Extended Internet-based collaboration and associated supply chain and manufacturing management software have been released by mid market manufacturing software developer Mapics aimed squarely at light industry. The firm’s renamed PointMan system, now a bit of a mouthful as ‘Mapics ERP for Extended Systems’, offers more supply chain capabilities, including an in-house developed buyer/supplier portal, a web-based product configurator from Mapics partner Access Commerce, and integrated advanced planning and scheduling (APS) from its Throughput system. Karl Schutz, IT manager at Mapics user Durham Manufacturing, says the new release demonstrates that the company, “understands the needs of mid-market manufacturers. Adding functionality that provides us with a powerful foundation will increase our competitiveness on product lead time and speed of doing business.” Mapics marketing manager Richard Montalvo insists there is a great deal here for SMEs in industries like high tech and electronics. He says that since the new buyer/supplier portal is linked directly into the ERP, users will gain greater speed and flexibility with suppliers, via web-based procurement and collaborative workflow. Buyers and suppliers alike will be able to view purchase orders and receive automatic alerts via email or cell phones. Meanwhile, the APS, which is full Drum Buffer Rope (DBR), Theory of Constraints (TOC) stuff, enables users to plan and schedule their shopfloors more efficiently and flexibly, according to concurrent material and resource capacity optimisation. And there’s the web storefront system and the product configurator for customer front-end entered assemble-to-order manufacturing. Incidentally, other enhancements to the Throughput system, now at v6.0, have also been included in EES, including support for multiple customer forecasts for S&OP (sales and operations planning), user-definable fields for orders and part lots, and more on financials.