By Doug Bartholomew QAD Inc., Carpinteria, Calif., this month unveiled a new version of its popular MFG/PRO software retooled to help manufacturers improve connections with suppliers. Called MFG/PRO eB, the new package includes QAD's eQ applications that extend MFG/PRO beyond the manufacturer's walls to create private trading exchanges and enable trade over the Internet. Changes include a new user interface, QAD's simple eB Desktop browser, which works within Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.5 browser. One manufacturer using the eB Desktop is A.J. Antunes & Co., a maker of water filtration equipment and countertop appliances used in the food service and catering industry. "The ability to combine the functionality of MFG/PRO eB with the Microsoft Suite is a powerful enhancement that enables QAD applications to be the central hub for our production and office information -- as well as other documentation such as engineering drawings," says Don Springer, IS manager at A.J. Antunes, which is using the software at its Carol Stream, Ill. operation. Among the improvements in the new release are a kanban sizing capability, customer sequence schedules that address the need for customer-specified sequencing, and an extended account structure for general ledger accounts.