By Bill Battaglia


The development of the ePonti Business Process came from by initial look at the Project Management needs of the Audio Video Industry.  My first thought was to develop a implementation and training program built around the Microsoft Project, Project Server and SharePoint Technologies.  Then I took a step back determining that I’m approaching this from the wrong direction.  In the past I have been stating “you do not buy a software application to define your process, but define your process then find the software application which enhances your process”.  As we all know there is no one software application to do our business.

Through the course of “Defining the Process” we took some time reviewing the people we’ve encountered and their views on running their company.  Checking to see what their needs are and what is lacking in their current process and applications.  This began the development of our process and here is what we found.

We spent time looking at all possible application to see if there was a “Best Fit” available.  We found application that could do a position of the work but where eliminated due to their inability to communicate to each other.  During this discovery we found the “Best Fit” application for most of the processes, but there was a big gap in the Project Management, Procurement and Resource areas.  This led to the development of ePonti.

ePonti provides full integration to D-Tools SI creating an enterprise level control to your company’s day-to-day operations for management, purchasing, staging, scheduling, resource allocation, servicing, and links to your Accounting application.  ePonti is the First On-Demand Project and Procurement Management solution for the Audio/Video Industry.  Let’s take a look how this fits our process described.

Proposal – the Proposal Stage your Team is working on the best possible Design and Price for your Customer.  You begin with the utilization of SalesToolz to generate a Budget.  This is seamlessly integrated into D-Tools SI where you are able to use those same Packages in both applications.  This provides full customization and selection of products to meet your Customers request.
Once the Customer has approved this budget it is now transferred into a D-Tools SI Project electronically where the Design Engineer completes all the necessary engineering providing the best possible Engineered System Design based on the customers conceptual requirements.
Now inside D-Tools System Integrator generate a completed Design Proposal ready to be presented to the customer.  This information needs to be formatted in such a way for the customer to recognize that you have understood their conceptual request and are within their budget.  If the Customer approves it proceeds to the next stage.
Management – this stage the Proposed Project has been approved by the Customer which shifts to Production.  The Project Manager uploads the Project to ePonti.
The Procurement Manager reviews all the Products to see if there is anything new that has been uploaded.  They are responsible to set the Vendor, Ordering Quantity, Lead Time and Ordering Name.  Here these Products are transferred into your Accounting software application electronically.  A Sales Order is generated and now transferred into your Accounting software application electronically.
Staging – the next stage is now ready to identifying the correct Installers to complete the Installation.  There is also a need to Order the Products for them to arrive just in time for Installation.
The Project Manager now has the capacity to assign the Products to the appropriate Installer which generates a Work Order, updates the Schedule, send the Installer an E-Mail, and creates a Purchase Order Requests automatically.
The Purchasing Manager now reviews their POR’s within the Procurement Section of ePonti.  Here they validate these request then transfers over into Accounting as a New Purchase Orders.  ePonti provides the ability to track Items from Request to Installation.  Once these have been order the Purchasing Team update the status of the Product – from to be Order, Ordered, Arrived, Delivered, etc…
Now that the product has arrived the next stage can proceed.
Installation – in this stage the management continues to the Installation of Products, and dealing with Change Orders.
Since the Project Manager generated the Assignments the Resource now logs into ePonti to manage their Schedule and Tasks.  Checking to see if there has been any change to their Work Schedule, Products, and there location – pickup or been delivered.
The Project Manager now opens D-Tools SI to generate the various Installation Reports and Wire Labels for their installers.  These could be printed or posted electronically to ePonti for retrieval by the Installer – this includes generating an electronic version of the project designs.
Change Orders – could be activated by utilizing Cases within ePonti.  Here information about what needs to be modified is documented and assigned to the appropriate person.  The D-Tools SI Engineered System Design is modified to reflect the Customers requests.  The Change Order Proposal created and presented to the Client.  Once the Client has approved these modifications the Project Manager updates ePonti by synchronizing with D-Tools SI.
Once the Work Orders have been accomplished it is now time for the next stage.
Post- Installation – this stage the management of Actual Cost, Labor Hours, Management Reports and Updating Product are completed.
As Resources complete their Assignments they update ePonti with their Actual Installation Time.
The Project Manager validates these completed Assignments sending the actual hours for that Installer into your accounting software application electronically.  They also review the Management Job Costing Reports comparing actual labor and material to the estimated labor and material.
This now completes the Project Process and transfers onto the next stage.
Service – after the installation has been complete the next stage is to keep that Customer satisfied by handling any Service Request.
After the successful completion of the Customer’s project, a Service Request could be generated within Service Section.  After fulfilling this Service Request it could transfer to a Sales Order then into Accounting.
That should provide you with an understanding of the ePonti Business Process and why we developed this product.  This process may not be the “Right Fit” for your company but take it and run with or modify or improve it.  The main point I would like you to comprehend is that it is important to create your “Own” Business Process before you start looking at software to improve your business.  Software along will not improve your business.  Take the time now to benefit from this in your future.
designecentral, inc. is a provider of value added services to system integrators in the residential and commercial custom installation industry.  Founded by industry veteran, Bill Battaglia, designecentral strives to automate recurring processes, primarily focusing on resource allocation and management, procurement and inventory management.  All of designecentral’s products and services are internet-based, enabling clients to access their information from anywhere.
For more information, please contact designecentral, inc. at www.designecentral.com or call 925.231.0288.  You can acquire the full edition of this article at http://eponti.com/files/ePontiBusinessProcess.pdf