In May, ROI Systems, Inc., a privately held provider of extended
ERP solutions for small to medium size manufacturing enterprises, hosted
its annual InterNational Users Group Meeting (INUGM) in Minneapolis, MN,
USA. The symposium's 57 breakout sessions, user exchange room, opening
session and exhibitors provided a multitude of opportunities for ROI's
clients to learn about industry trends, manufacturing strategies and product-specific
conference also served as a launching pad for ROI corporate announcements
about product direction and for showcasing e-enhancements to its flagship
MANAGE 2000 extended ERP software suite. Four 20-year loyal customers
were also honored at the event.
highlight of the conference was the message that ROI is paving the way
for its clients to embrace e-business and worldwide connectivity. "We
have the tools and are ready to assist our clients every step of the way,"
said Bill Pisarra, ROI's EVP of Marketing. "We realize that software providers
today must show true leadership in helping their clients cost effectively
deploy e-business functionality to their customers and distributors. We
are providing leading-edge technologies, such as XML, Microsoft COM+
and Microsoft .Net, in MANAGE 2000. We are showing our clients ways to
deploy XML and messaging technologies that empower them and allow them
to leverage this technology for their own benefit now."
of the breakout sessions at the 2001 conference included explanations
of the new architecture and advancements in ROI's recently launched Release
7.0. Demonstrations of field service, advanced planning and scheduling
(APS), purchase consignments, Web sales order processing, Web service
request management and many other applications available with the new
release, as well as the n-tier architecture, XML-based menus and documentation,
were reportedly enthusiastically received by the attendees. Of particular
acclaim was a demonstration of how quickly and easily the new Web pages
provided in Release 7.0 can be personalized and customized.
'slow but sure wins the race' mantra of ROI Systems' corporate strategy
has been paying off. Indeed, throughout 23 years of its privately held
operation, ROI has constantly remained profitable, debt-free, and has
never had layoffs. That is in a sharp contrast with the IT industry trends
where "flash in the pan" products/companies have been the name of the
game, and recently profit has become an abstract notion for smaller enterprise
more than two decades, ROI Systems has managed to deliver strong discrete
manufacturing functionality and excellent customer support, although at
the deliberate expense of much slower-than-market growth and moderate
new technology introduction. While the company cannot be regarded as a
thought (or any other) leader in the market and while its customer base
amounts to less than 1,000, almost exclusively North American enterprises,
the permanence and experience of ROI's staff and the less dramatic upgrade
path of the product offerings may be compelling incentives for companies
to opt for the vendor. Expanding incrementally, with modest goals and
close attention to the bottom line, and leveraging tried-and-true business
model, partnerships and customers has been the ROI's formula of success.
company has traditionally made every effort to ensure an easy and bug
free migration path when introducing new technology and/or product releases.
Possibly unique in the industry is the fact that all its customers are
running on the latest product version release, which cannot be touted
by e.g. Lawson Software, MAPICS or Microsoft
Great Plains that are renowned for a good customer service,
let alone the Tier 1 vendors, which customers still run on several generations
old product releases.
may continue to be successful even in the current economic slowdown should
it successfully address the concerns of smaller manufacturers, who are
often intimidated by the perceived complexity of enterprise applications.
These smaller manufacturers still have a need to get on board with fundamental
e-commerce capabilities. Nonetheless, the room for improvement remains.
Namely, ROI has still seemingly been inactive regarding applications hosting/ASP
and on-line exchange (marketplace) initiatives, which should be appealing
to its target market. Look for announcements along these lines some time
in the future.
Technologically less aggressive small to mid-size discrete manufacturers
in North America and other English speaking countries, with a need for
production planning, engineering, finance, sales, service, business intelligence,
and e-commerce functionality would benefit from evaluating the ROI Systems
comprehensive recommendations for both current and potential ROI Systems'
users can be found in
ROI Systems Catching Up With e-Commerce, and ROI
Systems, Inc.: Will Slow and Steady Remain in the Race?