Infor M3 Gets Fresh with Food
November 19, 2013 Alex Woodie
Infor is working on a new version of its M3 ERP system that’s specifically designed to meet the needs of ultra-fresh food manufacturers whose products have a shelf life of days, rather than weeks or months.
The food and beverage market is one of Infor’s strongest vertical industries for the Lawson M3 software, in addition to the clothing/footwear and equipment sale and rental industries. Along with the major verticals, Infor differentiates itself from other ERP vendors by targeting hundreds of so-called “micro-vertical” industries where it can deliver fine-tuned functionality and processes for specific types of businesses.
The new ultra fresh food version of M3 is an example of Infor’s micro-vertical approach. The software, which is not yet available, will include the new M3 Fresh Food Planner (FFP) application designed to help ultra-fresh food manufacturers more accurately forecast demand to maximize the short shelf life of their products.
The shelf life problem is a major dilemma for fresh-food manufacturers, according to M3 product director Patrik Sjoberg. “The window of maximum opportunity is based on having just the right stock at just the right time,” he says in a press release. “We believe that in this context, accuracy in predicting stock needs more precisely increases revenue while reducing waste and write offs. Consequently, accurate demand planning is absolutely critical.”
Maximizing profits requires manufacturers to work with retailers, who need to keep fresh foods on the shelf for as long as possible. “This narrows the time-window for planning and production even more,” Sjoberg says. “Simply put, fresh food manufacturers have to be the fastest, most agile business they possibly can be and we believe that, to do that, technology such as the FFP is going to be a source of real competitive advantage.”
M3 is written in Java and is often, though not always, deployed on the IBM i server. Infor did not indicate when the new M3 edition might become available. The company also indicated it is working on other M3 enhancements as well. Earlier this year, Infor rolled out M3 version 13.1, which is considered the first 10x release of the product that brings feature such as support for Infor’s new HTML5 SoHo, the ION integration bus, and the Ming.le social media capabilities.