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MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments?

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#51921

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 27 September, 2007

We're looking at ERP software for our very small proto and small batch shop. Manex is a name that crops up as being specifically designed for CEMS rather than all the rest which are modified from a universal base.

The other is DBA Manuafcturing which is very low cost and seems well supported - but is it any good?.

So are there any users who would care to comment?

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#51929

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 28 September, 2007

Peter,

I've used both systems, and can offer the following:

Manex (xERP, last I knew) is a pretty inclusive set of manufacturing, inventory, accounting, and planning set of software. I used mostly the manufacturing side of things, and found that, from a material planning viewpoint, and a process control viewpoint, it was very well done. I never got too involved with the accounting side of things, but I did get to observe my Controller having headaches on a monthly basis. My understanding was that the accounting module wasn't as well done, and the commmunication between the two modules wasn't great.

I'll also note that it's been four years since I was using xERP, and it's entirely possible that they've continued to work out the bugs. At the time, there was a pretty large community of Manex haters out there...I think they even had their own anti-Manex mailing list...mostly installed users that were very upset over the support they were receiving from the company.

I think the biggest lesson we learned about xERP was that we really needed to change our processes to accomodate the system. For two years, we attempted to force the system to work the way we wanted to...with much pain involved. We met with another company that had been relatively successful, and their method had been to modify their processes.

I used DBA at my last job, and found it to be a pretty decent system, considering the cost. The downfall for us was that it was a pretty old version of the system, and we weren't going to pay for upgrades. Having said that, I was pretty impressed with the way it managed BOM structures, and MRP. However, we had issues extracing information from it the way we wanted to. Again, it's entirely possible that the issues we encountered have been fixed in newer releases.

From a cost perspective, you seem to be looking at both ends of the spectrum. Whichever way you land, be prepared for a lengthy transition process...and don't rush it. Test out the systems, determine how to use them, and modify your procedures to allow using the new systems. It'll cause you much less pain in the long run.

cheers ..rob

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#51931

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 28 September, 2007

Rob

Thats really helpful, thanks. You are right in that I am looking at both ends of the spectrum, Manex is to be honest a lot for us to consider but if it really would do the job we could stretch that far. We bought CircuitCam from Aegis years ago and never regretted it though it was enormously expensive for our tiny company at the time. I keep coming back to DBA as being (apparently) incredible value, if it only did half of a major package it would be worth considering. Then I have found loads of other packages in our price range (say 10K USD) but all as you found seem to require us to change a lot to suit the package whereas we'd like to stick largely with what we do now and fit the package to us. I realise that once we have settled we are likely to stay with that system forever so it had better be the right one! Current DBA sounds very different to the old versions so maybe it has changed a lot since you last tried it.

Anyway, many thanks for your comments - really does help even if I still dont know which way to go! Possibly DBA as the initial investment is so much lower and use it as a learning experince, if a better system comes along conside changing later having gained valuable expereince in ERP methods.

Peter

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#51940

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 1 October, 2007

Peter,

Doesn't Aegis offer an MRP solution? I'm even rustier on my knowledge of Circuit CAM than I am on the the old versions of Manex and DBA that I've used; but I thought I recalled that Aegis was trying to offer a fully integrated solution, that included process tracking, material control, machine programming, and documentation.

I think I mentioned that one problem I've run into is that in these all-inclusive programs, you typically end up with one or two functions that are very strong, and one or two that are quite weak. With Manex, I understood it to be the accounting functions. With DBA, I took it to be the manufacturing functions. At least the version I used was a very good relational-database, and very good at numbers (hence, pretty good at MRP and accounting); from a usability perspective, it wasn't great at manufacturing. I found Manex to be very good at manufacturing, but was told that it wasn't so great at accounting. I know that the Aegis folks come from a Manufacturing/Engineering background, and would expect that if they did offer an MRP tool that it would be great at process control, and maybe a little weaker on the MRP side.

In the end, each system would most likely be a personalized system, depending on your company, and your usage. I'd see about getting demo's set up of all systems that you're considering. Establish a team internally to review the systems, play with them, put them through their paces, and see which ones fit your needs best. I wouldn't suggest that you're picking a system which you'll live with forever. Nothing is forever in manufacturing!! But, it is very expectable that you'll be living with it for a fairly long time, with the investment being what it is.

cheers ..rob

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#51943

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 1 October, 2007

DBA tried to re-write thier software at least twice and failed. They ended up buying/partnering with EZ-Jobz from I think Austrailia. The new product and the old product are not the same at all in any way. Manex was originally based on FoxPro. We are talking OLD technology. If they have re-written it in something new it may be a good bet but it is fairly expensive and if its still FoxPro I would keep looking. .net is the best architecture these days. Intuitive is pretty much there. Epicore I think is trying. Look at CMSsoftware.com. If DBA will work for you, try it. Its cheap and should run on a cheap server.

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#51949

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 1 October, 2007

Aegis always told me that they wouldnt go into the full MRP thing believing that this was not their core speciality even though it would make sense but last I heard was that they were talking to Manex about making the two systems interact - this was why I started looking at Manex.

I had to smile when you said establish a team to look at the software - I am the team! There is me, my wife who does the admin and four part time ladies who assemble for me, thats it! Just the six of us - Oh and CircuitCAM, Checkpoint, a Mydata TP9, Ersa wavesolderer etc etc.

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#51950

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 1 October, 2007

Origin is New Zealand I believe - which means it has been regionalised to the US and I want it put back to British. "Old" DBA seems to have been put out to grass so I am ignoring that one.

My present MRP is FoxPro based - and is being rewritten in visual FoxPro so I am not happy with its long term prospects.

As I said above Manex are talking to Aegis so I am watching that development carefully, meanwhile maybe DBA will get me 90% of the way there at a reasonable cost.

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#51953

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 2 October, 2007

Peter,

Need a new hire? I'm up for moving .

Considering the size...I'd guess that DBA or something similar is more along the right lines for you. xERP (Manex) may be way more than what you need. We were using it in a $20 mil company, and had a lot of head room in the software (considering our investment, we better have had headroom!!).

Especially if you get something in SQL, or, well, any other relational database except FoxPro! Someone else mentioned Manex being FoxPro, and I had forgotten what a pain that was. I thought, though, that they were re-writing for SQL. Any open relational database backend, though, ought to serve. Any customization can be worked with Crystal Reports, or some other database front-end interface.

cheers ..rob

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#51955

MANEX ERP or DBA Manufacturing - any user comments? | 2 October, 2007

Well apart from us being in the UK and I suspect you are over the pond, you wouldnt want to work with me for what I can pay! I am looking for a partner though......!

We do punch above our weight already in that we must be Aegis's smallest customer and the initial investment was huge for us, way over what we probably should have done but it has been so good for us. As a result, we work with some big nakes like TRW and Goodrich and they think of us as just an extention of their own shop. In that sense I dont mind going out on a limb to get the best product but one does have to be sensible about it as well.

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