Q - Why does Software 21 promote the Adaptive Enterprise strategy?
A - Because it's where the real benefit lies in the investment to implement Enterprise Solutions such as FlexGen 4. A manufacturing company benefits by having real-time visibility and management control
over all the strategic and customer relationship aspects of their business. The ability to identify opportunities early and capitalize on them allows
first to market advantage. To have real-time key performance indicators
measuring all your internal operations allows you to change and adapt
successfully when challenges are demanding new ways of doing business. We are huge proponents that the lesson of the past ten years
is early adaption to trends, challenges and opportunities coupled
with systems and people to support them, defines the difference
between the ordinary and the extraordinary manufacturing enterprise.
The result is growth, market share and long term prosperity for the
Q - Software 21 has been around for 21 years. Why haven't we heard
of you before?
A - The simple answer is that Software 21 focuses on developing
great Adaptive Enterprise Solutions and the integrative services
needed to implement them. We have a very large installed base
which generates substantial work and opportunity for Software 21.
And secondly, the word of mouth and referral business we benefit
from allows us to focus on the products and services we are known
for implementing. We have never placed a high priority on hyping the
market or prospects on what we can do, we simply try to be the
very best in our field that we can.
Q - Why are customers so loyal to Software 21 and FlexGen4?
A - I think it is because Software 21 takes a very unique and committed
approach to seeing every FlexGen 4 implementation through completion
and to the point that the customer is realizing substantial value and return
on their investment. In our business it goes well beyond the software
in determining the service elements that determine success for our
type of marketplace. In addition we work hard to develop long term
technology strategies for our products and the customers that use
them. In part, that is why many of our customers have been with
Software 21 for over ( 21 ) years.
Q - What sets Software 21 apart from other ERP software companies?
A - I think there are several meaningful distinctions about Software 21
beginning with our business orientation. We are in business to help our
customers run their manufacturing companies better, more efficiently
and with a view to long run viability. We help them by doing three things -
First, we offer open comprehensive enterprise software which is easily implemented and reconfigured over time providing flexibility. We strongly
believe that users are a key to successful FlexGen 4 implementations
and work hard to assure their individual and company success. And
finally, we approach each company as an "IT Ecosystem" which needs
to be healthy, fully integrated and based on best of breed software
products, wherever they may come from. These are the keys to an
Adaptive Enterprise finding long term success in a demanding.
Q - What industries does Software 21 serve?
A - In our many years of servicing manufacturing companies we have
probably seen just about every product and production process
imaginable. However, over time we've developed some areas of experience that go beyond some others. We maintain a constant effort
to keep FlexGen 4 relatively generic and complete with regards to
all the processes it supports. However, through configuration control
and optional modules FlexGen 4 offers a very comprehensive environment for producing highly engineered products such as medical
devices , avionics, turbine control systems among others. These
products and their associated manufacturing demands are somewhat unique and challenging . Software 21 offers a substantial value
add to these industries, along with our generic products including a
"Lite" version of the product for smaller companies.
Q - Why is the FlexGen 4 system so affordable?
A - Because Software 21 is very committed to value, return on investment and the total cost of ownership of our products. We have set
our product price points to be competitive but intentionally not at
the extreme end of the market. We make a very good return on software sales which funds on going product development along with our
implementation services which rounds out a very strong revenue
stream for Software 21. We are in to earning long term relationships
with our valued customers and it begins with selling great software
at a reasonable price.
Q - How long is the average FlexGen 4 implementation and what
does it cost?
A - A typical twenty user FlexGen 4 implementation will take 4 to 6
months and $15,000 to $35,000 to implement. That will include all
the project management, user training, management education, process review and engineering and automated data collection considerations.
Q - What is the largest installation you have done to date?
A - That would have to be Takata, a very large automotive parts manfacturer with manufacturing plants in the states of Washington and
Georgia, with supporting and administrative ties to headquarters in
Japan. Takata maintained additional facilities in other countries around
the world. Takata is the second largest producer of inflatable components built into air bags for Toyota and all the major Japanese car
manufacturers. Takata had over 900 employees when implemented.
Q - How do you determine or select your partnering software com-
panies and their technologies to be used.
A - Almost all of our software development and platform products
come from either IBM or Microsoft. In part it is decided by the
nature of the task to be accomplished. All server and platform related software comes from Microsoft as they are really setting the
standards in the industry. We have some high tech customers who
demand an xServer / AIX platform and that would source from IBM.
Software is a tool and it needs to be carefully matched for price
and performance against the specific result you are looking for.
Microsoft . Net and the . Net Framework including web services
is the chosen platform for all of our web based software develop-
ment for the future. This is a rapidly growing development area
within Software 21, with a number of new products having just been
released. Where we have an application requirement that lies outside
our field of expertise, we will always find the "Best of Breed" provider to fulfill the requirement. This includes PROPHIX, iDashboards
and Business Objects.
Q - Can FlexGen 4 handle multiple languages and currencies?
A - Yes . Thanks to our Microsoft development tools, we can accommodate almost any language conversion requirement we run in to.
However, it is a substantial effort to make a comprehensive change
to all the programs and user documentation needed to support a
new countries language requirements. So we select our projects very
carefully. Right now we are working on new implementations in both
China and Sweden each requiring some changes based on language
and currency specifications.