IT News round-up

Posted on 3 Feb 2010 by The Manufacturer

A selection of the headlines making the news in the IT sector.

Sage launches ERP X3 v6
Sage, a supplier of business management software and services, this month unveiled its new global mid-market ERP solution; Sage ERP X3 v6.

With hundreds of enhancements and new features, Sage ERP X3 v6 has been specifically designed to address the key issues facing mid-sized and larger businesses: reducing costs, saving time, offering full interoperability among sites and dispersed teams across the globe and improving the overall customer experience.

Moreover, Sage has created an international team to support the development of the Sage ERP X3 business. This team includes key personnel from Sage’s worldwide businesses, bringing together Sage’s local expertise and global resources to ensure Sage ERP X3 is highly relevant to today’s customers. The team will work closely with Sage’s local operations to ensure Sage ERP X3 is complementary to local midmarket product offerings, and includes international pre-sales and professional services, training, global R&D and global marketing and communications.

Speaking at the launch, Paul Walker, Chief Executive of The Sage Group plc, said, “The creation of this global organisation to support our Sage ERP X3 customers is another evolution in Sage’s long history of delivering what our customers need. I believe there is a significant opportunity for Sage to break the mould of the conventional approach to global ERP. Sage ERP X3 is a proven solution which addresses this need and the latest version, and the new structure demonstrates our commitment to customers in this market.”

Epicor announces XL Connect
Epicor announced the release of Epicor XL Connect, a business reporting and analytics solution that provides real-time, secured access to business data from Microsoft Office Excel.

The solution enables users to leverage existing spreadsheets while avoiding copy-and-paste or SQL queries. Immediate integration to business data allows users to create reports faster and easier; multi-dimensional drill-down functions help them explore the detailed data in just a few clicks without leaving Excel.

“Using Microsoft technology, Epicor XL Connect will empower information workers to work smarter and faster with access to live data — plus the ability to run numbers and make adjustments without leaving Excel,” said Gray Knowlton, group product manager for Microsoft Office.

Exel Computer Systems celebrates 25 years
Exel Computer Systems, the UK based author and developer of the EFACS ERP system, reaches a quarter of a century of supplying business management solutions. The company was formed in 1985 by Dr John Ellis, who is still Chairman of the company today.

During the early 1990’s, Exel moved to their current head office at Long Eaton, Nottingham, where they have continued to develop, support and grow the EFACS product in line with industry and client needs within the manufacturing sector — including Royal Crown Derby, Naim Audio, TT Group, Selex Communications, SCA Packaging, Laura Ashley and Magellan Aerospace.

2009 saw the launch of Eagle Field Service, aimed at companies with a remote user or field engineer requirement.

This has been followed by the launch of EFACS Enterprise, which runs on an Oracle platform offering integration between EFACS and the suite of Oracle applications.

IFS applications selected by Spacesaver
Enterprise applications company, IFS, announced that Spacesaver Corp will implement IFS applications — including financials, distribution, manufacturing, engineering, maintenance and sales & support — to simplify its shop floor scheduling and streamline its business processes.

“Our current enterprise solution didn’t fully support our various modes of manufacturing, so we decided it was time to look for a more effective ERP solution,” Spacesaver Vice President of Finance Mary Schrimpf said. “We needed a new solution that had the flexibility to support our Project ETO and CTO manufacturing with a strong solution for our complex shop floor scheduling needs. After much consideration, IFS proved they offered the best integrated enterprise solution for our complex business needs.”

Siemens Software used in 90% of all new car programmes
Siemens PLM Software announced that its technology enabled the development of more than 90% of the vehicles that automakers exhibited at the North American International Auto Show.

In 2008, there were 68m cars produced globally by the top 50 Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, and of those vehicles, Siemens PLM Software’s technology was used in 64m.

Industry analysts project that 2009 totals are even greater than 2008.

“Of the 16 OEMs producing more than one million vehicles annually, 15 use Siemens PLM Software’s technology in the development and manufacturing of their vehicles,” said Siemens’ Chuck Grindstaff. “Overall, of the top 30 OEMs, 26 use Siemens PLM Software’s technology in the development and manufacturing of their vehicles — more than any of Siemens PLM Software’s competitors.”

SAP expands maintenance and support portfolio
SAP announced the availability of a tiered support model that is being offered to customers worldwide. This support offering includes SAP Enterprise Support services and the SAP Standard Support option, and will enable all customers to choose the option that best meets their requirements.

Additionally, in response to the financial challenges organisations continue to face, SAP announced that its 2010 fees for existing SAP Enterprise Support contracts will remain unchanged from 2009 levels.

“This tiered maintenance model will allow customers choice in the SAP support model,” said Nils Niehörster, industry analyst, RAAD Research. “By providing different support options, simplifying the pricing structure, and giving a level of predictability to budget planning, SAP is helping its customers make decisions based on their business requirements.”

PTC launches InSight Environmental Compliance software package
PTC has launched a new product analytics software package to ensure companies are not using restricted materials in their products.

InSight Environmental Compliance is a complete software solution for managing the environmental performance of products. The software allows companies to ensure that their products meet customer and regulatory requirements, achieve corporate environmental goals and are not subject to blocked sales and costly supply chain disruptions.

The list of environmental regulations for reducing hazardous substances is continually growing and currently includes: EU RoHS, China RoHS, Korea RoHS, ELV, and Reach. ERP and business intelligence solutions lack the requisite analysis capabilities and deep knowledge of the product Bill of Materials.

InSight helps manufacturers measure and improve product performance in terms of the various environmental directives which ultimately yields betterperforming, more profitable products that meet cost targets.

To avoid the additional costs associated with failing to meet environmental regulations, manufacturers must identify, track and control a constantly evolving list of high-risk substances. InSight provides a ‘best-in-breed’ solution for tracking and improving the environmental performance of products, parts, materials and suppliers.

New prescription for SAP

SAP AG chief executive, Leo Apotheker, unexpectedly left the German software giant after his contract was terminated by mutual consent. Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe have been appointed co-chief executives with immediate effect, returning to the executive structure traditionally employed by the company.

Apotheker, 56, had been with SAP for more than two decades. As chief executive, however, he presided over the first annual drop in revenue at the company since 2003, with 3,000 jobs being cut in the process.

Valmet drives revenues with Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce announced that Valmet Automotive, a provider of automotive engineering and manufacturing services of premium cars, has signed an agreement to automate and streamline the data communication of Sterling’s inbound logistics processes across the supply chain.

Sterling Commerce Managed Services will streamline Valmet Automotive’s EDI-communication processes and services for supply chain by ensuring secure and flexible community integration, business process automation and visibility into actionable information across the company’s vast and diverse partners. Additionally, the data tracking tool included with the service will provide Valmet Automotive visibility into real-time and historical B2B transaction data — allowing them to react more quickly and pre-empt possible resourcing issues.

“As a service provider for the automotive industry, we strive for the highest levels of agility and customer service,” said Arto Hakamaki, vice president, ICT Valmet Automotive. “We chose Sterling Commerce because the company stood out as a solution provider that understood the intricacies of our industry and our go-to-market requirements.”

LG Chem saves $4m with AspenTech’s process control solution

Aspen Technology announced that LG Chem’s deployment of aspenONE Advanced Process Control has resulted in $4m annual operational savings, while also helping the chemical company achieve its operational excellence goals.

In a single plant — the Daesan ethylene facility — the AspenTech Services team’s implementation of aspenONE APC delivered a 2% increase in ethylene and propylene production and reduced total NCC energy consumption by 1.5%.

Henry Lau, senior vice president & managing director for APAC, AspenTech, said, “We are very proud that LG Chem was able to achieve a return on investment within their desired timeframe. This is a strong demonstration of AspenTech’s superior technology and know-how, as well as outstanding project execution by our experienced professional services team.”

Lanner WITNESS edition delivers greener processes

Business process improvement company, Lanner, launched a new edition of WITNESS, its flagship process simulation solution. The latest edition will enable businesses to simulate options and make operational decisions to maximise performance levels whilst reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption.

From CO2 to electricity, oil, water, gas or even steam, all measures of sustainability can be modeled in any units. These can then be cross-referenced against business performance to strike the optimum ‘efficiency balance’ between operational performance, cost and environmental responsibility.

David Jones, Lanner CEO, said, “Businesses have asked Lanner for this sustainability focus in our software. Organisations such as Ford, 3M, BAe, Nationwide, GSK and GazProm must all balance concern for the environment with the realities of business. As a result, the simulation software they use must track and optimise their use of the world’s scarce resources. WITNESS now offers the ability to explicitly address these issues as never before.”

Invensys and Preactor combine to supply Scandinavia manufacturers

Invensys Operations Management, a provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the process and manufacturing industries, that Wonderware Scandinavia has been appointed a network partner by Preactor International.

As a Preactor network partner, Wonderware Scandinavia will provide the complete range of Wonderware manufacturing execution systems and enterprise manufacturing intelligence software solutions embedded with Preactor technology.

The two companies were jointly selected by Chr. Hansen, a Danish biotech and food ingredient supplier, to provide Wonderware software for global deployment. Preactor will deliver production planning and scheduling software, connecting Chr. Hansen’s plant floor through the Wonderware MES layer.

“We are really excited about our partnership with Preactor,” said Christopher Ashworth, managing director for Wonderware Scandinavia. “They provide a proven complementary APS solution for our customers, and our collaboration has led to the development of Preactor’s APS module, which is basically a bolt-on solution to Wonderware MES software solutions.”

Symetri becomes Autodesk Consulting Partner

Symetri, the largest Autodesk manufacturing solutions reseller in Northern Europe, announced that it has been chosen as one of only four Autodesk Consulting Partners in the UK.

Originating from the combined forces of Imass Design Solutions and Trionics Ltd, Symetri provides total design software solutions, strategic and technical consultancy and training.

“It’s a two-way relationship, where Symetri gets access to valuable resources within Autodesk — and where Autodesk is able to use Symetri and its expertise on their projects,” says John Bartle, technical manager of Symetri.