UPDATED 12:00 EST / JANUARY 10 2019

carterthumb CLOUD

Q&A: QAD evolves manufacturing ERP system to minimize pain points

Cloud computing innovation is enabling unprecedented agility across businesses processes, and enterprises in every industry are eager to leverage the benefits of a streamlined solution to modernize operations.

Carter Lloyds (pictured), chief marketing officer of QAD Inc., is helping to support businesses in this transformation journey with his company’s enterprise resource planning tools designed for manufacturers, called QAD Manufacturing ERP.

Lloyds sat down with Dave Vellante (@dvellante), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at theCUBE’s studio in Boston, Massachusetts, to discuss the challenges in enterprise manufacturing and how QAD’s ERP cloud software is allowing organizations to remain focused on their business as they modernize.

[Editor’s note: The following answers have been condensed for clarity.]

Give us the overview of QAD.

Lloyds: In 1979, Karl Lopker, our founder, and Pam Lopker, our co-founder, were in Santa Barbara, California. Karl had a company making sandals and was running into some manufacturing problems. He needed software to make it easier. Pam wrote some software for him. He was very successful, so they founded QAD. And for 40 years we’ve been very focused on helping to make manufacturing easier through cloud ERP software.

How do you compete with the big whales in the market, particularly SAP?

Lloyds: I heard a quote from the founder of the World Economic Forum: “It used to be the big fish that would eat the small fish, but in today’s world, it’s the fast fish that eats the slow fish.” With all the rapid change going on, it’s not about how big you are in economies of scale. It’s about how resilient you are and how fast you can adapt.

What are some of the areas that you’re focused on where you’re having successes?

Lloyds: We’re focused on automotive, life sciences, food and beverage, consumer-packaged goods, electronics, and industrial. We’re seeing a lot of challenges for manufacturers within that area. The only constant is change, and legacy ERP systems simply weren’t designed for change. We’re seeing a disconnect between the business requirements and what the systems are able to provide.

We want to eliminate customizations but still give them the ability to deliver through extensions and new applications that are written in a non-intrusive way, can float above the system, and be upgraded without breaking those connections.

Our software can get our customers to 90 percent of their requirements, but for that last 10 percent, if that’s where your competitive advantage is, we need to give you a way to be able to meet those requirements that is simple and does not lock you into the software that you currently have.

Talk about your cloud strategy.

Lloyds: Our first product went to the cloud in 2003 before it was even called the cloud,;that was a supplier collaboration tool. We moved our flagship ERP system to the cloud in 2007, and since then, we’ve been building it for the cloud. It was an incredible experience for us that really had customer benefits, because once you become a service-provider rather than a product-provider, you see it through your customers’ eyes. It led us to understand the pains people have implementing ERP systems.

It’s not about the technology itself; it’s about the use case and how it can make them better manufacturers and make manufacturing easier. We do that through a very pragmatic approach we call QAD Labs where we work with our customers around their use cases. One of the areas we’re working on right now is around machine learning, to help automotive suppliers take some of the signals that they’re receiving from the OEMs and make sense of it.

Our customers are in the manufacturing business, not in the software business. Part of the cloud-value proposition is allowing our customers to do what they do best — make great products and serve their customers — and let us do what we do best, which is delivering software through the cloud to them.

Watch the entire video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s CUBE Conversations.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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