REVIEWER: Keith Price, vice president of information services for Seneca Medical.

BACKGROUND: Seneca Medical is a privately owned and operated medical distribution, purchasing, sourcing facility and customer service company that caters to a wide range of clients. From its four distribution centers in Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Michigan, Seneca supplies cost-effective health care equipment and supplies for medical entities including hospitals, surgery centers, physicians and some industrial and corporate businesses in the Midwest. Seneca implemented VAI’s S2K Enterprise for Distribution in August 2005 at its Shelbyville, Indiana, facility, and then gradually added the solutions to its other locations. In January 2008, Seneca implemented S2K Enterprise Portal, running on top of IBM’s WebSphere Portal.

PLATFORMS: Seneca is running S2K for Distribution on the IBM eServer i5, while S2K Enterprise Portal runs on an IBM System x. In addition, the IBM DB2 portal database is housed on a separate System i 520, which synchronizes with the S2K for Distribution system.
 
PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to implementing the S2K Enterprise Portal, Seneca’s website was not as robust as we would have liked it to be. Since implementing the Portal, our sales team can maintain the system without soliciting IT support. Additionally, our customers benefit from a state-of-the-art Portal. We are currently implementing a content management application so that the human resources department can maintain the content without requiring knowledge such as HTML to manage the content. Today, the news section on our website is behind the login so that only our customers can view this information. Additionally, the sales and marketing department can also submit material, which includes company and industry news and items in Seneca’s inventory. While this information is currently only viewable by Seneca staff and customers, the Portal has been an effective vehicle to keep both parties informed about issues that affect the industry as a whole. For example, the Portal provided a vehicle to keep clients knowledgeable about issues related to H1N1 medical supply and vaccine dispensation. Seneca’s primary mission for the S2K Enterprise Portal implementation was to improve the amount of our Web-based orders. Before implementing the S2K Portal, roughly 2 percent of our orders came in through the website, along with 90 percent of our total line items coming in via electronic data interchange. Since the Portal implementation, our Web orders have doubled, and we expect that trend to continue. By placing orders through the Portal, customers can receive real-time information concerning orders, open invoices and shipments. In the future, we plan to deploy an order-tracking feature.
 
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: S2K Enterprise Portal is an invaluable tool for Seneca’s sales force. Representatives can rely solely on the website for customer and distribution information. The Portal allows our sales department to access detailed customer reports, thus improving overall customer service. The Portal also makes it easy for customers to place and review orders. Another significant feature in S2K Enterprise Portal that we are utilizing allows our sales team and customer representatives to review and approve orders. Some customers have authorization to place orders, but the customer’s agent must first approve it before the order is filled. We have also found S2K’s reports to be particularly useful. All order reports are exportable as an Adobe PDF or Microsoft Excel file, allowing customers to view and save order information quickly and easily.

STRENGTHS: One of the primary reasons that we chose S2K Enterprise Portal was for its flexibility. It has an endless number of configuration options to accommodate our growing company.
 
WEAKNESSES: To accommodate the large number of users in our customer base requires the creation of groups to control their levels of access. The groups in the directory server have a limitation as to how many users can be entered into a group. This can be cumbersome on the management side because it requires the creation of additional groups to accommodate the number of users. While this is not a limitation in the S2K Enterprise Portal, but a limitation of the directory server, it makes group management a little more repetitive then we would like.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected the S2K Enterprise Portal solution for its flexibility over other products that did not have the same capabilities. Additionally, we already had a relationship with VAI, which is the provider of our S2K backend production system, and therefore its portal product is already integrated with S2K.
 
DELIVERABLES: S2K Enterprise Portal provides Seneca and our customers with a variety of useful reports, such as order history and usage information. Any end user can generate a history report to make a customizable statement by changing a wide variety of selection criteria. Other reports include contract analysis and overview snapshot reports. These “snapshots” include fill rates, dollar volume, number of orders processed and days sales outstanding.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We are very pleased with VAI’s effort in supporting this product and our company. Seneca was an early adopter of the S2K Enterprise Portal, and as such, we were excited to help lead the way in improving the solution. In turn, VAI was highly responsive to any suggestions that we had. We continue to work very closely with VAI as we implement new initiatives at Seneca.

DOCUMENTATION: We rarely need documentation because the base product is very intuitive and easy to use. Also, there are many areas where our ideas were used to enhance the solution.

S2K Enterprise Portal Software
VAI
20 Comac Street
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
(631) 588-9500
www.vai.net

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