PLM was born to provide a solution for large enterprise manufacturing companies. So, it was ERP – Enterprise Resouce Planning. The co-existence of PLM and ERP in manufacturing enterprises were always painful and demanded integrations. All these integrations are complex and expensive and required service contracts. The situation is pretty bad for both PLM and ERP – complex solutions prohibitive license and implementation cost. Historically small and medium-sized companies are underserved by PLM and ERP providers.
The introduction of SaaS solutions allowed us to change the barrier in providing a solution for small and medium-sized companies. From the very early beginning of its existence, OpenBOM was all about providing a new type of solution for manufacturing companies, engineering contractors and services. OpenBOM platform is completely new and relies on multi-tenant cloud architecture.
A few weeks ago, I found an interesting article on the Salesforce.com blog speaking about the opportunity to provide SaaS solutions to SMB companies. Check this out here. The article includes a very interesting graphic – please check this out.
One of the best things about being in middle markets — not too small and not too big — is access. The advent of quick adoption in technology means that ideas that would have been too expensive and too restricted for middle-market budgets and remained in bigger firms have now worked their way down more quickly. That also opens the market for people who are selling IT solutions, as long as they understand what those various markets need and can afford.
For example, when it comes to mid-market firms, the IT personnel generally lack specialties and the whole department is small. And those firms may not have been targeted by tech firms, either, so look forward to helping those who are offering things such as enterprise resource software. Those, in particular, hold great potential for mid-sized firms with the ability to streamline and add cohesiveness. What does that look like in this market? This graphic explains it.
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The article and infographic made me think about what is needed for SaaS business solutions to fit the requirements and operations of manufacturing companies. After working with many manufacturing companies at OpenBOM here are three things to keep in mind.
1- The majority of SMB companies in manufacturing are building custom products or small batches of manufactured products. While large companies are usually very much oriented on complex business processes, for small companies integration between engineering (design) and business (purchasing) is extremely important.
2- Collaboration is key. For most of the small companies, lack of collaboration is a killer. The timelines of small companies are shorter, processes are nimble and efficient. To achieve that, having a direct connection using modern collaborative tools is an absolute must.
3- Business analysis and impact. Small and medium-sized companies are sensitive to cost. Therefore, the room for mistakes is much smaller. To have a direct connection between engineering decisions, purchasing and cost management are usually on the first lines of the requirements to provide an efficient business solution for SMB manufacturing.
SMB Manufacturing companies are underserved significantly, but these companies cannot be generic out of the box business solutions. SMB Manufacturing companies are looking for specialized tools tailored to engineering and design process support, connecting dots between engineering and manufacturing as well as providing tight integration between design, engineering and purchasing /procurement.
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Best, Oleg @ openbom dot com.
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