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The 13th Vendor Shootout for ERP Software: See How the Vendors Compare

Written By: Gabriel Gheorghiu
Published On: February 21 2012

The 13th Vendor Shootout for ERP is a great opportunity for companies looking for a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to evaluate some of the important players. Previous editions featured Oracle E-Business Suite, IFS, Sage ERP X3, SYSPRO, and others.

The 13th edition features eight vendors specializing in discrete manufacturing, with one exception (SAP Business ByDesign, which focuses on services).

The solutions being demonstrated at the 13th Vendor Shootout are as follows:

The first six of these products (bolded above) are available for comparison in TEC Advisor, our online software comparison system. [Learn more about TEC Advisor]

The two other products (abas ERP and SAP Business ByDesign) will be available for comparison once their TEC certification process is complete.
However, you can purchase discrete ERP software evaluation reports for all these vendors immediately (download a free sample here).

Note that vendors may be certified or listed in more than one evaluation centers, all of which can be accessed from the vendor profile pages linked to above.

Now I’ll share with you some of the differences between the six certified vendors.

The participating vendors belong to tiers one, two, and three of the ERP market, and all of the solutions focus on manufacturing, except for SAP by Design, as noted above. Also, Plex Online and SAP Business ByDesign are the only true software-as-a-service products being demonstrated at the Shootout.

The vendors target companies from different industries, of different sizes, and offer different delivery models.

Below are some high-level comparisons for the main functionality modules of an ERP solution for discrete manufacturing. The data are obtained from vendor responses to TEC’s request for information (RFI).

All solutions are benchmarked against the “average solution” in our ERP Evaluation Center, and we treated all modules as being equally important when generating the graphs (i.e., no module was “more important” than any other, although certainly when you compare software you will want to take your business priorities into consideration).

Again, only certified vendors are included in the comparisons below, since a formal review of RFI data is an integral part of the certification process.

High-level Comparison of Some Core Functionality for Discrete ERP

I looked at three sets of functionality within each of the financials, manufacturing management, and inventory management modules. Tier-one vendors score very high, naturally, but tier-two and sometimes even tier-three vendors are approaching the same levels of support.

These graphs should help you determine which products and which areas of functionality you’d like to see demonstrated in depth during the Vendor Shootout.

Financials

For financials, all products have ratings of 80 points and more for general ledger functionality and 90 points for accounts payable functionality. The average is also high for both sections (approximately 90 points) and these products rate fairly close to the average. The only obvious exception is IQMS for general ledger, but if you drill down you’ll notice that Plex Online also falls under the average for functionality for, e.g., chart of accounts structure and journal entry and reporting.

Fixed assets functionality is also well covered, but the average is lower (77 points). Plex Online is the only solution falling below the average. Plex Online requires customization (changes to the source code) for depreciation books and modification (changes to the graphical user interface) for tax reports.

figure-1-vendor-shootout-blog-post_thumb.png

Figure 1. Product variance from average for three areas of financials functionality

Manufacturing Management

Manufacturing management functionality is essential for discrete manufacturers, so most products in this software space support this functionality; the average level of support is relatively high (78 points). For product costing, IQMS falls slightly below the average, despite a very good score of almost 90 points.

All products offer strong support for shop floor control, with scores of 88 points and more. For field service and repairs, IQMS falls under the average; Plex Online is below average for service order management. JD Edwards does not support service training management.

figure-2-vendor-shootout-blog-post_thumb.png
Figure 2. Product variance from average for three areas of manufacturing management

Inventory Management

Inventory management for raw materials and finished products is also important for discrete manufacturers, and all the ERP products compared in this post offer a very high level of support for this functionality.  Microsoft Dynamics AX falls slightly under the average for data requirements, because it requires modification to support some of the functionality. The products that exceed the average for data requirements offer full out-of-the-box support.

All products score 90 points or more (above average) for the set of functionality covering inventory management [online requirements].

figure-3-vendor-shootout-blog-post_thumb.png
Figure 3. Product variance from average for three areas of inventory management

Conclusion

This post compares the solutions from a functional perspective only. During the Vendor Shootout, you have the opportunity to see scripted and non-scripted demos that cover both objective and subjective  (e.g., user interfaces, usability, etc.) criteria, to determine exactly which solutions are most likely to be a fit for your particular business needs.

You’re more than welcome to ask me questions about these products. And if you’re attending the Shootout, I’d love to hear from you about your experiences there, and how your impressions square up with these graphs.
 
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