Conference season is in full swing, and my most recent trip was to the 2017 PowerPlex Conference, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia from May 8-11. There were over 1,000 attendees and several valuable information sessions.
Plex By the Numbers
Jason Blessing, CEO of Plex, kicked off PowerPlex with a great video showcasing real customers working on the shop floor. The purpose of this feature was to show the audience that Plex is really focusing on what they do best, which is helping their customers make products.
Jason went on to tout a few statistics from 2016. The company experienced:
- 81 major go-lives
- 506 expansions
- 95% renewal rate
- $100+ million in revenue
- 13,000 active users worldwide
- Only 26 minutes of total downtime
These are all extremely impressive numbers.
PowerPlex Shares Common Issues Among Manufacturers
Plex then presented the most important dimensions affecting manufacturers today. These included a technology disruption with the old business model of steady demand, long lead times, and standard products leading to a focus on efficiency to drive profits.
Today, variable demand, compressed lead times, short product life cycles, and reconfigurable global supply changes mean we need real-time information to make decisions to drive profits.
The speakers also touched on an especially “hot topic” of the current-day landscape, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). They stressed IIOT is how they will make things.
Connecting People & Processes
Connectivity to the internet is everywhere, standardized, and the sensors to connect are not costly. The factory will collect data from different types of equipment used to improve efficiency.
Work sites will utilize machinery location data to avoid accidents. Finally, inventory levels will be monitored at various stages of the supply chain, both inside and outside the four walls of their buildings.
The Plex team connected the dots with the concept of connected manufacturing, which is when processes, products, systems and people are all connected by their enterprise software solution..
When addressing the issue of systems connectivity, it was presented that Plex offers several solutions, including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), a developer’s portal, adapters, and connectors. New features include a single sign-on with a federated approach, supporting Azure and Okta.
Most importantly, Plex announced they are connecting with multiple integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) providers, Dell Boomi, Jitterbit and Mulesoft.
In terms of connecting processes, Plex spoke to their purchase of DemandCaster and the solution’s new supply chain management software capabilities.
By fully embedding DemandCaster with the Plex User Interface (UI), customers can forecast and plan inventories, expanding upon Plex’s capabilities in scheduling shop floor. Everyone who uses Plex should be using this module.
Plex has ambitious goals of connecting people in addition to processes, and introduced their new User Experience (UX) that was created to achieve this connection. The first users are upgrading now, and sometime in 2018, Plex will ask all their users to upgrade.
Plex has also started dabbling in wearables, having demonstrated the use of eye wear and wrist band RFs.
New Software Capabilities
Plex used the PowerPlex keynote to introduce new capabilities in analytics, showing off their function-based landing pages with PlexInsight. This feature is capable of ten different functions.
They also announced the addition of a quality functional analytics page. This tool is considered to be fully functional out-of-the-box, and is yet another Plex feature that has a very finessed User Interface (UI).
New Training Options
Finally, Plex announced that customers would no longer need to fly to Detroit, Michigan in the middle of the winter for training on the software and general ERP education, as they are launching an online training program called PlexBootCamp.
Stay tuned for my second blog on the event, coming soon!
To learn more about Plex, visit their website here.