Inteva Products was formed in 2008 when the business was spun off from Delphi Automotive, says Stewart, enterprise applications director at Inteva. "We had been using a large on-premise ERP solution, but we needed to get off that solution within a year."
Stewart says that one of the appeals of cloud-based ERP solutions is that they are generally fast to implement - the third-party provider hosts both data and software, so there is no need to have a data center or purchase servers. "Basically you subscribe to the service. That fit us well because our IT infrastructure stayed with our parent when we were spun off."
A cloud-based enterprise system also has proved beneficial to supply chain management, he says. "Across the supply chain community there is an increased need for visibility and quick response times and the cloud is a perfect way to achieve that. It gives us the ability to easily interact with a lot of different entities, whether suppliers or customers or third-party providers, because you access the cloud through the internet with a web browser; you don't have to have a VPN [virtual private network] or have someone on your site."
Inteva did look at several traditional, on-premise ERP providers and a few cloud solutions before deciding to partner with Plex Online. "We had a short time-frame so we looked at how quickly we could implement as well as at system capability and functionality," he says. "Plex had a focus on manufacturing, which was important to us, and it is integrated across all the modules. It had all of the cloud benefits we were looking for in a single version. We didn't have to worry about upgrades and the cost was very competitive."
One of the interesting things about Plex Online is that it has a revenue-based pricing model, he says. This model "encouraged us to give access to anybody who needed it instead of having to dole out individual licenses to people. This fit our core belief that real-time data should be accessible by anybody, anyplace, anytime. By freeing us from that licensing restriction we were able to really push that concept out and embrace not only the cloud aspect but the real time nature of the ERP system."
As an example, he notes that Inteva issued log-ons to all direct materials suppliers so they can get into the system via a supplier portal from their place of business or from mobiles. "We can limit the content they see, but they get the same real-time data that we get," says Stewart. This is particularly helpful to small and medium-sized companies that are not capable of traditional electronic data exchanges. "Through this free portal, they can not only see our orders, they can tell us when they are shipping and can put our labels on," he says. "These things were quite difficult in the past so this has really improved our real-time order and fulfillment capability." The cloud solution also has helped in the areas of quality management, real-time problem case tracking, and general document exchanges. "We can do all this and more with each supplier through the portal," he says.
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Keywords: supply chain, it supply chain, it supply chain management, supply chain solutions, supply chain systems, supply chain services
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