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When I asked my colleague Stefan Gustafsson, MD at IFS Japan, for a short interview about our successful business partnership with NEC in Japan, none of us was aware what would happen to a dear colleague just a few days later. On Tuesday, May 28th our good friend, Ulf Annas, passed away, only 62 years old. Ulf had a key role throughout the years in establishing today’s fruitful partnership between IFS and NEC in Japan. Ulf can be seen below, standing right in the middle of the NEC and IFS team.

Stefan and I want to dedicate this post to you. We miss you, Ulf.

Let me now continue and ask Stefan a few questions about how NEC and IFS do business together.

Stefan Gustafsson, Managing Director IFS Japan

What is the latest news about the NEC and IFS partnership?

Available on IFS Applications 8, the Food & Beverage Extension (officially called Process Manufacturing Extension, PME) is the result of another successful collaboration between IFS and our global Japanese partner, NEC. The solution has been developed jointly by NEC’s team in Tokyo and IFS Asia Pacific, in close collaboration with IFS Research & Development. 

Please explain this new product for process manufacturing (PME)

The PME enhances the functionality of IFS Applications to include all the required industry functionality for process manufacturing in a single system with complete management of co-products and by-products, supporting business processes from recipe management to sales and marketing, production, quality and distribution.

The PME strategy is to provide NEC with an intelligent alternative it can offer its customers and prospects in the process industries as well as widening the solution to new and existing IFS customers on a global level.

The PME has already been launched in the Asia Pacific region with some initial wins, and our collaboration with NEC now stretches over several markets in the region, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan.

Would you like to recap the NEC and IFS partnership throughout the years

The partnership itself with NEC goes back all the way to 1998 and is manifested with NEC being an IFS partner, customer and shareholder. The partnership started with a number of joint development projects that have subsequently become part of IFS Applications core version, mainly related to manufacturing and supply chain enhancements.

One key ingredient over the years has been a close line of communication on all levels, from scheduled C-level meetings to daily sales, marketing, product support and other interactions between the respective teams.

Other key considerations that both sides have come to appreciate over the years are partly cultural and not so easily defined; patience, listening to and discussing concerns, and building trust based on a view that goes beyond immediate short-term gains.

Another significant result of this wholesome approach is the implementation of IFS Applications internally at various business units at NEC, which in turn promises to further strengthen our market position worldwide.

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