REVIEWER: Lauraleigh Gould, manager of systems implementation for Q.E.P. Co., Inc.

BACKGROUND: Q.E.P. Co., Inc. is a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of a broad line of specialty tools and flooring-related products. Under brand names Q.E.P., Roberts and O'Tool, Q.E.P. markets approximately 4,000 specialty tools and related products used primarily for the preparation and installation of ceramic tile, carpet, marble and drywall. Q.E.P. sells its products to large home improvement retail centers, as well as traditional distribution outlets in 50 states and 49 countries worldwide.

PLATFORMS: Q.E.P. runs BizWorks on our AS/400 platform, along with our ERP system from interBiz, PRMS. BizWorks can also run with an NT platform and Sun/Solaris.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Q.E.P. needed to meet the demands of a large retail chain. If we don't deliver 100 percent complete and on time, we lose the business. We also needed a solution that would allow the company to have global command and control over the entire enterprise without throwing out our current IT systems. BizWorks, the eBusiness Process Management Suite, enables companies to build on the value of their existing systems and integrates all information assets for centralized command and control, providing a unified, global view of the extended enterprise. This is unique compared to other approaches that suggest ripping out existing systems and replacing them with a single application. BizWorks orchestrates the complexity of a modern business enterprise and visualizes this extended enterprise in real time. This allows Q.E.P. to create a manage-by-exception environment, which optimizes the use of resources. BizWorks adds intelligence to information and predicts likely outcomes based on past experiences and recognized patterns. Executives are instantly alerted when processes break down, which allows for real-time management.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: BizWorks provides a unified view across multiple disparate business applications by developing "wrappers." interBiz essentially writes small amounts of code that expose the data in the applications via a common object model, making it available to any other BizWorks-enabled application. Q.E.P. also utilizes the software agents in BizWorks which monitor important data fields or devices to present real-time operational information. Real-time information can be displayed using customizable contextual visualization techniques that clearly show success against key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are used to measure the metrics that are important to the success of our business. BizWorks customers can custom-build their own KPIs.

STRENGTHS: The most compelling strength of BizWorks is the ability it provides to custom-build the application for our unique purposes. BizWorks also consolidates data and generates a single, unified, global view of our enterprise. With BizWorks, we have real-time information and a manage-by- exception environment that allows us to proactively manage our business and maintain customer relationships.

WEAKNESSES: BizWorks, because of its limitless possibilities, is extremely difficult to classify. This makes it difficult to convey all it has to offer to potential clients. Companies that are looking to solve a single problem may limit their choices to products that fit an exact definition of what they are looking for, thereby overlooking BizWorks.

SELECTION CRITERIA: BizWorks from interBiz is the only total e-business solution available in today's marketplace. There are countless products available that address one or two business issues; however, BizWorks offers a complete and total solution.

DELIVERABLES: BizWorks provides us with vendor report cards, used to monitor our performance with our leading customers. This helps us proactively manage our relationships and makes sure we are delivering 100 percent complete and on time. BizWorks also provides us with alerts sent via two-way pagers, cell phones, etc., to the appropriate manager to deal with the issue. These alerts signal low inventory, problems on the production floor, etc., and allow us to take a corrective action before it is too late.

VENDOR SUPPORT: interBiz has supported us through the whole implementation. The interBiz Professional Services Organization and the Technical Services Organization supplied project leadership. Key interBiz executives took a hands-on approach throughout the project.

DOCUMENTATION: BizWorks is shipped with a "Getting Started Guide." However, all clients are assisted by interBiz to achieve timely implementation.

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