Sun helps manufacturers gain better visibility

Company partners a group of software vendors to tie disparate applications together so that manufactures can get more accurate and timely information.

SINGAPORE--Sun Microsystems is offering an integrated information system that will enable businesses to monitor their manufacturing activities in real-time, according to company officials.

Dubbed the Integrated Manufacturing Solution for Real-Time Enterprise, the system was developed together with Adexa, Brooks Software, Genovate and PTC. It allows manufacturers to monitor the entire spectrum of manufacturing activities--from design to final production.

"Many (manufacturers) have told us that they have several different technologies on their factory floors that are not integrated. What they want is to have visibility of their supply chain and processes," said Gabriel Chan, worldwide director of partner and industry marketing for manufacturing and retail, at a press conference last week.

Systems integrator Genovate, experienced in deploying SAP business applications, will provide the expertise to integrate products from Adexa, Brooks, SAP and PTC. Running on Sun Fire servers, the system addresses engineering, planning, procurement, production and shipping business processes.

This system follows closely behind the company's partnership with the Institute of Technical Education to set up the ITE-Sun Center of Technology (COT). Established in February this year, the center showcases Sun's IT manufacturing technologies for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).

According to Lim See Yew, the center's director, more than 500 local and overseas visitors have visited COT so far.

One Singapore firm is in discussions with Sun to install the manufacturing system. United Test and Assembly, which tests and assembles electronic components, used to charge its customers less than it should because the company's systems were not integrated, according its IT director, Edwin Goh.

"Sometimes, the factory floor produces more products, but the planners are unaware of how much was produced from their SAP systems, and so they charge (customers) less than what we make," Goh said.

"If this (solution) had come three years earlier, we would have been able to cut our operating costs," he said, but declined to reveal the potential cost savings.