As more and more of our ERP implementation and Upgrade customers find their business operations slowing and project teams moving into remote-based roles, I am frequently asked:

  • Does it make sense to continue our project?
  • Can we be successful while working remotely?

Maintaining Project Continuity

It may not seem like it, but slower times in your business can actually be turned to your advantage, and work to drive a rapid, and successful project.  Some typical project challenges are listed below, along with how you can turn a period of slowness in your business, into an accelerated plan to implement or upgrade, such that your new system is ready when your business is. Project continuity will ensure that any active or planned undertakings continue to make use of any momentum that preceded a period of disruption.

Systems Design

While we move to design a system for our clients that correctly supports their desired future state, it’s very important to be able to model end to end processes with subject matter experts in the business.  This can be challenging as these individuals are almost always key business roles, and it is normally difficult to get dedicated time.  With more bandwidth for each subject matter expert (SME) to work remotely with the lead on our side, the process modeling that can sometimes take months or more can be compressed into just a few weeks, leaving us plenty of time to complete any gaps – like custom screens, reports, or integrations –  so that the system is ready for your team.

Education 

It is common during a project for end-users to struggle to find time to attend education classes, workshops, and to make time to do their homework while they keep up with the demands of their 9 to 5 job.    This can be a good time to allocate some time each day for them to focus on learning the system, and ensuring readiness for UAT and cutover.

User Acceptance Testing

Ideally, project team members all need to get together to run high-value business streams through the designed system, to validate all gaps are closed, and the system is ready for production use.  These UAT exercises take key people out of their jobs, for a period of several days.  While things are slower, an activity like this can be tightly scheduled, such that this demanding exercise is out of the way, and the system is ready when business picks up.

As a consulting firm, we are accustomed to working remotely.  As such, we can assist your own project team to be able to be effective and productive, even if much of the team are working from their homes.  The key is to define roles and tightly scheduled tasks within our clients’ organization, build a collaborative way for issues to be logged and addressed, and with a good schedule in place, set periodic meetings to review issues, answer questions, adapt to change, and foster constant communication.

Things Encompass can work with your project team to do are:

  • Define a point (SME) for each business group
  • Set up a tracking system that the client and ESI can collaboratively use to track issues.  We are currently opening our own system to customers, via a web-based portal, free of charge.
  • Set periodic team meetings with SMEs to review critical issues, and let them get updates from Encompass on anything that we have been asked to assist with.  Early morning,  and right before lunch are typically times to meet.
  • Have each SME/Lead funnels all issues from their department to the portal at the end of the day- including questions from their team.  The SME can then set a priority on issues, which might range anywhere from ‘I can’t perform a process’ to ’nice to have in Phase 2.  This is the input to the morning meetings, where the customer’s internal project manager, and the Encompass project manager can set further prioritization as needed.

We realize that while you probably do not want to cut over to a new system while most of the team are remote, we can definitely plan intelligently for project continuity.  By leveraging some of the available time your team has right now, work together to accelerate your project, such that your business can go live as soon as you are ready, rather than trying to restart a project right as things get busy.

I am always available to take a call and help you work through a process that will work for your organization, to ensure project continuity with remote team members, and to prepare for success when things return to normal.

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 has helped modernize operations and automate 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 an effort to address the increasing call for our services and the remote requirements businesses currently need to adopt, we’ve expanded our emphasis on remote consulting and implementation services. This slower time could be an opportunity, while people have the bandwidth, to prepare to scale up for future growth.

You can tailor these combined training seminars and implementation services to topics specific to projects currently underway or planned in your organization. The benefit of combining these two services remotely results in better use of your time and money.

We are also discounting consulting blocks to make these services more easily available to businesses.

ESI Discounted Consulting Blocks

Adapting to constrained means of producing and delivering your products and services doesn’t have to impact business continuity. To ensure your organization suffers minimal disruption of day-to-day operations, we want you to be able to take advantage of our experience at a much lower cost to your business.

There are few scenarios where only one or two hours of consulting work may be needed in training or implementing new systems and components. That said, Encompass Solutions will discount consulting hours by a significant amount.

You can choose to make these seminars group sessions, where the audience sits in on actual project work being done in real-time. Alternatively, you may opt for these sessions to be 1-on-1 consulting engagements or as purely discounted work based on your project specifications. Remain operational and profitable, while your staff are able to participate in on-the-job training as the work is being completed by our implementation specialists and consultants.

Sample Workshops And Initiatives

We’ve listed several of our more popular projects to give an idea of how these discounted consulting hours can be used to benefit your business. Packages to guide you through value-added tasks while operations are slow or idled include:

Physical Inventory and Cycle Counting

If a factory is idle, this is a great time to perform a full physical while inventory is not moving.  With accurate inventory, once business picks up, you can be sure you can effectively use MRP and purchase suggestions with trusted output, and make better inventory decisions.

Once you have your inventory trued up, cycle counts, when used properly, will let you keep your inventory accuracy high and remove the need for a year-end full physical inventory.

Typically we can remotely assist a client that has no prior knowledge of performing a Physical Inventory with a couple of hours training, a hands-on workshop, and some remote support during the physical inventory itself.

Discounted Cost: $1,200 – includes seminar, training, set-up and follow-up questions

Preventative Maintenance

Epicor sells the Maintenance Management module to manage the maintenance department and its requests. The module also provides the framework for setting up preventative maintenance schedules, as well as planning and creating maintenance jobs.

With a factory idled, it’s a great time to schedule maintenance and set up this module for maintaining machinery, define maintenance plans by machine so that after a certain number of hours it can be flagged for maintenance, and be able to design and test so that when the plant is at full operational capacity, maintenance basically runs itself.

Discounted Cost: $600 – includes seminar, training, set-up and follow-up questions

Fixed Assets

Many companies own this module, but its typically brought online after an initial implementation project as a Phase 2 component.  The Fixed Assets module let you track your fixed assets and set deprecation schedules, that integrate automatically to the general ledger, reducing the need for manual depreciation calculations at the end of your financial year.  It’s also integrated with the Maintenance Management module to align with the same equipment – setting up for one module will ease the implementation of the other.

Using downtime to set up and automate the handling of depreciation now, will mean one less task to be performed at the end of every financial year.

Discounted Cost: $300 – includes seminar, training, set-up and follow-up questions

Costing

Many of our customers have questions about how Epicor handles job costing. This can be a complex area. Every company will have a costing model that works best for them – standard costing, average costing, FIFO, Last Cost are all different costing methods supported by Epicor ERP, and choosing the correct costing model has big implications as to how costing is reported to the general ledger.

Having accurate costing will also highlight or red-flag materials (both raw materials and finished goods) that need to be focused on to improve and maintain profitability. This targeted consulting event would be specific to your organization and would be comprised of a training component, recommendations from us based on conversations with your business, and support in setting this up in your environment.

Discounted Cost: $2,400 – includes T account explanation and costing model comparison, discovery and design, system configuration, testing and rollout.

Project Management Module

The Project Management module lets you tie all the activity for a project, and get an overview of all the costs involved.   This is especially good for long term projects, allowing you to track sales expenses, orders, engineering design time, purchasing and manufacturing costs, and provide a full overview of the entire project from beginning to end.   Being able to tie all this information together automatically is a huge timesaver, you no longer have to write custom reports, or manually pull information together.  For many customers, especially those selling to government agencies, for example, being able to set milestone billing,  or providing a percentage of completion billing that would other be a very manual and cumbersome process.   Epicor’s Project Management module also provides for revenue recognition, both at the phase, and project level.  It also fully integrates with the general ledger within Epicor ERP.

Discounted Cost: $3,600 to $4,800 (depending on requirements) – includes T account explanation and costing model comparison, discovery and design, system configuration, testing and rollout. Note: Typical consulting time around a Project Management engagement takes 2-3 days, depending on the customer requirements

Case Management

This is a Customer support tool, that many people have licensed, and are not leveraging.  Case Management allows an organization to use a case as a ‘binder’ to track customer issues, and tie together the relevant quotes,  sales orders, jobs, materials, RMA processing and solutions together for a holistic view of the customer’s resolution – it’s particularly useful in the quality area.  Use of Case Management allows your organization to build up a knowledge base, to be referred to should another customer have a similar issue in the future.  With this module you can track KPI’s, like time to resolution, and SLA commitments.    Epicor’s Task Management system can also be leveraged here.

Discounted Cost: $300 – includes training and follow-up questions

Task Management 

Many people have access to Epicor’s Task Management system.  Task Sets are embedded into Epicors Quotation, Engineering, Case Management modules. Having a structured set of tasks within a case, quote or engineering workflow, aids in ensuring that your team adheres to your companies best-practice standard procedures, and ensures compliance.

Discounted Cost: $300 – includes training and follow-up questions

Enhanced Quality Module

Epicor’s Enhanced Quality module builds on the foundations of the standard quality module, allowing you to design and configure inspection plans that tie to your organizations quality needs using out of the box software.    This is often used to ensure correct equipment calibration, in conjunction with the Maintenance module.

Discounted Cost: $1,200 – includes training and workshop to design a simple ‘first quality configurator’. Note: Typical consulting time around an advanced quality engagement could be several days depending on the complexity of the configurations and different product lines involved.

Discounted Consulting Terms and Conditions

We don’t want to introduce a menagerie of needless rules regarding these discounts, but we also need to be respectful of our consultants’ livelihood and schedule. To be eligible for discounted consulting hours, one must:

  1. Make your purchase of consulting hours by the end of April 2020.
  2. Bulk packages must be paid for upfront.
  3. Hours must be used by the end of 2020.
  4. Prices are based on estimates. This may increase or decrease based on the customer’s unique business processes and requirements.
  5. Services discounts only apply to new services deals.
  6. Discounted consulting engagements will require a deposit.
  7. Discounts are off the list price, not a currently negotiated rate.
  8. Discounts are capped at rates depending on the type of work and volume. 

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 has helped modernize operations and automate 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.


What’s your hull?  When was the last time you dry-docked your business?  How can you leverage COVID-19 shutdowns and downturns to revitalize your core business systems to emerge stronger, faster, and leaner after the pandemic storms have passed?

If you’re like us, you’ve spent a lot of time asking critical questions about how COVID-19 will affect you, your employees, and the future of your business.   At Encompass, we’ve been talking a lot about dry dock.  When a ship needs critical work on its hull, it is pulled out of the water into a ‘dry dock’ for inspection and repairs.

This is hugely expensive.  It’s hugely inconvenient, too.  Taking a ship out of water is the equivalent of locking the doors of your business.  We all do that for holidays (fun and predictable), year-end inventories (predictable but never fun), and occasionally because life is unpredictable and sends us surprises like snowstorms and power outages.  But most of us have never shut down our businesses for an extended period of weeks or months the way a ship is taken out of the water for months in dry dock.

COVID-19 changes that.  Some of you sent staff home and locked the gates.  Some of you feel like the gates are locked anyway because your customers are sheltering in place at home.  Some of you saw your entire supply chain shut down and fall apart.  In some way or another, most of us are in dry dock right now.  It’s expensive, outside our control, and hugely inconvenient.

If we’re all dry-docked anyway, how can we take advantage of a complete system shut down and upgrade our business ‘ships?

What’s your hull? When was the last time you dry-docked your business?

If your business is a ship in dry dock, the hull represents your critical systems.  Do you have areas of your business that desperately need overhauling, but they are too integrated in your daily routine to ever take them offline?  This could be:

  • Network and server setup that impacts the security of your systems.
  • ERP modules you paid for but never implemented.
  • Part BOMs that have been inaccurate for years.
  • Financial, engineering, and manufacturing configurations that drive you and your staff crazy.
  • Cleaning up old, bad MRP data so your ERP can run MRP, scheduling, and purchasing accurately.

Encompass is using our own dry-dock time to upgrade and improve the systems that run our business.  We’re keeping staff engaged on continuous improvement projects we never have time to work on when we’re running at full capacity.  And since we are working on systems, this can all be done remotely.

What can you do to improve your systems?  Right now, your best staff members are probably sitting idle.  They’re afraid of COVID-19.  They’re afraid of losing their jobs.  And they’ve been frustrated for years because they know how to improve your systems but never have time to work on them.

How can you leverage the recent shutdowns and downturns?  Can you use idle time to revitalize your core systems?  What will make you stronger, faster, and leaner once this storm blows past?

Do you need our help?

If you’re reading this, know that Encompass chooses who we partner with.  We pick and choose customers, and we’re with you today because we fundamentally believe in your business.  We want you to survive and thrive.

If you do need help, we started preparing ‘dry dock support’ packages for our customers in late January, and we’re geared up to offer support with:

  • Remote workshops on all core Epicor modules to help your team identify best practices, plan, prep, implement, and process improvements across the system.
  • Rapid implementation of new modules. Right now is the easiest time you’ll ever have implementing scheduling, quality assurance, landed cost, and other new functionality.
  • Report development and customer and supplier communications right out of Epicor.
  • Coaching on how to optimize projects when your team is working from home.

Let us know what you need.  Or just touch base and let us know you, your team, and your families are OK.  We like you as people, and we like being in business with you.  We’re all in this together.

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 has helped modernize operations and automate 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.


Business continuity can be disrupted in a number of ways, such as natural disasters, scaled back staffing, security breaches and infrastructure failure. Most businesses have a hard time adapting to new ways of working when the everyday is interrupted. Manufacturing companies tend to have unique business cases and their own unique set of circumstances to address when external forces alter the here and now. However, preparedness and technology can support business continuity and ensure operations continue to run smoothly. Here is how some of Encompass Solutions’ customers are currently managing operations in a disruptive environment.

M Holland Company – Business Continuity Amid Disruption

At M. Holland Company, our IT support staff is used to providing remote work support to our international team of sales employees, but with the recent change in safety and health hazards, our entire operations office location has gone fully remote. This proved to be a challenge when employees who are usually in the office are now working from their homes. We have found that a lot of the pain from these users is the fear of the “unknown”. New types of issues arise when they are working from home; these are different than the normal ones we see every day in the office. We’ve been able to provide top notch issue resolution and training for our newly remote workers by utilizing instant messaging, video, and voice solutions through Microsoft Teams. Taking the extra time to call our users, normalizing the use of video chat, and screensharing has helped our team be more accustomed to the work from home setting. IT support can still deliver the same level of support, with “digital” face to face contact. This extra support in these challenging times has improved morale for our operations users, which helps them continue to support our sales teams efficiently while working in their new remote environments.

Lauren Palmer-Smith – Team Lead, Innovation and Technology at M. Holland Company

National Tube Supply – How Encompass Is Bridging The Gaps

I want to let you know that the partnership we have with Encompass is invaluable.  The support you continuously give our organization and the expediency with how you react to our ever-needing changes is sincerely appreciated.

I found out yesterday that we are the only steel tube distributor in Illinois that is “set up” the way we are.  We had the vision and expertise on our side that allowed us to react quickly to this current environment.  Our competitors still have all their employees going to work and are not able to have them work remotely.  Since our business is deemed “essential”, we remain open and we have the piece of mind knowing our employees are safe at home and still able to be 100% productive.

We had a project slated for Production at the end of Q2 and as a result of COVID-19, many customers requested this be expedited. Jarrad Kitching and John Ramsay (and our own Eileen Hankosky) once again, came though for us and hit it out of the park.  We went live on Tuesday. Three months ahead of schedule.

Michele Markowski – Board Member at National Tube Supply

Manufacturing is an essential industry, for some, now more than ever. We remain a dependable partner for our customers to turn to when their process and technology needs demand expert assistance. Our commitment to supporting our partnerships has been in place since the beginning of each relationship and will continue to grow through these trials and what may come.

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 has helped modernize operations and automate 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.


Join us for an upcoming webinar being hosted by our supply chain technology partner, SourceDay, on the topic of COVID-19 supply chain disruption.

COVID-19 Supply Chain Disruption – A Procurement Professional’s Perspective

Featuring Global Interconnect’s Director of Global Procurement, Troy Mauk and SourceDay’s CMO Sarah Moore, the event include a live Q&A taking place on April 7, 2020, at 11:00AM CST.

The presenters will discuss how Troy used SourceDay to proactively communicate with his suppliers and triage the most important open orders and resolve them quickly. To date, none of their sites has had any downtime despite global supply chain disruption.

Additional topics discussed in this webinar include:

  • Expediting updates from suppliers
  • Getting quick supplier confirmations
  • Focusing on the most critical exceptions
  • Preventing production impact
  • Containing cost through communication

If you can’t make it to the event, register anyway. That way, you’ll have access to the recorded presentation to review at your convenience.

We hope to see you there.

About SourceDay

SourceDay’s platform provides a digital interface between a manufacturer’s ERP system and hundreds of suppliers, automatically updating changes to delivery dates, pricing, and quantities throughout the order lifecycle and across the supply chain. Replacing manual processes with software improves customers’ understanding of the many changes that occur throughout the lifecycle of an order. Procurement teams stop spending their time on fire drills and reacting to expensive surprises. Now they have time to manage suppliers more strategically, proactively addressing pricing and quality issues and ensuring their factories receive the materials they need to meet customer commitments on 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 has helped modernize operations and automate 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.


“3 Ways to Manage COVID-19 Disruption on Your Supply Chain” Was published by SourceDay CMO Sarah Moore on March 16, 2020. you can read the full article HERE.

“How many of your PO lines have exceptions?” – Account Executive at SourceDay

“These days? All of them.” – Global CPG Manufacturer

Manufacturing is no stranger to change, but the coronavirus is changing the game. Schools are closing, and companies have told employees to work from home. Major sporting events and tradeshows are canceled or postponed. Supply chains have started to experience all kinds of disruption. Some will struggle to keep up with record demand, as consumer fears create runs on toilet paper and canned goods. Others will shut down production because of canceled orders and watch their inventory pile up.

Unfortunately, most manufacturers depend on email and spreadsheets to manage open orders with their suppliers. Rather than foster resilience, this approach makes it more likely that they will struggle to manage the impact this global pandemic could have on their businesses.

As the supply chain point person, I rest easier knowing that SourceDay can bring me completely up to date in short order!

Troy Mauk
Director of Global Procurement at Global Interconnect

In the year 2020, there’s no need to depend on manual updates to spreadsheets and ERP systems. By using SourceDay’s cloud software and managed services, you can have a single source of truth on every line of every order. And it can be accessed by your teams from anywhere at any time.

“I immediately started looking at SourceDay to see what was confirmed and what was late. I put priorities on the hotlist, and said to our suppliers, ‘here’s what you need to focus on for the next 4 weeks.’  We implemented critical use of the ‘Hot List’ function to shepherd our suppliers in deliveries and to gain real-time insights into confirmed shipments.”

Troy Mauk
Director of Global Procurement at Global Interconnect

3 Ways to Manage COVID-19 Impact

There are three primary ways SourDay solutions help you manage the unprecedented impact COVID-19 could have on your supply chain:

  1. Get real-time visibility to all open orders. Use SourceDay to move your open order report online so buyers and suppliers can collaborate on changes to dates, quantities, and pricing. Any approved change is automatically updated in your ERP.  This will give your demand planning engine accurate supplier order fulfillment data and lets the whole business know what to expect on every line of every order.
  2. Help your buyers and suppliers focus on the most critical exceptions. SourceDay automatically filters PO’s to help buyers prioritize the most important exceptions that might impact production. When buyers and suppliers spend less time updating each other in email, spreadsheets, and data entry, they spend more time making sure you ship your orders on time.
  3. Contain cost with streamlined communication. As customer demand shifts throughout this crisis, Sourceday can help you stay on top of changes that could drive up costs. Communicate push outs and pull-ins more quickly and systematically. Use SourceDay software to safeguard against price gouging and excess inventory.

As SourceDay CEO Tom Kieley wrote last week, the manufacturing industry is resilient. It’s weathered countless global crises because its leading companies found innovative ways to overcome unprecedented challenges. We’re being called to do that again now.

Use SourceDay Free for 90 Days

COVID-19 has moved our supply chains into uncharted territory. Global and local leaders worldwide are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure they continue to run as smoothly as possible. SourceDay’s mission has always been to do the same. That’s why we’ve decided to offer new customers the SourceDay PO Collaboration and RFQ Collaboration solution free for the first 90 days. We know this global pandemic will make the next few months particularly challenging. But we also know we can help you get through this stage if we start now.

Together, we’ll get through these unprecedented times.

  • Sarah Moore, CMO at SourceDay

About SourceDay

SourceDay’s platform provides a digital interface between a manufacturer’s ERP system and hundreds of suppliers, automatically updating changes to delivery dates, pricing, and quantities throughout the order lifecycle and across the supply chain. Replacing manual processes with software improves customers’ understanding of the many changes that occur throughout the lifecycle of an order. Procurement teams stop spending their time on fire drills and reacting to expensive surprises. Now they have time to manage suppliers more strategically, proactively addressing pricing and quality issues and ensuring their factories receive the materials they need to meet customer commitments on 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 has helped modernize operations and automate 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.


The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce has been very active in delivering useful information to citizens and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One topic, in particular, was too relevant not to share with our partners and other small to medium-sized business owners in the state. Small Business Disaster Relief Loans are now an option for many businesses in North Carolina as a result of the public health crisis.

These low interest, working capital loans are available to those in affected disaster areas.

If you want to know more about the Small Business Disaster Relief Loans, whether you qualify, and how you can apply for these funds, please watch the full action call – HERE.

You can apply online – HERE.

North Carolina Small Business Disaster Relief Loans FAQ

  • WHAT ARE SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS? 

Low-interest working capital loans of $2 million or less for small businesses and certain nonprofits.

  • WHO SHOULD APPLY?

Any small business impacted by COVID-19. Business owners should apply even if they don’t have the best credit or if they can’t prove they’ve exhausted all other means. Additionally, the SBA does not deny disaster loans solely on a business’ inability to provide collateral. If you are denied, you can reapply in 60 days.

Exclusions for the loans include religious and charitable organizations; farmers and ranchers, who are eligible for USDA loans; and small businesses that derive more than 1/3 of their revenue from gambling.

  • HOW CAN I USE THE MONEY?

The purpose of economic injury disaster loans is to restore businesses to their pre-crisis state. The money can be used to pay for necessary business expenses like payroll, mortgage or rent payments and inventory. It can’t be used to expand your business or consolidate past debts.

  • WHEN AND HOW DO I APPLY?

Apply as soon as possible to get the maximum amount of funding. You will submit your application online, but the SBA recommends looking through the paper application first so you’ll know what you need.

All businesses will need to provide:

  • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T) for the applicant, principals and affiliates.
  • Complete copies of the most recent federal income tax return.
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202).
  • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413).

Some businesses will need to provide:

  • Complete copy, including all schedules, of the most recent federal income tax return for principals, general partners or managing member and affiliates.
  • If the most recent federal income tax return has not been filed, a year-end profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet for that tax year.
  • A current year-to-date profit-and-loss statement.
  • Additional Filing Requirements (SBA Form 1368) providing monthly sales figures.

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.


I’m Samuel Kniseley Ballesteros, and I’m an EOS Implementer™. You may already be familiar with EOS® or the book, Traction, by Gino Wickman, founder of EOS Worldwide. If you’ve never heard of EOS®, it stands for the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, and this short video clip tells The EOS® Story.

The EOS® Method

I help business owners who are overwhelmed with the 136 issues they’re wrestling with simultaneously. It’s all about getting a grip on their business and getting what they really want from the business. I do that by providing a complete system with really simple tools. These tools help you do three things we call Vision, Traction® and Healthy.

  • Vision from the standpoint of first getting your leaders 100% on the same page with where your organization is going and how it is going to get there.
  • Traction® from the standpoint of helping your leaders become more disciplined and accountable, executing really well to achieve every part of your Vision,
  • Healthy, meaning helping your leaders to become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team because leaders often don’t function well as a team.

From there, as goes your leadership team, the rest of your organization follows. We get to the point where your entire organization is crystal clear on your Vision, all much more disciplined and accountable in executing on your Vision. The result is gaining consistent Traction® and advancing as a healthy, functional and cohesive team.

I love to meet business owners to hear their story and what they are trying to accomplish with their business.  I also enjoy giving away some of my time (no charge) to get to know them and their leadership team. This includes teaching them the EOS® tools and proven process.  After that, I want them to feel absolutely comfortable calling me anytime with questions. It’s important for them to know that I won’t ever push them to start implementing EOS.  I’m a teacher, facilitator and coach, not a sales guy.

About Samuel

In his 20s, Samuel began leading the International Division for North America’s top architectural metals company. His Cuban heritage gave him the language skills to conduct business with customers in Latin America. Samuel was part of the team that set and realized strategic goals. During that time, the company grew from almost $30 Million to over $100 Million within 10 short years.

The skillset Samuel learned there led him to an opportunity to start his own firm. With that opportunity, he focused on helping companies improve their profitability.

Samuel’s firm picked up a client that helps CPAs become forward-thinking advisors. He worked directly with their team to refine a tool that helps CPAs measure a company’s business potential. The tool ultimately identified opportunities to increase value by improving the key components of the business.

After joining Stewardship Legacy Coaching to lead the Business Coaching Solutions Division, Samuel was introduced to the wonderful world of EOS®, and he was immediately attracted to the simplicity and practicality of EOS® to help entrepreneurs and their leadership teams make their vision clear, simple and achievable.

Now, as an EOS Implementer™, Samuel is excited about helping business owners thrive as they achieve what is best for their families and their companies.

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.


Encompass Solutions MArch 2020 News And Updates

With Winter wrapping up and Spring on the horizon, there are some budding developments in the world of manufacturing, Epicor, and Encompass. Here are a few updates, events, and resources to consider this March.

Epicor Insights 2020

Insights 2020 is Epicor Software Corporation’s annual user conference. This event is looked forward to every year by employees, partners, and customers from around the world. If you want to have a look at the current Insights 2020 agenda, you can review all the details, here.

Don’t forget, we’ll be holding our own annual customer appreciation event at Insights with drinks and food for all our partners and colleagues in attendance.

an image of the Epicor Insights Executive view exhibit floor

New Kinetic Experiences Available for Epicor ERP Cloud Customers

As we continue making progress through the Epicor Kinetic journey, more Kinetic reports and processes are now available to our Cloud ERP customers to test and provide important feedback that will help to shape Kinetic innovations.

an iamge of the epicor erp kinetic design framework as revealed during epicor ignite 2020

Epicor Patch Management Service

Encompass Managed Services enable businesses to supplement their internal functional resources with Encompass experts. Our new patch management service extends your Epicor system functionality with an iterative process. We ensure your system is always up to date and functioning at peak performance with the Encompass Patch Management Service.

epicor patch management services

What You Need To Know About Cloud Computing

From storage to software, if you’re getting/using it over the Internet, it’s cloud computing. “Cloud” is the delivery of on-demand computing resources over the Internet. You can leverage the cloud in many ways, including the deployment of your Epicor ERP system. Learn more about the benefits and challenges associated with Cloud computing.

an image of a server room used by epicor prophet 21 cloud erp for distributors on microsoft azure

Product Knowledge At The Core Of Your Company Culture

To demonstrate that you can solve a customer’s pain points, you must know technology solutions at a detailed level—you need deep product knowledge. You must also understand the specific needs of your customers so you can communicate which solutions and capabilities are most relevant to them. When you have more comprehensive knowledge on both fronts, you can communicate how your solution is differentiated, relevant, and superior on a functional level.

Epicor production management as part of the complete epicor erp overview

Encompass Solutions & SPCA Of The Triad Donation Drive

As part of our quarterly community service initiative for Q1 2020, Encompass Solutions will be working with SPCA of the Triad to conduct a donation drive. We are gathering and requesting Food, Materials, and monetary donations to assist our local SPCA. While all of our employees are encouraged to participate, we extend our invitation to participate beyond the walls of our offices. If you’d like to help improve the lives of shelter animals and their caregivers, please join us in making a donation.

ENCOMPASS Q1 FOOD DRIVE SPCA FLYER

Cycle Counts That Count Workshops

Cycle Counts That Count will help you implement better cycle counting on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis starting in April and let you potentially conduct your last ever year-end full physical inventory that same year. The final full physical will validate your efforts at daily counting and provide management with the data they need to determine when to switch to a cycle only inventory process.

cycle counts the full physical inventory continual process improvement workshop

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.


“Decoding AI For Business Leaders”, an article on the effects of artificial intelligence in businesses, was previously published on the Epicor shopfloor – here.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is at peak hype, which means there’s an overwhelming amount of sales, marketing, and highly technical information about how it can purportedly benefit your business. Sifting through this information to cull fact from fiction, understanding what’s practical vs. theoretical, can be a daunting task.

To help decode AI for business leaders, here are some definitions, concepts, and real-world examples and recommendations for how your company can explore and leverage Artificial Intelligence.

1. What Exactly is Artificial Intelligence?

Essentially, Artificial Intelligence is a computer system that mimics human intelligence. It can make decisions and perform constructive tasks after “reading,” “seeing,” or “hearing something.”

2. What’s a Real-World Example of AI?

Pretty much everyone has interacted with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa. These assistants listen to your question, and then (hopefully) provide an accurate answer. Another example is a lane departure warning feature built into semi-autonomous cars. The car recognizes a lane marker and notifies the driver when the car is about to drift over it.

3. How Mature is AI?

As groundbreaking as voice assistants are, they’re a long way from the sentient robots that AI futurists predict. While Alexa, for example, is very capable of answering routine questions, managing calendars, and supporting home automation (e.g., turning lights on and off), she often responds to more complicated questions with nonsensical replies or states, “Sorry, I don’t know that one.” And while billions of dollars are being invested to develop truly autonomous cars, we’re many years away from drivers being able to doze off while their cars drive them safely to work.

4. Are There AI Capabilities I Should Leverage in My Business?

AI is in its infancy. Robots that are ready to competently run your manufacturing facility or staff your customer service center are in the distant future. So, while you may need to set your sights a little lower than a Jetsons-style home, exploring how AI has the potential to help your company operate more efficiently or gain a competitive edge is time well spent.

Ask yourself, “Are there repetitive actions my team takes after reading, seeing, or hearing something? Is there a finite number of constructive follow-up actions that must be cataloged?” If so, could a voice assistant be used to listen for input, make decisions, and free your team to focus on higher value work? By scrutinizing your company’s operations, you stand a good chance of identifying processes that can be automated with AI.

5. How Do I Explore Potential AI Solutions?

As a peak-hype technology, vendors that design, build, and support AI solutions are abundant. But for most leaders exploring the potential of AI, I recommend taking advantage of solutions that are integrated into platforms your company already owns.

As an example, one of the most ubiquitous productivity solutions in use, Microsoft Office 365, has a feature called MyAnalytics. It’s an AI tool that reads your emails, calendars, and tasks, and provides recommendations on how to better manage your time and activities. Most enterprise-class software and cloud providers are incorporating AI into their platforms, and it’s worth exploring what your respective vendors offer.

6. How Does Machine Learning Relate to AI?

AI often gets referenced alongside related technologies like machine learning (ML), big data, and predictive analytics, which can further complicate a complex topic. To keep things simple, think of ML as simply another flavor of AI—one that learns things by reading, seeing, or hearing patterns in large volumes of data.

If that sounds very similar to AI, it’s because they’re related! So, what’s the difference? AI is the broader concept of machines carrying out tasks in a “smart” way, while ML is an application within AI that allows the computer system to “learn” from past experiences or historical data.

Let’s expand on our earlier AI example of voice assistants like Alexa. If you shop for groceries with Alexa, she gathers data from your purchase history and “learns” from it. When you ask Alexa to add paper towels to your cart, she responds asking if you want to add spray cleaner, an item you purchased with paper towels in the past. Alexa is the AI—the data application within Alexa that draws on your purchase history is ML.

7. So, How Do I Get Started?

AI is beginning to open the door to solving old business challenges in new ways, and innovative and creative thinking is called for to match AI solutions to opportunities. If you’re new to AI, start small—potentially by examining a few high-transaction business processes—and give thought to how AI can be used to improve efficiency and accuracy. Next, find a trusted vendor that can insulate you from the underlying technology so you can maintain focus on the opportunity and desired outcomes.

While the presence of AI in the workplace will continue to grow, there are two important things to remember. First, people are, and will remain, an integral part of your business. Second, if you have questions, ask them. Any vendor worth their salt should be able to clearly address questions and concerns about AI solutions and connect the dots so you understand how it solves your particular business pain points.

Amazon Alexa and all related logos and motion marks are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them. All specifications are subject to change without notice.

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.