For those unfamiliar with the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, the recently passed tax reform applying to alcoholic beverage manufacturers, the short of it is that the legislation offers two years of heavy relief from federal excise taxes applied to one of the most severely taxed industries in the US. So, what are craft brewers, distillers, and vintners going to do with it? For most, the word is grow.

The tax breaks will translate into substantial annual savings for these craft beverage makers, between $20,000 and $100,000 to be more precise, and allow them to hire more staff, expand operations, and invest in marketing to build their brands.

Brewer Benefits

For many of the nation’s thousands of small breweries, the tax break of $3.50, effectively halving the previous $7.00, on the first 60,000 barrels(BBL) produced for domestic breweries producing less than 2 million BBL annually, will be a desperately needed lifeline. To put things into perspective, that $7 has been anywhere from 15 percent to 25 percent of the total cost of that BBL.

a picture of two pint glasses filled with beer.

For many of the nation’s thousands of small breweries, the tax break of $3.50 effectively halves the previous $7.00.

Competing with the likes of D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Boston Beer Co., mom-and-pop and Main-street brew operations have had a hard time coming up in an industry that has seen improved performance year on year but is at the same time contracting. An extra $20,000 going towards a brewpub can provide another part-time employee, new vats, advertising, and a host of other potentially powerful tools to aid expansion. Some operations will transcend the modest manufacturing operations to the regional scale and evolve into full-blown enterprises as a result. With new enterprise comes new concerns, including accounting, production, distribution, and, perhaps the most significant hurdle of even the most robust ERP solutions, tax responsibilities.

Distiller Details

The same positive outlook is true of the States’ 1,500 craft distillers who are already seeing big benefits from the change. The tax cuts bring federal excise taxes for distillers down significantly from $13.50 to $2.70 per proof gallon, applying to the first 100,000 gallons per year for a two-year period. Used to its maximum benefit, the savings translates to $2.16 million. With taxes on distilled spirits among the highest in the US, reaching more than 50 percent of a product’s purchase price in many cases, the relief is more than welcome from the craft distillers of America.

a picture of two glasses of whiskey, neat.

Used to maximum benefit, the savings in taxes translate to $2.16 million annually for craft distillers.

The industry workforce has grown to 20,000 with a cumulative investment total of $600 million in the last decade alone. Compare that to Jack Daniel’s Distilleries, which blows through that 100,000-gallon tax break in one day of production, and the future is only looking brighter for the craft distillers of America.

Vintners Toast Approval

Wine is another beneficiary of the latest excise tax reform, albeit with a slightly more complicated structure. Wine is taxed based on alcohol content with new rates applied to those containing 16 percent or less of alcohol, 16 percent to 21 percent, and 21 percent to 24 percent. These categories are taxed 21-cents, 31-cents, and 62-cents per bottle respectively. The benefits are a bit easier to see with a broader view. Let’s first take the initial 30,000 gallons a winery produces. Each of these barrels receives a $1 credit per gallon. The following 100,000 gallons receive a 90-cent tax credit and a 53.5-cent credit is applied to the next 620,000 gallons. All wine produced after that is taxed at the standard rate. The new tax rates are a far cry better than those previously afforded to the small wineries of America and when used to their fullest potential can provide craft vintners more than $450,000 in tax credits.

a picture of two glasses of white wine against a sunset backdrop.

When used to their fullest potential, the tax breaks can provide craft vintners more than $450,000 in tax credits.

With the results of the tax reform already taking effect, it’s not hard to see why the craft beverage manufacturers of America are celebrating. This reduction of excise taxes will afford the burgeoning craft beverage industry considerable capacity for expansion over the next two years and we can’t wait to see where the influx of capital will take up and coming enterprises.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) costs can cripple a manufacturer’s bottom line, especially when the required work compounds problems by impacting production to a significant degree. Implementing a dynamic ERP solution, like Epicor ERP, can address the issue before it becomes a problem. Through an effective mix of Quality Assurance and Asset Management modules, Epicor has built a powerful solution to specifically tackle the tasks associated with maintenance management, from Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) to multinational corporations.

Industry 4.0 – Machine Learning As An Essential Tool

By leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things and modern data analytics, manufacturers are finding that machine learning is the next essential tool in keeping their operations running at peak performance. These tools provide manufacturers with more and better data to ensure impacts that are detrimental to business are circumvented even before becoming roadblocks.

a representation of machine learning using a digital intelligence spreading through circuits a the push of a button.

Manufacturers Are Finding That Machine Learning Is The Next Essential Tool In Keeping Their Operations Running At Peak Performance.

According to John Fryer, senior director of industry solutions at fault-tolerant computer servers and software company Stratus, on his partnership with TransCanada, “data is now being collected from every turbine, pump and compression station, and fed back to a centralized control room. The data is then integrated and analyzed…to identify trends and enable predictive maintenance to be carried out.”

Stratus is currently working in tandem with TransCanada to maintain the operation of the gas company’s 57,000 miles of pipelines. The network often stretches into in rural and remote regions, which makes monitoring and predictive maintenance even more essential.

ROI With ERP Solutions

Because of improved monitoring, quality assurance, and asset management, manufacturers receive significant savings when it comes to MRO costs. By providing a comprehensive and fully-integrated approach to the calibration and upkeep of systems and equipment, manufacturers employing ERP solutions in their facilities can operate at maximum runtime to secure an optimum return on their total costs.

an image of factory automation equipment breaking

Improved Monitoring, Quality Assurance, And Asset Management Allow Manufacturers To Realize Significant Savings When It Comes To MRO Costs.

In the case of TransCanada, savings between $16m and $17m were measured in the first year following implementation alone. That’s just one success story. When an entire industry employs such advancements in how operations are maintained, the savings can compound by an order of magnitude.

How Epicor ERP Addresses Predictive Maintenance

Through the Maintenance Management module of Epicor’s ERP solution, manufacturers gain extensive support for maintenance request processing, planned preventive maintenance (according to predefined schedules), and improvised break/fix maintenance processing for a single piece of equipment. When it comes to the facilities themselves and production equipment housed within, maintenance can be scheduled according to a pre-defined service interval, usage, time or through manual requests. Once these work orders have been identified in the system, the upkeep planner can schedule equipment downtime and exchange resources or materials on the fly. The complete history of these machines, materials, and work orders are tracked using many metrics, including the in-service date, equipment location, warrant expiration date, and preventative maintenance plans based on either time or meter frequencies.

 a picture of factory equipment, technicians, and c-level executives working together.

Epicor ERP Helps Manufacturers Keep Operations Running Smoothly With Predictive Maintenance Tools.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


A new industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is blending automation and data exchange in ways that have never been possible before. The change has strengthened the concept of a “smart factory” that integrates cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing to create an increasingly cooperative relationship between man and machine throughout the manufacturing process.

An image of interconnecting beams of light superimposed over a city a night meant to symbolize the connections of devices in industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 Connects Cyber-physical Systems To Blend Automation And Data Exchange In Ways That Have Never Been Possible Before.

Some fantastic developments regarding the future of employment in this new landscape were revealed in a report released last week by the Association of Advancing Automation (A3). The document detailed how interconnectivity, automation and, more specifically, robots work to create increasingly valuable and necessary work roles. Keep reading to find out how the skills gap is being addressed at home and abroad and how worker wages figure into the equation.

Automation: Replacing The Mundane With The Mechatronic

As advancements in automation and robotics reach a new zenith, individuals and organizations can more effectively and affordably integrate these mechatronic marvels into their manufacturing processes. Able to complete simple tasks with a high degree of quality, these robots enable the current manufacturing workforce, and those entering the field, to approach more complex and demanding roles in the workplace. As a result, new approaches to training and education are required to prepare workers in how best to leverage these technologies and improve productivity. The same is true not just for manufacturing but an array of industries, including hospitality, transportation, and healthcare.

a picture of Disney robot character wall-e holding up a plant in one hand. industry Automation in industry 4.0 brings robots into manufacturing like never before.

The New Wave Of Automation Robotics Will Come Bearing Gifts.

New Careers For An Existing Workforce

The results of automation are far from the sound bites and headlines predicting an end to the job market as we know it. In a sense it’s true, but hardly from a negative standpoint. While automation does eat up the roles charged with repetitive and simple tasks, it enables the workforce to take on more complex responsibilities that lead to further productivity and profitability. A poignant example with a focus on banking was offered at last week’s A3 conference.

A picture of a technician with clipboard inspecting equipment. industry 4.0 presents opportunities for more specialized jobs and more sustainable job growth.

Automation And Robotics Will Give Rise To New Careers And Employment Opportunities.

With the arrival of the ATM, many people thought the role of the bank teller would go the way of the dodo. Long story short: it did not. The number of bank tellers fell by about a third. This presented banks with the opportunity to open more branches, approximately 40% more during that time, with the money saved by allowing machines take over the mundane cash-handling roles. More employees were then hired to fulfill more intellectually-demanding careers, such as relationship banking and credit and finance management. With these new roles came the need for more advanced training to adequately prepare the workforce to fill such positions.

Education, Certification, And Resurrection Of The Apprenticeship

As the number of opportunities in new careers grows because of increased automation, advances in educating and certifying a more talented workforce need to take place.

Based on data from the OECD, the National Bureau of Statistics of China and the University Grants Commission of India, Germany, India, and China have produced the greatest human investment in STEM fields over the last 15 years, with graduates in these sectors rising 170, 110, and 150 percent respectively. The US and South Korea have only increased their number of graduates by 40 and 20 percent in the same timeframe. Japan has foundered and seen a 10 percent reduction in STEM degrees. The top performers have been pushing STEM efforts beginning at the K-12 level, while additionally enhancing vocational training courses, and strengthening community college and university offerings that are attractive to employers in the manufacturing sector.

A picture of an engineer training an apprentice. industry 4.0 gives more room for advancement in manufacturing as menial tasks can be assumed by robots.

Employers Have Been Addressing The Talent Gap By Building From Within Through Apprenticeships And On-The-Job Training.

According to the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, executives across the board agree that the biggest hurdle in advancing their operations in manufacturing is talent. It is estimated that 60% of critical positions in manufacturing remain unfilled. Beyond lack of qualified individuals, the time it takes to recruit, interview, and bring hires up to speed in the workplace can take as long as three months for engineering and research positions and two months for skilled production workers.

Employers have been addressing the hurdle by building from within through apprenticeships and on-the-job training. University isn’t appealing to or even practical for everybody, but with quality educational resources at their disposal, employees who find themselves with just a high-school degree can receive relevant, high-level training while at work or be compensated for continuing their education through external institutions. For example, Amazon has created its Career Choice program for hourly employees. Designed to give workers the opportunity to learn skills for in-demand jobs, the program pays for 95% of tuition costs towards robotics, computer science, engineering, and IT courses. Amazon even offers on-site classrooms to make the learning process as convenient as possible for participants. Programs like these make the benefits of automation clear: with labor freed and profits increased, companies can invest in their workforces to scale competently with growth.

Industry 4.0: Competition Breeds Opportunity For Workers

Beyond the opportunities for advancing education, compensation packages have steadily increased for talented workers in manufacturing. From back office to the shop floor, these employees can demand elite-level paychecks with benefits to boot.  According to the National Association of Manufacturers, entry-level positions in manufacturing begin at $20 an hour with the total compensation for manufacturing jobs reaching an average of $81,000 including benefits, compared to the average of $63,000 for all nonfarm workers.

a picture of a man in a suit climbing a staircase into the sky. industry 4.0 will play a large part in how factory workers become more specialized and advance their careers.

Automation Has Paved The Way For More Rewarding Positions And Opportunities Beyond The Assembly Line.

Perhaps it has been true in the past that the world’s manufacturing personnel feared robots would take over the shop floor to the detriment of a human workforce. However, the data reveals they’ve only paved the way for more rewarding positions and opportunities beyond the assembly line.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Your operations are scaling nicely at HQ, but coordinating with remote resources and even inter-departmentally in real-time is proving to be a significant hurdle. Most of your team is in-house, while any number of employees can be out on the road, on the manufacturing facility floor, or logging in remotely. However, you need everyone connected and on the same page to be functioning at 100%. A robust ERP system fro the likes of Epicor keeps everything in the pipeline and within arm’s reach, but you’ll be pinned to the desktop when making any significant maneuvers that rely on data from your ERP systems.

Bezlio Offers Mobile ERP Solutions To Users On The Move

Developed by Bezlio in 2016 as a response to a workforce that is increasingly on the move, the platform grants remote and secure access to the crucial data you need to reference or readjust, from anywhere.

With an agile approach to utilizing resources remotely, Bezlio delivers a modern solution to operations that provides stability and agility in a constantly shifting environment. Keep your sales team, warehouse procedures, and audits in line and on point with live data your workforce can access on their mobile phones and tablets.

a picture of the Bezlio mobile platform logo

Bezlio is not just a fancy interface for mobile devices. It is exactly what you want it to be, with the capability to take shape according to your needs. Robust and detailed dashboards can be created for every department, putting the data employees and executives have to see right in front of them for a streamlined process from every angle. You gain essential insights from everything, including parts inventory and payroll sheets all the way out to the big picture with quarterly trends, annual projections, and beyond.

A Picture Of Bezlio ERP Sales Module Dashboards On Different Mobile and Desktop Devices.

Up And Running In A Fraction Of The Time

Compared to traditional ERP implementations, which can take months and even years to complete depending on the size of an operation, Bezlio can go from “in box” to “in action” in a day. Don’t know exactly what you want out of a dashboard or how to go about creating one? That’s OK: Bezlio has pre-made templates for your essential divisions to get them started straight away. Each template can be altered as you see fit. These exist for everything from sales to distribution, rapidly mobilizing your data for use in any direction the business day can take you.

Have existing software you need integrated? Bezlio already has direct compatibility with the most widely used enterprise tools. Plugins for Salesforce, Microsoft SQL Server, Epicor ERP, ODBC and Crystal Reports are already available.

Modern Security Without Compromise

Depending on who you’re talking to, ‘cloud’ can be considered a four-letter word. Security is on everyone’s mind, but with Bezlio you never have to compromise the integrity of your sensitive data when working in the cloud.

An infographic of Bezlio's security protocol and process

The platform utilizes a token-based entry system. Meaning, only those users, and their associated devices, that have been specifically granted access to the platform can access the data. Going further, admins can restrict exactly which subsets of data each user can access at any given time.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


in Industry 4.0, Manufacturers and distributors have access to data on a scale that has never existed before. The two are leveraging the insights gleaned from that access to pursue new innovations in automation and systems that are reshaping the face of these industries. Pairing innovations like these with a robust ERP solution is the most effective way to ensure your business is prepared to address emerging technology trends that can reshape your industry overnight. Learn more about emerging technologies in manufacturing and Industry 4.0 to remain to be the competition, rather than simply competitive.

Industry 4.0

First, there was industry 1.0, the emergence of mechanization, as well as water-, steam-, and fossil fuel-powered systems. This was followed by mass production of goods, assembly line manufacturing, and electricity powering it all in Industry 2.0. With 3.0 came computers and automation using robotics. Today, we’ve reached the next milestone in revolutionizing Industry. Connecting established trends and emerging technologies between automation and data exchange in manufacturing is Industry 4.0. Also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, it is focused on bringing cyber-physical systems into the mainstream and placing them at the forefront of the manufacturing industry.

The first Industry 4.0 conference was held last week by Troy, Michigan-based Automation Alley (AA), a non-profit tech and manufacturing business association that connects industry, academia, and government to accelerate innovation in manufacturing. During the conference, a report outlining what AA and industry experts see as the next wave of industry tech to influence innovation emerged. In the report, a roadmap outlined several core technologies that professionals and researchers agree will direct the trajectory of manufacturing in the coming years.

Noting the biggest challenge of innovation on the manufacturing floor as supply-side participants being able to keep up, executive director of Automation Alley Tom Kelly remained optimistic, stating, “The world (of manufacturing) is changing so fast, we can’t assume any company really knows where it’s headed. But based on what’s possible, we hope to help them turn this into action instead of stagnation.” Industry 5.0 has already appeared on the horizon with technologies that are only now being conceptualized and brought into existence.

 

a picture of a welder at work welding part of a steel frame structure

New Manufacturing Technologies And The Next Industrial Revolution Are Here

 

The full report on AA’s research into industry 4.0 will be released in April 2018 for those who were unable to attend last week’s conference centered on deconstructing the “siloed thinking” of manufacturing in its current state and nurturing the “smart factory” megatrend of connecting machines, workers, and factory systems through the internet and cloud computing.

The Industrial Internet Of Things

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) utilized relevant information and completes essential tasks through smartphones, tablets, and other edge devices. Businesses can use this performance data in real-time to adapt and change their operations into a more streamlined process internally and externally for both short-term and long-term gains. This superior connectivity facilitates faster response times from all departments and brings with it improved agility for operations of every size.

An image displaying introducing Industry 4.0 technologies.

Emerging Technologies Are Ushering In A New Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0

 

Robotics

As robots become smarter, cheaper, and more efficient in their roles on the factory floor, these entities will command a greater presence in shaping the manufacturing industry. Advances in robotics technology allow these machines to take on more complex traits, including machine learning, heightened dexterity, memory, and the ability to collaborate more effectively. As a result, robots will usher in a new set of standards that every manufacturer will need to adopt to remain relevant.

An image displaying how Robotics and root systems are a significant component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Advances In Robotics Means Smarter, More Agile, And More Efficient Robots.

Artificial Intelligence

Commonly the subject of doomsday scenario horror films, AI is nothing to discount as the stuff of science fiction gone wrong. The technology is already in our daily lives in the form of self-driving cars and industrial robotics. In manufacturing applications, the technology will become the new standard by which large sets of data are analyzed and predictive maintenance is undergone. In short, companies will have no choice but to “go digital” in order to survive.

An image a personal robot as part of Industry 4.0 technologies.

The Next Generation Of Artificial Intelligence Will Work side By Side With Humans On The Shop Floor.

Big Data

The means by which we capture data and store it is changing by the day. The even more complex and daunting tasks are how to sift through it and how to identify the relevant bits for different applications. New standards in search, sharing, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy are emerging as a result. To keep up with the data, rather than being mired in it, manufacturers will need to adopt more robust technologies than traditional data processing software, which is where specialized ERP solutions give your business the critical edge it needs to succeed. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one more example of how automation technologies are increasing productivity and how we manage data in the manufacturing environment.

An image displaying how Big Data systems are a significant component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

With More Data To Store And Sift Through, It Will Become Increasingly Necessary For Powerful Tools To Assist In Making Sense Of It All.

The Cloud

In many circles, the cloud is considered a four-letter word. The technology is new and traditional operators across industries are skeptical of its intangible nature. It is not maintained locally and can’t be monitored, stored or secured using traditional methods. That being said, Cloud-based technology is how the companies of the future will operate as it allows in-house users and remote workforces to collaborate in real-time more effectively than with traditional data systems. The cloud approach is faster, improves manageability, and reduces maintenance.

An image displaying how cloud computing and cloud technology systems are a big component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Data Stored Digitally Can Be Utilized And Amended At A Moment’s Notice.

Cybersecurity

As more and more operations move toward cloud-based solutions and rely more heavily on a robotic workforce, maintaining the security and integrity of these systems becomes a much larger issue. In fact, cybersecurity in the manufacturing sector is listed as the highest priority of the National Association of Manufacturers. Industrial control systems are among the most sensitive targets, which is the class of computers that help to manage the shop floor. As more manufacturers simultaneously build and integrate their systems through the industrial Internet of Things, more opportunities for threats emerge.

An image displaying how cyber security systems are a big component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Cybersecurity Will be One Of The Most Crucial Concepts To Address As New Innovations Bring Change To The Manufacturing Industry.

Advanced Materials And Additive Manufacturing

An emerging advanced manufacturing technology, you might know Advanced Materials And Additive Manufacturing by the more common name of 3D printing. A process that used to take weeks to accomplish on a small scale, 3D printing can know construct large and complex structures, like housing, in less than a day. Organic compounds, custom plastics, and a host of other materials can be utilized in the process, harmonizing product and nature through innovation.

An image displaying how additive manufacturing and 3D printing systems are a big component of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Advanced Materials And Additive Manufacturing Utilizes 3D Printers For Projects Large And Small.

Modeling, Simulation, Visualization, And Immersion

Analyzing, manipulating, and leveraging data is essential when it comes to making decisions on the future of any business. With new forms of visualization, simulation, and interaction available at the press of a button, businesses can leverage the latest technology to more effectively review, report, and forecast using their data. 3D visualization, virtual reality, and immersion tools are just a few of the innovations available to a host of businesses that rely on massive amounts of data daily, including manufacturing, healthcare, sciences, finance, and energy. Beyond data, these innovations and associated tools help develop tech and lead teams to greater success rates with more thorough and effective preparation for mission-critical tasks.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Integrated Service Estimator Solution Winners

Congratulations to the first two winners of professional-grade Innova scan tools for their participation in the Epicor Integrated Service Estimator Solution Sweepstakes! The first-place prize winner, Darrin Gilliam of Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers, Daphne, Ala., will receive an Innova 5160 CarScan PRO scan tool. The second-place prize winner, Randy Wilkens of Kwik Kar Automotive, Kansas City, Mo., will receive an Innova 5100 CarScan ABS/SRS tool.

“We congratulate Darrin and Randy for winning the first of 12 Innova scan tools in our six-month promotion,” said Stephen Gannon, senior director, automotive, product management and product development, Epicor Software. “Epicor ISE is a powerful business tool that helps shops grow their mechanical repair volume by streamlining the estimating and parts sourcing processes. Service writers and technicians who rely on ISE can save time and provide a higher level of customer service while earning free chances to win an Innova scan tool. It’s a win-win opportunity for every shop that relies on ISE to drive business growth and improved margin performance.”

The Epicor promotion, which continues through May 31, 2018, will award a total of 12 premium Innova scan tools to Epicor Integrated Service Estimator Solution customers via monthly drawings. Businesses using the web-based solution will automatically earn one free entry with each order generated and completed through the solution. Epicor will randomly select two winners each month to receive either an Innova 5160 CarScan PRO (First-Place Prize) or an Innova 5100 CarScan ABS/SRS (Second-Place Prize). Visit www.epicor.com/ISEsweeps for program rules and alternative form of entry.

Used by thousands of tire dealerships, oil-and-lube facilities, transmission service business, tune-up specialists, and general repair shops, the Epicor Integrated Service Estimator Solution enables users to write comprehensive, accurate repair estimates and identify, price, and source replacement parts in a fraction of the time normally required through manual processes. Parts, labor, and pricing information can automatically be imported into estimates, work orders, and invoices, simplifying the workload for shop service writers. In addition, an optional, mobile “Smart Inspection” feature helps to boost service bay productivity by allowing technicians to record the condition of key vehicle systems and components during comprehensive, guided inspections.

The solution is powered by the Epicor industry-leading replacement parts database, as well as popular repair and maintenance packages, an aftermarket flat-rate labor guide, OEM-recommended vehicle service intervals information, a VIN decoder, cross-reference parts database, and more. To learn more about the solution and the sweepstakes promotion, contact your Epicor representative or visit www.epicor.com/ISEsweeps. For more information about Innova tools and accessories, visit www.pro.innova.com.

Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Following the most recent tax reform legislation passed by the federal government, manufacturers of all sizes have enjoyed success in their sectors. This week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders delivered a daily press brief that highlighted how policies outlined in the new tax law have had a positive impact on businesses. One such success story came from Pittsburg, PA’s H&K Equipment.

A picture of literature that details economics and taxes.

Recently Passed US Tax Legislation Has Had A Favorable Impact On The Nation’s Manufacturers.

H&K Equipment’s Story

The company was founded in 1983 by three entrepreneurs and run out of a garage. Today the company has grown to include 200 employees providing services in selling, renting, and servicing lift trucks, container handlers, railcar movers, personnel carriers, yard trucks, and industrial sweeping and scrubbing equipment.

According to company representatives, 2017 had been the company’s best year to date. The success has been attributed directly to the White House’s position on economic and job growth. Tax cuts, in particular, allowed the company to expense new equipment they acquired within the same year and return 50% more on investments made into the company when compared to 2016. According to Sanders, “When they buy more trucks and equipment for their rental fleet, they hire more technicians to service them, buy more service vehicles to transport those techs from customer site to customer site, and buy more parts from their suppliers to keep the rental fleet running. All of this economic activity spurred by the tax bill will result in more jobs, higher wages, and a brighter future.”

A picture of H&K Equipment Headquarters

H&K Equipment’s Success Story Is Just One Of Many Following The Recently Passed US Tax Legislation. Photo Provided By: H&K Equipment

There are currently 566,000 employed by the manufacturing industry in Pennsylvania alone, with an average annual salary of $72,500 for workers. The state generates $85.13 billion according to a 2015 report on manufacturing output. These growth- and worker-focused policies coming from the current US Administration are leading to big benefits for manufacturing outfits in Pennsylvania and across the country. Beyond mid-sized operators like H&K, conglomerates, including AT&T, Boeing, and Waste Management, have all attributed increased commerce and benefits to employees as results of tax reform. 2018 is expected to usher in further progress in US manufacturing investment, expansion, and employment.

US Manufacturing And Production Make Gains In Q4 Of 2017

2017 was a booming year for manufacturing with overall production rising for a fourth consecutive month in December. That resulted in a 2.4% increase year-over-year according to the Federal Reserve. December’s gains dripped slightly from November’s numbers, but the trend gleaned optimism from industry experts and professionals alike. The increase in production for 2017 has been the highest gain since 2014.

A picture of workers and equipment in a manufacturing facility

Manufacturers Big And Small Are Reaping The Benefits Of More Favorable Tax Laws that Facilitate Expansion In Investment And Hiring.

The report from the Federal Reserve released this month pulled data from industrial production, manufacturing, durable goods, and nondurable goods. The biggest gains came from industrial production, which jumped 1.6% from September to October, and nondurable goods, which enjoyed the lion’s share of progress in recovering 2.5% from a September low to its highest show in October.

In related news, overall industrial production was up nearly 1% in December, totaling a 3.6% rise for 2017. Peripherally, utilities and mining rose 5.6% and 1.6%, respectively.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Whether you’re adding additional capabilities to your existing structure or have outgrown your former methodology, you are ready to explore a more robust approach to tackling the challenges of growth. ERP software, such as NetSuite ERP, can support your enterprise across all channels and scale your business.

an image of clear glass beverage bottles in a manufacturing plant

Food And Beverage Manufacturers Utilize ERP Consultants to Implement ERP Solutions Successfully

Designed with multi-level functionality, these powerful tools can address the needs of multi-company, multi-division, multi-currency, multi-warehouse, and multi-factory operations. Everything from shipping and receiving to accounting and lot control can be optimized using an ERP solution focused on process manufacturing.

You can be operating at one site or with locations scattered across the globe, ERP solutions are designed to address the essential needs of business structures big and small. Let’s touch on a few key points unique to the food and beverage industry and how ERP brings relief from their burdens.

Recipe-Based Formulation

While your employees on the shop floor and executives in the boardroom may know the difference between formulation and bill of materials, your ERP solution should know the finer points just as well. Your products can’t be disassembled like discrete manufacturers’ can, and so you’ve got to get it right with every batch. Not only this, but you’ve got to have the raw materials on hand to deliver each order’s specifications.

a picture of stainless steel vats in a food and beverage manufacturing facility

ERP Consultants Assist Process Manufacturing Operations Maintain Recipe-Based Formulation Best Practices With Effective ERP Solutions

The easiest way to keep everything running smoothly is to keep your stock at the ready with an ERP solution designed with you and your industry in mind. ERP formulation management capabilities include essential tools, like tracking recipe revisions, processing notes that allow for commenting, and attention sections at every step in the production process with each instance unique to its batch ticket or work order. Not only this, but everyone is on the same page when it comes to historical information, revisions, and amendments to your recipes.

Quality Control

One of the biggest issues facing food and beverage manufacturers is consistency. Delivering your product according to consumer expectations is essential in maintaining your signature taste, experience, and brand. An exceptional ERP solution that addresses quality control for your industry is the only one that will do.

An image shipping containers ready to deliver food and beverages.

Quality Control Is Made Easy With ERP Solutions Specifically Tailored To Address The Needs Of Food And Beverage Manufacturing Operations.

Keeping a reliable supply of your in-brand ingredients ensures that the quality and stores of bulk products and finished products will be addressed with a quality ERP solution, as well. Beyond the QC of product characteristics, maintaining reliable expiration on every batch you produce is essential and nothing makes it easier to deliver a consistent lifespan of your products than an ERP dedicated to consistent quality control.

Lot Traceability

When it comes to where your products are going once they’ve left processing facilities, there’s really no room for error. This is where ERP solutions can be instrumental in catching poor packaging or disreputable shippers early in the supply chain along as well as assist in circumventing many of the common problems in the industry.

an image of signage indicating multiple one-way direction traffic

ERP Solutions Improve The Effectiveness Of Lot Traceability And Distribution Management When It Comes To Food And Beverage Manufacturing Operations.

ERP solutions ensure that you know every stop in the journey of your shipments and are equipped to handle issues before they become problems. Using the data gleaned from ERP solutions will ensure the root of the problem is identified and shut down before it can affect your bottom line.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Bezlio Interface Enhancements For Epicor ERP

With 6 facilities and over 300 manufacturing employees, the sheer cost of licensing and hardware, as well as the volume of transactions recorded on the shop floor, presented a challenge for Mickey Truck Bodies (Mickey), but Encompass had the perfect solution to enhance their Epicor system: Bezlio! The unique Bezlio interface offers a flexible enhancement to Epicor using “Bezls” that provide the ability to add key features without significant expense. In addition, they are able to use the Bezls from anywhere in their shop, even where WiFi may be spotty.

Bezlio Interface enhancements classify as killer tools when coupled with Epicor ERP

Mickey manufactures all-aluminum beverage bodies and beverage trailers, dry freight, and refrigerated van bodies, emergency vehicles and specially engineered equipment for customers throughout the U.S. and more than 50 other countries. The company operates a national network of full-service Reconditioning/Service Centers and a complete Parts Shop with genuine Mickey Parts as well as parts for most competitive makes and models.

Bezlio Interface: Real-Time Inventory Transfer App

To increase efficiency, Mickey desired an inventory transfer solution to enable users to issue multiple materials to a job from mobile devices. The user begins the process by entering their employee ID, and then inputs the job and optionally the assembly/operation. A list of buttons is presented per the material requirements. Inventory on hand is displayed, and the user can tap or scan the barcode of the warehouse/bin they wish to pull from, indicate the quantity, and move on to the next material. When all inventory selections are specified, the user clicks the ‘Issue Materials’ button, and all transactions are processed in real time.   

Bezlio Interface: Production Labor Transactions On Mobile Devices

The design of the Bezlio interface provides the ability to track production transactions from mobile devices. Users can clock in, clock out, start/stop production activities, and start/stop indirect activities. The end activity screen for production activities allows for the input of completed quantities as well as scrap. When clocked into a production activity with attachments defined at the job level, such as an Assembly Guide, they are presented as buttons that can be tapped to display in a built-in PDF viewer.

Bezlio is a cost-effective solution for using mobile devices to efficiently capture and record shop floor data in real-time. Because Mickey has multiple facilities utilizing Epicor, there is a huge saving on MES user licenses and workstation hardware costs, estimating between $80,000 – $90,000. In addition, transactions from all locations are streamlined and controlled, making data entry and collection easier while simultaneously enforcing critical business rules.

Ready for your business to run with a killer toolset?

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.