Manufacturing ERP Software for SME

A series of primers for prospective implementers

Where now? - the Caliach solution

Introduction

The first six primers in this series introduced manufacturing ERP systems, and discussed various aspects of their evolution, supply, modes of operation, implementation and development. Several issues emerged that are particularly significant to those Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) considering selection and implementation, and this final primer in the series lists key points to help selectors position Caliach Ltd and the Caliach Vision ERP system in relation to those issues.

The headings are those from the original documents, for easy cross-referencing.

What is it?

Caliach Vision ERP is a manufacturing business management system designed from the outset for the smaller manufacturer, incorporating MRPII, order processing, financials, engineering data, quality assurance functions, customer or supplier relationship management (CRM/SRM) and more. It is a cross-platform windows implementation for personal computers on local area networks (Microsoft Windows, Linux and MacOS) and was developed from the first windows based MRP system, CaliachMRP, originally released in 1990. Caliach Vision itself was released in 2001.

Vendor Selection

Caliach Ltd has been serving the needs of manufacturing SME's consistently since 1990, with no changes in ownership or focus. The client base is roughly 150 sites world-wide (with 80%+ in the UK), steadily growing on average at 10-15 sites a year. The company's mission is, and will remain, the application of appropriate technologies to help SME's achieve manufacturing excellence through practical, affordable management software and associated services. Manufacturing specialists are employed throughout to ensure this mission is executed effectively.

Bespoke versus Standard

Caliach Vision is a generic, off-the-CD software package with all the associated benefits, such as ease of implementation and maintenance supported by a wide user base. However, the full development environment is also included in the package, and all reports and many other system elements are supplied in open-source, to allow virtually unlimited extension of the software to customer requirements, either by in-house developers or Caliach Ltd's own customisation services. While core program functions are protected from modification to minimise support costs, the system has a wide range of switchable configuration options and custom programming traps, to accommodate variations.

Jobbing or Discrete

Caliach Vision incorporates both jobbing and conventional work-order based operational modes, to accommodate manufacturers who are faced with a mixture of repeat orders, prototyping, one-off specials and service based activities. There is full integration of both with material and capacity planning, invoicing and other system functions. Prototype orders produced under the jobbing system can be easily converted to conventional product and ordering structures by users as required.

Project Management

Caliach Ltd can provide examples of successful implementations requiring little or no on-site assistance. This is a direct result of ergonomic software design and a de-mystified approach to installation and configuration procedures, supported by comprehensive and accessible documentation. In most cases however, considerable savings in project time and internal resource allocation can be achieved under the prudent guidance of our consultants, drawing on extensive industry experience.

Software Development

The initial design criteria leading to the first release of manufacturing management software from Caliach Ltd sprung directly from experience of establishing and running a manufacturing operation. At least half of all development inputs since, have come from existing users through an open and structured wish list; with the balance of new ideas split between the requirements of new installations and both in-house and industry innovation. This approach has avoided the tendency towards overblown software ("bloatware") seen in other applications, and has helped to maintain a tight focus on the functions of real benefit to manufacturing businesses. Automated change management techniques are utilised to ensure that customisation is maintained as new releases are introduced.

What next?

Having established that Caliach Ltd and the Caliach Vision ERP product are closely aligned with the requirements of the forward-looking manufacturing SME, what is the next step towards a successful implementation?

Just contact us if you haven't already, and ask to talk to one of our manufacturing specialists, who will be able to answer any questions regarding compatibility with your operation, as well provide more details of the product and benefits. We can send you more evaluation material, along with a CD that includes a fully-functional version of the software and documentation. Alternatively you can always browse our web site and download the demo software from there.

Once a genuine requirement and broad compatibility is established, a consultant may arrange to visit you and review your needs in more depth; and also offer a comprehensive demonstration of the software while on site. Subsequent to this, any special requirements can be discussed, and reference site contacts provided if required. It's that simple - why wait any longer?