Manufacturing software vendors seldom get mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. But its launch, Kenandy, the latest cloud ERP vendor to throw its hat into the ring, did just that. Kenandy chose to launch at this year's Dreamforce event, which drew more than 45,000 people - making it the world's largest enterprise software conference. Kenandy joined a small group of cloud ERP providers for manufacturing including Plex Online, SAP Business ByDesign, Epicor Express and QAD.
Sandra Kurtzig, former CEO of the ASK Group (makers of ManMan), is the brains behind this operation. The venue was well-suited given that Kenandy is built on the Force.com platform and Salesforce is a major financial backer. Salesforce’s support is important for two reasons. Firstly, Salesforce has helped legitimize the on-demand business model, and the ERP world is still on shaky ground when it comes to putting data in the cloud. On a separate note, building on Force.com gives Kenandy full access to Salesforce’s strong social tool - Chatter.
It’s this latter aspect that makes Kenandy a truly interesting cloud ERP launch in the manufacturing world. Manufacturing has always been a social operation, but the social aspects of manufacturing have been largely absent from the software that helps manufacturers run their business. For instance, an mrp software application can only run cold hard calculations and doesn’t necessarily help with supply chain collaboration or shop floor work flows for that matter.
The prospect of turning manufacturing software into a more social operation is certainly a different twist on a rather old market. For those of you that aren’t familiar, modern software applications originated in manufacturing software from the need to inventory materials and perform complex calculations. It seems as if incorporating Chatter and other social tools into manufacturing software can help bring this technology into the modern age.
Here are a few ways that I can see a tool like Chatter making a positive impact on manufacturing operations. Chatter can be used to:
- Locate alternate suppliers for materials when needed;
- Inform customers and distributors of available stock levels;
- Let suppliers know when inventory levels have reach trigger levels; and,
- Compare shop floor best practices.
Of course the impacts of Chatter don’t have to be limited to just supplier relationships. I could see a shop floor using this tool as well to keep everyone in the know about what’s going on in the production process. It would be like a shop floor Facebook.
Action Item: These are just my preliminary reactions to the Kenandy launch. What are your thoughts? If you have an opinion on the matter, I’d love for you to stop by the Software Advice blog to share your thoughts at: What Does Social Manufacturing Look Like?