MAPICS Helps Manufacturers Learn TeamWeRX

With the release of TeamWeRX, Atlanta-based MAPICS Inc. becomes one of the most recent additions to a pool of portal providers saturating the ERP industry. Designed to Web-enable the collaborative aspects of project management, TeamWeRX is being touted by MAPICS as a solution for bridging the information gap between product providers, selling partners, and customers in the mid-sized manufacturing environment.

TeamWeRX enables the creation of storefronts for placing orders it can automatically forward to the backbone of a the system.
The foundation for TeamWeRX is a software framework for designing B2B Web sites titled PortalworkX, which MAPICS obtained the right to use through an OEM agreement with Radnet Inc. (Wakefield, Mass.).

Equipped with functionality for facilitating interaction between disparate systems, TeamWeRX advantages a Web interface in an effort to manage the production process from the manufacturer side to the customer side. While a customer can use TeamWeRX to place orders and monitor the progress of a project, teams along the value chain can maintain open lines of communication by posting a variety of messages for each other.

TeamWeRX is the fruit of an accelerated e-business strategy by MAPICS, says Linda Brooks, VP of Extended Enterprise Solutions for MAPICS. As many midsize manufacturers begin to migrate toward an e-business initiative, Brooks says, there is a growing demand for a product such as TeamWeRX. She explains that the production phase of many manufacturing projects is highly fragmented with different teams working on different aspects of a project often from different locations. In such an environment, Brooks says, "It becomes very clear that [TeamWeRX] is a required offering."

According to Brooks, TeamWeRX is different from other portal solutions in that it is narrowly tailored. "That's what we do. We service midmarket manufacturers," she says. "So the product only provides the capabilities they need, unlike other broad offerings on the market, which could be used for hospitals or banks."

David Black, CEO and president of EMS—a company currently beta-testing TeamWeRX—was initially attracted to the product by its niche characteristics. "Originally, we were looking to go to an outside Web-development firm. But when MAPICS said they were working on a product that fit our needs, we saw it as a quicker more streamlined process because they were already working with ERP systems."

TeamWeRX enables the creation of storefronts for placing orders, which, Brooks says, it can automatically forward to the backbone of a system for processing. In addition, once a customer has placed an order, they can use the portal to check on its status. Brooks says, concerns such as, "available to promise—When can I have it? Is it in stock? When can it be shipped?" have been a major area of concentration in the development of TeamWeRX.

"[TeamWeRX] really helps increase the efficiency of the production process," says Black. "The self-service features of the application allow us to have less overhead in terms of customer service." Black explains that while EMS has traditionally dedicated a fair amount of time and effort to customer service, TeamWeRX empowers the customer to access the ERP system and retrieve information by themselves, ultimately accelerating time-to-market.

EMS has taken the concept of monitoring an order's status to an extreme, using TeamWeRX to broadcast a real-time streaming video feed of the production area. With a click of a mouse, Black says, it's possible to watch the products as they move down the line.

According to Brooks, TeamWeRX is also equipped with the versatility to integrate with online buying industries (i.e. online auctions) to automatically accept orders and distribute them to a back-end system for fulfillment.

From a security perspective, TeamWeRX provides an administrator with the tools to customize security down to the user field, ensuring customers and production teams only have access to relevant information. Brooks explains that often a company will want to provide different permissions depending on an employee's level of involvement in a particular project. For example, people working in the mailroom might only have permission to access delivery information, while a CEO would have a wider range of permissions.

TeamWeRX is independently tailored to fit the needs of each customer, says Brooks. The pricing model begins at $400 per seat.

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