Re-Visiting Enterprise Resource Planning
Manufacturer Glebar Co. upgrades its ERP system from DOS to Windows, with the help of a Macola Software VAR, Integrated Planning Systems, Inc.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a hot button in technology circles these days. Vendors, VARs, and end users alike are concerned with this new software, designed to support and automate the business processes of medium and large businesses. ERP software functions include manufacturing, distribution, personnel, project management, payroll, and financials. Glebar Co. (Franklin Lakes, NJ), a manufacturer of precision machine tools used in healthcare, went through its initial installation phase in 1993. The company completed its first major upgrade this summer, moving from a DOS-based Novell system to a Windows-based system.
Starting Out In DOS
Glebar was using a proprietary system that didn't provide the customer with the reports it needed for a manufacturing solution. The company began its search for a better solution by contacting vendors of ERP software. From there, Glebar found Macola Software (Marion, OH) and talked with a local VAR, Integrated Planning Systems (IPS) of Fair Lawn, NJ.
"We showed Glebar the Macola system and identified specific areas where the company was frustrated with its existing system and how Macola would help," explains Evan Berk, IPS president. "Glebar was thrilled and decided to purchase the DOS-based system."
IPS value-adds are found in training and system implementation. "We help our clients with the critical review of their business processes and how they fit into Macola's ERP software. Typically, end users can't complete installations of this magnitude without outside help. Our job is to structure and manage the implementation. Then, we provide any customization, such as reporting or special drill down screens – whatever's necessary to fit the product to the client." IPS has worked exclusively with Macola Software since 1990.
Why An Upgrade To Windows?
Glebar's existing DOS-based system was not Y2K-compliant, so a patch or an upgrade was inevitable. The end user decided to upgrade to Windows to add functionality to the system. "When faced with the decision to either patch the DOS-based version or to upgrade to the more functional Windows version, we chose additional functions and features," says John Bannayan, Glebar's vice president of operations. "The main reason was because we are an ISO 9001 (International Organization for Standards) certified company. To maintain this certification, we needed to have better information control, traceability, and auditing from a design and engineering level, all the way through manufacturing and customer service. The only way we could accomplish this was to have a centralized ERP system integrated with other Windows-based applications. Open database connectivity (ODBC) compliance and Microsoft's Visual Basic programming capability were positive functions that Macola included in the new version. It's great to tie into other applications that were in the background with the DOS version."
Benefits Of ERP
While Bannayan admits the original DOS-based installation was painful in the beginning, he estimates sales have grown 15% to 20% since the system was in place. "Our offerings have become more complex over time," Bannayan explains, "but with our ERP system, we are able to keep up with our growth and keep the same number of employees."
Bannayan sees employees exploring a bit more with the Windows-based system versus the DOS system. "E-commerce is the next technological advancement we are researching," he adds. "We are considering IPS and Macola as partners in that venture. Right now, the sky's the limit."
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