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July 20, 2016

Manufacturing alternatives rise for 3000 sites

Modules-in-softwareHP 3000 sites are migrating away from their ERP and MRP applications. One of the largest MANMAN users in the world on MPE/iX has started its transition to SAP. That's a long journey for a company with almost a dozen manufacturing sites. But SAP and other software has the potential to give companies customization, features and flexibility beyond MANMAN. It's not to say that MANMAN can't do the job, but the effort to change it requires expertise at many steps.

One of the experts in MANMAN — arguably the leading advisors — say that software designed in the modern era improves ERP for longtime MANMAN users. For example, says Terry Floyd at the Support Group, the software at Nissan Calsonic's US plant made the leap from MANMAN to IFS, a project that Floyd's group engineered and completed this spring.

"IFS is much more suited to what Nissan Calsonic is doing than MANMAN ever was," Floyd said. "They had more modifications [to MANMAN] than anybody." The number of the mods slows the march of change. It also shows how far the business processes of users have drifted beyond the stock architecture of MANMAN. A product like IFS was built to accommodate pinpoint processes, in part because IFS was built at the dawn of the object-oriented era.

IFS has its basis in the late '80s, early '90s, he explained, and pieces of that ERP solution "have some of the earliest object-oriented programming stuff ever written. So IFS has a heck of a head start on other products. They're rewritten things a few times and changed interfaces like everybody has to, in order to stay modern."

"Kenandy seems simpler than IFS," he added, "on purpose." This other alternative to MANMAN is now in the works at the Support Group, which is implementing Kenandy at Disston Tools.

"Sandy Kurtzig [who founded the MANMAN line] really wanted to simplify it this time," Floyd said, referring to her Kenandy team's architecture. "She always said that about MANMAN, and it was truly simpler compared to IBM at the time." That's the early 1980s Floyd's talking about, when MANMAN was helping the 3000 rise up beyond 10,000 systems installed worldwide. It seems like a small number here in 2016, but those were simpler, smaller times. People ran manufacturing on batch processing. MANMAN "was the early conversational data entry system. But things are more automated now than ever."

"Kenandy is all one thing, and that's the biggest surprise," he said. "It's not a bunch of modules. It does everything you need, from general ledger to fixed assets to payables. It's not like you buy an extra module to manage your fixed assets. It's free, included in Kenandy. This makes Kenandy really different from everything [used for ERP]. Everything else has modules." Modules have to talk to one another, he explained, so having one application instead of modules makes Kenandy superior, even to more modern solutions like IFS. "But only because it's 20 to 30 years newer."

10:31 AM in Migration | Permalink

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