Syspro Syspro Hatches 'Encore' IMPACT On SME Manufacturers
2: Market Impact
On September 7, the Syspro Group, a privately held Worldwide provider
of enterprise software for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), with its
US headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA (www.sysprousa.com ), was named a recipient
of the START Magazine Vision Technology & Business Award for 2001
in the Manufacturing ($50 million to $200 million) category. In naming
Syspro Group as the winner of the START Vision Award, the judges expressed
admiration for the company's recent development of the Material Yield
System, a software solution that enables manufacturers and distributors
to maximize the use of scraps.
is Part Two of a two-part note on Syspro. Part
One detailed recent developments. This part discusses the Market Impact
and makes User Recommendations.
Although it has been present in the market since 1978, Syspro has not
been a very vocal vendor, however the latest blitz may prove that the
company is changing its marketing approach. Syspro has recorded significant
growth in its client base since 1997, which has led to the IMPACT product
becoming one of the most widely used ERP solution in the small-to-medium
enterprises (SMEs), with over 6,000 customers. That has promoted Syspro
into a serious challenger in the SME discrete manufacturing market, since,
with estimated revenues in 2000 at about $50 million, Syspro's revenues
grew around 10% while many of its peers have seen corresponding decline.
has worldwide operations, as its products have been installed in 50 countries,
and it continues to offer its products and services through the reseller
channel/VARs, which has also expanded during the last year. The flagship
IMPACT Encore system, has traditionally covered the full spread of modules,
including accounting, order processing, inventory management, finite and
infinite scheduling, shop floor control and payroll (the alliance with
Best Software for ABRA system), with the indication of high levels of
functionality is equitably solid in accounting, manufacturing and distribution
areas, which is advantageous compared to competitive products that are
either mainly strong in accounting (e.g, Microsoft Great Plains
and Navision) or in manufacturing/distribution (e.g., Lilly
Software and ROI Systems).
Although Syspro IMPACT Encore is a comprehensive ERP solution for small-
to mid-sized enterprises, the company has recently been striving to also
be known as a vendor that enables clients to excel through the use of
extended-ERP applications. To this end, Syspro has expanded its solutions
footprint with applications such as customer relationship management (CRM),
warehouse management system (WMS), e-commerce, and advanced planning,
scheduling and execution (ASP&E) software (a.k.a. Total Factory Planner).
This functionality umbrella should help manufacturers pursue a concept
Syspro denotes Strategic (e)Fulfillment, which is envisioned to
enable management to make better decisions since it provides visibility
and control of all aspects of the supply chain. Moreover, it becomes the
means by which these decisions can be executed in the most efficient manner.
has from its early days had a sole focus on the lower-end of the ERP discrete
manufacturing market. The company has long demonstrated a deep understanding
of this market dynamics and its pragmatic requirements of inexpensive
products, fast and simple implementations, and good service and support.
It has also achieved good coverage with its indirect channel, which is
an important criterion for long-term success in the SME market segment.
above native ERP extensions and the product openness promote it as one
of the first of the smaller ERP vendors with the ability to embrace customer
and supplier activities tied to a core transactional back-office system.
Syspro can, therefore, often offer one-stop-shop functionality for many
versatile discrete manufacturing environments (from forecasts driven,
repetitive make-to-stock (MTS) to custom job shop, including mixed-mode
manufacturing) in the low-end of the market. Also positively impacting
the sales of its flagship product suite, IMPACT Encore, are its strong
multi-site and multi-national product capabilities, which are stronger
than those of many more visible competitive products (e.g., Made2Manage,
Lilly Software, Fourth Shift, ROI Systems, etc.).
users of smaller enterprises have also been impressed with its intuitive
user interface, which combines on-screen graphics with a functional flow
for better visual orientation, and also provides consistently deployed
keyboard shortcuts for heavy data entry. It also offers a wealth of administrative
features like workflow & event management, querying tools and a built-in
has also been technologically adequate for its target market, as it exhibits
n-tier client/server architecture, is fully Windows 2000, Linux and UNIX
compatible, and runs under SQL Server 7.0 database, although only starting
with the release 5.0. Syspro has long been committed to the Microsoft
technology and the product is on par with the latest commercially available
technologies, which are well attuned for its target market.
the support for XML and COM, Syspro offers e-commerce applications tightly
integrated to IMPACT back-office, as well as the interconnectivity to
third-party products. The above-mentioned e.net solutions architecture
should provide a way of directly remotely accessing the functionality
within the ERP system, and in such a way that does not compromise its
business rules and security. The framework, which delivers the system's
functionality as discrete objects of code, supports capabilities such
as integrated e-commerce Web storefronts, access to ERP data via wireless
devices, and integration with best-of-breed applications.
endeavor at some vertical specialization, as seen in its new Material
Yield module, is also commendable. The module targets manufacturers that
cut sheets, tubes or rods of metal, wood, or plastic, and it takes into
account all aspects of the cutting process, including cutting-blade thickness,
so that users can better leverage raw materials inventories and maximize
yields. Look for Syspro to develop ever-deeper functionality and based
on the latest technology such as Microsoft .NET.
Nevertheless, Syspro will have to overcome some significant challenges
in order to continue to thrive in a highly competitive environment. Its
market awareness is limited, and possibly aggravated by the non-cohesive
marketing of its product and company brand names (IMPACT Encore and Syspro).
Also, although Syspro has a worldwide presence, it has no local market
leadership in any individual country owing to the fierce channel competition
from more aggressive, better known and wealthier competitors like Microsoft
Great Plains, Sage, Navision, Epicor, and Scala to
IMPACT's functionality across the board, although broad and well balanced,
has not been recognized as a differentiator in the market as the company
does not exhibit much of a vertical focus except for the above-mentioned
specialized module. Some modules that are commonly offered by ERP systems,
such as requests for quotation (RFQ), shipping, and engineering change
control, are only slated for release later this year. Also, the company
has been seemingly inactive in pronouncing its strategy for supporting
MS .NET architecture framework, whereas some competitors like Made2Manage,
Epicor, Navision and Microsoft Great Plains have been busy delivering
the first software components based on that architecture.
also trails these competitors in its ASP/hosting, private trade exchange
(PTX) and/or collaborative portal solutions strategy and delivery.
Syspro's target market, general multi-site and multi-national discrete
manufacturing companies and their divisions with up to $150 million-a-year
revenue range and up to 100 concurrent users per site, should consider
the company's value proposition, but avoid selecting it without looking
at what the other vendors have to offer.
generally recommend including Syspro in the long list of vendors considered
for an enterprise application selection by the lower-end of mid-market
companies. These companies generally are rapidly growing and agile, but
have a limited IT budget/staff, a conservative IT strategy, and less complex
discrete manufacturing, CRM and B2B e-commerce collaboration requirements.
industries that would most likely benefit from using its products are
those industries that need to maximize yields, minimize waste and, where
possible, return remnants to inventory, the Material Yield System module
of IMPACT Encore is designed to address the specific needs of manufacturers
and distributors that rely on the cutting of shapes and pieces from standard
size materials - sheets, tubes, and rods - as part of the manufacturing
process. The industries targeted are plastics, steel, rubber, paper, and
lumber. Existing users of earlier product releases that run on C-ISAM
database may benefit from querying the company's future two-pronged product
strategy, product migration path, service & support, and/or scalability