Friday, December 23, 2005

Well here we are, the night before the night before Christmas. It's quiet here at MISys, not a lot of phone calls and it seems like many of our customers and potential customers have hit the road early. We at MISys wish each and every one of you a joyous time of the year---Christmas, if you're Christian, Hanukkah if you're Jewish, Solstice if you're Druidian---I don't really care, we all know that this time of year is special, especially in our northern climes. The long dark cold nights, icicles viewed in the moonlight, wood smoke up the chimney, wreathes on the door, and, for my family, a beautiful tree in the living room.

And next week we'll all celebrate the kick-off to a new and prosperous year. We like the feeling we get that we contribute to our users' prosperity. People feel empowered knowing what they have, where it is, what it cost, when it's due, with all that kind of information drawn together in a way that makes making the right business decisions, fraught with peril as they are, easier and more sound.

So, for you out there making things, Happy New Year, a prosperous New Year, and if you don't have MISys in your plant, well, call me January 2. That's 802-457-4600 x228!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Speaking of trial copies (were we?) the very first copies of the MISys SBM (Small Business Manufacturing) Product have gone out to a small select group of MISys business partners. Their mission: try to break it.

We're very excited about this major next step, and yesterday reminded us of expectant fathers pacing up and down the hospital hall. We'd have lit cigars when the beta was finally uploaded to our server, but none of us smoke cigars.

As I write snow is falling steadily here in Vermont, and it's 16 days to Christmas. Tonight we'll get our tree. Our big present to the world is a new product soon to be generally available to thousands and thousands of small manufacturers using Quickbooks, Microsoft Office SBA, Simply and Adagio. Our present back is the satisfaction of a job well done, meeting a signifigant need of small manufacturers. If this is your first read about SBM, please let me know at, and I'll get you information and at the very least a video presentation. Soon Trial Copies will be available easily over the Net to anyone interested, and we can hardly wait!
New request came in for our rules-based Custom Configurator:

MISys Custom Configurator - Silver Edition


santa claus
north pole
north pole, NP 05762
United States of America
Telephone: 802-457-4600
Fax: 802-457-4600


Sales Department
Manufacturing Information Systems, Inc.
#4 Maxham Meadow Way, P.O. Box 795
Woodstock, Vermont 05091
United States of America
Telephone: 802.457.4600
Fax: 802.457.4602

Thank you for requesting an End-user Trial copy of MISys Custom Configurator v5.3 for Pervasive.SQL or IBM DB2 Universal Database. Before you do anything else, please print and read the Custom Configurator Demonstration Guide which will give you detailed instructions on how to install and run the software.

Click this link to begin the download of MISys Custom Configurator.

The Installation Wizard requires you to enter a Serial Number and Installation Code. Please use the codes provided below:

Serial Number:

Installation Code:

Installation of the End-user software and its accompanying sample data starts a 30-day free trial. At any time, you may purchase a permanent license by accessing the MISys Custom Configurator License Manager.

We'd be very happy to have Santa a proud user of MISys, and I'll keep you informed if they decide to go with MISys. They've been using an Access database and Excel, but just can't keep it running well with a few billion customers and a few million products.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Well, we've made it past Thanksgiving and we're cruising towards Christmas and New Years not to mention all the other holidays that cluster about the ancient solstice demarcation and the start of the relengthening of the day. It's a special time here in Vermont, where it often feels like we're still in 1872 or so. We had our first snowfall but it was just 4 inches, not too deep that we couldn't hike, en famille, along the ridge of Hurricane Hill, cutting back from Suicide Six right down to our toasty fireplace.

We also went to Vermont Country Store, where little items you long since thought had been discontinued, like Mint Julips candy, are still on the shelves. I bought some nice rubber bottom/leather top boots with stretch material near the top, for snow shovelling and wood gathering and garbage hauling, three of my best jobs around the house.

They had the original Monopoly, the original Clue, little bottles of ointment, pure cola for upset tummies, brand new "old bikes" including one made of bamboo. We went down with my brother, his wife, his three grown children and a husband, plus my wife and two kids (19 and 14), so ten in all. It was a lot of fun! Because of my work here at MISys, I looked at everything slightly differently--where was this made? how was it made? was it outsourced? or is the ointment left over from 1935, the last year they actually made it?

Over the next few weeks, please feel free to share your warm little end-of-the-year stories, whether tied back to manufacturing or not! I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

So what does Lean Manufacturing mean to you? Is it just the latest buzz word? Is it just JIT re-stated? Is it applicable to smaller firms than say, Toyota? We'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Lean, as we receive leads from manufacturers listing lean as a requirement.

From my research (and I'm no manufacturing guru, so take it with a grain of salt) it seems to come down to keeping inventory as low as possible and reducing waste at every step. Duh! If that's what it is, then MISys has been doing lean since before it was called Lean.

That being said, one of our highly proficient business partners, who does deserve the label guru, shared that he was able to create a kanban system for one of our large MISys users. It essentially creates a nearly real-time graphic that shows dynamically the levels of inventory, color-coded, without needing to enter MISys or run reports. MISys is still running, of course, it just interprets MISys data, via Excel, and shows it on a computer screen, thus giving personnel an immediate and current glance at where they are at with their inventory. Kanban without the little colored postcards!

We'd love to hear from other business partners what creative solutions they have developed for their customers, and I mentioned to Dave Brown that MISys should have a place on its web-site for solution concept sharing. Maybe another MISys business partner has a request to develop a similar kanban system. Another one I heard of in the background but know little about is bringing time and billing information into MISys by the job. This is another request we have from prospective MISys users, so if it's do-able we'd love to know about it and we'd love to see that kind of resource shared in some way. Your thoughts?

Friday, September 30, 2005

From an e-zine article:

Small business accounting market booming
29 September, 2005
by Mark Cox

Small businesses with under 100 employees in the U.S. spent approximately $410 million (U.S.) on purchasing accounting software solutions in the last 12 months, and this figure is expected to cross the half-billion-dollar mark by 2008. The nearly six per cent annual increase in accounting-software-related dollars augurs well for industry-leader Intuit (with their QuickBooks portfolio) and Microsoft, which recently jumped on the small business bandwagon with its release of Small Business Accounting 2006. More than ever before, SBs are searching for solutions that are easy to install, user-friendly and, most importantly, tailored specifically to their size. In addition, nearly three-fourths of these businesses upgrade their accounting software package every one to two years, opening the door for consideration of new solutions.

These are among the conclusions released Wednesday by New York-based consulting firm Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc., drawn from its surveys of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in key developed and emerging market countries that account for almost three quarters of total SMB IT spending. AMI-Partners conducts annual tracking surveys of SMBs in more than 20 countries, including North America (U.S. and Canada); Europe (U.K., France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Russia); Asia-Pacific (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand); and Latin America (Mexico and Brazil).

AMI-Partners' annual small business tracking studies show that more than half of all small businesses still do not use any accounting software solution. "These small businesses may be using spreadsheets or even paper and pencil for their accounting needs. However, pressures to operate more efficiently, improve compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory requirements, and the need to electronically exchange information with larger customers and suppliers make it likely that many of these companies will deploy accounting solutions in the future," said Arjun Mehra, research analyst at AMI-Partners.

One aspect of this is having access to an audit trail that mirrors their cash flow accurately. According to Mehra, small businesses are faced with the prospect of managing their finances efficiently with internal staff that is not very technology savvy.

"It makes perfect business sense for SBs to switch to an accounting software solution that is geared towards them and does not require costly training to deploy," he said.

AMI-Partners said Intuit's QuickBooks suite of products -- Pro and Basic -- has long dominated the $150 to $300 price band. Intuit's major strength lies in the fact that they have aggressively pursued this market with their low-end offerings and their product mix ranging from Simple Start (at $99) to QuickBooks Premier (at $499). It is this intense focus on the SB space that has enabled Intuit to ward off competition from Microsoft and Sage Software to date. Simple Start is an ideal low-cost package for small business start-ups, which have the option of upgrading to Basic or Pro as their needs evolve and the company grows. Intuit has ensured that customers can seamlessly upgrade from one Intuit product to the next, keeping many small and even midsize businesses in the Intuit fold.

Prior to releasing Small Business Accounting 2006, Microsoft attempted a foray into the SB financial space via Microsoft Money, which is more geared towards consumers. Microsoft business-solutions products, such as Great Plains and Solomon, have been too expensive and complex for most small business needs. In fact, Microsoft tried marketing a scaled-down version of Great Plains without success. However, many small businesses use Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet for accounting, and its Outlook application for contact management and e-mail. Microsoft's brand, its Office integration story, and the Office-like look and feel of SBA are likely to attract interest from one of its key target audiences -- small businesses that don't currently use accounting software. Customers who already use Microsoft programs may feel comfortable trying Microsoft's accounting software, as it promises to require minimal training to get up to speed. SBA allows clients to import data from Excel, and to port data from their existing QuickBooks software -- features that Microsoft hopes will entice QuickBooks users to its side.

Priced under $200, Microsoft's Small Business Accounting solution -- coupled with Microsoft's extensive penetration of the small business desktop productivity market -- may create the first real threat to QuickBooks' market dominance. However, Intuit customers have proved impervious to rival attacks in the past, and Intuit has proactively announced a new version of QuickBooks -- code-named Denali and slated for release in early 2006 -- to counteract Microsoft's SBA launch.

"One thing's for sure," Mehra said, "Microsoft will help educate many of the small businesses that have yet to adopt accounting software about the benefits of doing so -- which will likely spur sales not only for SBA, but for competitive offerings as well."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Let's hear it for Canada!

"According to a recent survey, the manufacturing sector in Canada employs over 2.2 million Canadians directly and accounts for 21% of Canada's economic activity. When spin-offs are included, such as the purchases of goods and services in Canada, manufacturers drive 55% of the economy".-----Soberman LLP, Chartered Accountants

My experience talking with many potential MISys customers from Canada is also that Canadian manufacturing is very creative, looking for interesting niches that can't be met by China. We love Canada!

Let's hear it from Canadians!
Yesterday afternoon Microsoft released to the world its new Small Business Accounting application. The MISys crew watched on streaming video, and one of our staff attended the unveiling. It was very impressive, particularly (and obviously) with SBA's integration with other key components of Office such as Outlook, Word and Excel. Pretty hot stuff!

Read about it here

MISys is still on track for a Q4 release of MISys Small Business Manufacturing (SBM) and we are certainly receiving sweet encouragement from Microsoft. They couldn't be much more enthusiastic!

So far this blog has not received much attention, but if any readers have opened up and played with SBA, we'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

As the winds of Katrina are blowing by, much abated from the horror of the Gulf coast, I am reminded how lucky we are in Vermont in terms of weather. Yes, we get snow and occasionally ice, and every 50 years or so a hurricane sneaks up the Connecticut River valley, but generally it's quite benign. Our sympathies go out to those caught in the ravages of Katrina, and in particular to our customers and business partners. We hope you are back to normal in the shortest time possible.

Speaking of winds, the winds of change are blowing here at MISys. We are invited to be a part of the official September 7th release of Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting, generally referred to as SBA. MISys Small Business Manufacturing (SBM) is one of just 5 products invited to participate as 3rd party products for SBA.

Here's a review from June

Kudos to Microsoft for the release of SBA, and we're tickled to be part of the event. If you're interested to know more please e-mail me at We have a streaming video presentation that will show you exactly how we work with SBA.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wow, has it been almost a month? A week on the Cape, then a week catching up on tasks here at goes pretty fast!

I'm not overwhelmed, or even whelmed, by the response to the blog so far, so I'd like to hear from people if they even stop in and read it or look at it. Either e-mail me at or try leaving a comment on this post. You can either comment anonymously or you can enter your name.

I have hoped the blog might be a good setting for people to chat about manufacturing issues in general, like, for example


If you'd like to share on this question, please do!

Enjoy the remaining bits of's a long cold winter in Vermont!

Friday, July 29, 2005

A local manufacturer is undertaking a trial run, using real data, of our MISys Small Business Manufacturing/Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting combination (hereafter called SBM/SBA), and we'll be keeping an eye on their progress over the next 8-12 weeks. It's quite exciting! And I'll be sharing what I hear with whoever visits this blog. SBA is due for release in September, we'll be not too far behind them.

While we're waiting for that, anyone who would like to check out our online presentation of SBM, please just let me know at Dave Brown has broken the presentation down by subject area--purchasing, production, work orders, master files, etc. so you can point and click your way through the areas of greatest interest to you. I'll send you a one week pass [easy to renew] which should be ample time to look through how the product works. We would appreciate your feedback once you view it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Nice long article on Best-of-Breed solutions [aka BOB] (MISys is one, ya' know) here:

At the bottom of this page are other articles on this important subject...important to our partners who must try to convince our potential customers why BOB is the way to go, and important to our potential customers to know why their BOB choice has added value.

Also, one of my favorite movies is What about BOB, with Bill Murray.
Accounting 411 announces some wins for Sage Simply and Peachtree accounting, both on the list for easy integration with the new MISys SBM product. Read about it here

or just read below:

Peachtree by Sage Takes Top Honors in CPA Technology Advisor’s Annual Small Business Accounting Software Roundup

Both Peachtree and Simply Accounting praised for strong functionality

Irvine, Calif. - July 19, 2005 - Sage Software announced today that two of its small business accounting products, Peachtree Premium Accounting 2005 and Simply Accounting 2005, scored high honors in CPA Technology Advisor magazine’s annual small business accounting roundup, which appears in the publication’s June/July 2005 issue. Peachtree Premium took top honors, receiving 5 out of 5 stars, while Simply Accounting scored high marks, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars in the roundup.

All products were scored in six areas:
· Expandability;
· Modules & Scalability;
· Ease of Use;
· Training & Support;
· Reporting, and;
· Audit Trail, Integrity & Accountant Control Tools.

Peachtree Premium Accounting 2005 outscored its competition, earning top marks in five of the six areas reviewed. A long-standing favorite of accountants and small businesses alike, Sage Software recently launched its new Peachtree line for 2006, including two new vertical industry products for construction firms and nonprofit organizations.

Simply Accounting was also highly rated, earning a 4.5 rating overall. The bestselling small business accounting product in Canada, Simply Accounting also provides a broad set of core accounting functions for value-conscious small businesses in the US, where Peachtree is the company’s primary brand for small business accounting.

Sage Software offers small businesses the broadest selection of award-winning business management software that caters directly to their specific needs throughout the business lifecycle - from basic accounting for a start-up business, to feature-rich, industry-specific solutions for accounting, payroll, human resources management, customer relationship management, and others.

MISys looks forward to working more closely with these two quality small business accounting products in the future, and we'd certainly enjoy hearing from any of you out there with experiences with either Simply or Peachtree.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

This recent article in Information Week discusses the "boomlet" in open source business applications.

There are problems. Free is never free. Open source is like the free puppy, it explains, that you then have to feed for the next 10 years. You'll need to spend on consultants and programmers to adjust the product to your specific needs. In fact, if I read this correctly, that's how these companies are expecting to make their money---free program, lots of services. And you'd probably need a IT guru type on staff to stay on top of it.

Here's two paragraghs from the article:

Yet balancing commercial and community needs isn't easy. In fact, given the growing crowds of open-source startups, one of the biggest questions is this: Can this new crop of open-source entrepreneurs build successful businesses when their core software is built by an army of faceless code jockeys, with little interest in helping guys like Newton earn his next million? "There is a disincentive to contribute, and most of those vendors have difficulty building up a healthy number of outside engineers that give them the leverage of the open-source community when developing their products and services," says Brian Behlendorf, co-founder of one of open source's great successes, the Apache Web Server Project, and founder and chief technology officer of CollabNet Inc., a maker of software that helps programmers work together. "You see some developers who say, 'There's someone already getting paid to develop the complex stuff, so I'll leave that to them.'"

Yet the new breed of hybrid commercial, open-source startups depends on open-source programmers to contribute and test code, and to bring new ideas, so winning the respect of the fickle open-source developer community is vital. And even if a company succeeds in getting a mass of supportive programmers, it's difficult to manage toward business goals.

It was one thing to develop an international product like Linux that was going to be used by the IT community for their own needs, but it sounds like quite a different idea to get developers to contribute for free to help a private enterprise make a profit.

So, for a lot of per diems and probably a full timer staff position, a company can avoid paying for software licenses once (plus upgrades). It just doesn't make sense to me. And MISys does have a community of end-users and business partners, in the four figure range, often suggesting improvements or adding to the "wish list", and we do our best to respond to those requests. It seems to me a company becomes more dependent, not less, with open-source product that is supposedly but not really free. Am I wrong? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

We're all excited here at MISys as we move towards Q4 and the release of our new MISys Small Business Manufacturing (SBM) product. This is not a replacement for our existing product that integrates seamlessly and deeply with the Sage ACCPAC Advantage Series product, this is an entirely new product line that augments our current offering.

If you need substantial integration as part of an entire ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, and if you need a powerful sophisticated financial package, you'll want to continue to look at the MISys/ACCPAC solution. We have been a development partner of ACCPAC for over 20 years, we know the Advantage Series product very well and we build our product using their SDK (Software Developer Kit). There is no question that ACCPAC Adv. Series is serious financial package for small to mid-size enterprises, and it is leagues ahead of simpler packages like its brother Simply, its cousin Peachtree (both also owned by Sage Software) or Quickbooks.

However, if you're like one of the many companies I speak with each week who have very modest needs on the financial end, needs Simply or Quickbooks can easily accomodate, but their manufacturing issues are of serious concern, then MISys SBM will be the obvious answer. Building on our 2o-plus years of manufacturing system development expertise, SBM will offer all the sophistication and business logic that our ACCPAC product offers, but it will not be tied to the ACCPAC Adv. Series system. Indeed, SBM will have a new look and feature set that comes from building off the Microsoft .NET development platform. It's easier to show you than explain it, so if you'd like to view our streaming video presentation on SBM, please let me know at Any of you reading this post who have seen that presentation, please feel free to share your comments!

Friday, July 01, 2005

It is amazing to me how many different types of manufacturers use MISys. On a list of MISys reference sites before me I read
  1. "agricultural harvesting equipment" to
  2. "beverage bottler" to
  3. "frozen yoghurt" to
  4. "paint dispensers" to
  5. "planetarium equipment" to
  6. "pre-fab modular housing" to
  7. "cheescake" to
  8. "plastic additives" to
  9. "infant formula supplement" to
  10. "mulch and vermiculite"

I could go on and on (I didn't even get to electronics and high tech type products on the list) but it's just amazing the breadth and variety of products we see at MISys. We occassionally compete with a product like Diamond Manufacturing Pro, or whtever it was called, and sure, for the diamond manufacturing business it is probably going to be far more ideal than MISys (hence the name). And much more expensive, selling to a much smaller install base.

But the strength and beauty of MISys is that it is so adaptive to so many environments. I'd love to hear some stories from users and business partners of unique applications and environments of MISys.

Thanks for visiting, and have a wonderful Fourth of July wherever you are.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Article on Small Manufacturing Needs

Go to

I'd be curious to know what any of you readers might think about this article. It's pretty close to why MISys developed SBM (Small Business Manufacturing) so when we at MISys read something like this, it is very encouraging.

If any of you would like to view our streaming video on MISys SBM please let me know at
We thought it might be fun (and MISys is always looking for fun) and educational to initiate a blog on manufacturing in general from the perspective of our company, MISys Manufacturing Information Systems. Our web site at has a lot of resources for technical information, including our community forums, but a blog is more casual and the posts will be intitiated by MISys staff. MISys users, business partners, consultants, those considering MISys, and any interested parties are all welcome to read and add comment as the spirit moves them. We hope it will be fun and lively. Having spoken with many MISys customers, potential customers and business partners over time, I know it is a diverse intriguing group with great humor and insight. If we can capture some of that on this blog, we'll have accomplished our objective!