Introducing Flowlens

Flowlens is a modular SME cloud platform for equipment/machinery manufacturers and dealers. It manages sales, stock, purchasing, material requirements, production and after-sales service.

How does Flowlens help equipment manufacturers?

Flowlens is an all in one solution for SME equipment manufacturers, combining front-end CRM tools for managing pipelines, and sales quotations, which are linked to back-end purchasing, stock management, Bill of Materials & job cards for fulfilling orders. Many manufacturers overlook after-sales revenue streams, but Flowlens enables these with its in-built Service Module.

For owner/managers, having everything in one place regarding customers, suppliers, stock and products means they can trust the information they are getting and make better decisions, faster.

What’s the profile of a typical Flowlens customer?

Typical Flowlens customers span sectors such as industrial, agricultural and waste equipment, electrical engineering, automotive, sustainable energy and power, pumps and ventilation, and even climbing frames!

They range in size from micro-businesses to c50 people, with turnover ranging from £200k – £10m.

Whilst our customers manufacture very different types of product, they all have the same challenges of maintaining control of the overall customer and product lifecycle.

How does Flowlens support good accounting workflows?

Flowlens provides a single source of information, and therefore transparency, on a consolidated platform across the business. This consistency of process, and traceability makes it easier to get reliable and trustworthy data from each part of the business.

Flowlens provides a complete audit trail from Quote, Order Confirmation, Assembly, Shipping and Invoicing, meaning the business and their accountant has greater clarity and transparency on what is really happening. 

The accountant can get a live feel of the business with fewer touch points.

For accountants helping their clients improve their working practices, Flowlens provides a way of standardising systems and processes in one place, with no duplication of work, and enhanced with a very user-friendly interface. 

For example within Purchasing and Stock Management – traceability of flows through from supplier approval, Purchase Ordering (with spend approval workflow), goods receipt, invoice matching / approval and integration with the accounts software, so there is a full audit trail.

For sales, production and after-sales service, having the stock levels and purchasing demand readily available makes it easier to keep promises to customers.

Furthermore, when they are selling / building a product / BOM in Flowlens there is a transparency that they have all the information available on components, costs etc. This minimises the risk of selling below margin, but provides an audit trail if there is a problem.

Finally the reporting capabilities of Flowlens provide transparency of WIP, stock values and COGS. Live reports and Dashboards mean users don’t have to go looking for information, you can have information at your fingertips, across the business.

  • What’s forecast for the future
  • What’s currently happening
  • Looking at current period 
  • Flagging problems early

Who do you integrate with?

Flowlens integrates with Sage 50, QuickBooks Online, KashFlow and Xero accounting systems.

Data Sync – Key Features

A background refresh takes place once per day, but it is possible to send individual items to Flowlens at any time. 

  • Matches customers and supplier records on both systems
  • Sales invoices to Xero
  • Purchase invoices to Xero
  • Payments (sales and purchases) from Xero to Flowlens

Purchase Ordering & Invoicing – Key Features

  • Controls over who can raise orders
  • Multi-level approvals processes
  • Approval amount thresholds
  • Suppliers can make notes on the order which sync back to Flowlens
  • Part-receive orders
  • Multiple goods received notes per PO, but with the option to create one or more invoices from those
  • Control which items individuals can purchase from approved suppliers
  • Multi-currency

Upon approval of the supplier invoice in Flowlens the invoice will sync. For Xero there is the option to send as either a draft or approved invoice.

Sales – Key Features

  • Pipeline revenue forecast
  • Controls over who can raise quotes
  • Multi-level approvals processes
  • Approval amount thresholds
  • Conversion of leads to sales orders to projects and sales.

This video runs through the journey of a sale from Lead to Pipeline Forecast to Sales Quotation to Order to Invoiced to Xero and Paid in Xero. It also shows how Quotation Approvals can be configured.

This video shows how a Sales Order moves to a Sales Invoice which is then sent to Xero and paid, or credited.

Payments

If a customer of Flowlens wants to offer Stripe as a payment service, then it is best for the invoice to be sent to the customer from Xero.  Payments sync back from Xero into Flowlens once a day, but with a manual refresh as required, so there is no double entry. 

For QuickBooks Online users there is currently no payments sync but there are plans to update this early next year as part of a suite of upgrades.

Sage 50 Zynk integration does not enable payment status to be returned to Flowlens.

Stock

Stock journals don’t sync across to your accounting system but it’s possible to use reports to get the data. 

We are planning to address stock journal updates early-mid 2021.

There are different reports to suit different needs, the stock levels allow to filter by stock on hand at date, and can be downloaded to Excel for calculations. 

The Assets reports show value of current stock of finished products.

Timesheets

Timesheets can be added in Manufacturing and Service Job Cards. 

These can be approved and exported via a separate report. 

Reports

See above video

Job Costs are either items consumed such as materials, components etc, and time. 

These costs are added to the Job Card either as a predefined bill of materials or ad hoc. 

Timesheets are added to a job, with the cost being calculated by the number of hours/mins, the user’s standard cost per hour, and any multiplier applied (e.g. overtime, warranty).

The Job Card Profitability report shows the line by line live reporting of job costs and profit based on the sales order line item value.

Roadmap Insights

Flowlens’ priorities for Q1 2021 include:

  • New commercial invoices functionality for export documentation
  • Additional stock value update workflows 
  • Improved QuickBooks Online integration

Flowlens slightly longer term priorities include:

  • Ecommerce integration
  • Zapier integration
  • Journal sync capabilities
  • Enhancements to Job Card progress check lists / routes
  • Enhancements to MRP logic / automations

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