Written by Derek Singleton
Cloud technologies are becoming increasingly relevant to manufacturers. As the number of Cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) options expands, manufacturers are taking the technology more seriously. Most of the attention paid to Cloud ERP, however, focuses on the application. In my opinion, focusing on the application misses the opportunity platform as a service (PaaS) offers manufacturers.
If you’re unfamiliar with development platforms, just think about an iPhone. The iPhone is the platform that third-party developers build apps for. To develop for the iPhone, you just need to build an app on the platform and anyone in the world can download it directly to their iPhone. PaaS takes that and moves it to an enterprise level.
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By building applications on top of widely-used platforms like NetSuite’s SuiteCloud, developers bypass long development cycles because the PaaS vendor has completed most of the underlying engineering work. PaaS also allows manufacturers to:
- Upgrade manufacturing add-ons before vendor releases.
- Purchase a wide diversity of apps that are designed to be interoperable.
- Get third-party developers to quickly build customized solutions.
Beyond that, PaaS gives third-party developers the ability to build complex manufacturing applications at significantly lower costs than before. In turn, they can pass these savings along to the manufacturer. For a preview of the potential of PaaS, just consider the power of these three apps.
- JustEnough - JustEnough is a demand planning solution that uses the SuiteCloud platform to extend functionality of the NetSuite Manufacturing Edition. While demand planning is nothing new in the software world, allowing manufacturers to integrate a third-party add-on to their cloud ERP solution is new. The fact that manufacturers can connect demand planning to solution to their core ERP for as little as $249/month is also a big change in the industry.
- Arena PLM - Arena PLM allows manufacturers to monitor the full lifecycle of their production -- from schematic to end product. It can be used to track items from suppliers, manage supply chain availability, and track regulatory certificates to ensure the end product meets regulatory requirements. Again, it's a big deal because it opens PLM to the small to mid-sized manufacturer, which they've historically been priced out of.
- Rootstock - I first heard of Rootstock when I found out that its technology was OEM'd by NetSuite to offer MRP functionality (more) to NetSuite Manufacturing Edition. Since the app Rootstock makes available via PaaS is an MRP application, it doesn't necessarily extend a core manufacturing product. However, because it's built on PaaS, Rootstock can upgrade its MRP application much more frequently and tweak it to fit a particular production scenario.
If you’re interested in reading more, stop by Software Adviceand check out my article at: 3 Manufacturing Apps Taking Advantage of Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Derek Singleton joined Software Advice after graduating from Occidental College with a degree in Political Science. He writes about various topics related to ERP software with particular interests in the manufacturing and distribution software markets.
You can read more of Derek’s writing here