The Company History
Made2Manage (M2M) founder Jerry Rock came from a manufacturing environment and knew from his own struggles that other manufacturers needed help managing their manufacturing businesses and operations. The company launched its first system on the DOS platform in 1986, and rewrote the application in 1995 for the Windows NT platform. Made2Manage went through a strong growth period from 1996 to 2000, during which time their revenue grew to more than $30 million (USD) per year. Though the company went public in 1997, a Boston venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, acquired it in 2003 and returned it to its status as a private company. Today, based in Indianapolis, Indiana (US), Made2Manage still serves the small to medium-sized manufacturing market, though its solutions encompass a greater proportion of manufacturers' business requirements.
Made2Manage distributes its Enterprise Business System primarily in North America (the majority of its revenue comes from its US business), but the company also supports a number of clients with manufacturing facilities in the UK, Europe, and China. Made2Manage's solutions are oriented primarily towards the industrial and commercial machinery, electronics, fabricated metals, rubber and plastics, furniture and fixtures, measuring and controlling instruments, and durable goods industries. Currently, Made2Manage has over 2,000 active customer implementations, mostly in durable goods discrete manufacturing, engineer-to-order (ETO), and make-to-order (MTO) environments; though there are also some in make-to-stock (MTS) and mixed-mode environments. Made2Manage's target clientele are typically manufacturers with annual revenues of between $1 million (USD) and $50 million (USD).
Supporting the Customer
Made2Manage's service offerings include twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week on-line support, as well as telephone support during business hours across US time zones, Monday through Friday. In terms of training services, Made2Manage was an early adopter of on-line education. It offers courses in manageable chunks so that its customers can spend two to three hours learning, and still remain productive in their jobs. Its courses are available to clients without any limitation on the number of times they may be accessed.
The Enterprise Business System runs on the latest Microsoft platforms, but is also available via on-site and hosted application service provider (ASP) models. It offers functionality for manufacturing, inventory management, and sales management. In fact, in order to deliver a full set of products and services for improving manufacturing business processes, Made2Manage works with other companies that specialize in non-core areas of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
However, Made2Manage approaches building new functionality with caution. The company seeks to emphasize core customer requirements over feature bloat. According to the company's manager of Product Marketing and Communications, Maureen Sanner, Made2Manage is "developing more robust high-quality functional products with features and optional modules that customers actually want and know they will use as opposed to just a very broad set but not very deep set of functionality".
A focussed set of functionality is particularly important as many of Made2Manage's customers have never had an integrated enterprise system before. This means that they've been struggling to get good data from disparate existing systems. They may have used home-grown or patched-together systems, or else they may have simply managed their production capabilities using spreadsheets or a manual production board. Because of these non-integrated methods of managing manufacturing business processes, the front-office and sales teams didn't know what they could promise and deliver or what their production people could do. In addition, the finance department didn't have access to the orders or production timing, and so did not know when a job was closed and could get out the door.
Several of Made2Manage's success stories sprang from just such situations. The first involves Zentech Manufacturing Inc., which produces printed circuit boards. Zentech started off using an entry-level financial accounting system. Thus, while it used to manage scheduling and job costing with spreadsheets, by using the Made2Manage solution, it is now able to integrate these processes with everything from the generation of quotes to the production of financial statements.
Another client, Abbatron LLC, which is a designer, manufacturer, and supplier of electronic components, had a difficult time getting productive information out of its aging AS/400 system. It could not get reports in the formats that it needed and frequently had to manually re-enter information into spreadsheets. Abbatron not only improved all its processes by using the Made2Manage solution, but also took advantage of Made2Manage's training courses to successfully migrate to its new implementation.
Both Zentech and Abbatron are examples of companies that bought the Enterprise Business System in order to reduce numerous points of data entry to one or two points, and thus gain visibility into their operations. The Enterprise Business System helps them make inventory turns so that they don't have to carry as much inventory at one time, keep their in-production costs down, enforce promised delivery dates to their customers, and get full orders out to their customers in a more responsive manner.
Challenges and the Future
One of Made2Manage's chief challenges involves the ongoing evaluation to determine in which directions to develop its products. When it comes to making a decision on adding functionality, Made2Manage must carefully consider whether to develop it on its own, partner with another company, or form an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationship in order to deliver the functionality. In the past, depending on the urgency of the requirement, Made2Manage made choices that often combined several of these methods. Currently, however, the company is revisiting its product set and narrowing down the list of products it delivers through partnerships with a view to fully developing these areas on its own. Made2Manage believes that this will enable the product to require fewer integration points. It will also open the door for customer feedback earlier in the development cycle. Nonetheless, Made2Manage will continue to partner with other companies for areas such as payroll and human resources so that it can benefit from their expertise in, for example, regulations and tax laws.
Other plans for the future include continuing to develop or acquire vertical product strengths. In the past, Made2Manage's acquisition of DTR Software International helped the company focus on the plastics processing manufacturing industry. The recent acquisition of Cimnet Systems, which develops software and services specific to the printed circuit board industry, helped Made2Manage expand its reach into China, where it sees a growing trend in manufacturing printed circuit boards. Ultimately, Made2Manage will provide an expanded set of in-depth solutions for specific industries within the manufacturing sector.
The contribution analysis graph below demonstrates the degree to which each area of Made2Manage Enterprise Business System contributes functionality to the overall solution. This graph is based on Technology Evaluation Centers Inc. (TEC)'s model of ERP solutions.
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