By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of a second cup of coffee this morning, and the music now is Beethoven’s Third Symphony:
Loyalty Lab, Inc., a vendor of loyalty and customer relationship products, has announced that Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, an independent woodworking supplies retailer, has enlisted Loyalty Lab to host a best customer program.
Rockler, which operates 33 stores, a Web site and a 156-page catalog, will use Loyalty Lab’s Web-based Customer Relationship Management platform to “manage all aspects of its new retail loyalty and customer management initiative,” according to Loyalty Lab officials.
Scott Ekman, Rockler’s Vice President of Marketing, said the Loyalty Lab products are expected to spare the 53-year old retailer “the financial strain of a major software overhaul,” and to help get them “on the right path for best customer management.”
In hosting the program, the Loyalty Lab platform will manage shopper enrollments, transaction processing, rewards and accruals. Loyalty Lab also enables integrated marketing and retail loyalty and campaign management, serving as the central core of e-mail, Web-based and POS communications drawing from a single database.
Loyalty Lab’s flagship Customer Relationship Manager Suite provides retailers and service companies with integrated and on-demand loyalty program management, e-mail, campaign management, and incentives from a single desktop. Clients include New York and Company, Brookstone, 1-800-Flowers.com, Bally Total Fitness and others.
Rockler Companies, based in Medina, Minnesota, began in 1954 as a mail order catalog called Minnesota Woodworkers Supply Company. The company offers thousands of mainstream and specialized products, including manufacturer’s exclusives, for professional and amateur woodworkers.
Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, ranked “highest for overall customer satisfaction in the last three NADA surveys,” according to company officials, has announced that its AMPS dealer management system has been certified by Chrysler for ARO.
This means Chrysler dealers using AMPS can now connect to Chrysler’s ARO parts inventory management system. ARO connects dealer spare parts inventory to a Mopar-controlled automatic daily replenishment order. It’s unique to the industry because it’s based on individual dealer demand. ARO replenishes parts on an as-needed basis, reducing the capital investment that a dealer makes in stocking excess parts.
All Auto/Mate Chrysler dealers will be updated to ARO at no charge.
The certified interface allows Chrysler to query Auto/Mate’s AMPS DMS every night. Chrysler monitors each individual dealer’s inventory and sales based on what was sold, then ships parts overnight based on what the system tells them is needed the next day. Dealers can maintain control by reviewing and agreeing upon recommended stocking parameters, and may revise them as necessary.
Chrysler ARO also offers an order guarantee, whereby if parts sit on a dealer’s shelf for nine months the OEM will buy them back. And if Dealer A in one location needs a part that happens to be aging in Dealer B’s inventory, Chrysler will send a shipping label to Dealer B so they can forward the part to Dealer A.
Autonomy Corporation, a vendor of infrastructure software for the enterprise, has announced that it has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract by the U.S. government to provide its Intelligent Data Operating Layer Server to support defense applications.
Autonomy has a long history of collaboration with many government, defense and intelligence agencies, including: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the U.S. Air Force, the U.K. Audit Commission, the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry, the French Ministry of Defense, and the Irish Revenue Commissioners.
Go Orbitcoms: Dutch industry observer Ulrika Hedquist
has reported that a small New Zealand company, Orbitcoms, based in Whangarei, wants to call a software product it recently developed iPop, but that Apple, Inc. has objected to the idea — twice.
Hedquist quotes Orbitcoms CEO Tony Shi, who says Apple is threatening legal action since the Orbitcoms brand name is “too similar to Apple’s iPod.”
The software works with Microsoft Corp.’s Dynamics CRM and “allows users to combine their CRM system with a telephone system,” Hedquist cites Shi as saying: “Relevant information stored in the CRM system will then pop up on the screen when a customer phones in. The software can also create a phone call record if required.”
The way Shi explains it to Hedquist, “the name ‘iPop’ comes from the screen ‘pop’ and the ‘i’ refers to information, intelligence and integration.” Shi claims to have been “most surprised” when Apple objected to the company’s trademark application.
Riiiiight. Shi’s clever in garnering some free publicity for his product, but he’s obviously far too clever to suppose that Apple, makers of the iPod, wouldn’t have objected to iPop, since evidently Apple thinks they own the rights to any lower-case “i” in front of any word in the English language.
Shi later changed the name of the software to Orbitcoms iPop, Hedquist said, quoting Shi’s explanation that “I didn’t want to take on Apple head-on for obvious financial reasons.” But Apple objected once again, and Shi tells Hedquist “we are still evaluating our options and deciding what to do.”
Shi says he’s sure Apple will take the dispute all the way to New Zealand’s High Court, which would incur costs “in the range of” $35,000 American dollars, expense Shi pronounces “not viable for the product we’re trying to promote,” since as Hedquist reports, Orbitcoms employs six staff, four of whom are engineers, including one software developer.
Much better to get whatever free publicity you can via news articles on the fact that Apple’s threatening to sue you. Not bad, Mr. Shi, good on ya. Here’s a tip of the coffee pot to you, good luck with the product, now change the name before Apple gets ticked.
Oh, and by the way, this column is now named iFirst Coffee.
Technalign has released Pioneer Basic CD Release 2.1 of its base Linux Operating System. Release 2.1 on CD is limited due to the space on CD, company officials say, but “upgradeable by installing the missing applications and utilities.”
Notably missing from the CD release, that is included on the DVD, is Automatix, Gimp, Guarddog Firewall, and KlamAV Anti-Virus. Each of these can be installed either from Synaptic or from Automatix once installed.”
“We had to release on CD since many of our users and Partners have requested Pioneer on CD versus only being available on DVD,” claims Technalign CEO Dianne Ursini. “Pioneer Basic CD Release 2.1 is Technalign Trailblazer ready and when released will be a simple upgrade.”
Pioneer Basic CD Release 2.1 represents what company officials consider to be “the most user-friendly version Technalign has released since its beginnings in 2002.” Users can transition from Windows and be” up and running in no time,” they say, adding that consumer users who have little or no experience running Linux “can visit one of over 1,400 Technalign Partners who will perform a Windows to Pioneer conversion as well as walk-throughs and training.”