A Review of

Macola ES
By J. Carlton Collins

What Makes Exact Software's Macola Different?

When reviewing any accounting software solution, I think that it is important to understand how the product is different from its competitors. All products are developed with different tools, different philosophies, and with different objectives in mind. All products are targeted towards different sized customers, and different industries. When evaluating products, it is easy to get bogged down in the overwhelming complexity of the systems. The reality is that all accounting systems have a general ledger with account numbers and financial reports; they all have an average accounts payable module that works fine; they all have a bevy of standard features. Studying these common elements of an accounting system will get you nowhere. It is the key differences that provide keen insights that will allow you to effectively identify and select the right product for your needs. With this spirit in mind, presented below are the key characteristics that set Macola Progression apart from its competitors:  

Manufacturing & Distribution - The Exact Macola Progression product line consists of  manufacturing, distribution, and accounting software. Macola Progression has a rich, deep history of providing accounting software solutions for the distribution and manufacturing markets in particular. The product has particularly strong inventory features and is therefore well-suited for both distribution and manufacturing situations. Today Macola offers 13 modules related to manufacturing, that have recently been re-deployed with clean Windows programming and running atop the Microsoft SQL Server database. 

Long Standing Low Cost Solution - Originally developed in Cobol, Macola was a stand out product in the 80's offering the only comprehensive manufacturing solution its' price range. They word on the street was "if Macola Progression didn't meet your needs, you'd better get out your checkbook - because the next best products costs four to ten times more than Macola. Today, Exact Macola continues to offer high functionality for relatively low prices. 

Mixed Environments - Progression allows you to operate Progression as either a full 32-bit application, a 16-bit environment, or a mixture of 16-bit and 32-bit client workstations. Progression 16-bit and Progression 32-bit can use the same database.  For example, if you modify a screenset, the modification will be available in both 16-bit and 32-bit Progression. Macola’s Progression SQL product line is a full 32-bit application which does not run in a 16-bit environment.

Great Customization - Macola has done a very good job deploying it's customization capabilities which includes blank user definable fields. The product has 28 modules and is integrated with popular add-on applications such as FRx, Crystal Reports, F9, BEST! Fixed Assets, EDI from Electronic Commerce Corporation, and Enterprise POs fro FYI Systems. It is interesting to note that a lot of the other accounting vendors have used Macola Progression as their module product when it comes to designing their own manufacturing strategy. The product employs Visual Basic for Applications for end user modifications and either the Btrieve or the Microsoft SQL Server engine to power the data. Being located in Marion, Ohio is both a blessing a curse. On the one hand, the cost of living is very reasonable for both the company and its employees, the community is great, and the people who live there truly enjoy the area. However, in this competitive day and age, finding-high powered programmers who are willing to relocate to smaller communities is often tough. You may have read stories recently in the Wall Street Journal in which programmers are being offered $60,000 BMW convertible automobiles as incentives for employment. Other companies such as Solomon (Findlay, Ohio) and Great Plains (Fargo, North Dakota) fight this battle as well. All of these companies have faced a very competitive marketplace when it comes to bring in the talent needed to construct a state of the art application these days.

Interesting Web Site References - The Exact Software website asks customers to enter a series of selection criteria (industry, employee numbers, country, etc). The web site then returns  a country map with customer reference locations identified, as well as contact information for the reference.  This is a great way for prospective customers to check references.

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