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ERP Industry Systems
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erp industry solutions Top 5 Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Industry Perspectives

 government erp Government & Public Sector Overview | Reviews | Pricing | Demo | FAQs | Selection Assistance [Restricted Access]
 membership management Membership Management Overview | Reviews | Pricing | Demo | FAQs | Selection Assistance [Restricted Access]
 process manufacturing Process Manufacturing Overview | Reviews | Pricing | Demo | FAQs | Selection Assistance [Restricted Access]
 professional services automation Professional Services Overview | Reviews | Pricing | Demo | FAQs | Selection Assistance [Restricted Access]
 retail Retail and E-tail Overview | Reviews | Pricing | Demo | FAQs | Selection Assistance [Restricted Access]
Top ERP Industry Solution Award

Government ERP Government needs at a glance

Membership Management Systems Membership needs at a glance

Process Manufacturing Systems Process Manufacturing needs

Professional Services Systems Professional Services needs

Retail Systems Retail needs at a glance

  • Fund accounting requirements
  • Strong budgeting needs
  • Disabled persons Section 508 support
  • NIST security certification
  • CMMi company certification
  • GSA schedule helpful
  • Association management
  • Flexible group management
  • Self service utilization
  • Membership billing
  • Integration with CRM & A/R
  • Web 2.0 & social media tools
  • Flexible kits & bill of materials
  • Complex cost allocations
  • Formula-based recipes & inventory
  • Flexible work centers
  • Raw materials to production reporting
  • Flexible kits & bill of materials
  • Complex cost allocations
  • Formula-based recipes & inventory
  • Flexible work centers
  • Raw materials to production reporting
  • Integrated Point of Sale (POS)
  • Integrated e-commerce
  • Flexible price lists & discounting
  • Real-time inventory integration
  • Detailed inventory requirements

A Look at Process Manufacturing | The Requirements, The History and a Leading Solution

Most commercial manufacturing applications were designed for discrete manufacturers (those manufacturing companies that make finished goods that can be counted). Unfortunately, there are significantly fewer packaged solutions in the market for process manufacturers (those manufacturing companies that measure their product output by yield and flow rather than units; this crowd includes manufacturers of food, paint, chemicals or oil). For this reason, we've decided to take a more in depth look at the commercial process manufacturing software applications.

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 Process manufacturing requirements Process Manufacturing Requirements
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discrete manufacturing

There are two primary types of manufacturing systems - discrete and process. Discrete manufacturing applications are more plentiful and normally developed around a bill of material (BOM) which specifies whole or discrete quantities of materials such as 1 case, 4 components and 8 sub-components. Process manufacturing systems are recipe or formula based. For example, 50% water, 10% sugar and various other ingredients. Process manufacturers normally mix and blend ingredients rather than cut, shape and assemble hard goods. Hybrid manufacturers combine discrete and process manufacturing. Based in part to market size, demand and complexity, process manufacturing systems have not evolved with the same pace as discrete manufacturing systems. Process manufacturing software systems face several unique requirements:

  • Production batch process loss, gain, co-products and by-products accounting
  • Weight to volume conversions with calculations for Specific Gravity
  • B-directional lot tracking for product recall purposes
  • Formula, strength (potency) and high decimal inventory management considerations
  • Complex Quality Control, Certificate of Analysis, hazmat, FDA, HACCP, HAPS, MSDS and other regulatory requirements
 

Vertical markets generally requiring either process manufacturing or a hybrid solution include the following SIC classifications:

  • SIC 20 Food & beverage
  • SIC 21 Tobacco
  • SIC 26 Paper and pulp mills
  • SIC 28 Chemicals
  • SIC 29 Petroleum
  • SIC 32 Stone and glass
  • SIC 30 and SIC 33 Rubber and plastics and primary metals often require hybrid manufacturing systems
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 Process manufacturing software Process Manufacturing Systems Evolution
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Process manufacturing systems

Due to their hybrid manufacturing nature, many manufacturing companies have forced discrete manufacturing products to also accommodate their process manufacturing needs. To better meet this mixed need, software manufacturer Baan delivered an impressive array of ERP products designed for both discrete and process manufacturing enterprises. While Baan initially gained much market share, acquired over 15,000 customers (with 30,000 user mega deals occurring with customers like Boeing), gave SAP all the competition it couldn't handle, and grew to become one of the largest selling ERP companies in the world, the company's success was short lived. Short sighted management by the founding Baan brothers, a subsequent financial scandal, a fragmented product portfolio with little direction and a number of bad acquisitions (particularly the Aurum and Caps Logistics acquisitions) destroyed all company credibility and created a hostile investment community forcing an end to this once great company.

The Baan legacy stumbled along when an industrial controls company named Invensys plc acquired the company in 2000 for chump change. Baan's stock had fallen from $55 a share in April to $1.12 in June and investors wanted nothing short of a complete bail-out. Invensys was new to enterprise software applications, largely unheard of at the time and seemed little more than a new company created by a series of recent acquisitions. While the company integration was difficult and costly, Invensys implemented swift cost cutting measures across the board (with the notable exception of leaving the software development group largely in tact), refocused the product suite and upgraded the technology.

The turn-around was largely successful in Europe in terms of re-establishing some credibility and eliminating the financial bleeding. The destructive trail that led to the demise of Baan however eliminated Baan from any further life in the United States and dramatically hampered any new expansion to other territories beyond Europe. Later in 2003 Baan was acquired by SSA, which was later acquired by Infor in 2006. The combined Infor and SSA houses an ERP product portfolio of former companies which include Agilisys, Arzoon, Baan, Brain, Datastream, Epiphany, EXE Technologies, Geac, InterBiz, Lilly Software, Mapics, Marcam, Mercia, NxTrend, Provia and Vigilance.

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 Top process manufacturing software Top Process Manufacturing Leader
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Process Manufacturing Leader

The Baan software solution was ultimately folded into Infor. Infor wisely used the solution to round out an impressive manufacturing software product portfolio of lean, discrete and process manufacturing solutions.

Infor's manufacturing solutions cross two spectrums. The discrete solutions support highly flexible, order-driven manufacturing environments where both unit volumes and lead times are low. The discrete solutions are coupled with integrated manufacturing process modeling, change and compliance management, just in time best practices support and strong aftermarket customer service support.

The process manufacturing suite best supports high-volume, repetitive production environments. The solution is vertically oriented by industry and offers uniquely strong business process workflow tools, detailed lot traceability, manufacturing validation, regulatory compliance, and advanced analysis and reporting capabilities.

Our review of the Infor ERP products reveals well rounded manufacturing solutions combined with enterprise-wide ERP capabilities such as distribution and supply chain management (SCM), product life cycle management, financials (general ledger, receivables, payables, assets) and customer relationship management (sales force automation, marketing and customer support).

Manufacturing software solutions are often known as the technology laggards. However, Infor leverages a strong service oriented architecture (SOA) and XML-operated OpenWorld application and integration layer. We believe the product's architecture and technology appear viable for at least the near term.

The reality is that in the process manufacturing industry, software solutions are few, demand is high and competition is insufficient. Nonetheless, the Infor ERP product suites to a respectable job of meeting the needs for today's process manufacturers.

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