Before the In-N-Out Burger cookout trailer arrived at the California Market Center in Los Angeles to serve complimentary burgers to AIMS360 customers, the LA-based technology company had covered quite a bit of ground, from breaking down batch processes to making EDI (electronic data interchange) more efficient to tips for creating business intelligence reports and pivot tables using AIMS360 software.
The May 17 event, titled “AIMS360 Empowerment Day: Ins N Outs of Efficient Business Operations,” was held in the CMC Fashion Theater for a crowd of more than 100 attendees.
“The more information you have in the system the more information you can get from the reports,” said Scott Allen, director of training for AIMS360. “We have tons of reports right out of the box.”
Typical reports run on AIMS360 include sales summaries, margin by order, open-to-sell by dates, order line-item details, ordered vs. shipped, aged accounts receivables, shipping logs, cut-ticket summaries, purchase-order summaries, contractor tracking and production tracking. The software also helps businesses easily filter for key information, Allen said.
“I don’t even have to run reports. To know how many orders I have on the books for June, July, August. I can just filter the orders,” he said, adding that the software’s criteria screens allow users to analyze data in several different ways.
For example, Allen said, “You can see how much business you’ve done at each trade show.”
One of the new features in AIMS360 is its “Business Intelligence” feature, which allows users to analyze data and display these data in charts and graphs.
“If you love pivot tables, you can grab data, throw it into an Excel table to run a pivot table. You can export to Excel and create your own charts and graphs or you can use Microsoft BI to create your own charts and graphs,” Allen said.
All the data are compiled in a company’s database on AIMS360, which are secured by a system of backups, Allen said.
“Every five minutes your entire database is backed up,” he said. “We back up our backups. The only thing you need to be concerned with is having the best possible Internet speed.”
Allen said he used AIMS software for 10 years in his own business, Notice, a contemporary label he ran with his wife.
“I remember when I had my own business sitting at the fax machine after Intermezzo. Now you go to the show with one of these,” he said, pointing to an iPad, which was to be raffled off at the end of the event. “AIMS software can be integrated with other programs such as Shopify and Joor,” Allen said.
“Shopify has an amazing integration with us, and it works out of the box,” he said. “As long as AIMS is set up, it will be integrated in minutes.”
Two executives from Joor, Customer Service Manager Jasmine Wu and Customer Data Specialist Kristen Lang, were also on hand to explain how designers and manufacturers can use Joor to take, track and analyze purchase orders, manage inventory, and research and connect with retailers.
“We like to say if you can online shop, you can shop on Joor,” Lange said, explaining the app-based “connectivity platform” operates like a social network such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
Joor works with 1,500 brands and has gathered a retailer network of 155,000 stores, Wu said.
Joor has a team that creates retail profiles on the site and has a “prospecting tool” that allows brands to research potential retailers and send connect-request messages.
Orders, which are taken on an iPad, can be integrated with inventory. Retailers can use the app to look at lookbooks, request line sheets and create an assortment. There are follow-up tools for brands that allow them to connect with retailers after a trade show with information about the styles ordered or noted, along with pertinent details such as production cutoff dates.
“Once an order is placed by the buyer, they will get a digital confirmation with photos,” Lange said, adding that Joor also has robust reporting and analytics capabilities, giving brands and retailers information about bestsellers, key markets and projections.
“You can see which styles are getting reaction while your team is still at market,” she said.
Once you land an order—especially with a major account—AIMS can help manufacturers with EDI.
“It takes just a few minutes to put an order in,” said Nikki Colletti, special project adviser and EDI specialist for AIMS. “[But] JCPenney could have a 2,000 [-unit] order. Doing it manually could take days.”
AIMS helps manufacturers batch many of the EDI processes to save time.
“Hundreds of invoices can be processed in minutes,” Colletti said. If you’re doing EDI, you’re probably familiar with order changes. These transactions can be time-consuming. You can do them quicker in AIMS. You can make these changes with one mouse click and all orders are updated.
AIMS also allows users to set pre-defined packing rules for their trading partners and print shipping labels “exactly the way your trading partner wants,” Colletti said.
“Sometimes the trade partners throw in a monkey wrench and say, ‘I want this packed this way this one time.’ AIMS can do that,” she said. “This is all about saving time and money.”
Other topics covered at the AIMS Empowerment Day included an overview of B2C e-commerce integrations with software such as Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce as well as accounting functions in AIMS360 and integration with Quickbooks. Vince Tsai, senior vice president and general manager for ShopTheFloor, the online B2B marketplace run by MAGIC parent UBM Advanstar, discussed how trade shows can help monetize a brand.