One of the biggest problems with the ERP market is software vendors expecting customers to map their business processes on to software — rather than the other way around, says Mike Ross, New Zealand manager for manufacturing software firm Cincom Systems.
"While some companies that are totally disorganised and don't know what they're doing may benefit from that, a lot of New Zealand manufacturing companies have a good idea of what they're doing and know exactly what they want. They don't like the major vendors telling them that they must re-engineer their business along the lines of what the software does," says Ross.
Hugh Rimington, Australia and New Zealand general manager for the company, believes too many organisations have found a six- to 12-month BPR exercise too costly and largely theoretical. "Our approach is to find out what is wrong with the present method, show the customer a better way and be on hand to ensure it is fixed."
Cincom has launched Manage:Enterprise in New Zealand, an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system for midrange manufacturers. Cincom will also undertake any business process re-engineering (BPR) required to make the best use of the software. Ross says Manage: Enterprise will be just one of many products from ERP vendors where there is a "re-focus" on the software matching business needs.
"Often the software does what you want now, but when you get a new version, you lose all the changes you've made."
Manage:Enterprise is aimed at companies with revenue between $5 million and $80 million. Cincom claims the system will suit those small to medium-sized New Zealand manufacturing and distribution enterprises better than large-scale systems do. "Such enterprises, with typically 30 to 40 users, cannot get value from large-scale systems, which have licence fees to match their size. These fees, however, represent only about a third of what it costs to implement the system, apart from any ongoing resource and infrastructure costs." The company expects implementations to take as little as three months.
The Manage:Enterprise system scales from 10 users and the licence fee starts from $60,000.