Mapics Acquires Frontstep to Target Midsize Manufacturers

Mapics Inc. looks to boost its enterprise applications suite for manufacturers with the acquisition of rival Frontstep Inc.

Mapics Inc. looks to boost its enterprise applications suite for manufacturers with the acquisition of rival Frontstep Inc., which the two companies announced last week. The combined company will provide a selection of Java- and Microsoft Corp. .Net-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications that enable manufacturers to automate processes and share information in real time.

The applications will provide functionality in SCM (supply chain management), CRM (customer relationship management), manufacturing execution, product life-cycle management, financial and business analytics, maintenance and calibration management, and collaboration process management.

The acquisition, which is expected to close next quarter, is valued at $28 million.

The combined company, which will be known as Mapics, could be a formidable competitor in the midmarket, with more than 10,000 implementations at discrete and process manufacturers sites worldwide.

Collectively, Mapics and Frontstep, formerly known as Symix, will provide a line of extended ERP, SCM and CRM software for midsize companies. Mapics, of Alpharetta, Ga., focuses on discrete and batch-processing software for industries such as electronics, industrial equipment, and automotive and transportation. Frontstep, based in Columbus, Ohio, provides software for discrete, made-to-order manufacturers.

According to company officials, Mapics plans to leverage Frontsteps investment in its SyteLine 7 software, built on the .Net platform, as it continues to build out its own software on IBMs AS/400 platform.

Mapics President and CEO Dick Cook said he plans to continue development on both architectures.

"Now the market is bifurcated into [Java 2 Enterprise Edition]/IBM solutions and Microsoft .Net Web services," said Cook. "Now well be able to provide both of those for any flavor the customer wants. Before [Frontstep and Mapics] were in the same market but selling to different audiences."

With the addition of the Frontstep technology, Cook said he believes Mapics can inch up on his closest competitor, J.D. Edwards & Co.

Mapics will stay focused on developing software for manufacturers, Cook said. The companies product lines will have to be rationalized, he said, but he did not specify where the changes in the product lines will be made.