Mapics XA 6.0 Keeps the Old, Brings in New ERP

ERP vendors have been struggling to outfit or retrofit their solutions for business-to-business (B2B) and e-commerce implementations. With the release of version 6.0 of its XA ERP solution for the AS/400, Mapics Inc. (Atlanta) aims to bring the best of both the conventional ERP and the new-fangled e-business worlds to the AS/400 platform.

XA 6.0 ships with a number of enhancements that Mapics maintains are designed to enhance collaboration in the distributed enterprise, including improved multiplant and supply chain execution functionality.
Mapics COO Steve Haley says that the impetus for his company’s latest XA release was provided by a shift in the needs of enterprise customers, especially in the area of collaborative and extensible ERP solutions.

"As the manufacturing industry moves to an integrated and collaborative e-business model and as e-business places more pressure on manufacturers to be flexible and responsive to customer's requirements, ERP providers must offer extended enterprise solutions to fulfill their needs," Haley comments.

As a result, XA 6.0 ships with a number of enhancements that Mapics maintains are designed to enhance collaboration in the distributed enterprise, including improved multiplant and supply chain execution functionality.

XA 6.0 proper comprises the MAPICSWeRX application family, which includes FoundationWeRX, a series of products that are said to form a business foundation for manufacturers; DecisionWeRX, a suite of tools that enable both streamlined business processes and enhanced decision making; ExtensionWeRX, a B2B transaction integration tool; TeamWeRX, a supply chain management and collaboration tool; and MarketWeRX, a series of tools that make it easier for organizations to participate in Internet marketplaces.Among other new functionality, XA 6.0 features significantly revamped TeamWeRX, DecisionWeRX and FoundationWeRX modules, in particular.

Business intelligence is a critical technology for many enterprises, and Mapics XA 6.0 is said to boast a number of analytical enhancements to its DecisionWeRX family of data extraction and analytical tools. DecisionWeRX tools can extract data from a foundation layer and provided integrated analytical features that are said to help users make better business decisions.

New additions to DecisionWeRX include a revamped set of new client architecture functions, including a new materials management application that streamlines the business processes commonly associated with managing warehouse data and with physical inventory/cycle counting. Moreover, DecisionWeRX features a new application—dubbed order-based production management—that is said to extend the functionality of order creation, release, maintenance and close-out. DecisionWeRX’s order-based production management application can reduce the time that it takes to execute business functions by improving the handling of reporting discrepancies and by editing exceptions.

Finally, DecisionWeRX’s new accounting management plus and contract accounting plus applications are designed to streamline financial business processes and extract needed data for financial reporting.XA 6.0 also integrates three separate products that were released by Mapics earlier this year, including TeamWeRX, a B-to-B portal offering that allows manufacturers to more effectively collaborate with their supply chains over the Internet.

In addition, XA 6.0 consolidates Mapics’ Product Development Collaboration MAGIK!, an integrated engineering change management solution that was previously available as a separate product. Product Development Collaboration MAGIK! lets all members of a product development process collaborate remotely on product development via the Web.

Finally, XA 6.0 integrates Mapics’ FRx product, a financial analysis and reporting tool which the company maintains can let finance and accounting professionals streamline processes.

And while XA 6.0 boasts a number of new features designed to appeal to e-businesses and to e-commerce ventures, Mapics’ Haley also points out that his company hasn’t abandoned its core competencies, either.

"XA Release 6.0 demonstrates MAPICS' continued commitment to our customers, offering solutions to extend out their enterprises and enhancing our core applications to provide a solid foundation," he contends.

Hyco Int’l Inc. (Atlanta), a global producer of hydraulic cylinders for mobile equipment, recently selected Mapics XA running on the AS/400 as an ERP solution for implementation in both its U.S. and international locations. Hyco needed a solution to track and manage its inventory and manufacturing activity across the world, says company CEO Richard Melrose, and so it turned to the multisite and multilingual capabilities provided by Mapics XA.

"Hyco was formed through several acquisitions, making it essential to invest in an ERP solution that would enable us to have a common look and feel worldwide,” he explains. “By leveraging the MAPICS XA ERP solution, we will streamline and unify our global manufacturing plants, enabling us to more effectively communicate and work together to satisfy global demands."

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