Infor Customers Share IBM i Stories
February 16, 2022 Alex Woodie
Infor is often disparaged for being a graveyard of IBM i ERP products. But at the recent Inforum Digital event, three Infor customers shared why they’re bullish on their IBM i ERP systems from Infor.
Badger Meters is a publicly traded manufacturer of water meters based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 115-year-old company has more than 1,600 employees and has relied on Infor ERP LX system and BPCS predecessors to automate its operations for many years.
According to Jim Reinardy, the director of information systems for Badger Meters, ERP LX has met the company’s needs, which has included a number of acquisitions.
“It’s even handled our European operations with multi-currency and multi-language as well as smaller domestic organization,” he said during a customer roundtable event held last month at the Inforum Digital conference. “I’m pleased.”
Badger Meters also expanded its ERP LX usage into other areas of the business, including managing the distribution operations, Reinardy told Bill Vellante, a vice president and general manager with Infor during the discussion. “It’s proven quite versatile in our operation,” he said.
But changes are afoot at Badger Meters. The company has moved many of its business applications to the cloud already, and the Infor LX system is on the docket to make the move, too, Reinardy said.
“We signed up to move to the Infor Cloud probably next year,” Reinardy said. “ERP is really the last system that’s not there now, other than some minor packages. CRM, payroll and all that is already there.
Reinardy has high hopes for working with the Infor cloud team. “ERP is the last frontier and I’m looking forward to really having the benefit of the Infor Cloud team helping us finding someone with expertise in the IBM i and in the Infor software,” he said. “It’s been a little tough, both from a hiring and an outsourcing perspective. But it’s all there with the Infor team. So that’s going to be great for us.”
Another IBM i shop participating in the roundtable is the Exotic Metals Forming division of Parker Hannifin Corporation, a publicly traded, $14 billion-company based near Cleveland, Ohio. Parker specializes in the design and manufacture of motion and control technologies used in a range of diversified industrial and aerospace markets.
Parker’s Exotic Metals Forming division has successfully grown the company atop its ERP XA (formerly MAPICS) implementation, according to Jeff Eaton, the division’s business process director.
“I think the biggest thing is . . . the software really does what your business requires,” Eaton said. “Over the course of the years at Exotic, we’ve grown three or four times the size we were a mere five to 10 years ago.”
Infor OS and the Enterprise Integrator have been instrumental in enabling Exotic Metals Forming to get the personalized and customized capabilities that it needs, Eaton said.
“The software’s got enough flexibility in there that no matter what the business requires, we can solve it with the tools we’ve got,” he said. “And we can do it in such a matter that we get the personalization, we get the customization of the business process, but it doesn’t impact our ability to upgrade or to stay current with releases.”
The Kent, Washington, business was acquired by Parker in 2019 for $1.725 billion, and that also has brought the need to integrate applications and data, he said.
“We just finished an integration with a piece of software that the parent company wants to run that they were estimating was going to take us six months,” Eaton said. “And we knocked it off in more like six to eight weeks.”
Trinity Industries is a publicly traded company based in Dallas, Texas, that builds and services railcars and other transportation products. It is in the last stages of migrating from BPCS to Infor LX system to manage its business.
According to Seane Vicknair, the company’s vice president of IT, Trinity Industries has found success using the Infor Development Framework (IDF) to adapt the ERP system to the company’s needs.
“We’re saying zero customization to the core code of the LX platform, but you have to have the capability and the functoriality to go somewhere,” Vicknair said. “What we’re using and leveraging is those toolsets that kind of float around like satellite to the core system itself. IDF is an example. That’s been a great tool for us to really empower users with data information and workflow techno leis that they didn’t have in the past, or that we had it customized to some other degree.”
Parker’s Exotic Metals Forming division has found success with the IDF tool.
“We’re definitely deep in the enhancements side. We’ve created over 2,000 personalized objects in the software to do some of those functions,” Eaton said. “The IDF framework was one of those things where you can use it for years and keep running across new functionality, new features that you didn’t realize it was capable of doing. It’s sort of the gift that keeps on giving.”