As cloud computing continues to make its way to the manufacturing/distribution industry, IT decision makers are grappling with the challenge of selecting the right products and vendors for their companies.
Helping customers with this challenge is Luxent Inc., a Southern California-based cloud technology firm that has been working with manufacturers and distributors for over a decade to help them build their path to the cloud.
For some, this change is easy and they jump into the cloud with two feet. For others, it is a longer process that requires a slower introduction and adaptation to cloud technology. “We realize that manufacturers and distributors face needs that are unlike any other industry,” said Vivian Keena, Luxent’s CEO. “Meeting these needs requires a deep knowledge of the way a manufacturer or distributor’s business works, how technology plays a key role, and where efficiencies can be found. IT decision makers have a tough role at these companies because they need to be not just evaluating technology platforms as solutions for the business, but also evaluating partners that will understand how to implement to their exact specifications while providing guidance that only comes with. Honestly, we find that focusing on selecting the right implementation partner can be more important than selecting the right software in some instances – if your vendor doesn’t understand your industry and how to tailor your platform to meet your everyday needs, how can you hope to be successful with any technology solution?”
This harmony of both understanding the nitty-gritty of an industry and applying it to cloud technology solutions has led Luxent to not only work with leading cloud platforms like NetSuite ERP and Salesforce CRM but also to develop its own applications that solve for challenges routinely faced by manufacturers and distributors. “Our consulting and development teams have deep backgrounds in manufacturing/distribution, enterprise technology, and cloud platforms,” explains Keena. “With all this aggregated knowledge and the repeated struggles of customers dealing with data and system integration issues as well as complex quoting issues, we went ahead and built cloud solutions that solve these challenges. LiNK ERP Integration connects any ERP platform to Salesforce and iQ Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) makes it fast and easy to deliver complex, highly configured quotes.”
iQ CPQ in particular has found success with revolutionizing a typically arduous process: quoting. “Many manufacturers and distributors struggle with quoting,” explains Keena. “It’s often a slow, manual process that isn’t integrated to the key systems like ERP and CRM that a company uses to track work and customers.” iQ CPQ is a cloud-based advanced quoting application that helps customers streamline and improve the entire quoting system. It’s available on both the Salesforce and NetSuite platforms for a seamless and consistent experience within these cloud platforms – something that’s atypical for many companies used to an off-line experience. “Because quoting is not handled well in a typical ERP or CRM platform, we find that most of our customers take it to Excel or SQL,” says Keena. “This leads to errors, redundancies, and a much slower process of sending around sheets and documents. iQ makes quoting happen right where employees are already working: in their ERP or CRM tools.”
“iQ was built to simplify, automate, and reimagine the quoting process,” says Keena. “It resolves key pain points around speed, accuracy, and completeness as well as solving for the unique needs of manufacturers and distributors such as providing a robust configurator, guided selling, engineer-to-order support, kits/bundles, and line-by-line margin breakdown. We have customers that have taken a process that would take days of back-and-forth to hours in iQ CPQ. Not only does this speed the time to ‘yes’ from an end-customer, it brings a new level of productivity and efficiency in our customers’ businesses.”
Take Inter-Lux, for example, a custom lighting manufacturer that initially worked with Luxent to implement and customize NetSuite ERP. “Inter-lux is a company that was looking to grow and realized it needed a more flexible and adaptive platform to make that happen, explains Keena. “Not only were we able to help them get NetSuite up and running, fully supporting their business and users with innovative customizations, we were also able to help them see where they could bring new efficiency into their slow and cumbersome processes, like quoting. They’re now leveraging the best of the cloud with NetSuite Cloud ERP and iQ CPQ which is a certified Built for NetSuite application. In many ways Inter-lux is unique and needed specific requirements met in its technology platform, but in many ways it was facing the challenges all manufacturers face that could easily be solved with a partner that had the tools to overcome these hurdles.”
Inter-lux’s success with iQ has been thanks to the ability to centralize information, templates, and rules related to pricing and configuration so that they can be easily and uniformly reused. However, iQ was designed to go further than streamlining what’s typically a laborious process. “We built iQ to go to the next level,” explains Vivian. “While it simplifies the quoting process, it also includes a proposal generator so our users could be sure they provide their customers with a professional, compelling, and complete quote, including required designs and specifications.”
Behind the success of Luxent’s iQ CPQ solution is decades of understanding manufacturers’ and distributors’ needs through its close partnerships with customers and commitment to continued improvement and creativity. “Innovation is a way of life at Luxent. We only hire innovative thinkers who have experience with the manufacturing and distribution industry and want to think creatively to solve everyday challenges with better, smarter, faster technology solutions,” says Vivian.
Luxent plans to carry forward its mission of helping manufacturing and distribution companies take that step to the cloud with NetSuite and iQ CPQ. “We want to be the ‘go-to partner’ that ensures every customer’s journey is a successful one,” says Vivian. “So many manufacturers and distributors are coming off old ERP systems where the journey was painful and costly. We want to change that experience in the cloud. Companies are making a significant investment and they can’t afford to make a mistake. What many companies find out the hard way, however, is that while the technology itself is important, the other crucial piece to that puzzle is working with the right partner who understands their industry and can effectively configure and implement solutions into their companies – these two parts are equal and neither can be overlooked.”