IT News

Posted on 5 May 2010 by The Manufacturer

A look at some of the stories making the news in the IT sector.

Maxima to halve ownership cost for legacy ERP/CRM systems
Maxima, the IT business systems and managed services company, has launched a next generation suite of MAXcel specialist integrated business applications that leverage the power of the Microsoft Dynamics platform to help take the cost, complexity and risk out of enterprise software projects.

The company will extend its activities from core construction and maintenance solutions to support all aspects of the business management lifecycle. MAXcel also offers specific applications for construction, contract management, service management and manufacturing.

Graham Kingsmill, Maxima’s chief executive officer, said: “Initial feedback for our MAXcel family of applications has been extremely positive, particularly from those organisations that have witnessed how they can unlock significant business benefits by migrating from their legacy ERP systems to a next generation solution based on Microsoft Dynamics AX.” Maxima recently won a contract from Hill & Smith Ltd, the safety barriers and workzone protection systems provider, whose multidivision operations will be supported by the new MAXcel ERP solution.

The specific requirements of the company include improving user productivity, delivering increased insight for financial management, and helping to reduce costs in sales order management.

Epicor launches new ERP release
Epicor introduced a new ERP suite in more than 50 countries, representing 65% of the global economy. The offering, Epicor 9.05, builds upon Epicor 9 and delivers capabilities focused on cost reduction, process improvement and customer responsiveness (which, reports have found, are the main priorities for small and medium businesses now that recovery is on its way).

Every new capability was considered in terms of the industries Epicor serves, and their need for better expense management and heightened customer responsiveness and service. For instance, for manufacturers and distributors the introduction of lean performance metrics, enhanced quality assurance and a real focus on both inbound enterprise asset management and outbound aftermarket mobile service management are just a few areas that were introduced.

James Norwood, senior vice president, worldwide product marketing for Epicor, said: “As we begin to emerge from the economic challenges of the past two years, we’re seeing a conservative ‘maximise efficiencies, minimize expenses’ philosophy in the markets we serve. Our new release is designed to enable customers to target these often competing mandates.”

HP and Siemens PLM software team up
HP and Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division, announced a global agreement allowing the companies to accelerate client adoption of software and services that reduce the time needed to implement PLM projects.

With these projects increasingly sophisticated, companies often require a single prime contractor to take full responsibility of the deployment and financial transaction. The agreement expands the existing relationship between Siemens PLM Software and HP, enabling clients to source PLM software products, hardware and services directly from HP, thereby freeing up resources to focus on the core business.

Joe Barkai, program director, IDC Manufacturing Insights, said: “More than ever, manufacturers must align their product development efforts more closely with their business strategy.

This means teaming with global partners who can combine the PLM technology and business process expertise to get the job done.” The agreement allows HP to expand its ability to directly sell PLM products and services globally, in addition to designing, developing and deploying complete Siemens PLM Software solutions for enterprise businesses.

Presspart turns to SAP
Blackburn-based Presspart, the manufacturer of precision formed metal components, has started using the SAP All-in-One solution.

In December 2008, Presspart (part of the Heitkamp & Thumann Group) decided to look for another software, after the one it was using, an old version of Sage, was found no longer adequately maintained. The selection process was extensive, because the solution had to be usable in a way that would allow the company to meet the regulatory requirements of a pharmaceutical supplier.

In one configurable solution, SAP Business All-in-One helps companies manage everything from financials, human resources, procurement, inventory, manufacturing, logistics, product development and corporate services, to customer service, sales and marketing.

Dietmar Schmitz, finance director at Presspart, said: “Our products are used in life saving devices and our customers depend on us to keep them supplied. It was therefore imperative that the system worked from day one. When choosing a new technology vendor, we had to be absolutely certain we were making the right choice both with the software, and also the implementation partner as we couldn’t afford for anything to go wrong.”

Preactor provides tech solution for Saudi company
Preactor International, the planning and scheduling software company, announced a business win with Adada & Kabbani, a Saudi Arabian specialist modular furniture manufacturer.

Adada & Kabbani, which had a 2009 turnover of SAR 70m (about £12m), needed a technology solution that could integrate its ERP system to enhance its planning and scheduling performance.

The company’s general manager and cofounder, Yahya Adada, said: “Our biggest challenge is capacity planning and our own ERP system cannot deal with the capacity planning complexities of our business processes. What we required was a dedicated standalone solution that had been developed specifically to manage the complex planning and scheduling challenges that manufacturers like ourselves require.” The implementation was handled primarily by Preactor India. P J Yogesh, general manager of Preactor India, said: “Most ERP systems cannot provide the level of control and flexibility required, even those with built-in planning modules. Preactor not only provides the planning and scheduling capabilities required but because of it’s proven ability to seamlessly integrate with ERP, it can actually extend the usable life of ERP system in question saving a huge amount of time, money and disruption.”

INTTRA introduces the electronic invoice
INTTRA, the global provider of e-commerce solutions, launched the first ocean freight invoice transmitted via eInvoice, the electronic invoice presentment and payment platform specially designed for the ocean freight industry.

The transaction processed by INTTRA eInvoice was submitted by CMA CGM (America) LLC to Golden Bridge International, Inc., a Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier headquartered in City of Industry, California.

Philippe Salles, director of eCommerce at CMA CGM, said: “Our experience with the INTTRA team has been very positive and CMA CGM has already seen significant potential cost savings and process improvements to our accounts receivable operations. The electronic invoice was the next improvement we wanted to provide our clients.” “Being able to automatically reconcile payments to specific invoices will help improve our service to customers, is much more environmentally friendly and will save considerable time,” he added.

INTTRA works with over 30 carriers and their customers to streamline and standardise their shipping processes worldwide. More than 300,000 container orders are initiated on the company’s platform each week, representing more than 10% of global ocean container trade.

Survey finds mobile apps use in businesses on the rise
A survey commissioned by Sterling Commerce found companies increasingly use mobile applications as part of their long-term success strategies.

Between 86% and 90% of respondents identified increasing worker productivity and responsiveness and customer satisfaction as key factors for deploying mobile applications.

The survey was conducted by Forrester Consulting, and focused on companies in the UK, US, France, Germany, Brazil and Canada working in different industries, from manufacturing to retail and communication.

Nearly 95% of respondents are deploying mobile devices for executive management and IT professionals; 84 to 87% of enterprises for sales professionals or administrative professionals; 75% provide them to field service personnel and 60 to 65% of enterprises use them for employees in supply chain, building security or customer service functions.

Ken Ramoutar, vice president, product and industry marketing, Sterling Commerce, said: “Enterprise Mobile applications can be used for so much more than m-commerce. As smart devices become more ubiquitous, companies need to find ways to maximise the benefits of these devices to help employees drive more productivity and improve customer service.”