Visibility ERP tracks deep into orders
When Ontario-based Nanometrics Seismological Inc. decided in early 2007 to find a new ERP system, the company evaluated more than 20 solutions, explains Ian Talbot, Nanometrics' director of finance. And somewhat to his surprise, Talbot relates, the choice was Visibility Corp.'s Visibility.net offering—a solution aimed at complex manufacturing environments typically engaged in building eng...
When Ontario-based Nanometrics Seismological Inc . decided in early 2007 to find a new ERP system, the company evaluated more than 20 solutions, explains Ian Talbot, Nanometrics' director of finance. And somewhat to his surprise, Talbot relates, the choice was Visibility Corp.'s Visibility.net offering—a solution aimed at complex manufacturing environments typically engaged in building engineer-to-order (ETO) products.
For Nanometrics—a maker of seismographs, seismometers, and satellite-based telemetry equipment—complex manufacturing and ETO are very much the order of the day. “The ability to track costs across orders and customers is critical—but while every ERP system tracks costs, what surprised us about the Visibility solution was the depth it went into when doing so,” says Talbot.
That revelation was echoed at almost every point of comparison with competing systems. “In the end, it boiled down to a question of 'bang for the buck',” explains Talbot. “Visibility included capabilities that other systems required us to obtain through add-on, third-party applications.”
The built-in report writer, for example, generates custom designed reports without a third-party report writer such as Business Objects ' Crystal Reports. Likewise, Visibility's document management capabilities precluded the need to buy a document management application. “We can attach to a given screen whatever documents we like: invoices, specifications, drawings—just about anything at all,” explains Talbot.
Visibility's workflow capabilities were another attraction. Given Talbot's experience with SAP workflow in a previous position, he is unequivocal in characterizing it as “quite complicated.” With Visibility, on the other hand, no special software skills are needed to set up a workflow. “You just do it,” he says.
In short, the decision to go with Visibility virtually made itself. “Every time we said it probably didn't have this particular capability, we'd find that it did,” says Talbot. “With Visibility, we firmly believe we are getting an awful lot of value for the money we're spending.”
Nanometrics' endorsement comes as no surprise to Steve Carson, executive VP of sales, Visibility.
“Our differentiator is we target the ETO market specifically, whereas mainstream ERP vendors usually struggle to do that,” he says. “While we don't specifically target the build-to-stock market, we have to have a build-to-stock capability because our customers typically have spare parts and other items that they build-to-stock. But mainstream ERP vendors targeting the build-to-stock market don't usually also offer ETO.”
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.