29 Oct The view from the cloud: how Infor CEO Charles Phillips is setting out to build the ‘social network of companies
Infor seems to be making big strides into the retail space. Is your recent $675 million acquisition of GT Nexus linked to this?
GT Nexus is really the beginning of a new era of what we call multi-enterprise ERP (enterprise resource planning). A lot of brand owners that we know and love started outsourcing manufacturing to contractors, and many of them don’t make anything themselves anymore – it’s done by a value chain of partners.
So today it’s very common for a product to be ordered by one company, built by another, shipped by another, and then sold by a fourth company, so it’s a network of partners. ERP wasn’t designed for that; it’s designed for people who operate at one location inside the four walls of the enterprise.
So that changes the reality, and won’t slow down because that’s just how economies work – they become more specialised over time. This network we created ties all these components together so everyone can see the order, know exactly what’s been ordered, know where it is and know when to pay for it.
Retail is a part of that, because you want to know when it’s about to sell, you have to get it delivered to the retail location, and you want visibility on all of that – from the time you first planned to buy and sell something (merchandise planning), to the time you order it, to the time it’s actually built, to when it’s aboard ship in a container.
Now you can know where it is at all times. And when you know where the product is, you can have less inventory and make better decisions. So that’s the purpose of ERP – to tie together these companies in a way that looks like a single company.