Good foundations support 3000 managers
Vendors preserving 3000s for historic use

TSG taking MRP into the cloud during 2012

No-ERPThe Support Group hung out its shingle for cloud-based manufacturing solutions this week, posting webpages that outline how it will integrate the new offering of the Kenandy replacement for MANMAN and other 3000-flavored suites. TSG calls this migration target Social MRP, and it's been chatting up the potential for the Chatter networking feature inside Kenandy's software.

It's early in the social-cloud evolution cycle, but TSG wants to be one of the charter Kenandy Consulting  Partners. The business model calls for migration, implementation and customization of a new manufacturing system. TSG's reminding the market that the vendor was the original third-party support company for ASK’s MANMAN system developed in the 1970s -- software that's still running a few hundred manufacturing companies around the world.

Kenandy's Rob Butters told us back in September that one objective of the cloud-based solution was to start with a clean page to serve small companies that want streamlined operations to get the most from their manufacturing apps. ASK's founder Sandy Kurtzig has steered the Kenandy designs to get a simplified approach to manufacturing software systems. Small companies that fill the ranks of 3000 owners have a surprising array of unique manufacturing workflows and business rules. 3000 users who need to move onto a new platform are in a position to leverage the transition into a new way of thinking about MRP.

One key to the success of this adventure is using a guide who knows the landscape the customer is leaving behind. TSG's already got 18 years of third-party support experience for MANMAN users, plus the extra two decades that founder Terry Floyd and his team supply from the '70s onward.

TSG calls the concept "Hide the Complexity." The approach couldn't be more different from the over-engineered solutions from Oracle and SAP. In particular, the mainframe foundation of SAP -- with "10,000 software switches" by several IT managers' counts -- puts migrations and outsourcing and clouds way out of the reach of the smaller IT shop. But Oracle and SAP become the default options for a migration, following the "nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM" strategy of the '80s.

In contrast, Social MRP is "software that fits the way you do business, not forcing your business to fit the way the software works," said company president David Floyd. Once the company customizes the look and feel for each individual in a company to hide that complexity, it "follows up on a monthly basis with each individual user as they learn more and expand their productivity."

Manufacturing is a bedrock app in the 3000 world. Small companies that couldn't afford a mainframe in the 1980s picked HP 3000s instead, relying on cost efficiency. With the cloud moving IT's capital costs off the books, and fine-tuned app services from a veteran development staff, Social MRP has the potential to give migrators a new value model -- one that won't need large-scale elements that the big IT shops seem to crave.