Tablets a Hot Topic at FeneTech User Conference

June 28, 2011
Meetings & Events

Last year, attendees at the annual FeneTech User Conference were holding their breath waiting for the economy to improve. This year, companies are plotting how to get tablet devices like the iPad into the hands of sales, delivery and production staff, many report.

The three-day event, held this year at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Cleveland, gathered 75 people from 45 window manufacturers and glass fabricating companies, as well as two dozen supporting vendors and sponsors. Designed for users of FeneTech’s FeneVision ERP software, the conference added a first-ever high-level session for company owners and managers this year.

 
 The conference gathered 75 people from 45 window and glass fabricating companies using FeneTech's software.
 

FeneTech officials report that overall, attendees remain cautious on the economy, but more companies are focused on growth and adding capabilities this year. Troy Johnson, a vice president at glass fabricator Sigco, Inc., in Westbrook, Maine, said his company is introducing new products, buying new machinery and expanding geographic coverage. “We’re very busy.”  Like many, he said he attends the user conference to see what’s new, request enhancements to the software and share knowledge on using the software with other participants.

Nearly a third of the attendances participated in the session on using tablets in window and door and glass fabrication companies. Some are already using them, and about a fourth of those on-hand indicated their companies would be adding them within the next 12 months. Participants mentioned sales and tracking applications most often.

Geoff Roise of Lindsey Windows in Minnesota has 10 iPads in use on his production floor. “It’s so portable and convenient. People can look things up or enter them on the spot. I can’t quantify the benefit, but I know I might risk physical harm if I tried to take them back.”

“Customers are wowed when your sales people present with an iPad,” said one manager. An IT manager from a Midwest company said a tablet PC has more overall utility than flat tablets like the iPad. But fast boot up, lightweight and customer appeal are sparking requests for iPads from his salespeople, he noted.

Ron Crowl, FeneTech president, told attendees his company is working to extend additional capabilities in FeneVision ERP to meet these demands. That includes developments to enhance the power and portability of the system on devices like tablets and smart phones.

The other notable focus at the user conference is on increasing sales. Sessions on enhancements to the web estimating and order entry module in FeneVision ERP had standing room only crowds.

The user conference, which includes a variety of educational sessions, workshops and social events, ends today.