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Feb 06, 2004

UK software solution group targets local manufacturers

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© Reuse this UK-based Open Business Solutions officially opened a branch in South Africa late last year.

As part of the first phase of its operations it is solidifying the base of South African users of Mapics software, a competing product to other enterprise resource planning systems.

The software, which promotes lean manu-facturing – to get rid of waste at every point along the production line – is being used at Honeywell’s B-Tech factory, Powertech Batteries, power cable manufacturer ATC, Afrox and Bell in Richards Bay.

However, Open Business Solutions group CEO Peter Teague and South Africa CEO Andrew Jones believe that the customers can optimise the use of the software to further save costs.

To this end, the firm has already put in place processes with suggested savings of a total of between R20-million and R40-million for the five customers, they say.

The company’s focus for the next 12 months is to serve manufacturing companies to enable them to be more efficient, describe Jones and Teague.

Jones notes that South African companies in general tend to be guilty of rigidity.

He says that staff work in separate divisions, and are not allowed to be creative using each other’s skills.

They also tend to overproduce, since they believe that they should use all available capacity.

This results in obsolete stock, and the tying up of working capital, says Jones.

He advises that production should be motivated by pull factors, such as customer orders, rather than push factors, such as a manufacturer’s desire to produce more.

Jones also contends that manufacturers should move from a batch system to one that reflects customer demand.

He says that this will improve the availability of working capital, rather than tying it up.

In addition, the firm will not be hampered by marketing pricing-reduction strategies used by sales staff intent on ridding the firm of excess stock.

After the software-solutions company ensures that existing customers get the best value out of their information technology (IT) systems, it will begin expanding its client base.

The company currently has 900 customers worldwide.

However, it intends to increase its Southern African profile, by adding a minimum of an additional three to four customers a year, describes Teague.

The goal is to have at least a R200-million local company within three to four years, he says.

The company will also begin introducing its other software brands after the Mapics brand is established. These brands will include Syteline and Design-to-order software.

Syteline is a product that aligns supply and demand, and provides the ability to deliver to customers on time. Design-to-order enables the sales team to respond quickly and professionally to customer enquiries through Web-based sales configurations, with accurate pricing, product specifications and three-dimensional design data.
Edited by: Deborah Spicer
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