Change your view: Enterprise vendors want users to embrace ERP as a strategic tool 

Most manufacturers rely on ERP systems to process major transactions. Now enterprise vendors want users to change the way they think about ERP—a strategy that was evident in the product announcements coming from the fall user conferences of three midmarket ERP vendors: IFS, Infor, and Epicor.

11/03/2008



Most manufacturers rely on ERP systems to process major transactions—taking orders, tracking inventory, recording payments, and more. Now ERP vendors want users to embrace their systems as strategic tools that serve up information to aid in decision-making that will improve business performance.



Convincing users to change the way they think about ERP was evident in the product announcements coming from the fall user conferences of three midmarket ERP vendors. New Web-oriented user interfaces, role-based portals, and tight links to widely used desktop applications such as Microsoft Excel are key components of what these vendors are referring to as next-generation ERP suites.



The three user events kicked off in Chicago the week of October 5, where IFS offered attendees to its North American user conference a demonstration of its new Aurora user interface, which the company says sailed through alpha testing this past summer.



IFS CTO Dan Matthews says the Aurora interface "brings the usability of enterprise software to the next level, emulating the look, feel, and simplicity of consumer applications.” The interface is now available as an add-on to the current edition of the IFS ERP suite, IFS Applications 7.5. It’s expected to be the default interface in the next version of IFS Applications.



“The new navigation possibilities are amazing,” Senior CAD Engineer Derek Johnstone of IFS customer Wolfson Microelectronics says of the Aurora interface. “It’s easy to go back and forward in the application. The collaboration functions eliminate many of the manual steps currently necessary to communicate between colleagues. Now I’ll be able to carry out all the stages in a single application. With a couple of clicks I can select information and send it to a colleague extremely quickly and easily.”



Allowing users to execute complete business processes within a single application is one of the major goals Infor hopes to accomplish with the release of MyDay, a Web 2.0 interface unveiled at the Infor user conference the week of October 12.



“Infor MyDay is a new type of interface that lets users look at information in a way that is relevant to their specific roles,” says Christina McKeon, Infor’s director of product marketing for performance management solutions.



Infor hopes users will establish MyDay as the default home page on their desktop PCs, bringing them immediately to the Infor application suite when they log on to begin their work day.

“A plant manager can log in and get a list of alerts about issues that might delay the manufacturing process that day,” McKeon says. “They can click an alert to get more details, and then immediately move the appropriate applications to resolve the situation.”



The MyDay interface is expected to be generally available in January 2009. McKeon says interfaces for 16 roles—“including several that are core to manufacturing, such as production planner, purchasing manager, and warehouse manager”—should be available at that time.

In keeping with its stated philosophy of moving a series of recently acquired applications to a single technology platform, Infor is making the first-release MyDay interface available to users of four of its product suites: SyteLine, Adage, Visual, and LN.



McKeon says Infor is relying on its Open SOA (service-oriented architecture) platform to link MyDay to these various application suites. Infor introduced Open SOA at its 2007 user conference and declared it would be the platform for connecting all new Infor functionality to existing products moving forward.



In addition to the MyDay interface, Infor is developing software components that perform various business functions, and can be linked to any of its existing applications through the Open SOA platform. In January 2009, 19 business components are expected to be available.

“This is our strategy for not forcing you to move to a new software platform,” Infor CEO Jim Schaper said in his keynote address to users at the conference. “It’s working for you and for us.”

Epicor also has an SOA underpinning the latest version of its ERP suite—Epicor 9—which it unveiled at its user conference the week of October 19.



Epicor CEO Tom Kelly calls out these key features of Epicor 9:

• Enhanced business intelligence and performance management functionality;

• A flexible, scaleable architecture; and

• The ability to access the system anytime, anywhere—including on mobile devices.



“Epicor 9 is designed for the way people work today,” Kelly says. “Our strategy is to provide both new and existing customers with unprecedented flexibility and choice. It’s about delivering business without barriers.”





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me