By Reginald Tucker
The range of retail flooring software applications available today can help dealers manage a number of essential tasks, including estimation and measurement, warehousing and shipping, billing and collections and even lead management. But not all systems are created equal; some integrate more easily and efficiently with others. Suppliers are continuing to make strides in the development of software systems that integrate well with other programs and tools currently available on the market.
Following is an overview of some of those offerings:
American Business Software
All ABS software—everything from order processing, billing and pricing to warehouse management, shipping and sales analysis—is fully integrated in real time. No manual intervention is required.
“Our customers use our standard import and export integration functions to easily and effectively integrate with both in-house and external software applications,” said Joseph Flannick, president. “Many integration functions are done automatically with no manual intervention when the function is done on an ongoing basis. Most on-demand integration functions only require a few keystrokes.”
Among the external uses, many customers can export sales information to vendors. Others export detailed product and inventory information to third-party retail websites such as Amazon or Wayfair. Users can also export customer-specific information to vendors such as Vistaprint for mailing literature to their customers.
“In some cases, reports are exported into home-grown software within the company,” Flannick explained. “Many people prefer to create their own unique databases and spread- sheets to analyze something specific. For example: people export sales, pricing and margin information into their own spreadsheet, then analyze customer-specific pricing and trends. Results are then imported back into our software to set customer-specific pricing. Another common usage is to analyze seasonal inventory sales trends. This analysis is then integrated back into our software for the purpose of setting inventory reorder points for our automated purchasing and reorder software.”
MeasureSquare provides open APIs for third-party programs to integrate with MeasureSquare Commercial Takeoff software, On-site Measure Mobile App and web-based flooring calculators.
The MeasureSquare Commercial Takeoff software and onsite mobile App help estimators create accurate estimates of materials and labor charges with the digitized floor plans. Dealers can click on a button in their CRM or ERP system to import floor plans and estimation data and create bids or proposals for customers.
Pacific Solutions has developed management tools with system-specific features to improve accuracy. To reduce omissions between the estimation process and the bid process, for example, the company developed direct import features for estimation software. Estimation systems such as FloorRight create meticulous take-off estimations. These quantified material estimations are easily imported into JobRunner and FloorManager management systems to expedite the bid process. This significantly reduces omissions between estimating and bidding.
What’s more, its JobRunner and FloorManager ERP solutions also import take-off information from other estimation software such as MeasureSquare, Callidus and Safe Harbor, to name a few. “The future is looking remarkable as we develop additional integrations to streamline the commercial and residential flooring businesses,” said Brielle Allbaugh, the company’s director of operations.
Much of QFloors’ software offerings were designed with integration in mind. The company offers integrations with the following companies: MeasureSquare estimators, Heartland credit card processing, Podium (customer reviews and messaging), Patriot payroll, DocuSign (e-signatures) and Retail Lead Management (CRM).
A new integration product, QLeads, allows websites and external lead collection programs to seamlessly transfer contact information into the QFloors CRM/Leads screen. “This means that when people enter their info on your website, it is automatically uploaded into your QFloors system,” said Chad Ogden, president and CEO.
Also available is QFloors’ new browser-based software, QPro, which was built with the latest cutting-edge API integration technologies. According to Ogden, “QPro has one of the most progressive and extensive integrations in the industry with MeasureSquare estimators. QPro also offers the flooring industry’s most advanced and seamless integration with QuickBooks Online. This allows dealers tied to QuickBooks Online the time-saving benefits of flooring specific software, as information is shared smoothly and easily between the two programs. For the installed version of QuickBooks Pro, both QFloors and QPro offer integration options, but there are more steps involved and the transfer of information is not as automatic.”
RFMS offers fully integrated software solution from start to finish developed by its own internal development team. This provides the benefit of a cohesive development approach across the company’s ERP core system, Measure, its estimating software, CRM, and throughout its mobile products and enhancement tools.
“While RFMS provides a suite of fully integrated tools that fulfill most business needs, there may be a time when additional software will enhance a business process,” said Madeleine Bayless, president, RFMS. “For this reason, we offer a standard REST API allowing for a client’s third-party programs of choice to integrate back into the core ERP system. This provides endless opportunities for integration with RFMS, including website integration, order collection and project management. To best meet the needs of our individual clients, we offer three tiers of API functionality.”
In addition to API, RFMS also publishes to Zapier, a tool that bridges many different software applications. “Instead of developing custom integrations, we can simply publish to Zapier where a user can then link our product to any of dozens of other offerings,” Bayless explained. “It eliminates the time and cost for a client to build custom integrations.”
RollMaster has launched several new integrations or Efficiency Tools this year as means to streamline a variety of essential tasks for its dealers. “One of our most popular integration offerings this year has been the addition of the Android Mobile Barcode Device, which replaces the much larger and more cumbersome Barcode Gun,” said Kelly Oechslin, product marketing manager. “The device is sleeker, easier to use and doubles as a smartphone. An iPhone with a barcode adapter will also work.”
RollMaster also launched RM Text Alert, an integration tool that sends installation appointment reminders to customers based on data within RollMaster. “The idea was to give our dealers a tool to help cut down on ‘day-of’ cancellations, but it has turned into so much more than that,” Oechslin explained. “Customers seem to enjoy being able to text with our dealers on any number of topics. The adoption rate has been exciting to watch.”
In addition to its integrated tools, RollMaster’s API allows clients to build their own integrations with many programs such as CRM systems, e-commerce platforms, digital marketing and much more. The only limit, according to Oechslin, is the client’s imagination. “This gives them the freedom to build their own integrations and not be limited by what we allow them to integrate with.”