U.S. software provider IQMS is extending its reach overseas by partnering with Plasticsgrid, a Swedish plastics e-commerce firm that will provide IQMS sales and service to European manufacturers.
IQMS also is looking to strike a similar deal soon in Australia, and is on the verge of launching a quality-management software module called IQ Quality.
The 13-year-old IQMS, based in Paso Robles, Calif., has more than 280 plastics industry customers in the United States, according to Terry Cline, vice president of operations. It currently has just one installation in Europe - at the Vianen, Netherlands, plant of Mikron, formerly known as Axxicon. However, it is negotiating to install its enterprise-resource-planning software in four more Mikron plants in Europe, Cline said in an Oct. 1 news conference at Interplas in Birmingham. At the conference, Cline said he expected to announce a significant new contract in Europe within days.
Under the deal, Stockholm-based Plasticsgrid will be exclusive European distributor of EnterpriseIQ, an integrated ERP II software suite designed for plastics and other repetitive manufacturing environments. Plasticsgrid was started during the e-business boom nearly three years ago by former GE Plastics veterans Uwe Wascher and GÃ¶ran Bennich.
``We began more as an e-commerce firm, but now we're focusing on ERP software solutions,'' said Managing Director Carl Hall, who is based in the firm's Kapellen, Belgium, office. Plasticsgrid also has an office in Manchester, England. The plan is to provide IQMS with a network of local support in various languages.
``We realized that to compete in Europe we couldn't do it from the U.S.,'' said IQMS marketing director Mark Bosse. ``We needed a Europeanwide presence.''
Hall said the product rollout will begin immediately in the United Kingdom as well as in the Nordic and Benelux markets, with Germany to follow next year.
The 50-employee IQMS currently generates annual sales of $6 million to $7 million, said Cline, who said he hopes the deal roughly will double the firm's sales in two to four years.
EnterpriseIQ software manages all operations affecting the manufacture and distribution of plastics parts and finished goods. Next to be added is a module to provide quality management, which Cline said is designed to help the user estimate the cost of quality.
``People have been asking us for years to integrate quality with ERP,'' he said. The planned IQ Quality software will assist with document handling, statistical process control, control plans, weighing and measuring of parts, corrective action reports, and the like. Cline said U.S. injection molder Tessy Plastics Corp. in Elbridge, N.Y., is the first customer for that module.