Catalog management systems: a wide range to choose from

Catalogers today can choose from dozens of catalog management computer systems. “These systems are designed for order entry [phone or mail, with prompts for phone order entry upsells and cross-sells], customer service, inventory management, order fulfillment, and customer database management,” says catalog operations consultant Ernie Schell, president of Southampton, PA-based Marketing Systems Analysis. “To choose a system,” Schell adds, “you need to develop a set of requirements and present them to vendors for a written proposal for midrange and high-end systems, and for an objective evaluation of demos for low-end systems.” Below, Schell lists some of the more popular systems on the market.

Low-end systems The Mail Order Manager (MOM), from Montvale, NJ-based Dydacomp Development Corp., is used by many small and start-up catalog companies. A PC-based system, written in Visual FoxPro, MOM runs on DOS, Windows 95/98, and Windows NT. A baseline package for a single-user system costs about $1,200 for the DOS version and $1,900 for Windows. A multiuser system runs around $5,000.

Response, from Marietta, GA-based CoLinear Systems, is also PC-based but is written in Dataflex, a database programming language. Compatible with DOS, Windows 95/8, and Windows NT, Response can be customized relatively easily, Schell says. A base system costs at least $8,000; a typical installation with optional modules will run $12,000-$15,000.

Midrange systems The Controller+ (for the IBM RS/6000), from Sigma Micro Corp., Indianapolis, IN; Advantage+ (for the IBM RS/6000), from Page Digital, Englewood, CO; and ACT I (for the RS/6000 and PCs) from Rigden, Boulder, CO, all range from $15,000-$50,000 for basic configurations. These Windows NT and Unix systems include hardware, software, and plenty of vendor support.

High-end systems Mozart (for the AS/400), from Framingham, MA-based CommercialWare; Order Power! (for the AS/400), from Computer Solutions, Miami Springs, FL; DMMS (for the AS/400), from Applied Systems Technologies, Ft. Smith, AR; and MACS (for the HP-3000), from Smith-Gardner in Boca Raton, FL, cost at least $50,000. They’re best suited for companies that take in hundreds, if not thousands, of orders a day.

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