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Bringing a Social Media Cloud Solution for Manufacturing Management   Rebecca Carnes

 
 


It has been described as “everything you want from ERP (enterprise resource planning), without the ERP,” and “manufacturing meets social networking.” And it is based on the claim that manufacturing is changing –– dramatically.

Long gone are the days of vertically-integrated manufacturing when old-style ERP was enough to keep things going, according to developers of a new “social manufacturing” product. Today’s world of manufacturing features more horizontal networks of global suppliers and distributors where companies require lean, agile, collaborative operations to remain competitive and deliver innovative products.

The recently-released Kenandy (www.kenandy.com) cloud solution for manufacturing management is designed, developers say, specifically for the nature of today’s manufacturing realities—where users can have real-time interaction and responsiveness to what’s going on in the supply chain.

While it does the traditional ERP inventory control, manufacturing planning, purchasing, engineering, order entry, resource planning, and work orders, to name a few, it is a cloud system built entirely on the Force.com platform. The real ingenuity behind Kenandy enables users to go mobile, go social, and go global under the “cloud” control of Force.com, which provides the foundation for social, mobile, open, scalable, and secure applications.

“Manufacturing is fundamentally collaborative. That’s what’s happening with supply chains nowadays, and it’s all about how you tie these things together and combine it with social enterprise so that everything being built today can basically have a conversation around it,” said Rod Butters, Kenandy’s chief marketing officer.  It is also a way to go paperless in an efficient, controlled, and visible approach, where, for example, anyone at any time can go into the “cloud” and track a particular business order to see what the status is, who’s looked at it, and whether it has notifications for the approval.

The product’s solutions and capabilities also put smaller companies on equal footing with large corporations, creating a “cloud-computing democratization of manufacturing,” Butters said. Company executives believe the implications of Kenandy can ultimately have an impact beyond the software technology sector to redefine how companies cooperate and compete in the global economy. Sharing information in the cloud means better collaboration with suppliers and distribution channels, and Kenandy’s “Salesforce Chatter” brings the power of today’s social media. Users can benefit by contributing and sharing information through the social “chatter” function about best practices across different environments in the supply chain, discover how production and field equipment perform under different conditions, and share information about maintenance schedules, to name a few.

“If you think about Facebook or Twitter, Salesforce Chatter basically allows you to have these activity streams within the system. But it’s different from following your friends. Instead, what you can follow is business objects, or things that represent things in the business,” explained Butters. “So you can follow a product, you can follow a purchase order, you can follow a particular buyer, and it’s those kinds of capabilities that allow the business to build its own Enterprise Social Network, so to speak, which basically connects the people who are interested in the different areas of the manufacturing process to participate in appropriate ways.”

Kenandy offers that core ERP functionality in a way that’s “easy, lean, and agile,” he said, adding that one customer recently went from data import to running MRP (manufacturing resource planning) in just two weeks. The company is targeting product manufacturers, component suppliers, and distributors with its social manufacturing product that can be implemented on a computer or iPad with an internet connection. Launched in September, the company is quickly attracting customers, primarily within the $5 million to $500 million market segment, Butters said. As more customers are added, more of a community is built, and so far a wide array of businesses have signed up, including industries for electronics, clothing, heavy equipment, and construction supplies.

Founded by CEO Sandy Kurtzig, former CEO of ASK Computer Systems, which produced Manman ERP back in the 1970s and 80s, Kenandy strives to be the “next-generation” manufacturing management software that is easy to use, easy to install, and veers away from the antiquated ERP systems on the market. Kenandy offers a multi-tenant system with automatic online upgrades, social networking, mobile computing, and multi-lingual software to use with partners, suppliers, or operations in other countries.

“So what we’re really after is to say, ‘Hey, let’s design and deliver to market a manufacturing solution that doesn’t require all this complex configuration, that does allow you to get that visibility or work with your supply chain to get the visibility into what you need to plan, and that does allow you to set that up very quickly, and provide a framework for collaborating with all of your partners,’” Butters said.

 

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