Software developers at IQMS Inc. are always looking for ways to tweak their work, sending updates to customers of its enterprise resource planning systems and creating new ways to track the wealth of details available from the factory floor.
Now IQMS, based in Paso Robles, Calif., has created a community server forum which gives customers a place to provide a continuous stream of feedback on those products and help guide future changes.
We have 1,000 new software developers, Vice President Glenn Nowak said in a June 24 interview at NPE2009 in Chicago.
The server is similar to an online forum discussion group, in which IQMS users can bring up problems they might be having with the system, offer ideas for new ways to use it or ask the firm to address specific needs.
Some of those are simple, said President Randy Flamm, such as a molder that needs a specific tracking system for a customer using individual lot numbers not a standard part of the software. Programmers can easily add a check box option for firms like that, once they're aware of the need.
One IQMS client asked to track inventory to 10 decimal places, rather than IQMS' standard six places, so it knows exactly how much wrapping tape it has on hand for shipping and won't run a few inches shy on a pallet.
It takes very little effort on our part to make that change, but it makes a difference to [the customer], Flamm said.
Not every suggested tweak will make it into IQMS software, and some will wait for the next-generation update. Flamm also can poll community users for quick feedback on the kinds of changes they want.
It has really opened up the lines of communication both ways, he said.