Enterprise Apps Address Small-Biz Needs

OpenMFG offers manufacturing suite; exact rolls out e-synergy.

Two developers are giving small and midsize businesses new options for automating their business processes.

OpenMFG LLC last week launched its first product, Standard Manufacturing Solution, an integrated package of manufacturing, distribution and finance software for small businesses.

Separately, Dutch ERP (enterprise resource planning) software developer Exact Software N.V. last week announced it is bringing its e-Synergy front-office software to North America.

OpenMFGs suite is aimed at what the Norfolk, Va., company calls small entrepreneurial manufacturers with revenues between $25 million and $50 million. The platform provides an Internet-ready system for make-to-order, make-to-stock and mixed-mode manufacturers.

Standard Manufacturing Solution is built using an open-source stack of components—the Linux operating system, the PostgreSQL database and the Qt development tool kit for C++. It provides an open client and server, each of which runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX, officials said.

At the same time, OpenMFG is making its source code available to a few VARs for customization and development of new vertical solutions.

Standard Manufacturing Solution is available now and includes modules for inventory management, part definition and costing, master scheduling, capacity planning, shipping and receiving, and sales analysis. The software also supports work order, sales order and purchase order management functionality.

Meanwhile, Exact has consolidated its small-to-midsize-business ERP software with that of Macola Software Inc. and Kewill Systems plc. Now Exact, which has North American headquarters in Andover, Mass., has launched e-Synergy in North America.

Though hardly a full-featured customer relationship management product, e-Synergy provides portals that can be used for various constituencies—customers, suppliers, partners and employees.

Within these portal interfaces are applications for document management, collaboration and project management, workflow, account and contact management, human resources management, financials, and catalog/ product/price management.

Neil Montgomery, president of Davis Controls Ltd., an industrial instrumentation and controls manufacturer with $15 million in annual revenues, said e-Synergy fit the bill for his company. Davis Controls uses e-Synergy to create partner, customer and employee portals at its Web site, as well as basic Web content management for product information.

Toronto-based Davis Controls uses e-Synergy with Exacts Macola ES back-office applications, a combination that Montgomery said provides as much functionality as an SAP AG or a J.D. Edwards & Co. system at a much lower cost. e-Synergy is priced at $1,000 per named user.

"It more than meets our needs," said Montgomery, who added he also prefers e-Synergys browser interface to the Citrix Systems Inc. portal interface that Davis Controls used to use to provide access to the applications.