From Flip Flops To The Cloud!

The Next Step in the Evolution of ERP

 By David Somers, Senior Industry Analyst, Axendia


Sometimes, there are certain occasions which transcend an otherwise seemingly routine activity of business commerce into something truly insightful and innovative. I was privileged to witness just such an event this past May, the origin of which began nearly 40 years ago from a relationship that emerged from a meeting of necessity by two individuals, creating what is QAD today.

Image courtesy of QAD

Pamela Lopker, Chairman of the Board and President of QAD,  a leader in manufacturing software for industrial businesses and Karl Lopker, Chief Executive Officer, direct all of QAD’s business, including operations, expansion into new markets with a specific focus on a strong regional and industry-specific direction. Formerly Karl was president of Deckers Outdoor Corporation; the makers of the iconic multi-layered rainbow Flip Flops designed to to fill the “Space Below Your Feet.”

Karl joined with Pamela in 1979 to develop a software solution to his manufaturing and marketing efforts. He consequently joined QAD in 1981 while continuing his relationship with Deckers.

Since then, QAD’s offerings have evolved to include a comprehensive series of solutions to business enterprises, aiding and assisting in the resource and planning control of all aspects of manufacturing and production; progressing from flip flops to the cloud!

The QAD Explore 2015 Customer Conference, held at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, MD, was the next step of that evolution, and a harbinger of things to come. The “Channel Islands” user experience initiative, cloud technology as a tool for production, inventory and data control, and the implementation of serialization are just a few of the several activities QAD is embarking on; to provide not just enhancements of existing products, but for positive outcomes for customer needs both now and well into the future.

The current roster of products and services associated with the MFG/Pro, SE and EE ERP solutions are transitioning without eliminating current functionalities. Enhancements are being geared towards the cloud as the major repository for data and associated applications for the ERP solutions for all activities, including raw materials purchasing, production and inventory planning, resource allocation, quality control, final goods assembly, change control, risk analysis, product costing, and billing and distribution.


Bart Reitter, QAD Director of Marketing for Life Sciences, and Paul Spaulding, Sharp Packaging Services, gave an overall presentation of challenges, importance and applicability of the QAD system to the life sciences segment of the market. The QAD system not only answers the regulatory requirements for product development and enhancement, but also contributes to “successful outcomes” – a quality tool for both the medical devices and the pharmaceutical industries. The cloud technology and benefits were also presented as an integral part of the drive to enable those strategic goals, including patient safety, compliance, and innovative development for the future.

The breakout session on “Benefits of QAD QMS in Life Science” presented by Toni Clubb, CFO of VitaTech and Jeff Phillips, VP Product Management for QAD, reviewed the process of implementation with emphasis on additional and beneficial capabilities of the system for all phases of their manufacturing process.

Several presentations described the features of software currently under development. Of them, the following were significant:

  • Channel Islands user experience initiative
  • The QAD Enterprise Applications 2015 release and QAD Cloud ERP
  • Material Handling and Serialization Product Control

Given the emphasis on these items, this article is the first in a series illustrating these features in greater detail.


The “Channel Islands” user experience (UX) initiative is a sequenced series of activities geared towards improving the current interfaces associated with basic functionalities. To support the rollout of the UX projects, QAD has redeveloped their architecture using modern API approaches to enable the UX to flex for specifics roles, users and customers, and to be far easier to evolve going forward. Additionally there are enhancements and additions for improving customer interactions and the utility of reporting on relevant resulting data sets.


Image courtesy of QAD
Image courtesy of QAD

The recently released QAD Enterprise Applications 2015 version, sometimes referred to as Enterprise Edition (EE), of QAD’s ERP system is scalable, flexible and allows for such an architecture to fulfill the needs of all users of the system, without constraints of time or place or tools needed to use the system.


With recent regulations such as the Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID) coupled with the new FDA quality initiatives, Life Science products are now being requiring to add control over the lifecycle of any medical product or device. (Also see Axendia’s article The QAD QMS system can contribute to the quality of that product and ensure regulatory compliance through the traceability of all the activities associated with production.


The 2015 QAD Explore event displayed the next step of the evolution of the company. It promoted the renewed direction to expand and improve customer experiences and the use of technological tools and techniques enabling positive outcomes to the challenges of the manufacturing future. The synergy and esprit de corp of this organization was palpable and real –something I haven’t experienced in industry in a long time. It is exciting to see that the future of manufacturing is in good hands. In subsequent articles, I will be expanding on some of the programs of this entrepreneurial culture.

The opinions and analysis expressed in this research reflect the judgment of Axendia at the time of publication and are subject to change without notice. Information contained in this document is current as of publication date. Information cited is not warranted by Axendia but has been obtained through a valid research methodology. This document is not intended to endorse any company or product and should not be attributed as such.

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