Katana MRP, a technology platform providing manufacturing businesses ERP-like solutions, has released a new feature called OPO or Outsourced Purchasing Order. This most recent feature takes a new look at how companies that have outsourced manufacturers can track their finished goods.
Katana’s new feature combines the finished goods production event with the purchase order in one seamless UI experience. A monumental development for manufacturers who, on any other ERP platform, have a multi-step approach that forces users to bounce around in the system. Thus this causes more room for human error and ultimately is less time efficient.
Clearinity has noted Katanas’ disruptive development model for some time now. From centering on ecommerce marketplaces as a development paradigm to the focus on integration experience, Katana has kept us pleasantly surprised in its evolution.
Katana’s Disruptive Development Model
Historically, Clearinity has seen a really interesting and progressive development roadmap from the team. Katana first came on the market as the only platform that really centered and catered to the micro-manufacturing market. Unique on its own, the Katana team built the core functionality of the platform to serve makers and artisans with a relatable and easy-to-navigate experience.
The micro manufacturing market also happens to be ecommerce-centric as it’s mostly D2C driven. In turn, the team centered a lot of their development philosophy on Shopify workflows. A first of its kind. And, as they kept making progress and updates, they didn’t lose that core focus whereas many inventory management systems do as they venture into the B2B space. This allows users to feel less confusion around nomenclature, processes, and other features.
We also have seen Katana take a less common approach to their integrations. Being disruptive by allowing all users to have open API integrations, then they engage with outsourced data development teams where needed. This has cut costs for users and also allowed a unique “meet the client where they are at” in their business evolution. In turn, many users continue to grow from Stage 1 businesses to Stage 4 businesses with Katana without feeling the growing pains.
All this can be felt in the UI as well. Katana really is changing the ERP world by introducing easy-to-navigate monolithic features but within a best-of-breed environment.
The OPO feature is one of these monolithic features that surely will change the way the ERP market digests and approaches outsourced manufacturing.
How the OPO compares to other platforms
“The OPO, or outsource purchase order, the feature is fundamentally a game-changer.”
~Conrad Rohleder, CEO of Clearinity
The Katana team has truly innovated by first pausing and reflecting on what the process is and how it serves users of the platform. In old development models, the architecture of the database drove the user design, and Katana has effectively reversed that. How can Clearinity sit here and advocate for good, formal processes and also applaud Katana’s user-oriented design? In short, they’re not at odds here.
In traditional ERP or IMS platforms, the outsourced manufacturing events required 2 databases working in tandem – the purchase order (PO) database and the manufacturing order (MO) database. Plus, these other platforms will often not invest enough in their API or their user interface, meaning that the users are forced to learn the system the way the software architects build it! Importantly, the Katana OPO model does not necessarily exclude the use of a traditional database architecture – it just raises the bar on the expectations of what a UI can and should do for the user.
So how does it raise the bar? In short, the Katana OPO model combines the Purchase Order (PO) and the Manufacturing Order (MO) in a way that is most intuitive to users and business-minded people. By combining PO and MO into the OPO, Katana has developed the most user-friendly approach to a very complex business process.
Katana has managed their growth well and we at Clearinity are loving their approach to all things MRP, IMS, or ERP. In the future, we’re looking forward to seeing other stand-out development exercises just like the OPO. It will be interesting to see how these models are transformed when the team moves to have a FIFO-based costing system (Katana is average-cost-only right now). It will be even more interesting to see how other platforms leverage the API endpoints for the OPO, since the endpoints are available immediately upon release.
Ultimately, we can see here at Clearinity how this new approach to outsourced manufacturing will change the course of software roadmaps as well as the implementation market. We may begin to see in 5 years teams self-identifying as a traditional PO/MO team or an OPO team when they think about their next technology stack, and that’s a win for all.