Fujitsu Sets Out the ‘Fujitsu Technology and Service Vision 2020’

Tokyo, Global, May 14, 2020 – Fujitsu today announced the launch of the Fujitsu Technology and Service Vision 2020, which sets out how stakeholders can drive success in digital transformation during these uncertain times.

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on our lives, economies and societies. In addition, we face other difficult societal challenges from climate change to rapid urbanization and an aging population. As well, there are new risks brought by digital such as the spread of false information and the infringement of privacy. Digital technology has the power to significantly change the way people live and work. We must use this power to solve these challenges and change our world for the better. Fujitsu believes that the true value of digital transformation lives in this idea. Digital transformation will enable the necessary shift of existing businesses which will lead to the realignment business goals with the goals of society.

Read more on the Fujitsu website

Colmina

Fujitsu COLMINA, an IoT solution for the use of production data in discrete manufacturing, is officially available in Central Europe since the beginning of May!

Read the full article (in German)

 

SCSN

Samenwerking in leveranciersketens wordt steeds belangrijker. Hierin is het delen van data cruciaal, denk aan facturen, orders, logistieke en technische data, etc. Het verzenden, ontvangen en verwerken van deze ontvangen data is echter kostbaar, inefficiënt en foutgevoelig. Het Smart Connected Supplier Network biedt een nieuwe datastandaard én technische infrastructuur die het delen van data in ketens veel efficiënter maakt.

Lees er hier meer over op de Brainport Industries site.

Of lees er meer over op de Tradecloud site.

Fujitsu Unveils World’s First ERP Software Native to the Now Platform

  • Based on long experience at Fujitsu in ERP, FUJITSU Cloud ERP streamlines operations from sales to fulfillment and is available through an affordable and flexible per-user subscription model
  • Demos of FUJITSU Cloud ERP will be available at the ServiceNow(R) Knowledge 2019 conference in Las Vegas from May 5–9

As the world’s first ERP application native to the Now Platform, FUJITSU Cloud ERP users will enjoy a familiar experience with the flexibility to scale and adapt to changing business needs

News facts:

Sunnyvale, CA, May 05, 2019

Fujitsu America, Inc. and Fujitsu Glovia, Inc. today announced it has received certification of its application with ServiceNow, available now in the ServiceNow Store. Certification by ServiceNow is only granted to apps available in the Store and signifies that Fujitsu Cloud ERP has successfully completed a set of defined tests focused on Now Platform® security, compatibility, performance, and integration interoperability. The certification also ensures that best practices are utilized in the design and implementation of Fujitsu Cloud ERP with ServiceNow.

FUJITSU Cloud ERP is the world’s first Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application native to the Now Platform®. FUJITSU Cloud ERP offers a single 360-degree view of customers, while streamlining key business processes across the front and back office. Since FUJITSU Cloud ERP is a native Now Platform application, users can:

  • Eliminate the complexity of integrating Enterprise Service Management (ESM) and ERP, and gain instant access to one source of information enterprisewide
  • Leverage ServiceNow investments and know-how to manage users, optimize workflows, write reports, build dashboards, and integrate data sources

More information is available in the Fujitsu booth #137 at Knowledge 2019, where extraordinary people come together to take work to the next level in Las Vegas from May 5–9.

FUJITSU Cloud ERP helps enterprises:

  • Improve sales execution
    Through increased sales visiblity and a single sales execution process for all sources of demand, customers will notice benefits that include more accurate, reliable order commitments and shorter sales cycles.
  • Enhance fulfillment processes
    By offering inventory accuracy with full visibility and a flexible, single process for managing warehouses and locations, Cloud ERP reduces fulfillment cycle time and cost, while identifying bottlenecks and other issues.
  • Migrate quickly and easily
    No “rip and replace” or endless custom code – users experience the same technology, look and feel as the Now Platform they’ve grown accustomed to.

“As a ServiceNow Gold Sales and Services Partner, Fujitsu has a long history collaborating with ServiceNow to provide enterprise-grade solutions to customers around the globe,” says Ankit Gandhi, VP, SaaS Practice, Fujitsu America, Inc. “We’re excited to further enhance future collaborations by offering the first truly Now Platform-native ERP software on the market. The combination of a seamless migration and an intuitive user experience will undoubtedly appeal to current Now Platform users and new customers alike.”

“As a leader in ERP software and solutions, Fujitsu Glovia has championed digital transformation side-by-side with countless customers in many industries over a long period of time,” adds Yoshihiro “Zen” Nishi, CEO, Fujitsu Glovia, Inc. “By building this expertise directly into the innovative ServiceNow Now Platform, I’m confident that customers will be able to check off many of the boxes that they consider must-haves for an ERP solution; security, scalability, and flexibility are just the beginning. FUJITSU Cloud ERP gives users enormous control over their enterprises – with plenty of room to grow.”

“FUJITSU Cloud ERP is another validation of the power of the Now Platform to enable our ISV partners to create new enterprise workflow apps that complement ServiceNow IT, Employee, and Customer workflows and deliver more value to our joint customers. We look forward to rolling out this exciting ERP solution to customers who are keen on gaining a competitive advantage in sales execution and fulfillment,” said Avanish Sahai, VP ISV/Technology Alliances, ServiceNow.

Pricing and availability
FUJITSU Cloud ERP is available for on a per user subscription basis with options for current ServiceNow customers and for new users of the Now Platform. To learn more, visit the ServiceNow Store or the Fujitsu Glovia website: https://www.glovia.com/.

Online resources

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 140,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. For more information, please see www.fujitsu.com.

About Fujitsu Americas

Fujitsu America, Inc. is the parent and/or management company of a group of Fujitsu-owned companies operating in North, Central and South America dedicated to delivering the full range of Fujitsu products, solutions and services in ICT to our customers in the Western Hemisphere. These companies are collectively referred to as Fujitsu Americas. Fujitsu enables clients to meet their business objectives through integrated offerings and solutions, including consulting, systems integration, managed services, outsourcing and cloud services for infrastructure, platforms and applications; data center and field services; and server, storage, software and mobile/tablet technologies. For more information, please visit:
http://fujitsu.com/us and http://twitter.com/fujitsuamerica

Press Release :: FUJITSU GLOVIA, Inc. Releases GLOVIA G2 V3.5.0

Manufacturing ERP Software Update Enhances Functionality, Adds Several New Modules

Contact Us to Set Up A Demo Today!

EL SEGUNDO, CA, May 31, 2018 — FUJITSU GLOVIA, Inc. has released GLOVIA G2 V3.5.0, which expands upon its manufacturing planning and execution experience gained over more than 30 years. The new release provides a number of enhancements to the company’s manufacturing ERP software, along with three new applications.

New modules for Shop Floor Dispatch, Enterprise Search, and Contract Agreements add functionality not previously available within GLOVIA G2.

Shop Floor Dispatch eliminates the need for batching information; it provides the customer’s production team with a visual ‘one-stop’ tool for managing and recording production and inspection activity.

Enterprise Search
enables users to easily find and access capabilities within the ERP system that they haven’t used in a while or learn to use if they’re new users.

Contract Agreements provides recurring billing functionality for aftermarket companies that offer service and maintenance agreements or rentals.

GLOVIA G2 V3.5.0 also features many enhancements to existing ERP modules, including:

  • New file upload capability
  • Improved item, supplier, customer, contact searches
  • New General Ledger sub-Ledger and enhanced re-valuation capabilities
  • Improved Bank Reconciliation
  • Project accounting enhancements
  • New ERP integration for GLOVIA G2 Sequencing
  • Contract Management enhancements for shipping and transaction maintenance
  • Extensions to the engineering drag and drop capabilities
  • Enhancements to Repetitive Schedule and Customer Releasing capabilities
  • Further improvements to Ad-hoc grids
  • Further improvements to Insights
  • Expansion of Capable To Promise availability

Increasing the amount of real-time recording and response of factory floor systems was a key driver of the new release, according to Jim Errington, VP of Sales and Service.

“These software enhancements reflect more than a year of customer interactions to learn how we can better manage their changing requirements,” he said. “And, the feedback we’ve received from beta testers of this new software have been very positive.”

“The new Repetitive Schedule functionality in GLOVIA G2 V3.5.0 allows us to set multiple schedules per day and even per hour. This increased precision and flexibility will allow us to eliminate duplicate work and custom scheduling side systems,” said Chris Sandlin, senior manager, Information Technology for Keihin North America, Inc. “Less software for us to maintain and less work/more efficiency for our end users is always an outcome we can get behind.”

“Other new features that will really enhance our productivity within GLOVIA G2 are the new paging screen layouts, color-coded Grid thresholders (no longer just an on/off two-color option) and the new grid-like functionality added to paging screens. All of these features were big hits with our end users during beta testing,” Sandlin said.

“Working with the GLOVIA development and executive team members during the beta testing turned out to be a very positive experience,” he said.

GLOVIA G2 V3.5.0 is available on May 31. Installation, migration and testing time for existing GLOVIA G2 customers takes approximately 1-3 days, Errington said.

The company plans to showcase its new ERP release at the following upcoming events:

IMTS in Chicago, Sept. 10-15
• FABTECH in Atlanta, November 6-8

For a full list of ERP software enhancements in GLOVIA G2 V3.5.0 contact Fujitsu Glovia.

About Fujitsu
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 140,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.1 trillion yen (US $39 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018.

About Keihin North America
Keihin North America is a leading manufacturer of precision technology parts for the automotive and powersports industry, as well as other specialty applications. We are focused on exceeding customer expectations, building a preferred workplace and being a respected corporate citizen. Keihin North America operates manufacturing facilities in the United States (Greenfield, IN, Muncie, IN, Tarboro, NC, Mt. Sterling, OH, and Capac, MI), Mexico (San Luis Potosi, MX), and Brazil (Manaus, BZ), and employs more than 2,000 associates. Keihin North America is a major supplier to the automotive and powersports industries, as well as other strategic partners. www.keihin-na.com.

About FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC.
Founded in 1970 as Xerox Computer Services, FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. in 2000. Its GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP software was first launched in 1990 as Xerox Chess and the next generation version was released as GLOVIA G2 in 2010. FUJITSU GLOVIA is one of the few manufacturing ERP providers offering solutions in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and Japan. Its more than 1,000 customers include small, medium and large companies in the automotive, aerospace and defense, and electronics industries, as well as related Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers.

All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Click here to Download Press Release.

Contact FUJITSU GLOVIA to learn more about how our GLOVIA G2 solution can help maximize your company’s production and increase the amount of real-time recording and response of your factory floor systems.

Press Release :: GLOVIA G2 v.3.1 Manufacturing ERP Software Scores High

TEC deems Fujitsu Glovia’s system a highly competitive solution, citing several modules, including Manufacturing Management and Inventory Management

EL SEGUNDO, CA, October 09, 2017 — Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) rates GLOVIA G2 “a highly competitive solution in the ERP for discrete manufacturing software space,” based on a recent review of the ERP software designed by Fujitsu, Glovia Inc.

Several GLOVIA G2 modules were scored in the maximum range of functionality, including Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing Management, and Sales Management, according to the report from TEC ERP Analyst Ted Rohm.

GLOVIA G2 is built to make manufacturers more productive, and Fujitsu Glovia has permeated the lessons of lean manufacturing down into the solution,” Rohm wrote. “The user experience has been refined to bring the execution of tasks to the user, as opposed to making the user seek out the next operation.”

He specifically noted the system’s homepage for its clear, easy-to-find displays of tasks, messages, and work processes that need attention.

“Insights … are created by triggers in the database that push the information in the system to the user, instead of a user having to run a report or go into a screen to determine the status of a work process,” Rohm wrote.

He also highlighted GLOVIA G2’s:

– Deep functionality

– Presentation of complex processes in a simple, easy-to-understand manner

– Versatile applications that can operate independently, access GLOVIA G2, or be integrated with other software

– Extensive and well-defined set of application modules

– Ability to add new modules to meet changing industry and customer needs

“GLOVIA G2 is a hidden jewel in the discrete manufacturing ERP software space,” Rohm wrote. “The solution embodies the lean manufacturing principles it is built to support, with a lean user experience that has been honed through years of continuous improvements.”

The high score and strong assessment were welcomed by Fujitsu Glovia. “We’re gratified by the industry acknowledgement of GLOVIA G2’s outstanding ERP capabilities,” said Jim Errington, Fujitsu Glovia’s EVP Sales and Service. “We’ve dedicated ourselves to continuing to ensure the best experience possible for our customers.”

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

About FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC.

Founded in 1970 as Xerox Computer Services, FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. in 2000. Its GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP software was first launched in 1990 as Xerox Chess and the next generation version was released as GLOVIA G2 in 2010. FUJITSU GLOVIA is one of the few manufacturing ERP providers offering solutions in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and Japan. Its more than 1,000 customers include small, medium and large companies in the automotive, aerospace and defense, and electronics industries, as well as related Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers. Contact FUJITSU GLOVIA to learn more about its manufacturing ERP software.

All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Contact FUJITSU GLOVIA to learn more about how our GLOVIA G2 solution can help maximize your company’s production and respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

GLOVIA G2 v.3.1 Manufacturing ERP Software Scores High

GLOVIA G2 version 3.1 Manufacturing ERP Software was recently reviewed by the Technology Evaluation Centers ERP Analyst, Ted Rohm. With a focus on comparing GLOVIA G2 against the ERP competition in a variety of capabilities, including Financials, Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing Management, Quality Management, Sales Management

 

Click Here to Download the Report!

Article Excerpts from Certification Report, Authored by :: Ted Rohm

“Based on the information obtained by TEC, GLOVIA G2 scores as a highly competitive solution in the ERP for discrete manufacturing software space. In the Focus Indicator, the Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing Management, and Sales Management modules are shown with an asterisk next to the module name. This indicates that GLOVIA G2 scores in the maximum range of functionality for these modules.”

“GLOVIA G2 is built to make manufacturers more productive, and Fujitsu Glovia has permeated the lessons of lean manufacturing down into the solution. The user experience has been refined to bring the execution of tasks to the user, as opposed to making the user seek out the next operation. Just as manufacturers continually improve every step of a process, the GLOVIA G2 system has been continuously improved on over the past years to present the important, actionable tasks to the user.”

“Upon entering the GLOVIA G2 system, a user is presented with a homepage that contains a set of panes that provide immediate insight into the tasks, messages, or actions that she/he needs to address (figure 1). The home screen displays work process insights which are created by triggers in the database that push the information in the system to the user, instead of a user having to run a report or go into a screen to determine the status of a work process.”

TEC Analyst Observations on Fujitsu Glovia, Inc.—GLOVIA G2

“GLOVIA G2 is a hidden jewel in the discrete manufacturing ERP software space. The solution has extensive and deep functionality, yet is able to present these complex manufacturing processes in a very simple and intuitive fashion. The solution embodies the lean manufacturing principles it is built to support, with a lean user experience that has been honed through years of continuous improvements.”

“The name GLOVIA is an acronym for GLObal Value Integrated Applications. As the name implies, the system is built as a set of integrated but distinct applications. Many of the applications can operate independently, can access GLOVIA G2, or be integrated with other software applications. Figure 6 below shows the current set of application modules, which is both extensive and well defined. Fujitsu Glovia is continuing to add additional modules as the industry changes and as requested by the customers.”

Use TEC’s Advisor Tool to see how GLOVIA G2 stacks up against the competition!

Contact FUJITSU GLOVIA to learn more about how GLOVIA G2 ERP Solution can help your company respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC. Develops Hybrid ERP Strategy For Manufacturers Using SAP

Economical and Easy-to-Implement GLOVIA G2 Software Offers Ability to Make Faster Production Line Changes, Ramp Up New Plants Without Need for SAP Retrofits

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. (May 23, 2017) – FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC. has developed a hybrid ERP strategy that enables manufacturers to more quickly, easily and inexpensively make production line changes, expand manufacturing capabilities, add new facilities or implement Lean Manufacturing while continuing to benefit from the operational strengths of their SAP ERP systems.

The El Segundo company’s GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP software has been designed to be fully SAP-compatible, providing manufacturers the opportunity to incorporate a system with superior manufacturing ERP capabilities without disrupting corporate use of SAP for financial and human resource functions.

“This solution is ideally suited for organizations with multiple facilities and varied operations, where time to market is such a critical factor in the implementation of various business changes,” said Jim Errington, Executive Vice President of Sales and Service for FUJITSU GLOVIA. “The ease with which GLOVIA G2 can be incorporated in a manufacturing operation can cut implementation time from years to months compared to SAP.”

While many large, multi-facility companies view SAP as a one-stop ERP solution, the system can add tremendous cost and blow up the intended timetable when companies find opportunities to grow or change their business. At the same time, SAP, which was originally launched to manage financial operations, lacks the domain expertise of ERP systems, like GLOVIA G2, that were specifically built for manufacturing operations.

“Implementing GLOVIA G2 enables companies to take advantage of GLOVIA G2’s superior manufacturing ERP capabilities in manufacturing workflow, sequencing, optimization, traceability and pegging,” Errington said. “This solution serves small-to-large companies in a variety of discrete manufacturing industries, including automotive, aerospace & defense, capital equipment, electronics, engineer-to-order/make-to-order, telecommunications and high-volume manufacturing.”

Benefits of a SAP GLOVIA G2 Hybrid ERP System

GLOVIA G2 offers a number of advantages that make it an ideal manufacturing ERP solution paired with Corporate SAP applications:

  • Full integration of SAP modules
  • Lower cost of ownership, including licensing, implementation and maintenance cost savings
  • Easy to implement – weeks or months to implement vs. years for SAP
  • Extensive manufacturing operations expertise, especially in Lean Manufacturing, using Kanban, Seiban or other Lean systems
  • Specialized industry-specific modules for ETO/MTO and automotive companies and suppliers

The cost and time benefits of GLOVIA G2 are of special merit when companies must undergo significant changes to their manufacturing operations. Designed from the ground up to support and manage manufacturing businesses, GLOVIA G2 provides:

  • Enterprise-wide visibility, with true supply chain transparency, eliminating information silos; a full-set of ERP modules integrating systems and business processes, linking companies to both their customers and suppliers
  • Unmatched flexibility, supporting manufacturing businesses without forcing changes to their business processes
  • Real-time responsiveness, slashing order-to-fulfillment cycle times and getting the right product to the right customer at the right place, time and price
  • Improved efficiency, reducing cost while eliminating excess inventories, boosting productivity and managing resources

Implementing GLOVIA G2 in concert with an existing Corporate SAP ERP enables manufacturers to avoid significant SAP change costs with completion of business process changes in a fraction of the time.

When to Consider an SAP GLOVIA G2 Hybrid ERP Approach

  • Factory production line changes will require a time-consuming and expensive retrofit of SAP modules
  • Implementing Lean Manufacturing, Kanban or Seiban
  • Seeking a low-risk solution for very complicated problems
  • Adding manufacturing ERP capabilities to multiple facilities
  • Starting up a new manufacturing facility

Learn more about FUJITSU GLOVIA’s SAP-compatible GLOVIA G2 ERP solution or contact FUJITSU GLOVIA for a software demo or more information.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

About FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC.

Founded in 1970 as Xerox Computer Services, FUJITSU GLOVIA, INC. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. in 2000. Its GLOVIA G2 manufacturing ERP software was first launched in 1990 as Xerox Chess and the next generation version was released as GLOVIA G2 in 2010. FUJITSU GLOVIA is one of the few manufacturing ERP providers offering solutions in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and Japan. Its more than 1,000 customers include small, medium and large companies in the automotive, aerospace and defense, and electronics industries, as well as related Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers.

All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Contact FUJITSU GLOVIA to learn more about how we can help your company respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

Advanced Manufacturing Article :: ERP Software for Small Shops

Read the Original Article Here.
Article by Patrick Waurzyniak

What can ERP do for managers running a small shop? The answer is pretty much everything, if you’re aiming to boost sales, make manufacturing production goals and build high-quality parts, and in turn satisfy customers and make a decent profit.

While enterprise resource planning (ERP) is often seen as the domain of large-scale manufacturers, job shops of all sizes in discrete manufacturing greatly benefit from digitizing operations with modern software that often lifts the smaller builder out of working off paper-based systems and Excel spreadsheets into the latest ERP automation with digital scheduling and production analysis tools.

The latest ERP software can be tailored to use at smaller shops, with easy-to-use smartphone interfaces for accessing shop ERP data and new big-board electronic schedulers offering easy touch-screen input on the factory floor. Many options are available now to small manufacturers, including either on-premises installations or newer cloud-based ERP systems that promise to dramatically cut technology costs by removing most of, or even eliminating, the costs of maintaining an expensive IT infrastructure.

Tailored for Small Shops

Not all ERP systems are built alike, and small shops with well under 100 employees might be best suited to shop-floor management and ERP systems that are custom-built for the smaller operator. A full-fledged ERP system from the big names in the business, say from SAP, Oracle or one of the many enterprise-level applications, may not be ideal for many smaller shops.

“Feature-wise and functionality-wise, we have capabilities that are found in the larger systems,” noted Henning Industrial Software (Hudson, OH) President Rich Henning. “The depth and breadth of what we cover is large,” but without the big price tag of large ERP systems, said Henning, developer of Visual EstiTrack ERP software. For smaller manufacturers, the investment in large enterprise-level ERP systems can strain their finances. “Even Microsoft Dynamics is pretty expensive for a small shop,” said Henning, noting that shops can spend thousands of dollars just on the integrators installing such systems. “They can be overkill.

“Robust ERP and shop-management software systems are fully integrated operational and financial management systems that are designed help SME [small-to-medium enterprise] manufacturers manage nearly all aspects of their businesses,” Henning said. “Well-designed systems will support just about every functional area of a manufacturing facility. This includes managing the entire product lifecycle starting with Customer/Prospect Management, CRM, Job Estimating, Engineering, Sales Orders, Shop Orders, Scheduling, Capacity Planning, Material Requirements Planning, Purchasing, Receiving, Job Labor Reporting, Quality Management [i.e., Non-Conformance, Corrective Actions, etc.] and finally a fully integrated Accounting system [A/R, A/P, Fixed Assets, GL, Payroll and Human Resources Management].”

By methodically managing via a fully integrated ERP system every functional area of a manufacturing facility, small manufacturers can gain operational efficiencies and improve quality by gaining a true insight on their operations that only a well-designed fully integrated ERP system can provide, he added. “It can help a manufacturer turn all their day-to-day transactional data into actionable business intelligence,” Henning said, “that can lead them to higher levels of productivity and efficiency.”

Small shops need an ERP system to effectively run today’s manufacturing operations, which are more complex and fast-paced than ever, especially in made-to-order manufacturing environments.

“The truth is, in today’s business landscape, no business is too small for an ERP solution,” said Jeremy Klosowski, GM and director, sales and marketing, Realtrac Performance ERP (Livonia, MI), developer of Realtrac ERP. “Realtrac allows small businesses to operate, appear and compete like a large-scale enterprise. It allows management to do much more with much less and capture cost with true visibility while sharing information across various departments in an organization to reach production goals.”

Check the Big Board

Newer technologies like big-screen options take ERP scheduling and job management from paper or the desktop to very large touchscreen-enabled electronic boards accessible in the shop and on the factory floor. In the past year, Henning, who worked with a longtime customer, Littlestar Plastics (Rockford, IL), to develop a convenient shop-floor big-board touchscreen, introduced its new Touch Scheduling Board. Similarly, Realtrac this fall introduced its new Rightboard touchscreen scheduling system.
More mobile information is easily accessible by users via either smartphones or tablet computers with the new GLOVIA G2 ERP system from Fujitsu Glovia Inc.

“Our Touch Scheduling Board emulates and is designed to replace the magnetic scheduling boards often found in shops,” Henning said. “Our touch-based scheduling board provides an intuitive user interface and familiar magnetic board metaphor, thus reducing the user’s learning curve, making it much easier for shop-floor personnel to prioritize operations, view/set statuses and move operations from one work center to another.” The scheduling board also enables authorized users to change run quantities based on release coverage, view due dates, redefine routers and assign employees to work centers and/or operations.

Users can even color code cards by customer, define on-the-fly operational performance notes that can be shared with other shop personnel and set a variety of shop order statuses, such as “Waiting for Material,” Henning added, and animated icons are used to show hot and late jobs.

Realtrac is always making improvements to stay competitive and be the first in its class of small-to-medium size shops, Klosowski said. “We have recently launched our touch-screen electronic Rightboard, and RFQ [Request for Quote], to name a few. Each feature has an extremely large impact for costing and real-time operations,” Klosowski noted. “The Rightboard allows you to move jobs throughout your departments to workstations from a job pool with drag-and-drop technology, dramatically increasing workflow. The touchscreen allows you to see where your operations are in your shop as well as the timeline for that operation capturing employee rates. RFQ has multiple levels of quoting and adding vendors, shaving hours off your week.”

Mobile Access to ERP

The use of mobile devices with smartphones and tablets also continues to grow, and mobile devices have become much more accepted on the shop floor. “Henning Software offers a mobile option that we have named iVET that has an employee portal feature enabling shop-floor personnel to view their operational performance statistics, efficiencies, workcenter schedules, inventory levels, job assignments and to clock in/out of jobs using their mobile device, freeing them from having to walk up to a tethered computer, thus improving shop-floor efficiency,” he said.

Newer technologies aimed at making ERP easier to use include software employing .NET and SQL (structured query language), as well as HTML 5, which enables running it on laptops and on mobile devices, noted James Gorham, Executive Vice President of Fujitsu Glovia Inc. (El Segundo, CA), developer of the Glovia G2 ERP software.

“The risk is way higher for a small company,” noted Gorham of small shops seeking ERP solutions. “If they get it wrong, they can go out of business. Their ability to recover is obviously more fragile.”

ERP systems give small shops key controls for critical items including Bill of Materials (BOM), he noted, and it also gives the smaller operator effective cost controls. “The quicker they can adopt ERP the better,” Gorham said.

Going to the Cloud

For a lot of manufacturers, a key decision with ERP systems remains whether to go with the more traditional, tried-and-true on-premises installations—software that is licensed and installed locally—or to go with either a cloud-based system or one that is a hybrid, a combination of those two options. There are pros and cons to each approach.

“In the face of growing competition and a challenging business climate, many job shops and manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce costs, streamline operations, and improve the bottom line. Implementing ERP software is a proven solution for running a business efficiently and effectively,” said Kathie Poindexter, senior manager, product marketing, Epicor Software Corp. (Austin, TX). “Yet a large percentage of manufacturers have held back from implementing an ERP system due to high initial costs, long implementation times, and competing demands for time and resources.

“However, today ERP is being made more accessible to small shops [via reduced cost of ownership and complexity] so they too can streamline business processes and break down barriers to growth, while remaining agile for rapid response to customer demands and evolving markets,” she added.

ERP allows small manufacturers to track, measure, and monitor their entire business, from shop floor to top floor and from raw materials to final product, Poindexter said. ERP also boosts efficiency with real-time, actionable visibility into plant and business operations; reduces costs and streamlines processes; optimizes lean manufacturing to focus on the key priorities to make smarter decisions, eliminate waste and increase customer satisfaction; and allows adapting to new manufacturing methods, changing customer requirements, and evolving business strategies, she said.

“This is all done via a single platform for better real-time collaboration. Since many small shops have limited IT resources to manage/deploy software, many are opting for a hosted cloud ERP solution, which is delivered in a manner that minimizes complexity,” Poindexter added. “This also has cash-flow advantages, allowing businesses to pay as they go from OPEX [operating expenses] budgets vs. CAPEX [capital expenses].

“Cloud ERP is perfect for small manufacturers as it ideally facilitates the collaborative nature of manufacturing across the entire supply chain,” Poindexter said. “Thanks to cloud deployment models, which reduce the infrastructure and IT support requirements related to hosting and management of software, small manufacturers can now access ERP capabilities that were previously out of reach. Those shops are in a prime position to get the most out of the cloud, as their size necessitates a large, agile computing solution while their IT budgets generally prohibit a robust, in-house data center.”

Small shops can benefit greatly from cloud-based systems, said Realtrac’s Klosowski. “I believe that the cloud-based system has the potential to be a major tool for smaller shops,” said Klosowski. “It provides a cost-effective environment that backs up all the information while providing complete shop-floor control as being a sole manager for a smaller group of individuals.

“In addition to being cost-effective, Realtrac’s cloud-based ERP allows you to grow your business while managing operations from a distance,” he added. “There have been extreme advancements in ERP. Having a cloud-based solution allows the user real-time visibility. As anyone in this industry knows, manufacturing changes almost at the same speed as technology, inventory changes, demand changes, and equipment changes. With this visibility it allows the manufacturer to provide the right quantity and time and adjust to scheduling changes at the right time.”

The major plus for cloud ERP is users don’t have the IT infrastructure and related costs, added Fujitsu Glovia’s Gorham. “It’s basically outsourced. The updating of the system on the cloud, all of that is taken care of,” Gorham said. “The downside is you don’t own the solution. It’s a run-to-apply solution.

“We have some customers that start in the cloud and then port to the on-premises solution. That’s an hour or so of work at most, and the reason I can say that is it’s exactly the same solution. Most of our competition, they’re actually two solutions. Or they’re the same, but they cut it down to make it perform in the cloud. Our software is architected to be sub-second response times. That takes away the barrier if you want to move to the cloud, or the other way around.”

Cloud Concerns Linger

Many manufacturers still are hesitant to adopt cloud ERP, for varying reasons. “We do see some smaller businesses that are looking for cloud solutions, but a large number of them are still most comfortable with a software package that installs on-premises,” said Dan Griffin, director of product management for Macola (Dublin, OH), an ERP software provider and a division of Exact, which is based in the Netherlands. “Smaller businesses, those without a large IT staff, have concerns around cloud, specifically as it pertains to security, access and data ownership. Furthermore, cloud software often has limited configuration options—leaving a small business in a position to have to change its processes to work around the software.”

Griffin said Macola also sees that smaller businesses are concerned with the lifetime cost for purchasing software in the cloud. “The cost of entry may be lower, but the total cost of ownership can outpace a traditional software purchase in a few years.”

Typically, small businesses that select a “pure cloud” solution are doing so because of the lower barrier to entry, Griffin said. “Some of the benefits associated with pure cloud—such as 24/7 accessibility—are also available with traditional ‘on-prem’ software,” Griffin added. “For example, even with software on-premises, Macola 10 can be accessed via Web browsers, tablets and mobile devices. We also have customers who choose to create a ‘private cloud’ by hosting Macola with a provider like Amazon Web Services to gain benefits around hardware and infrastructure management while still maintaining ownership of their software deployment.”

In more rural areas, like much of the territory covered by Henning in the Midwest, worries over Internet broadband availability remain a key issue for manufacturers thinking of running shop operations on the cloud.

“That’s a real concern,” Henning said. A company can run its entire infrastructure on the cloud, but the broadband connection cannot fail, as it did recently in the area where Henning is based, when a trunk line interrupted the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) broadband connection that Henning’s own business uses. “We were down for like 36 hours. If somebody has that happen, that’s a real concern,” Henning said. “The risk is high.”

A lot of people are doing more of a hybrid approach, he added. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), is the true leasing approach, said Henning. But there are other options available to users who do not want to use a true cloud ERP, such as using a Windows server running in the cloud. “There’s no magic to this cloud stuff really,” he said.

“From our customer experience, we have not seen a great demand for cloud-based ERP systems up to this point,” Henning stated. “Most of our customers still feel more comfortable with an on-premises approach because that offers them more control over their systems and data. The fact of the matter is that companies wanting to use an off-premises-based ERP system must have the availability of very fast and reliable high-speed broadband Internet services, and broadband Internet services are not always available or as reliable in more rural areas of country where many smaller manufacturers may be located.”

Henning said some customers have chosen to move their computer infrastructure into the cloud by both using a cloud-based server as well as cloud-based workstations connecting remotely via thin-client remote desktop connections. If broadband is available, there can be a potential cost savings by using virtual servers and workstations in the cloud, he added.

“By running their computer infrastructure in the cloud, companies can avoid the capital expense of buying their own servers and workstations by using simple thin-client devices. By avoiding the cost of managing their own computer infrastructure, there may be some opportunity for cost savings.”

This article was first published in the December 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read “ERP Software for Small Shops” as a PDF.

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