By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is an old album I really liked in high school, Schoolboys In Disgrace by The Kinks. We're seeing if it holds up twenty-plus years on. Letcha know at the end of the column.
MPower, which sells software for nonprofit constituent relationship management (CRM) and fundraising, has announced that it will host "The Orange Conference" for clients, partners and other members of the philanthropic community on September 24-26 at the Embassy Suites and Frisco Convention Center, in Frisco, Texas, just north of Dallas.
Repeat: That's Frisco, Texas, not San Francisco.
Although MPower has hosted previous conferences for its community, this is the company's first conference since it moved to an open source model in March, so the name and theme "reflect the new corporate direction," company officials say.
MPower now is available (through downloading with registration at www.mpoweropen.com) without licensing fees and with access to the source code, so a user can modify the software as needed. Users can also integrate MPower with other applications that the nonprofit chooses for its CRM and fundraising system.
Alternative products are "closed," MPower officials maintain: "They do not allow for easy integration and modification, if any at all, so nonprofits are in effect held hostage by technology that may not meet their needs."
The three-day Orange Conference will feature presentations and sessions by MPower experts, nonprofits and industry consultants, covering "strategies, ideas and tips for donor management and fundraising, especially through use of open source CRM software," company officials say.
Attendees will learn how to cultivate relationships with donors through an increasing array of channels, including direct mail, television and radio, online, telemarketing, mobile technologies, events, personal contact, newsletters, and subscriptions.
Breakout session topics will include Fundraising, which will focus on trends and the application of new technologies, including open source CRM software.
GFG Group and Open Solutions have announced a new partnership between GFG Group and Open Solutions Canada, the Canadian subsidiary of Open Solutions, where Open Solutions Canada will refer GFG Group's Simfonie (Mobile payments), Cadencie (card management) and Finsim (certification engine) products and services to its North American and international clients.
Open Solutions Canada operates off-premise ATM and point-of-sale networks. It sells integrated enabling technologies for financial service providers across the United States, Canada and internationally.
"This strategic partnership with GFG will give both organizations a competitive edge in the marketplace and provide us the ability to offer additional services," says Rob Palin, general manager of the Payment Solutions Group at Open Solutions Canada.
GFG Group sells mobile, card management and testing products. "This relationship will support our growth in important markets. Our products are complementary to those of Open Solutions," says Grant Halverson, the Group Chief Executive Officer for GFG Group.
Both GFG and Open Solutions will initially focus on the Canadian and North and South American markets where Open Solutions has a strong presence. Focus will also be given to supporting opportunities in Asian and other emerging markets where GFG's strengths lie. GFG and Open Solutions are already cooperating on new initiatives in the Asian, North American and South American markets.
Storis Management Systems, a supplier of Retail Products and Services for Big Ticket retailers, has announced that retailer Highland Park Furniture, LLC d/b/a Furniture and Mattress Clearance Center, has selected Storis' Vision R8 Retail Solution as their platform.
Highland Park Furniture has store locations in west-central Florida and specializes in furniture and mattress sales.
"Our decision to go with Storis was easy for us. We found their Vision R8 fully integrated Server Business Solution the best fit for our business model," said Brent Agar, Director of Operations. Specifically, "we were impressed with their Inventory Control functionality, which will provide real-time processing of all activity within our warehouse."
Highland Park will use the Vision R8 Core Products, including Business Intelligence tools, InTouch CRM, Relationship Marketing, Logistics, Customer Service, and others.
Vision R8 sells business applications for Big Ticket retailers, based on a real-time system that integrates aspects of retail operations, from Point of Sale, Supply Chain Management, Business Intelligence Analytics, InTouch CRM, Financial Management and eCommerce.
Plexus Systems, providers of Plexus Online on-demand software for the manufacturing enterprise, has announced the Advanced Technology Institute of North Charleston, South Carolina is using Plexus Online to facilitate collaboration, coordination and information-sharing among its partners -- governmental, industrial and academic.
Plexus Online is the official Tool Uploading System for forging companies, OEMs and government agencies that participate in the National Forging Tooling Database.
The NFTD is a Web-based tool that was developed in association with the Defense Logistics Agency, which handles purchasing for the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Forging Defense Manufacturing Consortium. The University of Toledo led the development of the NFTD, which was developed under a cost shared, Manufacturing Technology Program known as PRO-FAST.
As weapons systems in the U.S. arsenal go out of production, the acquisition of forged repair parts becomes more difficult because supply chain information disintegrates over time, especially in respect to tooling. In addition, some weapons systems are being kept in service much longer than originally intended.
As this happens forged parts that were designed to last the life of the weapon have to be replaced and the location of tools to make the forged parts becomes lost. Bet you didn't know that. I sure didn't.
The DOD commissioned the creation of the NFTD to let forging supply chains locate forgers with tooling for legacy aircraft, vehicles and weaponry. The NFTD was developed to give defense customers, especially the Defense Logistics Agency, a centralized database of the tooling available.
The data uploaded into the database are warehoused in another tool called Haystack Gold which is provided by IHS of Denver. Haystack Gold links tooling to a repository of procurement data related to these critical parts. The cost to duplicate this tooling is estimated at approximately -- get this -- $5 billion. Even if only one percent of the tooling in the NFTD is used to make forger parts, the savings would be about 50 times DOD's project cost.
In most cases, the more important benefit is that replacement parts can be made quickly so weapon availability is increased and warfighter safety is enhanced. In one case, early in the development of the NFTD, DOD had been searching for a qualified supplier for an aircraft part for two years. After one contractor failed to deliver the part because the forged part could not be located, the NFTD was invoked. Within a few minutes the tooling was located and the finished part was delivered in thirty days.
And the verdict is... well, Schoolboys isn't a deathless album, but "No More Looking Back" still packs quite the emotional punch for me. Long story.