American Software Inc. took a big step toward finding a broader market for its Flow Manufacturing software in August by teaming with IBM to have the system work hand in hand with Big Blue's MQSeries of messaging and integration software. American Software's Flow Manufacturing system helps companies to streamline and manage product engineering, demand management, shop floor design, production scheduling, material replenishment, and supply chain activities. Using the IBM MQSeries, manufacturers will be able to extend their ERP systems, whether they use Baan, SAP, J.D. Edwards, JBA, MAPICS, SSA, or other systems. "The benefits of integrating ERP with Flow Manufacturing are immediate and impressive," says Karin Bursa, vice president of marketing at Atlanta-based American Software. "Optimized production flexibility, lowered manufacturing lead time, and increased labor productivity are all direct rewards." The MQSeries enables companies to exchange information between applications across more than 35 different platforms, from mainframe computers to PCs.