Reduce costs and increase sales efficiency.
HamiltonSFA (Sales Force Automation) is a software solution that uses various types of mobile devices (handheld, notebooks) to help companies improve the efficiency of their business activities.
- Overview of application features:
- customer information (contact information, contact individuals, unpaid invoices, customer relationship activities, etc.)
- product information (names, barcodes, prices, discounts, …)
- planning routes and activities
- market research (distribution monitoring, facings, prices, …)
- order entry (direct and indirect orders)
- order processing (exporting, faxing, e-mailing…)
- direct sales (invoices, delivery notes…)
- cash register
- inventory management
- direct in-field printing
- text messaging
- reporting of user activities, stock levels, sales, orders…
- guaranteed data transfer
Hamilton SFA − Detailed overview of application features by module
The system contains all the necessary data about the customers with whom the system user works. In addition to basic contact information, information about the customers contact individuals, several methods of categorization, etc., business data such as information regarding unpaid invoices, orders, invoices, delivery notes, activities toward customers, special customer pricelists and discounts are also available.
In addition to basic information such as product name, price, and VAT rate, these data also include additional information concerning available sales units, the comprehensive system of discounts, product barcodes, stock availability information, and alternative product labelling in different systems.
HamiltonSFA automatically records activities performed toward the customer and provides each user detailed information about who made contact with a given customer and when this took place. Other sales operations are connected with these activities, including, for example, ordering, invoicing, and market research. Hamilton enables users to plan activities either in the form of routes or through the scheduling of separate activities for a particular day and time.
Hamilton enables the creation of orders in the field, either directly (for direct deliver) or indirectly (for third-party delivery). In connection with system settings, orders are processed virtually immediately after being entered in the central database. Orders can also be printed out directly in the field.
- Inventory Management
Stock manipulation is required particularly with direct sales but is also used, for example, for recording POS products provided to customers. Each stock movement is recorded on the appropriate stock-in and stock-out slip. The system also enables the transfer of goods between warehouses of mobile users directly in the field.
- Invoicing and Delivery Notes
Direct sales in the Hamilton system includes activities such as the creation of delivery notes, invoices, and payment receipts. Draft documents can be taken from the ERP system and after confirmation by the customer can be transferred back to the ERP system during their processing in the central database. Direct sales in the Hamilton system are sufficiently flexible to permit the precise copying of the majority of company price and discount policies so that the price of an invoice issued in the Hamilton system is identical with an invoice issued in the company ERP system.
- Cash Register
This function is available at the legally mandated level for companies in countries where legislation requires records of cash during the use of registered cash registers.
Monitoring is a powerful tool for quick market research. This feature helps users create a set of questions which are then assigned in a chosen combination to customers and products. This makes it possible to obtain relevant marketing information for various types of customers and products without additional costs. The Hamilton server contains tools to transfer data gathered in this manner to other systems for further analysis (e.g. to Hamilton OLAP).
Forms are a tool similar to monitoring, but while monitoring is product-oriented, forms are customer-oriented. Questionnaires are filled out during visits to the customer. Like monitoring, forms can contain several defined question types including date, text, customer, the selection of a single response, multiple choice answers, etc. The data on forms can be processed in various methods: for example, it can be exported to other systems or can be analysed with the Hamilton OLAP tool.
The recording of expenses is yet another tool aimed at simplifying or eliminating the need for daily and weekly reports.
- Driver’s Log
The Driver’s Log is a simple Hamilton tool for recording the use of vehicles. Users need only enter the initial and final odometer status and the system automatically creates the daily route on the basis of activities performed.
Hamilton contains tools for transferring messages among individual users of the system. These tools can be used to invite mobile users to meetings, though the most common use is regular information for users in the form of periodic system-generated reports about their activities, the achievement of goals, information concerning promotional events, new products, etc.
When necessary, the system administrator can easily create additional fields in selected system tables, e.g. for customers, customer contact individuals, products, activities, orders, invoices, delivery notes, and stock-in and stock-out slips. Data entered in this manner can then be used throughout the system.
Nearly all the documents in the Hamilton system can be printed out in the field. The layout of printed documents is defined using print templates, which the system administrator can customize according to the needs of the company. Printing is possible on printers connected by cable, infrared connection, or by Bluetooth technology.
Synchronization manages the transfer of data between the computer of a mobile user and the central server. Only modified and newly entered data is transferred during synchronization. As synchronization occurs as a “transaction,” it is guaranteed that no data will be lost during this process. All data is either transferred as a whole unit or is not transferred at all. Synchronization is launched by mobile users and can therefore be performed whenever there is a connection between the computer of a mobile user and the central server.
- Analytical tools
- Various reports concerning customers, sales, and other similar matters can be run in the mobile user's or sales manager’s application. In case these reports are insufficient, the system allows users to utilize standard tools such as MS Excel and Crystal Reports to create custom reports. It is also possible to use Hamilton OLAP to analyze the data.
- open system built on industry standards
- simple integration with other systems
- support of multiple platforms
- support of multiple languages
- offline access to data
- online features
- reliable and efficient data synchronization
- high data security
- built-in self-monitoring features
The system is composed of two basic parts:
- a part called Frontend, which is a client application for mobile users of the system;
- a part called Backend, which includes server applications (database and synchronization server, import and export tools, document processing tools, etc.) and a tool for system administration - Hamilton Backend Administrator.
Interoperability has been a chief concern from the very beginning of product development. Companies using Hamilton and implementation partners have access to all necessary tools and information (e.g. data model documentation that is nearly 300 pages in length), to enable them to simply and effectively integrate Hamilton with systems from other manufacturers.
Thanks to open architecture and the use of industry standards, the HamiltonSFA system can be easily integrated with other systems. Proof of this is the fact that HamiltonSFA has already been integrated with systems such as QAD Enterprise Applications (formerly MFG/PRO), SAP, Navision, and others.
The Backend of the system is highly scalable and can utilize features of the platform on which it is running; at the same time, its performance can be increased by distributing components to separate servers. The smallest system implementation was performed for three mobile users, the largest for over 600 mobile users.
Critical areas of reliability are the central database and synchronization. Tools for online backup of the supplied default database (Sybase Adaptive Server Anywhere) are part of the delivery and the restoration of the database from the backup takes mere minutes. The system architecture enables the concurrent use of several synchronization servers, which means that in the event of failure Frontend will automatically connect to a different server.
As the mobile applications segment is growing rapidly it is Hamilton’s goal to protect the customer’s investment. One of the keys to accomplishing this is the support of multiple platforms. Currently supported platforms on the Frontend side include Windows XP/2000, Mobile Windows (PocketPC), Windows CE, and PalmOS; Backend is supported by Windows and Linux (partially).
HamiltonSFA is sold in several regions of the world and must therefore be available in multiple language mutations. The primary language of the solution is English and other supported languages include Slovak, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, French, Arabic, etc.
Hamilton is classified as a semi online system. System data is available at all times offline, i.e. whenever the user needs the data, even when a connection is not available. The system also supports online use.
Physical security is a critical moment for preserving the security of data. Data in the Hamilton system is protected in several ways in the case that a mobile device is stolen or misused by an unauthorized individual.
a) data are accessible only from the Hamilton application and are not directly accessible from any other standard application;
only a small fragment of information is on the mobile device (restricted by time and context);
access to the application is protected by username and password;
d) the system can be set to lock or to delete data if it has not be connected to the central server for a defined amount of time.
Tools compatible with the SNMP standard are available to monitor the status of the system. In this way it is possible to monitor system functions (the status of the database and synchronization server), as well as the status of certain selected system parameters (order processing, the synchronization process, etc.).