Based on a recent slew of announcements by Epicor, both in terms of customer wins and product releases (across the original Epicor business as well as in the former Activant and Solarsoft businesses), I expect the upcoming Epicor Insights 2013 conference will be an interesting multiday event. Most recently, Epicor announced the general availability of version 12.11 of the Epicor Prophet 21 wholesale distribution enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Prophet 21, which came from former Activant, is a broad solution for wholesale distributors, particularly in the electrical, fastener, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), industrial, plumbing, and janitorial industries. Read the rest of this entry »
TEC is pleased to announce that K8 by Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) is now TEC Certified for evaluation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) for distribution.
TEC Certification is designed to help organizations evaluate enterprise software solutions so they can make more informed buying decisions. For a product to be certified, the vendor must complete a detailed research questionnaire and deliver a formal product demonstration to show our analysts the product’s support for a specific set of real-world business processes. Read the rest of this entry »
As follows from its name, Bearings International is a distributor of a wide range of imported bearings and power transmission equipment. The company is located in South Africa and has more than 50 branches and other subsidiaries. The company has been using a number of UNIX-based legacy software applications that have been modified several times but eventually have come to the end of their tether. Thus, a modern, flexible, and technologically advanced system was required to support the growing business and help to explore new opportunities. Read the rest of this entry »
Despite my nearly two decades of covering the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market, every now and then I am still surprised to come across a lesser known and yet well run ERP software player. One such vendor is VAI (Vormittag Associates Inc.)–an award winning software developer and an IBM Premier Business Partner. Founded in 1978, VAI is headquartered on Long Island, New York, with US branch offices in Florida, California, and Illinois.
The vendor designs enterprise management software for IBM Power Systems, a platform that accommodates a number of popular operating systems (OSs). These software solutions allow VAI to offer a cost-effective business system to the midrange market. VAI’s solutions have always run on IBM midrange servers, and these multi-tier solutions run on multiple platforms in a variety of infrastructure configurations.
I recently had the opportunity, during Epicor’s global customer conference, to talk with Chad Meyer, director of product marketing, and he shared with me some of the highlights of Epicor’s vision and strategy for cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP). Read the rest of this entry »
In the early and mid-2000s, I had a fairly close relationship with Exact Americas (at that time called Exact North America). As a result, there were two in-depth TEC article series on the vendor from 2004 and 2006. At the time of the first series, the avant-garde collaborative Exact e-Synergy platform was introduced to the local market (meanwhile, the product has been renamed Exact Synergy). At the time of the second series, the Exact Software parent launched its global ERP offering Exact Globe, while its American division acquired Vanguard Business Analytics, which is now the Exact Business Analytics (EBA) offering.
In 2007, Exact Holding N.V. reorganized its regional structure, and Middleton, Massachusetts (US) is now the headquarters for the Americas (North, South, and Central) region. The other regional divisions within Exact are now Exact Benelux (as Exact has a great number of customers to manage within these countries, where it owns a significant market share) and Exact EMEA (the rest of Europe) and Asia-Pacific. In 2007 Exact also finalized its purchase of Longview Solutions in Canada, which is the corporate performance management (CPM) division.
Editor’s note, December 19, 2012: According to the vendor, the product discussed below did not become available.
Exact Software has recently released a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) offering in the cloud. Headquartered in the Netherlands and with offices in North America serving 100,000 customers worldwide, Exact offers two global ERP products (Globe and Synergy), as well as other local products (Macola, MAX and JobBOSS for the Americas, Exact Financials for the Netherlands, etc.). The company exclusively markets its products for small to medium businesses (SMBs) spanning many industry segments, with a focus on manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, and professional services.
Having just had the opportunity to discuss the new offering with the product manager for the Macola line, Michael McPherson, I recap that conversation below. Read the rest of this entry »
Openbravo ERP is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution on the less expensive side of the spectrum, which is valued by distribution and retail industries as well as by manufacturing, services, public-sector, and nonprofit organizations.
I caught up with Openbravo’s John Fandl recently about the company’s latest iteration of its ERP solution (version 3). In the past, we’ve mostly mentioned Openbravo as a peer to other open source ERP vendors, but it deserves to be considered in its own right. Read the rest of this entry »
Labor management systems (LMSs) are used primarily as a way for distribution operations to manage and track its labor activities. This includes real-time interaction with warehouse management and warehouse control systems in order to collect data on what workers are doing, how many locations they have visited, what inventory they have handled, what equipment they have used, and what paths they have traveled.
Most often used within the supply chain, an LMS helps a distribution operation improve worker productivity by providing the ability to
• report on all labor activity;
• compare labor activity to historical data; and
• report labor activity against established labor standards. Read the rest of this entry »
As ERP becomes more and more of a commodity, vendors are faced with the challenge of delivering an affordable core offering by delivering just the right mix of “standard” back-office capabilities and the vertical-specific capabilities demanded by the customers they serve. In light of this reality, some vendors have positioned themselves as best-of-breed ERP vendors that serve certain key verticals or microverticals by delivering comprehensive solutions to meet the specific needs of their clients; while other vendors pitch an ERP “platform,” allowing partners or clients to fill in the industry-specific needs. In any event, both cases demonstrate the increased maturity level of buyers of enterprise software. Read the rest of this entry »
When I speak with distribution executives nowadays, they all say the same thing: “We are struggling to keep our heads above water because of the economy.” However, before the economy took a turn for the worse, they talked about low profit margins, high inventory levels with low turns, and an erosion of their profitability because of their warehouses. I am often forced to ask, “Is the economy really that bad? Or, is your inability to deliver what your customers want, when they want it, and at a competitive price making it seem worse to your organization?”
In this blog, we want to make readers more familiar with the logic behind our Evaluation Centers on our Web site by categorizing them—and, at the same time, we want to represent our understanding of manufacturing and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems classification in general. We did not reinvent the wheel, but we are one of the few companies offering software selection services that provide all the tools you require to find your way to the right ERP for your business needs. All you have to do is to follow our logic, which starts with very simple business processes; but it can get more and more complex, depending on the type of activity you do. Read the rest of this entry »
With all the recent talk of the economy and the environment, I thought it would be relevant to look at some of the small things we, as individuals, can do to help our companies battle the economic downturn while saving our planet. Today, social responsibility is not only good PR, it makes good business sense. Here are some simple steps you can take to help your company go green while still keeping extra “green” in its pockets: Read the rest of this entry »
The Green Philosophy
There has been so much hype about “green” that many organizations are adopting it, but what is “green”, really? We hear and see it everywhere—in the food we eat (green beans), during our morning routine (green contact lenses), on our way to work (green traffic lights), in our down time (green tea), and during the course of our work day (green initiatives). Green initiatives can be seen in every industry and every sector: from marketing to engineering, from infrastructure to architecture, from supply chain to technology, and more. Read the rest of this entry »
Manufacturers serving such retail giants as Wal-Mart or Costco are exposed to severe challenges—not only because of the economies of scale these outlets demand, but also because of the investment required in technology and capital equipment to manage the sheer volume of manufactured goods. Read the rest of this entry »