Manufacturers get into Linux

Manufacturing ERP and supply chain software vendor QAD says sales of its product on Linux are catching up to those on Windows.

Manufacturing ERP and supply chain software vendor QAD says sales of its product on Linux are catching up to those on Windows.

QAD has been certifying MFG/PRO to run on Linux for two years. QAD Australia and New Zealand managing director Gordon Fleming says a tiny percentage of sites currently run MFG/Pro on Linux but he is bullish on the number of new sites opting for the open source operating system.

He estimates that of the 2400 MFG/PRO customers worldwide only about 50 would be using Linux.

“But if I look at rate of sale by operating system Linux would right up there.”

He believes Linux is grabbing share from Windows NT and Windows 2000.

“Five years ago the penetration of the different operating systems in our sales would have been dominated by Unix — mainly HP-UX,” says Fleming. “Over the last few years there has been a prevalence for NT as the server platform, particularly for smaller sites. My observation now is that more and more people whom we would have expected to run NT are choosing Linux.”

Fleming says the penetration of NT into new sales in Australia and New Zealand has been about 45% over the past three years, with various flavours of Unix making up the balance. “My suspicion we will see Linux starting to take a fair wad of that, especially in the smaller sites.”

Kapiti Cheese, which is the only MFG/PRO on Linux site in New Zealand, chose the open source operating system on QAD’s recommendation.

He says it’s a top performer and has captured the enthusiasm of the company’s technical staff.

“The performance of Linux on the same amount of Intel hardware versus NT is massively better. It has delivered on some of the promises that SCO Unix didn’t deliver on.”

He says customers tend to be coming at it from the angle that they’ve heard Linux is good, it’s low cost and it seems to have great credibility with clients for robustness.

“We’ve found that technical issues with the OS are incredibly low and perhaps lower than NT.”

QAD currently has 18 customers in New Zealand including Kapiti, Tip Top, Comvita and Goodman Fielder. It has two staff, wants to hire three more and is planning to have a head count of 20 within three years. QAD has 120 staff in Australia. In the past 18 months it has moved from an indirect distribution model through Cogita to a direct presence.

Fleming says the next wave in QAD’s application suite will be focused on collaboration and supply chain.

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