Small-company design engineers frustrated with managing parts inventories in Excel spreadsheets or with hand-written notes have another alternative: new on-demand software from newcomer Aligni.
The new Aligni on-demand parts, components and inventory management service aims to liberate design engineers from tedious part- and vendor-tracking processes by serving up real-time data such as design notes, BOMs, inventory levels, vendor information, RFQs and historical information from an easy-to-use-and-deploy, Web-based application.
Aligni’s Software-as-a-Service approach saves smaller companies with limited IT staffs the hassle of configuring and managing complex client software and can be deployed without having to invest in costly hardware to run the application. The on-demand model, the company’s focus on small engineering teams – typically under 25 – and its concentration on parts and inventory capabilities differentiate it from the more complex PDM systems, including on-demand PLM vendor Arena Solutions.
“We’re trying to get customers who are small and designing projects to get off a spreadsheet and onto a package that can save them a bunch of time,” says Jake Janovetz, Aligni’s CEO and founder. “We can provide anytime, anywhere collaboration and can encourage good design practices.”
Aligni’s main capabilities include:
The ability to search and manage hundreds to thousands of discrete parts, vendors and manufacturers, including vendor lists, parts alternatives and detailed part information
Built-in part alternative management for easy substitution and the ability to drill down on parts for an assembly
Tools for managing manufacturer/vendor lists, including contracts and approved vendor lists
The ability to create RFQs and submit and manage vendor quotes within the Aligni parts database. A “Short Lists” feature shows exactly what is needed to buy-to-build and there are capabilities for managing inventory transfers
Migration tools for importing data from Excel and client-based software called Parts & Vendors along with data export tools
Engineers who want to test drive the software can access a free 30-day trial. Pricing starts at $15 a month for a starter kit servicing one user and 100 parts up to an enterprise version priced at $199 a month that supports unlimited users and up to 15,000 parts.