Manufacturers took a look at a new solution for gearing ERP systems for e-business at the recent Geac user conference in Auckland. Toronto-based ERP vendor Geac bought Sydney-based TouchPoint Information Solutions to help its customers make the move to e-business. TouchPoint’s product FlexEcomm is designed to integrate with legacy enterprise systems so manufacturers can give customers and trading partners direct access to product and account information, and conduct interactive transactions over the Internet. Geac Asia-Pacific managing director Graeme Riley says Geac bought FlexEcomm to help users of Geac’s Timms, i2, System 21 and Streamline supply chain products implement e-commerce. The development manager at Christchurch-based Hamal Industries, Martin Morrissey, says the company is considering FlexEcomm as part of its e-commerce direction but he wants more XML capability. Morrissey says if the electrical wiring harness manufacturer chooses FlexEcomm it would have to be in conjunction with an purely XML-based system such as Microsoft BizTalk. Hamal Industries has been using Geac’s Timms system for 16 years, and is keen to transact e-commerce with customers and suppliers. “There’s an opportunity for us to use FlexEcomm to enable customers to make purchase orders on the system and to give limited access to our systems for inquiry purposes,” says Morrissey. DiverseyLever IT manager Olwyn Bourne says FlexEcomm has everything she is looking for. Auckland-based DiverseyLever is a subsidary of Unilever that makes cleaning products and uses Geac’s StreamLine supply chain system. “[FlexEcomm] seems very simple to use and I don’t think there wouldn’t be any issue integrating it with our system.” DiverseyLever uses Crystal Reports by Seagate and Bourne would like to put SQL and OLAP cubes on an e-business system to provide query and report functions for the company’s sales people. “We’d like to give reps information about the customer online and on the customer side it would be good if we could let them download copies of their invoices, statements, credit balance and current pricing. Ultimately they would also be able to order online as well.” As well as working with systems owned by Geac, FlexEcomm is designed to integrate with any ERP software and will also be sold on the open market. FlexEcomm customers in Australia include the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, the stationery distributor Kalamazoo Systems and Crane Metals, as well as APS Chemicals, an existing Geac customer.