PRESS RELEASE – Macola Reseller Group Files Suit Against ECi Macola/MAX

Macola Reseller Group Files Suit Against ECi Macola/MAX for Antitrust and Other Violations

Suit says ECi is forcing unwanted services on clients and attempting to prevent competition 

COLUMBUS, Ohio. Nov. 9, 2018 – Macola Channel Partners and resellers recently filed a multi-count lawsuit against software developer ECi Macola/MAX, LLC, (“ECi”) alleging antitrust violations, tortious interference, breach of contract, and other claims.

On October 1st, 2018, resellers of Macola Software received a notification from ECi Software Solutions, Inc., the parent corporation of ECi Macola/MAX, that in the coming months it would be discontinuing its partner channel that had been running for more than 25 years. The notification also stated that customers would no longer be allowed to work with their reseller partners on ECi products in the future.

Macola resellers have for many years provided sales, support, and consulting services for users of Macola, an enterprise resource planning software system used primarily by small- to mid-sized businesses in manufacturing. According to the lawsuit, ECi has decided to cut out its former reseller partners and prevent them from offering support and consulting services to businesses using Macola. By preventing competition, the lawsuit says, ECi will create a monopoly for itself in the markets for support and consulting of Macola. The complaint contends that ECi is already exercising monopoly power over Macola users, forcing them to purchase services they do not want in exchange for continuing to receive routine Macola software updates.

According to the lawsuit, ECi is attempting to prevent competition by fraudulently telling Macola users that they will breach their software license agreement with ECi if they continue to do business with their reseller. At the same time, the complaint alleges, ECi is pressuring Macola users to sign new software license agreements that contain restrictive language that would prohibit Macola users from hiring anyone other than ECi to perform support or consulting on Macola software. In addition, the lawsuit claims that ECi has committed or threatened multiple breaches of its contract with the resellers, including cutting off earned commissions and other benefits under the contract.

On November 7th, 2018, a seasoned group of Macola resellers with hundreds of combined years of service, represented by the law firm Organ Cole LLP, filed suit against ECi in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleging that ECi’s conduct constitutes breach of contract, tortious interference, unfair competition, and violates state and federal antitrust law.

“It’s a daunting task for a handful of small businesses to take on ECi’s millions, but we made a promise to help our customers grow their businesses and we’ve become an integral partner with those companies,” said Michael Oswalt, CEO of Algorithm, Inc., one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“We believe every customer is valuable,” agreed Jeff DeSchon, Vice President of iPro, another of the plaintiffs. “We will continue to serve them, and we will protect our employees and their families. That is why we’ve taken this action.”

Chuck Wise, President of another plaintiff in the lawsuit, Copious Solutions, added, “We believe that our customers should carefully review any new contract documents put in front of them by ECi, including click-through documents and sales order footnotes, and seek legal counsel where appropriate.”

Currently pending before the court is the Macola resellers’ request for a temporary restraining order. If that request is granted, the order would prevent ECi both from telling Macola customers that they are prohibited from doing future business with the resellers and from requiring customers to purchase unwanted services as a condition of receiving software updates.

You can find a copy of the complaint here and a copy of the motion for a temporary restraining order here.

We encourage your feedback. Comments or questions may be sent to ECiMacolaSuit@algorithminc.com

This email address will be forwarded to the resellers as a group.

If you would rather, address your feedback to me directly at jmayer@new.mayererp.com

Common ERP Implementation Strategies

Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) make business work. They allow you to see the big picture so you can move your business in the right direction. However, just having a solution is not enough to lead your company to success. Your success will largely depend on your implementation strategy.

You need consider your implementation strategy as soon as possible so to maximize the benefits. No single blog post can fully explain every strategy, but here is a quick guide to get you started.

 

Big Bang 

Big bang Implementation happens all at once. You install every module on every computer system in your entire organization in a single night. While there are some pre-implementation tasks, there is no turning back once you changeover to the new system.

Big bang has its supporters and critics. Most people claim the risk factors as their main reasons to not use a big bang. However, you can set up your ERP quickly and more cost efficient with a big bang. If you choose this strategy, be prepared for temporary reduced productivity as your personnel get used to the new system.

 

Phased Rollout 

With phase rollout, you install components over time rather than all at once. Your company moves from your legacy system to your new one in a series of predetermined steps. You can complete these steps using one of the following formats.

  • Phased Rollout by Module – With module rollout, you install ERP modules one at a time. Most people typically start with the core functions and then add other modules based on their needs and hierarchy.
  • Phased Rollout by Business Unit – Business unit rollouts make the changes based on the needs of your business units. ERP implementations happen department by department.
  • Phase Rollout by Geography – This format works great for companies with multiple locations. Also known as pilot adoption, each location or department implements the new system when they feel they are ready.

As with big bang, phase rollout has its own fair share of pros and cons. Phase rollouts let your company ease into the new system, but they also make your network and infrastructure more complex and error prone. You also risk data loss as ERP modules exist to work together as a single unit.

 

Parallel Adoption 

Also called parallel conversion, parallel running, or parallel cut over, parallel adoption is the least risky of the three implantation strategies. With this strategy, you run both the old and new ERP system at the same time, and then phase out the old one.

Parallel adoption is slower than big bang, but faster than phased rollout. On the other hand, it has a smaller learning curve that big bang, but it is more difficult than phase adoption. However, cost is parallel adoption’s main trade-off since you need twice the resources.

Which of these ERP implementation you should use depends on your business goals and needs. There is no one size fits all solution here. Every business is unique and requires a unique implementation based on careful planning and analysis. For advice on which is right for your business, contact us today, and we will help you devise a strategy that will lead your business to success.

Medical Device ERP: Your Boots on the Ground

This is a good time to fully recognize the potential of innovative business software. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a fairly recent software discipline that addresses many important needs. ERP streamlines varied processes that previously demanded costly individual attention. Quite a few industries have widely adopted ERP solutions. The medical device industry offers an interesting case study in adopting new technologies quickly. In this fast-growing sector, competition is relatively fierce. Only organizations that rapidly adapt to new technology trends can remain fully competitive.

Mid-sized companies face unique challenges as they manage numerous subordinates on a regional or international level. An integrated ERP solution can bridge the gap for managers who need more control over remote teams and projects. Like virtual “boots on the ground,” ERP gives managers more direct control over broader swathes of people and processes.

In recognition of developing trends, ERP developers are broadly addressing the needs of the medical sector. The best developers have fully mastered inventory management software for medical device manufacturers or distributors. With a more centralized inventory management system, it is simple to keep well stocked without overbuying. In any industry, inventory shrinkage is a constant, nagging source of concern. Medical device manufacturing solutions with serial lot traceability are critical for containing shrinkage.

It isn’t hard to find a business software solution for small to midsized medical device manufacturers or distributors. In the competitive software industry, developers who consciously address user needs quickly gain visibility. The most prestigious of these developers are now providing serial lot traceability for medical device manufacturers. Only time will tell how many more ways ERP will change the ace of modern manufacturing.

Even with dedicated software support, learning new software is a time-consuming process. Nevertheless, cutting-edge ERP software is generally a worthwhile investment. Updating software is an essential way to improve workflow processes for medical device manufacturers and distributors. Some managers stubbornly cling to older software that is conveniently familiar. That convenience might come at the expense of slow-bleeding company resources. Modern ERP solutions increase transparency; crucially, they identify processes that are quietly dragging down organizational efficiency. Maintaining an innovative tradition, ERP developers provide crucial tools for connectivity. With ERP, one manager can keep track of key data points for far-flung warehouses, annexes and offices. By allowing greater transparency and communication, ERP helps professionals prioritize their best efforts

Should I Purchase my ERP or Rent it?

Should I buy or rent my ERP?

Enterprise resource planning software is more essential than ever before, and if you want to gain an edge over your competitors, you must ensure that you are making the most out of your systems. For small to medium sized businesses, Midsize Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a worthy upgrade from less encompassing programs like QuickBooks. However, using ERP software involves a number of decisions, such as determining whether renting on a monthly basis or if purchasing is best for your business. Here are a few tips for choosing whether to rent or buy your ERP software.

 

Which is Cheaper?

Ultimately, one option will be more cost effective for your particular business in the long run, and saving money on software gives you the flexibility to spend elsewhere. If you know which package you want to purchase and want to commit for the long term, it may be best to buy it outright. When you buy, you own your system and your data. Typically you get a return for your investment within 5 years. When you pay a monthly fee for a SaaS based solution, your data is hosted in the cloud environment and you pay a recurring monthly fee. The convenience of a rented solution is not dealing with, worrying about, purchasing or maintaining infrastructure. To answer which path is cheaper, compare cost over 5 years. In most cases, purchased solutions end up being the less expensive alternative.

 

Is Flexibility Important?

By renting your ERP software, there are limits to customizations. For those new to ERP, having the ability report on data from within the system is crucial. Having the ability to add custom reporting fields is a benefit of a purchased solution. Work with an experienced provider who can assess your needs and determine which system works best for your organization.

 

Are there options?

The software economy is moving toward a model where applications tend to be rented or cloud based. However, a one time capital expenditure may be more suited for companies that prefer not to commit to a monthly fee. If you are interested in taking advantage of a cloud solution, purchased solutions can be placed in a hosted environment and you won’t have to worry about infrastructure expenses.

 

The Right Size For You

ERP software is valuable for businesses of all sizes, as it allows owners and managers to focus on what they do best instead of dealing with financial nuances and logistics. However, it is important to choose the right package for you and decide whether it is best to make a one-time purchase and maintain a program, or rent it and pay ongoing costs.

Advantages of ERP Software for Retail

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are software programs that integrate data and retail business processes into a unified Information System (IS).

Prior to development of  ERP software, the retail industry was consigned to manage all inventory data separately. It’s like going back to accounting using an adding machine.

Fortunately today there are efficient software programs that tie all the logistics of most industries together into one comprehensive program to store, manage, collect and interpret information from all segments of the processes. 

DMS Retail, an online ERP newsletter, says that ERP manages the information from the manufacturing and delivery sector, manages inventory, tracts the cost of production and planning and follows marketing and sales data. 

The system functions from a central database that holds all the data relating to the various modules. In order to achieve a smooth utilization, the ERP system uses various hardware and software units. The system is designed to expedite the applications and optimize internal business processes across an organization. ERP has become the most competitive tool for retail organizations.

The ERP software packages have an enterprise wide reach that offers cross-functional capabilities to the organization. The different functional departments involved in the operations or inventory processes are integrated into a single system. An ERP program takes care of the various business processes such as logistics, order entry,  and warehousing. It integrates different business functions such as accounting, marketing, strategic management and the human resource management.

For more information about how we can help you with your ERP needs, contact us.

Is ERP On-Site the Best Business Solution for You?

Everyday companies are facing the challenge of how to enhance productivity. Deciding to go with cloud hosting verses ERP (enterprise resource planning) on-site software is tedious since there is really no right or wrong choice, but rather an issue of accessing your company needs and forming a strategy to find the best solution. Here are some advantages to consider regarding on-site software as a viable solution to your business needs. There are numerous advantages to utilizing on-site software, control being the most appealing. Consideration of on-demand or cloud hosting requires no data licensing costs, new infrastructure requirements along with employing third-party services.

With data security being an increasing concern companies are looking for ways to take back control preventing data leaks, security threats and other problems related to sensitive data. By deploying the ERP on-site model a company has the freedom to oversee their systems, data and most important the peace of mind that comes from knowing that critical business infrastructure resides in-house. If companies view employing IT as an investment, that investment is directly proportional to the requested scale solution. The average time frame for an on-site program is approximately 5-7 years.

ERP on-site allows for complete visibility into all the important processes, across various departments in an organization. Multiple geographic locations are also supported by network infrastructure. Although you need a license, the company owns the software. In addition to the upfront cost along with the annual maintenance /subscription renewal ranges about 20-25%.

Is ERP on-site the right choice for you? The answer lies in accessing your company’s needs and applying the best strategy. Cloud hosting is one choice among many, the good thing is it’s not the only option to consider for your business. Your option to determine the best way to grow your company is neither right or wrong however ERP on-site is recommended.

Contact us today to find out more information about how our consultation staff can help you with your manufacturing, distribution and service needs.

ERP for Medical Devices

The Medical Device industry is closely related to digital health which involves merging of the genetics and digital revolutions with health, living and society. It permits you to track, manage, and improve wellness as well as improve efficiency in healthcare delivery. Some of the important elements of the medical device industry are:

  • Wireless devices
  • Hardware sensors
  • Microprocessors
  • The Internet
  • Mobile area networks
  • Genomics
  • Health information technology

Enterprise resource planning, (ERP), for medical devices is software that allows your organization to use an integrated applications system to manage your business and automate back office functions. Compliance with the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies is a challenge in the business world. Fortunately, ERP systems bring together the tools needed to meet these challenges. Some of the benefits are:

  • More efficient workflows.
  • Visibility into processes for ongoing improvement.
  • Data re-entry prevention.
  • Improved data security.
  • Facilitation of collaboration activities.

Medical Device manufacturers need customer relationship management capabilities that support relationship sales strategies, mobile field sales, service support, inventory management, marketing, and accounts planning. Two software products available are:

  • Role-Based Workbenches which increase productivity up to 50 percent. They allow workflow to be configured for each user’s role.
  • A Mobile Metrics application that gives you access to your data from a tablet or smartphone anywhere, anytime.

Being successful in the Medical Device industry depends on your company’s ability to produce high quality products faster than your competition. ERP software solutions provide excellent financial management, product management and customer relations management.

For more information contact us.