SSA offers SMEs a cheaper solution

PICSSA realises its flagship BPCS ERP package may be too expensive for smaller enterprises and hopes to address that market with a recent acquisition, Max.

PICSSA realises its flagship BPCS ERP package may be too expensive for smaller enterprises and hopes to address that market with a recent acquisition, Max.

BPCS is mainly installed on IBM iSeries (formerly the AS/400) servers but it has also been ported to Unix and Windows NT. However, SSA will focus BPCS sales on the iSeries from now on, saying that even on Unix or NT BPCS is seen as too expensive by some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

For SMEs looking at a Windows NT-based solution, the ERP vendor is offering Max, an ERP suite it with the acquisition of UK-based Max International from Fujitsu ICL for an undisclosed amount last April.

Max executive Brian Kite says Max isn’t a cut-down version of BPCS. “They’re different products from different sources and aimed at different marketplaces. BPCS is a more expensive and functionally rich ERP product. Max was designed around the SME marketplace.” He says, for example, BPCS customers would expect rich feature sets for CRM, advanced planning and scheduling, so SSA provides it by partnering with other vendors. “But we are building those functions into the next version of Max,” says Kite. It will be released in July.

Kite says Max’s major competitors are Great Plains and Navision.

SSA claims one Australasian Max customer in Perth and says the customer, which doesn’t want to be named until it goes live next month, has offices in Auckland which will also be rolling out the new software.

Max consultant Bobby Charlton says the software is aimed at smaller, made-to-order manufacturers particularly engineering, building supply, textiles, apparel, furniture, automotive, plastic and packaging suppliers.

Charlton says implementing Max is about half the cost of BPCS and a vanilla implementation takes about six weeks. He says a company with 50 concurrent users would cost about $1700 per seat. “We’re looking at solutions [costing] around $100,000 to $200,000.”

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