WebSmart allowed Mitsubishi Fuso to write applications that tightly integrated with their ERP system running on the IBM i. This allows real time data and transactions when dealers inquire on availability of trucks or parts, buy trucks and spare parts, and manage warranty claims. Mitsubishi Fuso is able to present information on the complete life cycle of a truck from the time it is ordered from the factory to when the dealers sell it to an end user.
Fusonet – Extranet Portal created with WebSmart
Fusonet is an extranet portal we use to conduct business with the dealerships that sell Fuso trucks. WebSmart allowed us to write applications that tightly integrated with our ERP system running on our iSeries. This allows real time data and transactions when dealers inquire on availability of trucks or parts, buy trucks and spare parts, and manage warranty claims. We are able to present information on the complete life cycle of a truck from the time we order it from the factory to when our dealers sell it to an end user.
Mitsubishi Fuso need to develop an extranet portal for their truck dealers to conduct business with the organization. This replaced an existing mature application so it had a high level of expectation for maturity on day 1 of its release. Our programmers were new to WebSmart and while they were doing well learning it, they could not turn out complex applications quickly enough for the aggressive roll-out schedule required to meet a critical deadline.
The project consisted of several phases of development that involved different resources both at Mitsubishi Fuso and on the Fresche Services team. These phases included:
- Vehicle Availability Inquiry
- New Vehicle and Pre-Delivery inspection entry
- Vehicle tracking
- Warranty claims entry
- New Vehicle order entry
- Dealer parts order entry
- Retail Delivery Notification entry
- Vehicle Recall entry
Flexible Development Process and Asking the Right Questions
Our team at Mitsubishi Fuso did a thorough job of preparing specifications for each phase of the project. We used PowerPoint to storyboard the application and to provide technical details. This proved to be an effective method of providing the information Fresche needed to get started. We’d kick off each phase with a web conference call and follow-up every week or so to review progress with programmers and management from both companies. Fresche was very customer service oriented in their approach and were flexible when our specifications might have been either not fully defined, or changed during development or testing. They always seemed to ask the right questions to clarify our requirements.
Managing the project via e-mail and telephone was very effective and communicating our needs and testing results went very smoothly. The three hour time difference worked to our advantage since our end-of-day test results would be fed back to programmers who still had several hours to work on them that day.
After the rollout of the portal, Fresche willingly conducted technical reviews of the applications they had developed to train our programmers on advanced techniques. Fresche programmers conducted these as web-based training sessions and it was a great help to build our in-house WebSmart skills. This knowledge transfer has enabled our programmers to maintain the applications in-house.
About Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks of America
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America is the North American distributor for Mitsubishi Fuso medium duty trucks. We import, sell, and support trucks and spare parts to businesses with needs ranging from a single truck with a cargo box to deliver furniture, to a fleet of trucks with specialized equipment, such as to refuel airplanes on a tarmac. We support a network of nearly 200 dealerships in the US and Canada.
Story as told by Jim Peary, Director of Corporate Systems, Mitsubishi Fuso of America, Inc.