In the November issue of The Manufacturer,Guest Posting┬áTom Cutler, president and CEO of the Fort Lauderdale, FL-based manufacturing marketing firm T.R. Cutler, Inc., says that bolt-on applications can be a costly experience, especially for those companies who continue to add bolt-on applications on a regular basis. “The cycle of integration and upgrades can be quite expensive over time,” says Cutler.

TR Cutler, Inc. ( is the only PR firm specializing in the manufacturing sector worldwide. Cutler is the most frequently published manufacturing journalist in North America.

According to Cutler, “The ERP providers continue to upgrade and continually change their product with little or no recognition of the impact on bolt-on products. Companies always have to adapt to these changes which continues to add cost.” He feels that even when companies use a VAR to manage these processes, the VAR themselves may not be in the loop when it comes to regularly responding to ERP upgrades. “Companies need to recognize that there will always be constant upgrade and integration issues and should budget accordingly.”

Cutler does see a positive aspect to bolt-on applications, but only when the underlying core ERP system is properly suited to a company’s operation. “I think that ERP systems that support the engineer to order (ETO) segment are probably best suited for bolt-on products,” he says. “The ERP systems in the repetitive manufacturing sector may not be the best candidate for bolt-ons.” He also sees a larger impact on small and medium sized manufacturing companies. “The larger companies using SAP or Oracle will often just go out and buy the additional modules that they need,” says Cutler. “The suppliers using more of a boutique ERP offering may be forced to go the bolt-on route due to potential limited offerings and support.” screw size chart