Some of the software’s most basic offerings manage the essential tools necessary for a company’s success. For example, aviation manufacturing facilities require traceability: the capacity to track product serial numbers backwards or forwards. Because CFBS had already adapted the Microsoft AX platform to other manufacturing facilities, a tracking tool was easily added.
“After 9/11, we took the software we already had, removed the FAA-specific functionality, and used it for other industries until the aviation industry recovered,” Joeckel said. “Now that we’re able to reintroduce it, we have a nice stable platform that has already been proven in other industries, because it’s been around for a while.”
In fact, that stability is an attractive element for customers who aren’t seeking the newest technology, but rather, a software package that will best benefit their businesses.
“It’s built on a one hundred percent secure Microsoft platform,” Joeckel said. “It isn’t one of those 30-year-old applications that a developer put a fresh face on, but it’s still the same technology underneath. It isn’t cutting-edge software, but it’s definitely the latest and greatest Microsoft technology available, specifically geared towards this industry.”
While the Dynamics AV software environment may sound like it comes with shades of “Star Trek,” it’s actually a very easy product to learn, utilize and deploy. Dynamics AV integrates flawlessly with supporting technologies from Microsoft, including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services.
Dynamics AV is also designed to work like familiar Microsoft software, providing a seamless user experience for handling both structured and unstructured data. This interface recognition helps increase staff use and reduces training costs.
Among other useful functions, Dynamics AV can manage fixed base operations: accounting, FAA documentation handling and reporting, large component configurability, warranty detail and history databases and vendor interface capability. The product also lends itself to uncomplicated localization, allowing employees, customers or vendors to work in their local languages and currencies.
A major CFBS customer is Ram Aircraft Corporation, based in Waco, Texas, an aircraft service center that specializes in Cessna products. Cessna overhauls account for 75 percent of its business, and aftermarket parts sales account for the rest. Both require an extensive tracking system.
Dynamics AV has met all the tracking needs for Ram Aircraft Corporation, and it provides a great deal of other tools. The software’s tracking function allows key master records to be automatically updated with all current FAA information. In addition, all quote, sales, repair, installation and production activities are linked to each aircraft, providing a complete and accurate history.
“Our customers are the airplanes,” said Brian Adamik, Ram Aircraft Corporation’s CEO. “With Dynamics AV, each aircraft part’s serial number is tracked through the system. This is extremely important to aircraft owners. I have and will continue to recommend Dynamics AV powered by AX. We found it very easy to use and customize to our needs. We’re extremely happy with the 24/7 support, remote assistance and the fair price we received from Clients First Business Solutions.”
When working with a new client, CFBS first provides a proprietary detailed requirements analysis, a complex methodology to analyze all the client’s requirements. The company is so confident in its DRA process that it provides customers a written success guarantee, if the customer follows CFBS recommendations.
“Dynamics AV can manage anything from small companies, all the way up to million-dollar projects,” Joeckel said. “Some companies have multiple locations in multiple countries with multiple currencies they deal with daily. The more multiples you have, the more complex each project becomes. It’s essential for them to utilize a product like Dynamics AV powered by AX.”
For more information about Clients First Business Solutions, visit [http://www.clientsfirst-us.com]. To learn more about Dynamics AV powered by AX, contact Susan Johnson, CFBS marketing director, at 1-866-999-2327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.