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Supply Chain Shorts for the Week of December 13, 2013

Written By: Bob Eastman
Published On: December 20 2013

A round-up of news from Syspro, American Software, and SERUS.

SYSPRO
I had the pleasure this week of seeing SYSPRO. While Joey Benedetti and Harold Katz always bring some terrific insights with them, this week SYSPRO’s Scott McMaster, who is national sales manager, came prepared to talk about the SMB food space like an analyst. Of course, we have always known about SYSPRO takes a passionate approach to small-to-midsize manufacturing. This coming year SYSPRO intends to make a special push into the food industry. So our ears perked up when Scott started talking in depth about how the various retail forces at work are impacting SMB manufacturers at the same time that the food industry has to contend with ever greater pressures from the FDA, hyper competition, tighter shipping expectations, heightening customer quality expectations, rising commodity prices, and a continuing squeeze on margins.(Scott was talking about this the same day that NBC News was reporting the recall of some 90,000 pounds of meat by Yauk's Specialty Meats of Windsor, CO, that was produced under some not-so-sanitary conditions.) SYSPRO is, of course, not the only player in this space. But when you listen to SYSPRO’s market focus, and its passionate approach to its channel, you have to think that SYSPRO has what it takes to make a serious run at the SMB food space.

American Software
American Software recently reported second quarter 2014 results. Among the more interesting disclosures in a call with a lot of positive spin was the news that American Software had acquired Taylor Manufacturing in mid-August. Taylor Manufacturing was one of the earlier advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software vendors on the market, who enjoyed moderate success with its Taylor Execution Scheduling Systems (TESS) software, particularly for midsize-to-larger discrete, repetitive, and batch process manufacturers. At one time or another, Taylor was also known as Total Control Products, and Taylor Scheduling Software, before establishing itself as Taylor Manufacturing Software in Atlanta, GA. Taylor now finds new life within the Demand Management unit of American Software as a planning and scheduling solution intended to supplement the capabilities of Demand Management’s DS1 and DSX solutions, and provide Logility and Demand Management more credibility in the discrete manufacturing space.

Serus
TEC caught up recently with high-tech supply chain vendor Serus. As it happens, Serus rides the ups and downs of the high-tech (semiconductor) economic cycles, and even though it is on the conservative side marketing-wise, it have gone through numerous management changes recently. (see “Serus Adds to Its Management Team”). A competitor (of sorts) with e2open and Kinaxis (think “e2open for the semiconductor industry”—although e2open would undoubtedly have something to say about this), Serus is the smallest of these three vendors. Although heavily focused on high tech, Serus is quick to say that its value proposition could appeal to any industry vertical that relies on external manufacturing and has manufacturing complexity. Apparel is one example of another industry where Serus is finding some traction, and we would not be surprised to be hearing more about Serus in medical devices, life science, and pharma verticals. Serus originally sold their product as a single platform, but when Hari came on as CEO last year, one of the first things that happened was that the platform was broken up into three modules (Visibility and Intelligence; Design for Manufacturing; and Supplier Contract Compliance), which are sold and deployed as single-tenant software-as-a-service.

Serus has just released SERUS Suppliers Contract Compliance, a new solution that will automate the tracking, review, and validation process for all service invoices processed by high-tech companies with outsourced manufacturing. This solution aims to counter the growing complexity of outsourced manufacturing relationships by automating the entire cycle, from issue of invoice, contract review, and validation of services, to receipt of goods and payment, replacing the manual efforts otherwise used to perform three-way match of the purchase order, invoice, and receipt.

Supply Chain and the Cloud
Here’s something to ponder, Richard Howells, SAP’s head of go-to market for supply chain, says that SAP sees “2014 as the year that supply chain goes to the cloud.” Agree? Disagree?
 
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