Rubenstein Justman Management Consultants

Infor is Worth a Second Look

by Gary Rubenstein

For the past 24 years we at Rubenstein / Justman Management Consultants (RJMC) have been assisting our mid-market clients to assess and improve their current enterprise systems or to evaluate and select alternative systems.  Over these years we have noted considerable change in the software industry, the greatest being in the area of consolidation.  Today there are fewer viable vendors and solutions in the marketplace than in the past.   That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a fact.

Today, the players in the mid-market space for integrated enterprise solutions include big names like Epicor, Lawson, Microsoft, Oracle, Sage, and SAP.  Then there are the niche players that address specific vertical industries or offer best of breed solutions – too many to list just now.  But one of the larger companies that sometimes slips through the cracks is Infor.  With the objective of getting some clarification as to the company’s strategic direction as it relates to manufacturing, RJMC initiated a call directly to Infor.  We were pleasantly surprised by their overall candor and willingness to discuss product strengths and weaknesses.  Here are a few highlights from our conversation regarding the status of their manufacturing solutions.

  • Infor is a U.S. based company with over $2 billion in revenue, 70,000+ customers worldwide, and more than 8,000 employees.

  • Infor has grown largely through the acquisition of a variety of ERP solutions, some of which could be classified as legacy in nature, but in most cases, Infor is providing a migration path through its Flex program to allow customers to upgrade and replace their legacy software to one of the other more mainstream solutions in the Infor family of solutions.
  • Although there are many ERP-related solutions referenced on the Infor website, today’s focus on manufacturing is largely supported by the following solutions:
  • Infor ERP LN / Baan – This solution is targeted for companies over $200M in annual sales with global requirements.  LN is the new name for the tried and true Baan ERP solution.  Infor is the process of introducing tools which will speed implementation to 90 days or less.
  • Infor ERP Syteline – This solution for discrete manufacturing received a recent upgrade and is built on Microsoft’s .NET technology and is targeted for companies up to $400M.  Syteline promises deep manufacturing functionality.  Integrated use of Microsoft SharePoint also provides an environment for project collaboration.

  • Infor ERP Adage – This solution provides essential process manufacturing functionality for the food, beverage, chemical and life science industries.  The software retains a somewhat dated “look and feel” but seems to pack in a lot of functionality.

  • Infor ERP Visual – This solution is oriented towards smaller companies in the range of $40M or less and addresses core back-office financial, sales, manufacturing, engineering, and distribution needs with project management capabilities.

The bottom line is that Infor is a viable option to consider if your business relies on discrete or process manufacturing. The solutions we discussed even covered global supply chain and distribution needs.  Infor offers solutions aimed at different sized companies as well as at different manufacturing modes, such as Make to Stock (MTS), Configure to Order (CTO), Build to Order (BTO), and Engineer to Order / Project Based (ETO).  Infor also addresses its solutions to companies looking to employ lean tools and flow manufacturing methodologies. We were impressed with the depth of the manufacturing expertise and knowledge on Infor’s part – it was clear that this area has been given a lot of focus and attention.

As a company that focuses on representing the best interests of our mid-market clients to assist them in finding the right solution at the right price, Infor should be considered.  From our brief, candid conversation with Infor, we are confident that they will only participate in an evaluation process when they see that they have a way to differentiate themselves from the competition either based upon feature / function, domain expertise, or by presenting a solution with a lower total cost of ownership.

Rubenstein / Justman Management Consultants (RJMC) is a management consulting firm that prides it on the strong relationships it has established with its many clients over the past 24 years.  RJMC is vendor and solution independent and does not sell hardware or software or perform system implementations.  Visit www.RJMC.net to better understand the scope of RJMC services.