Plex Systems Inc., the developer of the Plex Online ERP software, is launching a "strategic partnership" with Cloud-MFG Inc., a Denver-based ETO consulting group. The terms of the arrangement were not released, but Plex reported that the partnership will let ETO (Engineer to Order) and other industrial manufacturers access a new class of ETO-specific ERP functions, "to help manage complex quotation and order entry, track project costing, and reduce lead-time."
"Engineer to Order" is a phrase used to describe manufacturing operations that produce goods based on customer specifications that require unique engineering design or significant customization. Frequently, each of their customer orders involves in a unique set of part, materials, and sourcing patterns. The larger point to the descriptor is that manufacturing frequently involves non-standard solutions — which is a challenge for ERP systems. ETO manufacturers have a critical dependence on their supplier relationships, which are frequently unique and untested, with short lead-times.
Cloud-MFG works with ETO companies to improve their competitiveness by identifying ways to control costs and improve business processes. "Engineer to Order manufacturers are under tremendous pressure to manage complex production, aggressive delivery schedules, and timing and cost requirements -- all while operating as efficiently as possible," stated Cloud-MFG director Craig Vanderlan.
According to Plex, combining its software’s functionality with services from Cloud-MFG provides ETO manufacturers the solutions, tools and intelligence that can "transform their operations."
Plex Online is an enterprise software package with modules for multiple manufacturing tasks — "shop floor to top floor" — including Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)) and Quality Management Systems (QMS) for the shop floor, Supply Chain Management (SCM) for procurement, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for finance and management.
"Implementing an ERP solution that is designed to track exact costs is critical for an ETO company to compete and thrive," stated Plex Systems president and CEO Mark Symonds. "ETO and industrial manufacturers now have a valuable resource when looking to implement manufacturing solutions that fit into their unique environments."