SAP is trying
to stabilize its Apparel and Footwear R/3 Solution (AFS) after early users had
problems with the software, leading several to stop work on their projects.
Until now, SAP was pulling consultants from its wider consumer products group
to deal with AFS installations. The new AFS team now has 35 consultants on board,
and expects to increase that count to 50 by year's end, stated Annegret Sonnenberg,
vice president of SAP's retail and consumer products unit. Their job is to work
directly with users to help expedite software fixes being done at SAP's German
development labs. The 60-plus apparel and footwear companies that have bought
the AFS software are typically smaller than most manufacturers with R/3, "And
they need someone who speaks their language'', she added. By early next year,
SAP hopes to ease sales restrictions that have limited new purchases of AFS
since the stabilization work began last spring.
Those who can
deliver solutions that satisfy the exacting, stringent requirements of some
vertical markets are in the driving seat to capture that market segment. This
is especially true in the Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SME) market segment,
where there is much less leeway for time and cash consuming implementations
that require massive software patchwork. We believe that SAP will resolve AFS
glitches eventually, but expect that other vendors with strong products in this
market niche, like Intentia International, JBA International, and J.D. Edwards,
will take advantage of SAP's tarnished image in this particular situation.
of a thorough, well-structured ERP software selection process can not be over
emphasized. Neglecting any of TEC's six parent ERP market evaluation criteria
(Product Functionality, Product Technology, Product Cost, Corporate Service
and Support, Corporate Viability, Corporate Strategy) can result in an inappropriate
selection. Fashion organizations currently initiating an ERP software selection
are advised to research the major ERP players in this niche, seek assistance
in the selection process from unbiased service providers, and base their decisions
only on existing functionality that the vendors are able to demonstrate during
scripted scenario sessions.