March 20, 2014
Manufacturing ERP Options from Windows
Even among the companies that host homesteader solutions for manufacturers, there's a sense that the long-term plan will involve Windows rather than MPE. The length of that term varies, of course, depending on the outlook for the current software in place. Customization keeps MPE systems in charge at companies very small and some large ones (albeit in small spots at those giants, like Boeing.)
Moving a 3000 installation away from MANMAN -- first created in the 1970s and after five ownership changes, still serving manufacturers -- is a skill at The Support Group's Entsgo group. In that TSG practice, the IFS suite is available and can be installed to replace the MANMAN, software which began development at a kitchen table in the middle 1970s. (That's if HP's former executive VP of Software Chuck House is to be believed. He said that HP sent a 3000 to ASK CEO Sandy Kurtzig's kitchen when MANMAN was still being debugged, as well as MPE itself.)
IFS -- which you can read up on at the Entsgo webpages of the Support Group site -- is just one of several replacement applications for manufacturers. Like IFS, Microsoft Dynamics GP has a wide range of modules to cover all the needs of a company using a 3000. Like any replace-to-migrate strategy, there's a lot of customized business logic to carry forward. But that's what a service company like TSG does, in part to keep down the costs of migrating.
TSG's CEO Terry Floyd said that Microsoft solution is battle-tested. Dynamics also happens to be a solution that our homesteading service hoster of a couple of days ago offers as a Windows migration target. Floyd says:
Windows used to be an anathema to the 3000 IT director, at least when it was considered as an enterprise-grade solution. Those days are long gone -- just as vanished as the sketchy beginnings of MPE itself, from its earliest days, and then again when it became a 32-bit OS in the late 1980s.
Several companies have converted from MANMAN to MS Dynamics, including one company in SoCal; that was 10 years ago. It's a fairly mature product by now, and had some great features when I checked it out way back when.
So it makes sense that someone who knows the genuine article in ERP, MANMAN, could have a positive review of a Windows replacement -- whether it's Microsoft's Dynamics, or IFS. Floyd said
There are dozens of viable ERP alternatives now (some industry specific, but many general purpose for all types of manufacturers.) There used to be hundreds. MS Dynamics is not as good as IFS, but choosing Microsoft now is considered as safe as choosing IBM was in the early 1980's. And at least you know they won't get bought by [former MANMAN owner] Computer Associates :)
Microsoft bought several ERP packages from Europe (one big one from Denmark, as I recall) and merged them together about 2002. They didn't write [that app suite] but they certainly have a viable product and a sizable user base, after this many years into it.
No more trying to figure out what runs on
MPE/iX or where to find it. No more worrying
about availability! www.MPE-OpenSource.org
is all things MPE/iX: Open Source packages,
freeware, scripting, plus loads of tools
and information to keep your 3000 system
alive and thriving!
MANMAN could be customised and added to by the customer because they were given full documentation on the system. They would, for a reasonable cost, make modifications to standard programs and supply you with the source code of the modified programs.
Even MM/3000 had a 'customizer' that allow you to make database and screen changes.
Can you do this with MS Dynamics and IFS? Will Micro$oft and IFS allow this and give you the information required?
Posted by: Robert W.Mills | Mar 21, 2014 6:30:53 PM
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