When it comes to running a business, everyone has a business management system. These systems may even fall into the category of Enterprise Resource Planning software, even if users don’t know it by that name. Such a system can be as simple as a whiteboard on a breakroom wall but more often will take the form of spreadsheets and emails.

What Is Enterprise Resource Planning Software?

ERP software is a means of communicating processes and resources to a business’ personnel. This information is then used by personnel to complete tasks such as how many parts to build for a purchase order or how many orders to fulfill by specified deadlines. The level of depth ERP software provides is virtually limitless.

an image depicting the architecture of erp enterprise resource planning system with connections between business intelligence (bi), production, crm modules and hr diagram.

Why Do Businesses Use ERP Software?

Unfortunately, businesses relying on spreadsheets miss out on putting a lot of their valuable data to use. Not only this, but they divide their teams into siloed departments that leave them working less efficiently. ERP software bridges gaps in communicating processes and resources with personnel. The result is accurate and relevant data delivered to those who need it, in real-time and across departments. Businesses will find ERP applications enable better communication, increased efficiency, increased order accuracy and fulfillment, reduced inventory and labor costs, and happier customers.

The most modern examples of enterprise resource planning software deliver automation capabilities. Today, ERP software offers virtual assistants, workflow automation capabilities, automated data capture and entry, intelligent robot interfaces, predictive maintenance tools, and systems to connect manufacturing business from the shop floor to the top floor.

What Is The best ERP software?

The best ERP software is the one that checks all the boxes, or the most, when it comes to meeting the needs of your business now and into the future. That said, evaluating and selecting the ERP software that’s right for your business is not an overnight decision. Once you’ve decided that a more robust enterprise resource planning system is what you need, begin evaluating options.

The typical ERP evaluation process from the buyer’s end begins with research, then engaging those vendors or their certified resellers, discovery follows to ensure the ERP software is the right fit for a business, then demonstrations, agreements, implementation and finally training. Some vendors and vars will stop there, only reaching out to continue selling add-on services and upgrades. However, you will want to find a partnership with experts in the ERP software of your choosing. That’s because these systems will potentially help run your business for decades as you grow and expand. Finding the right fit for both ERP software and partnership in providers are important.

How To Select ERP Software

In short, every business is different and has different needs out of ERP software. Though, there are core functionalities that all ERP systems will include, like financials and operations. Beyond that, there are systems geared towards retailers, manufacturers, healthcare, and just about every other industry vertical one can name. That said, no matter what ERP software you may need, there are reliable ways to evaluate ERP software that apply to the evaluation process regardless of industry and purpose. We’ve put together a great resource on how to evaluate ERP software, no matter what industry you are in. You can download it for free.

Don’t get hamstrung by inaccurate data, lost information, and poor response time when unforeseen events take place. When the time is right to choose an ERP system that’s right for your business, big or small, talk to the experts at Encompass Solutions. We’ll connect you with a system that fits your build.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


When it comes to EDI, just like any other transformative technologies, there are factors that may present barriers before implementation can begin. There are many barriers that can present themselves when it comes to working with EDI for the first time and each may be unique a business or industry. In this case, the most common EDI barriers to implementation are:

  • Understanding
  • Change Management, Education, And Effort
  • Time
  • Money
  • Willingness Of Customers Or Suppliers

1. Understanding EDI

Understanding EDI is often one of the first EDI barriers to implementation to overcome, but also the easiest. Once a business has a clear picture of the structure, mechanics, and benefits of EDI, the choice to implement or not becomes obvious. What follows is an evaluation of peripheral factors that make EDI implementation feasible or not for that business.

2. EDI Change Management, Education, And Effort

Second on the list of EDI barriers to implementation generally follows understanding EDI. The internal struggle to get management on board, vital staff trained, and reinforcing a culture of continual process improvement is no small endeavor. For most businesses, change management is one of the most significant barriers to overcome in projects of just about any size and scope. For businesses taking on the responsibility to administer EDI in-house, this challenge is a pivotal one. Managing software and hardware installation, updates, and maintenance is a fulltime job on its own. Many businesses make the mistake of assign one key resource to oversee EDI, as well. The problems that arise when they decide to take time off or fall ill can be major roadblocks. The problems multiply exponentially should they decide to leave their role entirely. For those who bring on a third-party, it’s not as significant. This is because a third-party EDI services provider completes the labor associated with EDI administration, updates, security, and auditing.

3. EDI Implementation And Maintenance Time Requirements

Unlike substantial technological projects, like ERP implementation, EDI Implementation can compete in a relatively fast timeframe. Though, this will depend on the size and scope of a trading network. For businesses with no connection to EDI through their suppliers, it will generally take longer to implement EDI than those whose suppliers and trading partners are already aligned to adopt EDI technology.

Maintenance is an ongoing effort for your in-house team and needs to be met with the same care and attention to detail as any other IT operation to keep things running smoothly. Setting aside time for new mappings, changes required when its time to upgrade, and regular auditing is necessary. Hiring a third-party EDI services provider can allay the pressures associated with maintaining your EDI infrastructure.

4. EDI Implementation And Maintenance Costs

Like most process-improving technologies, EDI costs money to implement and maintain. Early iterations of the technology were rather costly. Over the last several years, efficiencies and advancements in EDI have driven costs down. Now, implementations and maintenance are far more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses. The price of that implementation and maintenance depends on the number of documents being mapped and the size of a customer’s or supplier’s trading network. Costs come down when in-house IT maintains the EDI infrastructure, but the additional workload does not always justify the savings on the front-end.  Many businesses find it is preferable to have a specialized third-party administrate their EDI services, while in-house teams manage day-to-day operations.

5. The willingness Of Customers Or Suppliers

For suppliers, EDI is often already in place or easy to implement when requested by customers. Customers, on the other hand, may not be so keen on adding EDI infrastructure because one trading partner requires it. In this case, the trading relationship can be severed. Suppliers tend to be more open to EDI as a framework for optimizing how transactions and communications take place both in and outside of their organization. Still, suppliers may have particular requirements of an EDI solution that a customer or vendor may not agree with

How The Benefits Of EDI Outweigh The EDI Barriers To Implementation

While there are plenty of potential obstacles to overcome when implementing a transformative technology like EDI, the benefits are well worth the process. Successful implementation yields tremendous benefit for businesses, including:

  1. Reduced administrative/transaction costs
  2. Decreased inventory levels/inventory costs
  3. Improved information accuracy
  4. Improved cash flows
  5. Better customer service
  6. Enhanced competitiveness in the marketplace
  7. Efficient communication
  8. More valuable trading partner relationships
  9. More free time for valuable in-house resources
  10. Improved security

To learn more about EDI and how it can benefit your business, contact the EnTrust EDI experts at Encompass Solutions using the link below.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Budgeting is the lifeblood of any company and there are instances whereby the time the budget is complete, it’s already stale. Spreadsheets may be the go-to choice for budgeting and planning, but they quickly become error-prone, insecure, disconnected, time-consuming, and are non-collaborative. Many companies treat cash as an afterthought, neglecting to forecast the Balance Sheet because it’s simply too difficult. Instead, they rely on spreadsheets to organize data from a General Ledger.

Corporate Performance Management (or CPM) is an umbrella term for software applications that automate your business’s non-transactional processes – specifically picking up where your ERP system leaves off. We’re partnering with the CPM experts at Prophix to deliver a live webinar on Innovative Budgeting and Planning practices.

Budgeting And Planning Webinar

In this webinar, we discuss how to automate your financial processes to focus on analyzing trends in your data, promote collaboration and develop integrated financial planning across the organization.

After this webinar you will know how to:

  • Breakdown the budgeting process in 5 easy steps
  • Automate data entry and spend less time verifying calculations
  • Compare budgets to actuals while maintaining data accuracy
  • Influence process, people and infrastructure through innovation

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Now that spring cleaning is complete, it’s time to get your ship in shape for summer. We’ve got a wealth of useful resources for you to consider when improving internal processes, automating tasks, and reducing costly mistakes. Have a look at our June 2019 News And Updates for tools, techniques, and events to improve your organizational performance.

The supply chain is rife with opportunities for things to go wrong as a result of manual tasks, suppliers failing to follow-through, and a host of other issues. Automating procurement processes can save you big on time, money, and headaches.

IoT is not a buzzword, it’s part of the lexicon. These connections are opening doors for manufacturers they never thought possible. Learn more about the biggest benefits of IoT for manufacturers.

Want a better view of corporate performance? How about a better handle on internal budgeting processes? We’ve got a few budgeting best practices you’ll want to implement.

EDI is an essential part of any company’s digital transformation; for many, it’s an industry standard that cannot be ignored. Get on board and implement EDI for manufacturers to reduce time, costs, and errors.

Mark your calendars for a joint webinar with Encompass Solutions and Bezlio on how you can mobilize your teams to work with your ERP data securely from anywhere, any time, online and offline. The event takes place on August 7th at 2 pm EST. Register today.

Now that Tax Season is over, how has your business been impacted by sales tax and nexus rules in the wake of Wayfair v. South Dakota? Need a more robust tax solution or just want to know more about these sweeping tax changes? Download the latest Sales & Use Tax Compliance resource from our partner, Avalara.

Procurement Automation

an image of the supply chain of goods and impovements made via procurement automation software

 Start automating the procurement process in your organization to realize the benefits of increased supplier accountability, improved collaboration, and automation of manual tasks.

IoT For Manufacturers

an image of iot for manufacturers and the tools predictive maintenance delivers to manufacturers

Chances are you have come across the terms Internet of Things (IoT) or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Get to know more about how these technologies benefit manufacturing operations.

Budgeting Process Improvement

an image of busgeting process improvement software from prophix, an encompass solutions partner

Getting a handle on your company’s performance can be a daunting task. Here are a few ways you can improve your budgeting processes to reflect in your overall corporate performance.

EDI For Manufacturers

an image of transferring and connections of edi documents for manufacturing

EDI is essential for fast and fluid information exchange between trading partners. Get rid of the paper and manual modes of communication by going digital with EDI built for manufacturers.

Webinar – Mobility With Epicor ERP

an image of the bezlio mobility with epicor webinar registration as part of the june 2019 news and updates from encompass solutions

Mobilize your workforce and sales force by accessing your secure, on-premises data sources in real-time, on any mobile device, from anywhere. Join us on August 7th at 2 pm EST.

Getting Your Taxes In Order with Avalara

an image of the sales tax and compliance resources from Avalara as part of the june 2019 nes and updates from encompass

Over the last year, some sweeping changes to sales tax laws have affected businesses conducting sales across state lines. Make sure you’re in compliance with the latest regulations.

Encompass June 2019 News And Updates

Encompass Solutions is happy to announce it will be helping Modments, manufacturing start-up of modular homes and commercial buildings, to bring construction into the 22nd century with Epicor ERP. Stay tuned for our case study on this exciting development.

an image of the encpomass logo

Epicor June 2019 News And Updates

Haven’t read up on the latest Epicor ERP update? Get to know more about the latest features and updates of Epicor ERP 10.2.400.

an image of the epicor logo for the epicor consultants at encompass solutions

Oracle NetSuite June 2019 News And Updates

NetSuite’s Scott Derksen delivered a 25-minute interview on the Tearsheet podcast on why he believes ERP sits at the center of banking as a service. This comes following NetSuite’s heavy investment in resources earlier this year to target banking as a service on its robust cloud platform.

an image of the Oracle + NetSuite logo

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Industrial automation is a topic of conversation that manufacturers all over the globe are discussing on the shop floors of production facilities and in board rooms. Industrial automation is no longer an optional component of manufacturing industries. In order to remain competitive, industrial automation must be considered to maintain a level of competitiveness in modern manufacturing scenarios.

What Is Industrial Automation?

As far as an Industrial automation definition is concerned, the concept can be defined as completing an operation or procedure without human assistance by utilizing control systems, such as computers or robots, and information technologies, like ERP platforms and EDI, for handling different processes and machinery.

Types of Industrial Automation

There are several types of industrial automation in use today. They can be broken down into four main categories:

  1. Fixed (Hard) Automation

  2. Programmable Automation

  3. Flexible (Soft) Automation

  4. Totally Integrated Automation (TIA)

These types of automation are leveraged in different scenarios, some data-driven and some production-driven. We’ll go into that a little later.

For now, it’s important to understand that industrial automation technologies and concepts can be applied most readily to data collection, data processing, and predictable physical work, such as welding, soldering, painting, food prep, packaging, and materials handling.

Fixed (Hard) Automation

Fixed automation refers to the use of special purpose equipment to automate a fixed sequence of processing or assembly operations.

an image of fixed (hard) automation in industrial automation

In this example, the application is usually simple and will involve a process or assembly that is dictated by programmed commands. It is relatively difficult to accommodate changes in the product design in a fixed automation process, which is set up with one purpose or process per application in mind.

Fixed (Hard) Automation Examples include:

  • Mechanized assembly
  • Machining transfer lines
  • Automated material handling

Fixed (Hard) Automation Advantages:

  • High production rates
  • Low unit cost

Fixed (Hard) Automation Disadvantages:

  • Relatively inflexible in accommodating product variety
  • High initial investment for custom-engineered equipment
  • High vulnerability to failure
  • Obsolescence

Programmable Automation

In programmable automation, the production equipment is designed with the capability to change the sequence of operations to accommodate different product configurations.

an image of programmable automation in industrial automation

Programmable automation is used most often when manufacturing products in batches. It allows for customization and frequent changes throughout the manufacturing process.

In this case, the operation is controlled by a program of instructions that are read and interpreted by the system. New programs can be prepared and entered into the hardware to produce new products at any time.

Programmable Automation Examples include:

  • Computer Numerical controlled (CNC) machine tools
  • Industrial robots
  • Programmable logic controllers (PLC)

Programmable Automation Advantages:

  • Flexible and able to deal with design variations
  • Suitable for batch production

Programmable Automation Disadvantages:

  • High investment in general purpose equipment
  • Lower production rate than fixed automation

Flexible (Soft) Automation

With flexible automation, several machine tools are linked together by a material-handling system, and all components of the system are controlled by a central computer. This configuration offers rapid and smooth changes to products and processes.

an example of soft (flexible) automation

Utilizing multiple tools that are linked by a material handling system, like this rotary indexer, a flexible approach to automation is capable of producing a variety of parts with virtually no time lost for changes in the configuration. The same is true when reprogramming the system or altering the physical set up.

Flexible (Soft) Automation Examples Include:

Robot arms that can be programmed to assume multiple tasks, such as insert screws, drill holes, sand, weld, insert rivets, and spray paint objects on an assembly line.

Flexible (Soft) Automation Advantages:

  • Continuous production of variable mixtures of products
  • Flexible to deal with product design variation
  • Offers Medium production rate

Flexible (Soft) Automation Disadvantages:

  • Requires High amount of investment
  • High unit cost relative to fixed automation

Totally-Integrated Automation (TIA)

More of a philosophy pioneered by Siemens Automation and Drives than a tangible system, TIA includes several core concepts:

  • A common software environment
  • A common data management system
  • A common communication method

 TIA implementation is ideal for many industries, including:

  • Automotive
  • General machine construction
  • Special-purpose machine manufacturing
  • Standard mechanical equipment manufacturer, OEMs
  • Plastics processing
  • The packaging industry
  • Food, beverages and tobacco industries

Totally-Integrated Automation (TIA) Defining Characteristics:

  • Facilitates shorter time-to-market
  • Higher productivity
  • Lower life-cycle costs
  • Reduced complexity
  • Greater security of investment

Industrial Automation With ERP And EDI

In the past, ERP software has served, in large part, to automate traditional business functions and record-keeping activities. Today, IIoT technologies extend those automation capabilities to the production floor. Taking into account the vast amounts of data production processes, robotics, and edge devices provide to centralized ERP systems, maintenance schedules, demand planning, and reporting can all be completed without the need for human intervention. By setting conditions and responses within the ERP system, users can monitor facility operations to expend energy or resources only when conditions warrant. The results are a more connected, streamlined business from the shop floor to the top floor with less waste at every level.

EDI further optimizes operations by eliminating manual communications between trading partners that used to take the form of faxes, phone calls, and emails. Electronic Data Interchange is an ERP agnostic technology that communicates critical order and shipping details instantaneously between digital devices. Standardized document formats, ensure that your logistics are in sync. Data exchanged through EDI is kept secure end-to-end and remains easy to interpret for both active orders and historical records.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.