M1 software, developed by Melbourne-based company Bowen & Groves , has won a 2004 Consensus Award, recognising excellence in Australian designed and developed software.
The independently judged Consensus Awards, with Microsoft as the principal sponsor, are supported by numerous government and industry bodies and are designed to assist Australian developed software products to break into new markets.
M1 by B&G is an Australian developed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system suited to the needs of small to medium and larger sized manufacturing businesses.
Released only in 2000, M1 by B&G is now installed in more than 300 sites in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, and the UK.
From the business headquarters in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs, company subsidiaries have now been established in both the USA and UK to expand the user base and create face to face contact with the major respective market opportunities on offer.
M1 by B&G provides total integration and automation from quoting through to invoicing and unlike other systems allows the manufacturer to simply and easily customise the system to suit their unique business processes to maintain their competitive advantage
The software has been developed in Microsoft Visual Basic for a Microsoft SQL server with a Microsoft Outlook look and feel. It is an intuitive and user friendly system packed with innovative and powerful tools.
B&G also offers round-the-clock support and service as a problem solving, commissioning, and user support resource.
The origins of M1 by B&G developed from the original career of CEO Geoff Groves which included time as a reseller of an overseas ERP software package.
"This proved to me that existing ERP systems on offer were not flexible enough, especially for the Australian market, which was and still is viewed by system vendors as a small market and thus not worth the investment in making changes to accommodate the needs of customers.
"M1 was developed specifically to meet the needs of local users within a structure which would facilitate its use internationally.
"Our plan right from the beginning was to take the M1 system to the international market.
"Our push into the US market late in 2000 was a planned move and our users there now comprise 70 percent of our customer base.
"I'm expecting this will grow to 95 percent as our user base continues to develop within the next five years," Geoff Groves said.
The first local M1 by B&G installations were in the metals manufacturing sector, typically small sheet metal and machining operations in Melbourne, which usually had a great diversity of work in terms of materials, shapes, sizes and customers.
"Increasingly we came to recognise that the problems faced by the metals sector companies we were targeting were commonplace across most other types of manufacturing operations.
"So we quickly began to diversify our user base and the marketing strategies we employed to tap new potential users.
"The international market is where our growth has come from and we see it continuing as business owners and managers recognise the importance of professionally managing their businesses," Groves added.
M1 by B&G enables businesses to benefit without changing any of their existing business processes.
The software system has been designed so there is no long drawn out implementation cycle; the implementation tools coupled with an intuitive and familiar look and feel means that the benefits of the software system can be enjoyed within weeks.
A key advantage is that M1 by B&G is a modular system, so that customers can purchase only the modules which meet their immediate requirements to suit their needs and then grow with additional systems and functionality as required.
A further benefit is software system flexibility is designed for sites where one person does all the administration and business management up to medium and larger sized operations where there is a departmental structure.
"In fact we find that often long term employees who are most resistant to new systems and especially computer software, often tell us just how easy and user friendly their commissioning experience has been," Geoff Groves said.
"Winning the Consensus Award is important to us as we are an Australian company with what we consider a leading edge ERP system which is winning plaudits from customers internationally," Geoff Groves concluded.