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Comment Automation & Control

Sanctioned ‘cheating’

By Rebekkah Marshall |

Business software applications, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) — the broad set of activities that are supported by application software to help companies manage business activities, including product planning, parts purchasing, maintaining inventories, interacting with suppliers, providing customer service and tracking orders — have all but saturated the large end of companies within the chemical process industries (CPI). In fact, "85% of all chemical companies over $1 billion, are running SAP as a backbone," according to Frank Kochendoerfer, director of SAP Labs, LLC’s chemicals business unit (Newtown Square, Pa.; www.sap.com). But for the rest of the CPI, in which a significant number of this magazine’s readers are employed, ERP and its related applications are just starting to seep in. For many of these small and mid-sized producers, the prospect of implementing these systems from scratch has been understandably daunting. Software licensing costs aside, the overwhelming setup process has looked to be much more laborious than the status quo. Until recently, the complexity and investment has simply seemed too risky and the benefits out of reach. Two factors are mainly responsible for the…
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