OpenMFG launches company with low-cost, full-featured ERP software for small entrepreneurial manufacturers

Company puts powerful functionality in reach of smaller companies, rewrites rules of partner relationships

NORFOLK, Va., Oct. 22, 2002 - OpenMFG LLC today announced the launch of its first product, a fully integrated manufacturing, distribution and finance software suite aimed directly at small entrepreneurial manufacturers (SEMs) - the 300,000 companies with revenues under $50 million comprising the heart of American manufacturing.

Outnumbering larger manufacturers 10 to 1, but underserved by legacy software vendors, SEMs now have access to a powerful, flexible and affordable enterprise software system. OpenMFG provides a fully integrated enterprise application that increases visibility across the supply chain, enhances cash flow management and provides real-time decision-making to SEM executives. The power and flexibility of OpenMFG ideally suits the product for companies on tight budgets that face a pressing need to improve their technology to stay competitive, often without the luxury of an information technology department. There are no additional license fees for component software costs, and the customer is totally free from vendor lock-in.

The OpenMFG software is also the first integrated ERP product to offer a true universal platform solution; both the OpenMFG client and the OpenMFG server run on Windows, Linux, Apple OS X and several commercial Unix platforms, such as Sun Solaris, HP-UX and IBM AIX. Built with an open source "stack" of components including the Linux operating system, the PostgreSQL database and the "Qt" toolkit for C++, OpenMFG offers customers a fully functional but lower-cost alternative to existing enterprise software.

"OpenMFG was selected because they listened to our needs and proposed a completely integrated system, at a reasonable price, with the features and performance well-suited to our manufacturing company," said Bonnie Williams, operations manager at General Ecology, Inc. General Ecology develops and manufactures technologically advanced water purification systems and is a supplier to leading aerospace, marine, emergency preparedness and residential markets on an international basis. "The need for clear visibility throughout our operations, with real-time information to help us efficiently manage our resources, along with the ability to respond to varied customer needs, were the three top reasons for selecting OpenMFG."

Powerful yet simple
The OpenMFG software is a true client/server application, an Internet-ready, fully integrated end-to-end ERP system for make-to-order, make-to-stock, and mixed-mode manufacturers. It offers SEMs real-time visibility across the entire supply chain process, from ordering raw materials to manufacturing to shipping. All of these functions are supported by integrated financial applications to handle accounts receivable, accounts payable and the general ledger. This level of control means that at any moment, SEMs have the information necessary to redirect resources, answer a customer inquiry, or promise a shipment, at the touch of a button.

"An open systems stack for small companies opens interesting market opportunities," said Gisela Wilson, director of the supply-chain program at industry analyst firm IDC. "There is clearly a void in the marketplace for affordable, full-featured ERP for companies at the low-end, where a sizeable percentage of small manufacturers is concentrated."

OpenMFG sells through certified channel partners and its own direct sales operation, pricing its software according to an affordable annual site license model. The company also offers its own industrial engineering services in conjunction with the installation of its software, although it typically partners in this area with consultants in its channel program.

Partner benefits
In the ERP industry's most open partner program, OpenMFG makes its full software source code available to select value-added resellers (VARs) for modification, customization, and new development. This powerful business innovation allows OpenMFG partners to better meet customers' individual needs. It can also enable them to develop entirely new revenue streams through new, jointly marketed vertical solutions.

"It's rare to find a vendor willing to license and share code with their channel partners the way OpenMFG is doing, allowing us to develop customized solutions - which is important because we're talking about a very independent, individualized market," said Philip Perkins, president and CEO of Acumen Corporation, a Virginia-based systems integrator and consultancy with deep experience in the manufacturing world. "OpenMFG allows us to bring a powerful and sophisticated product to a whole new market segment we've never been able to reach before."

OpenMFG's underlying open architecture simplifies customer deployments as well, putting the power of an enterprise-class ERP system into production for small manufacturers in weeks, not the months or even years required to implement larger, more rigid systems.

"We believe that the talented, highly technical VARs and systems integrators in the ERP community are looking for alternatives to inflexible legacy products, vendors poaching their best customers, and product uncertainty driven by mergers and acquisitions," said Ned Lilly, OpenMFG president and CEO. "We've taken a lesson from the open source communities and built a business-driven ecosystem for serious business software development, based on an open software platform that allows for the greatest innovation in the shortest possible time."

Product pricing and availability
Unlike most ERP vendors, OpenMFG does not price by the module; the OpenMFG Standard Manufacturing Solution, available immediately, includes Inventory Management, Part Definition and Costing (including Bills of Material and Bills of Operation), Master Scheduling and MRP, Capacity Planning, Work Order Management, Sales Order Management, Purchase Order Management, Shipping and Receiving, and Sales Analysis. The Standard edition integrates with any existing third-party financial application at the individual transaction level. The OpenMFG Deluxe solution, coming later this year, offers a fully integrated native accounting solution, including General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and Fixed Asset Management. Customers have the option of a flat annual site license, or traditional per-seat perpetual licenses. Contact sales@openmfg.com for more information.

About OpenMFG
OpenMFG, LLC, develops enterprise software tailored to the needs and budgets of small, entrepreneurial manufacturing companies. OpenMFG products give companies visibility into costs, supply chains, processes, inventory and financial operations with a lower cost of ownership than competing enterprise resource planning (ERP) products. For more information about Norfolk, Va.-based OpenMFG, visit the company Web site at www.openmfg.com.

mead