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Get vertical-specific functionality with QAD

In this expert product review, QAD Enterprise Applications is weighed against it competitors.

QAD is one of the more mature vendors in the ERP enterprise software space. While its head office is located in...

Santa Barbara, California, 60% of its revenue comes from outside the U.S.  QAD has more than 5,300 customers in over 90 countries.

QAD is considered a Tier II ERP vendor. While its products encompass mixed-mode, process and discrete manufacturing, it is not a good fit for companies that do any sort of engineer-to-order or project-based manufacturing. These types of manufacturing require a different source of material sourcing, consumption, forecasting, replenishment and resourcing that QAD may not be quite able to accomplish to the specified level of detail and speed. It is good fit for manufacturing companies that employ lean manufacturing and companies with intensive enterprise asset management  requirements. QAD has recently introduced cloud ERP and has proven quite successful.

While many ERP vendors have a broad reach and target a variety of industries, QAD has the opposite philosophy. QAD specifically reaches out to only six verticals: automotive, consumer products, food and beverage, high tech, industrial products and life sciences. It is this focus on and knowledge of specific verticals that differentiates QAD from other Tier II ERP vendors.

Product Overview

QAD Enterprise Applications 2013.1 is the latest release of the complete product suite and continues to deliver more capabilities, which are aimed at supporting a just-in-time network of shared information and processes. Each vertical solution is specifically created to that industry and has incorporated best industry practices in its solutions, including workflows, functionalities and interoperability capabilities. 

The product's SOA foundation enables process automation throughout the ERP and also provides the basis for the reporting, analytics and internationalization abilities. This foundation is shared with all the modules, allowing greater visibility and usability throughout the system. QAD also has specific functionality for lean manufacturing through the Electronic Kanban Module, which assists in scheduling, replenishment and forecasting of inventory, as well as managing push/pull demand planning techniques and Kanbans.

QAD's cloud software gives customers the ability to run their companies as global organizations. The hybrid deployment with on-premise and cloud instances both use the same code base. This flexibility enables organizations to leverage all the QAD functionality and deploy modules on an as-needed basis. As with any SaaS-based software, upgrades and bug fixes are included in the price.

QAD offers full support for conversion, training, professional services, configuration and implementation, and offers a managed services model as well. Organizations have the flexibility to deploy any model and can even walk away from the burden of IT and system administration through the managed services model.

Many ERP systems have not evolved quickly enough to keep up with customer feedback and trends. QAD has answered some of this criticism by redesigning its old inflexible user interface to be more user-friendly. The new interface offers more configuration capabilities, as well as the ability to add some customizations and a deeper integration to Microsoft Office. Excel integration allows exports to be viewed directly in Excel -- including business process creation with workflows, a major gap in previous versions -- and link customer business processes to the ERP. Data viewing and usability have also been improved over the previous version.   

Pricing and implementation

The cloud pricing starts at $250 month for U.S.-based users. QAD has created a quick implementation methodology to get organizations up running in one to three months. This is a major overall improvement in installation over the on-premises version. This is one of few cloud ERP products that is very scalable, allowing from 10 to 5,000 users and making it a good fit for start-up organizations and mid-market enterprises, as well as global brands.

QAD carries a Tier II price for implementation, so organizations should be leery of the modules required for daily operations and limit the customizations to control costs. 

Alternatives

QAD's main competition includes Infor, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics AX, JD Edwards and IFS, as well as some of the smaller SAP packages such as All-in-One. A major advantage that QAD has in the cloud space is that there are few process-based ERP vendors in the cloud space, and expertise within the cloud is lacking. For organizations that require industry specialization and process-based manufacturing in the cloud, QAD is a good option.

Next Steps

Learn when it's time to put ERP in the cloud

Find out how ERP can help improve customer experience management

Consult this case study on mobile ERP

This was last published in June 2014

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