The MacWorld Expo floor had a section dedicated to Enterprise and Small Business applications and tools. Inside the thicket of kiosks stood OpenMFG — which veterans of the 3000 community might remember as an alternative to the ASK/MANMAN solution.
At one point just a few years back OpenMFG was approached by Speedware, according the president, and asked if they wanted to be part of the Speedware acquisition. The CEO passed, he said, because the Speedware open source commitment didn't seem to meet his standards.
OpenMFG runs off of the Postgres database, found on Linux, Windows and the Mac's OS/X. Not surprisingly, those are the three platforms where about 60 companies and 100 installations run OpenMFG. It's about 40-40 percent on Windows and OS/X, and 20 percent Linux
The open source dedication shines through in the company's development strategy. Change of apps is almost essential in the ERP space, and OpenMFG handles the task by assembling small groups of its customers and getting them to work with the vendor's development team. This drives down the cost of customizations.
Also of interest is the OpenMFG blog erpgraveyard.com. The company's CEO Ned Lilly has tracked nearly every enterprise-grade ERP solution on the graveyard scorecard, with a tombstone awarded each time a solution gets acquired.
As you might expect, MANMAN is abreast of the leaders in the graveyard, since the app has been around since the 1970s. It's got four tombstones, lined up the vast Infor section. Infor has scooped up more than dozen ERP apps. Lots of these apps have fewer than 100 customers left — heck, MANMAN probably doesn't have much more than 200.
ERP running on Mac Unix servers? Sure, with some customers running as much as $75 million a year of manufacturing.