CDC ROSS ERP SOFTWARE REVIEW
CDC Software is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CDC Corporation (Nasdaq: CHINA) and manufacturer of the Ross Enterprise Resource Planning software system. The Ross Enterprise software system is built to ensure the production and delivery of high-quality finished goods so that process manufacturers can effectively produce, manage, and track goods, information and resources across the enterprise and supply chain, while adhering to increasingly stringent quality standards. Ross Enterprise's enterprise resource planning software applications are designed to meet the needs of process manufacturers in the production and packaging of products through recipe and formula-based production.
Ross Enterprise strengths among the market of Enterprise Resource Planning software systems include the following:
- Ross is particularly strong in the core process manufacturing software requirements of dynamic forecasting and scheduling, formula-based production and yield management, quality control, inventory management, complex product costing and regulatory compliance.
- Ross Enterprise, version 6.3, is a significant release in terms of architectural advancement and offers improvement in product stability. This newest version of Ross ERP offers CDC Software's Smart Client technology with a thin client graphical user interface.
- Ross ERP offers an impressive access and integration to the Microsoft desktop and Microsoft Office productivity applications.
- CDC Software company officials claim the most recent release dramatically lowers IT support costs and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) through centralized system administration, reduced deployment requirements, less technical maintenance requirements and accelerated upgrade transitions.
- Ross Enterprise 6.3 also brings new and much needed application functionality, including improved visibility to the production floor and supply chain operation. Inventory visibility with a forecasted inventory view is offered with a 'net change' inquiry for the actual time-phased availability of finished goods with related intermediate products and ingredients - without having to perform a complete analysis.
- The project accounting (job costing) is enhanced and fully integrated with the financial software modules.
- A new landed cost function permits manufacturers or distributors to include additional related costs of material such as shipping, freight, insurance, handling or duty as part of the inventory valuation at the time of voucher receipt.
- The company’s industry-specific solutions are used by more than 5,000 global customers, with concentrated representation in the manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, home building, real estate, and wholesale and retail distribution industries.
Ross Enterprise weaknesses among competing ERP software solutions include the following:
- Ross is perceived as a mature but antiquated technology business software solution. Ross Systems was founded in 1972 by Kenneth Ross. The company initially offered accounting software applications that ran on mainframes. Later, Ross software evolved to the DEC marketplace, first offering accounting software for the DEC PDP-11, and later for the DEC VAX models in the early 1980’s. In 1988, when the company’s headcount was about 130 and revenues were approximately $20M, there was a buyout lead by Dennis Vohs, a former executive with competitor MSA (Management Sciences of America). The company grew to about 700 employees and $70M by 1991. The growth was fueled by strong industry expertise and the advanced functionality offered to process manufacturing companies. Later the company purchased Cardinal Data of Needham, MA and Argonaut Software in an strategy to create critical mass for an IPO (initial public offering). However, the strategy was not successful and in 2003 Ross was acquired by ChinaDotCom (CDC).
- The most recent architectural improvements, particularly the migration toward a thin-client interface, are welcome additions, however, the application is not an on-demand ERP system and was not designed or developed to be operated over the Internet.
- The CDC Software product suite is the result of an M&A (merger and acquisition) roll-up strategy and includes several diverse products with very different technology foundations. CDC Software may be challenged in integrating the acquired companies - both from a cultural perspective as well as a software integration perspective. If the company fails to achieve synergies and economies from the acquisitions, the company's business strategy would become strained. A sampling of software company acquisitions thus far include Pivotal CRM (customer relationship management); c360 CRM add-on products, Ross ERP and SCM (supply chain management); MVI real-time performance management; IMI warehouse management and order management; Platinum China HR (human resource) and business analytics solutions and implementation tools for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.
- Parent company CDC Corporation shows periodic volatility on the Nasdaq exchange. The parent company is headquartered in China and operates five business segments, including Software, Global Services, CDC Games, China.com, and Mobile Services and Applications.
Ross Enterprise competitors include Oracle, SAP, QAD, Epicor Software and Microsoft Dynamics.
While the technology does not compete favorably with competitors such as Oracle or SAP, Ross Enterprise Manufacturing does a superb job of providing the core functionality which permits process manufacturers to make informed, real-time manufacturing decisions, ensure quality, increase plant throughput, contain costs and improve delivery performance. CDC Software was ranked number 18 on the Manufacturing Business Technology 2006 Global 100 List of Enterprise and Supply Chain Management Application vendors.
Ross ERP Software Evaluation
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