The recent Financial Service Network (FSN) survey on Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting (PBF) showed two key characteristics for those organisations that produced the most insightful finance forecasts. First, was the ability to leverage non-financial data. Second, was the application of advanced analytics. We will look at how the most successful organisations expand their vision beyond the narrow financial view of the future to produce more valuable foresight in their PBF processes.

Finance: The Home of Truth

The financial component of enterprise resource planning, whether part of a full-fledged ERP system or a mom-and-pop shop running Quickbooks, has historically been the ‘home of truth’. Finance was where everyone turned for answers, since the only quantitative test of performance and sustainability was the P&L and the balance sheet. Finance largely birthed the IT function in a bid to automate the production of some of these answers. Most famously, in the production of payroll. Despite this, finance has now lagged in technology investment for some years, being overtaken by marketing, sales and operations.

With new technology at their fingertips and an increasingly scientific approach, other functions in the business have begun to answer their own questions, collecting and analysing their own data. The numbers in marketing may still be a little hazier than in finance but marketing has begun to offer insight into things that finance cannot, or has not. Market trends and consumer behaviour tell leaders not just about what is but what might be. This forward-looking insight has often contrasted with finance’s view of the future.

The Past, Give or Take

Finance’s view of tomorrow has, by contrast, been rather singular in its source – the past. Predictions of tomorrow have been based on the evidence of the most recent year, with management’s desire for growth most often being the biggest factor steering the positivity, or otherwise, the forecast for the year ahead. Only negative macro factors have dissuaded forecasters from positivity about the bottom line and all the pressure that brings to bear on sales for revenue growth and operations for ever greater efficiency.

The figures from FSN’s report might suggest this had changed. 72% of finance leaders say their forecasting processes are now inclusive, drawing on sources from across the company but dig further into the figures and this starts to feel more like an aspiration than a reality.

78% of the senior finance executives surveyed agreed that greater use of non-financial data is the best way to improve their PBF process and outcomes. 76% recognised the importance of connecting with more stakeholders from outside of the finance function to improve the accuracy of forecasts. The need to connect with other functions and share data is clearly acknowledged.
But 74% say they are struggling to identify all relevant non-financial data sources. Why? Over 55% of respondents say that the lack of involvement of non-finance personnel is amongst the greatest barriers to forecast accuracy.

The obvious conclusion is that the connections between finance and the rest of the organisation just aren’t there.

Additional Barriers

The lack of cross-cutting relationships through the business is not the only issue blocking the better application of non-financial data for improved forecasts. A quarter of respondents say their senior managers do not appreciate the value of non-financial data. And surprisingly, 23% delegate non-financial data tasks to more junior staff despite 43% of respondents ranking it in their top 3 sources of ‘most insightful data’.

Insightful it may be but there remain concerns about the quality of non-financial data when compared to the sources with which finance professionals are more familiar. 41% of CFOs are concerned about its integrity and believe it is less reliable than financial sources. This may well be true but these issues can be addressed, with appropriate weighting and analysis. The potential value of the data is clear, to ignore it would be nonsensical.

Taking Steps

So, how do finance leaders address these issues in order to improve insight into their planning, budgeting and forecasting?

Relationships across the business rely on reciprocation and communication, not just shared goals. Finance has to be able to bring value to the other functions of the business if it is going to extract value back.

That value comes from the insight finance can bring. Most functions in the business are seeking better analysis of their situation and environment, and finance should have the skills to deliver that.

That comes with a time penalty of course but increasing automation of the base functions of finance should be releasing resources. This is a great way to apply the released resources to improve results.

Relationships will be hard to build without the soft skills of communication, and this is another area where finance has historically fallen down. In our interactions with younger members of finance teams, we consistently find a lack of training on offer in anything beyond technical skills. This frustrates the ambitious and leads them to move on. Training then offers a two-fold benefit to the business: better collaboration and a greater chance of retention.

This isn’t to say technical skills aren’t important. Finance leaders need to be constantly up-skilling their teams in planning and analysis, and equipping them with the right tools to apply their learning. Then, they can efficiently integrate non-financial data into their models, improving forecasts and returning value to the other business functions.

As FSN says in its own report, “Mastering non-financial data is the key to being able to forecast accurately and further into the future.” The only way to do this is to enhance the relationships that finance holds across the organisation, by investing in the skills of its people.

For more information on ERP and the future of financial systems, read the FSN report on the topic – HERE

About Prophix

Prophix develops innovative software that automates critical financial processes such as budgeting, planning, consolidation and reporting — improving a company’s profitability and minimising its risks. Thousands of forward-looking organisations in more than 90 countries use software from Prophix to gain increased visibility and insight into their business performance.

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.


Cloud ERP deployments benefit businesses in a big way. They offer security, agility, and can enable your business’ adoption of other modern technologies. However, Information Technology (IT) departments can be one of the greatest sources of resistance when it comes to the adoption of cloud ERP solutions.

Cloud ERP Solutions

Business leaders looking to leverage the benefits of cloud ERP solutions don’t just need to do their own research on cloud ERP deployments. They also have to be able to make the compelling case for transition and convert resistance from IT staff. Adopting a Cloud ERP system is a significant change for the business as well as the departments charged with maintaining integral systems. Namely, your IT department. Here are 7 ways to get IT teams on board with cloud ERP software.

1. Understand And Communicate The Need To Take Action

A healthy sense of urgency can move things in the right direction more quickly than one might think. The call to action from the top of the food chain can grab attention and get all of your business’ moving parts moving towards a much-needed change. It takes compelling arguments and exceptional storytelling skills to communicate why the move to the cloud is what your company needs.

Features, functionality, and, most importantly, benefits to how business gets done every day need to be conveyed. Help your staff to understand that if you are not in control of your digital transformation, your competitors will make that choice for you. Doing nothing can leave you in a poor position to capitalize on beneficial tools as well as leave you vulnerable to the shortcomings of traditional ERP deployments. Advancing your business with more advanced technology signals to top talent that your business is doing what it takes to excel in a competitive marketplace.

2. Don’t Short-Sell The Impact Of This Transition

Transition to the cloud isn’t just an infrastructure change, it’s a change in how your company operates both physically and philosophically. A new way of thinking and working can upset the way your IT department has functioned for years, if not decades. Acknowledge it is a huge change and show your teams you are committed to equipping them with the tools they need to thrive in a new environment.

3. Actively Listen To IT Concerns

Spending time with your IT employees and listening to their questions and concerns will impact buy-in considerably. In many ways, it is your IT staff’s job to think about what could go wrong in ay given scenario involving your business’ technology. Here are some examples of what you might hear:

  • “Cloud ERP providers won’t understand how unique and complicated our business is.”
  • “Putting our data in the cloud is way too risky.”
  • “Our compliance regulations won’t allow us to use the cloud.”
  • “What will my job be after we move to cloud-based ERP?”

Show your staff that you are actively listening by taking notes, repeating back what you heard, and commit to coming back with answers at a later time. This effort of active listening and showing that you are genuinely interested may well be the best thing you can do to remedy concerns.

4. Get Help In Addressing Concerns And Answering Questions

You may have the perspective needed to move the business forward, but IT staff have the benefit of boots on the ground when it comes to working with technology hands-on. Their concerns are valid and may appear as imposing roadblocks. However, their intent isn’t to scare you into submission. The challenges created by new technology are those keeping your IT staff up late at night and working long weekends. If you are not equipped to provide answers to their concerns, consider enlisting the help of experts to make your case. An experienced partner, vendor, or consultant can provide credibility to your arguments and lay IT fears to rest with the information they are looking for to confidently follow your lead.

5. Learn From Experience

At this point, your company isn’t the first in your industry to move to the cloud. More and more companies are making the move to cloud ERP, from small and medium business to enterprise-sized organizations. Your industry counterparts can deliver invaluable wisdom when it comes to approaching the problem of how best to make the transition to cloud-based ERP systems. This includes both what to do and what not to do. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of a trusted ERP partner to connect you with reference customers that can share their experiences. Value can often be found in following.

6. Make It Clear What IT Will Look Like Post-Transition

IT arguably has the best vantage of a company’s business processes, not to mention how data and customers “move” through the organization. Cloud ERP is designed to help free them of cumbersome tasks, like troubleshooting. When left unencumbered by the burden of these activities, opportunities for cross-functional business process improvements emerge. This can take the form of helping users leverage technology more effectively or assisting with the cleaning and maintaining important data. Essentially, IT transitions from a non-revenue generating department and one of enabling your revenue-generating business components.

It’s important to understand and communicate that the nature of technology work will change for your IT staff. Though, development, configuration, and break/fix work will still exist—along with the need to manage your relationship and activities with cloud ERP vendors. Help your IT employees understand the tremendous technology and business value they will provide after you’ve made the move to the cloud.

7. Create The Plan. Execute The Plan.

Undertaking digital transformation and owning your company’s technological evolution is wrought with distractions and pitfalls. It can be easy to lose your way along the path to your goal. Without a sound change management strategy, you may find yourself very far from your intended outcome, if you ever reach your destination at all. Set up milestones and clear goals for your IT staff to ensure your project is a success.

Maintaining a team mentality may be your biggest asset of all. It cannot be overstated how important it is to offer consistent support and provide the assistance and advice teams need. Don’t forget to celebrate the little victories along the way to complete your transition to the cloud. With discipline and determination, your project will be a success and you’ll be experiencing the benefits of cloud solutions before you know it.

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.


The needs of aerospace and defense manufacturers are increasingly complex, requiring coordination and efficiency from decision-makers to staff carrying out day-to-day operations, just like the teams they are empowering in the field. Those needs are growing more complex by the day according to this review of the defense industrial base, conducted in 2018 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Here’s how ERP Software For Aerospace and Defense manufacturers delivers on those unique needs.

Benefits Of ERP Software for Aerospace And Defense Manufacturers

What you may want to consider is a purpose-built solution for manufacturing. In this case, Epicor ERP software for aerospace and defense manufacturers delivers:

  • Constant visibility of product scope and the entire manufacturing process
  • Project predictions and adjustments using comparisons to previous project data
  • Improve lead times and reduce waste through the implementation of lean strategies
  • Automate the compliance process
  • Recording and reviewing of the entire product lifecycle including audit trails and records of all project purchases
  • Framework and support for on-the-fly changes in the supply chain
  • Immediate recognition of deviation from product specification
  • Fully-embedded project management tools capable of facilitating the entire quote-to-cash cycle and supporting both cost and scheduling visibility to maximize efficiency
  • Product life-cycle management from cradle to grave
  • A complete audit trail of compliance standards for design, production, sourcing, and delivery stages
  • A proven framework to streamline business processes and workflows
  • A service-oriented architecture built around lean methodologies, which improves lead times and reduces waste
  • Complete workflows that include customer sign off at each critical stage, from design concept to final estimate
  • Seamless communication of project data
  • Intuitive and clear reporting for stakeholders

With more than 40 years of combined experience serving midmarket organizations and divisions of Global 1000 companies, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Going beyond just ERP software, Epicor’s intimate understanding of aerospace and defense industries drives increased efficiency and improves profitability. By providing product management, project management, customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and other essential tools, Epicor equips businesses in an increasingly regulated sector to succeed.

Epicor ERP Software For Aerospace And Defense Manufacturers

Epicor ERP software meets these complex needs by providing the tools necessary to refine operations, glean actionable insights from data, and maintain successful relationships with partners and customers. By streamlining processes to meet demand, without sacrificing quality or increasing costs, business performance improves. It’s one thing to make the essential goods that support critical infrastructure and defense systems, but are you paying the same attention to the quality of you in-house systems and processes that support your business’ longevity? Here’s how ERP software for aerospace and defense manufacturers addresses these unique needs.

Regulatory Standards, Compliance, And Quality

Manufacturing in aerospace and defense industries is highly regulated, and for good reason. Production is complex and due to the nature of use and products need to perform consistently over the course of a long service life. The slightest defect or deviation from highly-engineered components can lead to catastrophe. Managing a business in line with these standards is difficult, to say the least. Compliance, quality assurance, and meeting mission-critical deadlines means there is no room for error. Manufacturers must juggle these standards while maintaining a profitable business.

An image of epicor erp software for aerospace and defense manufacturers advanced quality management

Fortunately, Epicor ERP software for aerospace and defense manufacturers delivers the visibility, governance, auditing capabilities, and management tools needed to satisfy intense regulatory frameworks such as ITAR, IFRS, and SOX.

With the power to trace compliance standards throughout the supply chain, businesses can maintain detailed accounts of their adherence to regulation every step of the way. These milestones and forms of compliance documentation are recorded and easily relayed to individuals and organizations that need to know they’ve been satisfied. By delivering superior visibility and making it easy to communicate compliance, costly fines and errors can be avoided. Examples of data visibility output include:

  • Leverage audit intelligence and apply global searches for results in seconds
  • Track and manage when internal audits are scheduled, due, and overdue
  • Report on nonconformance/corrective actions by type, category, area, personnel, etc.
  • Report on and analyze audit data across departments, plants, regions, and the entire organization

Managing the quality of assembly, component or subassemblies is a complex undertaking. Fortunately, ERP systems take the heavy lifting out of quality management with tools that make compliance a simple affair. They provide detailed audit trails of data, records, and other documentation throughout the supply chain. This can manifest in the form of a single data point, a full report or any combination of manufacturing data in-between. ERP systems provide critical data associated with jobs, parts, inspection plans, serial numbers, lot numbers, and more.

Managing Multiple Suppliers

Small and midsized manufacturers are typically not self-sufficient in that they rely on outside suppliers to provide certain parts for manufacturing operations. However, relying on a single source for critical components is an all too common practice among manufacturers supplying the U.S defense industry. The glaring problem being that if a manufacturers single source of parts goes belly up or can’t provide their necessary parts, manufacturing comes to a halt and the business can’t deliver on its orders.

Managing supplier relationships and building a network of reliable partnerships is critical to maintaining the quality and consistency customers depend on. Supplier relationship tools provided by ERP software make this job easier on the manufacturer. Not only can many processes throughout the supply chain be automated through Epicor ERP software, but it also empowers businesses to make better decisions and secure a more beneficial position in a competitive marketplace.

An image of epicor erp software for aerospace and defense manufacturers supply chain management

 

Your ERP system serves as your single source of truth and operates as a repository for buyer, part and supplier records, it helps you preserve accuracy, streamline workflows and remove redundant data entry, as well. Epicor ERP goes far beyond just supplier relationship management tools with a full suite of supply chain management tools, which includes:

  • Purchase Management
  • Supplier Connect
  • Supplier Relationship Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Advanced Material Management
  • Manifesting and Freight Management
  • Shipping and Receiving
  • Warehouse Management
  • Handhelds

Build stronger relationships with suppliers and own supply chain management processes. By leveraging the ability to request quotes for raw materials from multiple suppliers at once and filter RFQ criteria based on your company’s specific needs.

Product Lifecycle Management And Enterprise Security

A component of the Product Management module within Epicor ERP, Product Lifecycle Management is a key component of aerospace and defense industries. This component of the Epicor ERP system serves as the central command center containing all data and documentation associated with your products. Capable of integrating with more than a dozen computer-aided design (CAD) and electronic design automation (EDA) software systems, Epicor ERP offers a hub where changes are made and recorded. This makes essential review and response operations easy and efficient at every stage.

An image of epicor erp software for aerospace and defense manufacturers product lifecycle management

The topic of digital security is one that has been increasingly placed at the forefront of business’ internal and external conversations. Epicor Cloud ERP and Epicor ERP on-premise deployments utilize state-of-the-art security measure to ensure the security of digital assets, IP, and communications. In Epicor PLM specifically, users only have as much access as they are granted by the Epicor ERP admin. CAD models, engineering designs, drawings, communications, contracts, and private documents are all kept under lock and key with fully-encrypted password protection. Minimize risk and secure your essential data using industry-leading Epicor ERP software for aerospace and defense manufacturers.

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.


When it comes to medical device manufacturing, the FDA has maintained rigorous standards for manufacturers to satisfy. Traceability, quality management, and reporting are among the many areas that manufacturers need superior performance to meet those standards. The FDA push for digital means of achieving and providing a record of how standards are met has many businesses looking to ERP software for medical device manufacturing.

Fortunately, ERP systems have been delivering on these demands and more for decades and are suited to meet the changes of regulatory environments. Such powerful systems help to increase reliability on processes and reduce the instances of failures, recalls, and corrective actions. Not only this, but the benefits of ERP make maintaining compliance and records easier and more cost-effective.

The Benefits Of ERP Software For Medical Device Manufacturing

When it comes to the requirements placed on manufacturers by the FDA, it’s easy to see why ERP is increasingly being leveraged to reduce the difficulty in meeting those obligations.

Data is available at every turn in the manufacturing process and ERP systems can help medical device manufacturers leverage that data in the validation process. This data enables management regulatory obligations, optimization of manufacturing processes, and the resulting increase in customer satisfaction. ERP systems capture this vital information to lessen the risks associated with compliance standards and turn efficiency concepts into real-world results with ease.

How Medical Device Manufacturers Use ERP

Compliance is the top motivator for adopting ERP software for medical device manufacturers. FDA regulations, as well as those for international regulatory bodies, are constantly evolving alongside new technologies, products, and research. ERP provides a means of establishing protocol and processes to satisfy the latest regulations at every stage in the manufacturing life-cycle.

Accessibility is another important factor driving the adoption of modern ERP systems. Whether in the board room or on the shop floor, teams need the latest data and documentation to make informed decisions, in real-time. Legacy ERP systems lack the connectivity to this data that modern, cloud-based ERP systems provide. Even sales teams on the road require such access when a customer wants to know how a manufacturer’s products conform to the latest regulations, as well as the proof to back it up.

Auditing is a process required both internally and externally for medical device manufacturers. Audits may be scheduled or conducted at random. In any case, a manufacturer wants to know they are able to retrieve and report data on every process in the manufacturing life-cycle. ERP software provides all that in a centralized and secure location.

The tracking and traceability ERP software provides will ensure that each stage of the manufacturing process comes with oversight. Easy to follow audit trails streamline the process and identify where, when, and how problems emerge. Recalls, while never an easy process, are swift and efficient thanks to ERP software that leverages automated lot and serial tracking to keep customers safe and businesses insulated from risk.

Through automation, manufacturers can remove the manual tasks associated with logging data, such as billing and manufacturing execution. This cuts down on human error that causes most delays and downtime in manufacturing and sales cycles. While not necessarily a matter of regulatory compliance, the efficiency ERP software provides in this regard only strengthens the case for its adoption.

FDA Requirements Of ERP Software For Medical Device Manufacturing

The electronic records and signatures requirements set by the FDA are stringent and any system of manufacturing must comply with the regulations in order to receive approval. The full body and outline of these regulations as they relate to ERP software for medical device manufacturing can be found in 21 CFR part 11 – ELECTRONIC RECORDS; ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES:

Subpart A–General Provisions 
§ 11.1 – Scope.
§ 11.2 – Implementation.
§ 11.3 – Definitions.

Subpart B–Electronic Records 
§ 11.10 – Controls for closed systems.
§ 11.30 – Controls for open systems.
§ 11.50 – Signature manifestations.
§ 11.70 – Signature/record linking.

Subpart C–Electronic Signatures 
§ 11.100 – General requirements.
§ 11.200 – Electronic signature components and controls.
§ 11.300 – Controls for identification codes/passwords.

and 21 CFR §820 regarding quality:

PART 820—QUALITY SYSTEM REGULATION

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 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.


Change within an organization is never easy. However, when the competition is forcing you to increase efficiency around lead times and manufacturing process improvement, ERP may be the secret weapon that can get your business on the right track to innovation. In an industry where agility is rarely a recognized quality, ERP solutions can bridge the gap between traditional manufacturing processes and modern technology. Here are 5 ways to improve manufacturing processes with ERP.

1. Connect Your Organization At Every Level With A Single Source of Truth

An ERP solution is not just about manufacturing execution systems and financial reporting. It delivers all the data you need to run your business from the shop floor to the top floor. This includes your essential accounting practices and manufacturing operations and expands into demand planning, MRP, corporate performance analysis, human capital management, e-commerce, CRM, and so much more. ERP systems are purpose-built to link your machine, device, team, supplier, and customer data in one location. As an accessible repository for all your business data, ERP systems provide a digital gateway to your records and the essential visibility into the supply chain you need for control, traceability, and reliability. By breaking down the silos that keep your business’ departments separated and utilizing a single system of record, you can improve your corporate and operational agility to make real-time decisions and facilitate each new stage of growth when it matters most.an image of users working with data derived from their ERP system to improve manufacturing processes

2. Leverage Superior Visibility In Real-Time, Across The Globe

When customers expect manufacturers to turn on a dime and manufacturers need to know what’s happening on all fronts, not just in-house, but with suppliers and partners, too, there is no substitute for the superior visibility derived from a powerful ERP solution. Every aspect of a manufacturing operation can benefit from the utility an ERP system provides. Among the most valuable benefits is real-time visibility that allows a business to manage all its moving parts at once, with accurate and up-to-date data. This visibility also lends timely and accurate communication between internal teams, external suppliers, and partners. The result is on-time delivery, accuracy, quality, and reliability in the eyes of the customer.

 

3. A Culture Of Best Practices Will Improve Manufacturing Processes

Just because the old way of doing things has worked up to this point in time, doesn’t mean it will continue to down the road. Bringing your operation’s processes in-line with a modern sensibility and making an effort to utilize all the proven tools and tactics available can improve manufacturing processes and bring performance from patchy to prosperous. Established ERP vendors have incorporated the best practices of their targeted industries into their software solutions. These best practices are collected through decades of working with manufacturers in a variety of verticals and those best practices are designed to eliminate waste and inefficiencies from quote to cash. By training staff to utilize the new tools in their hands the way they are most effective, rather than conforming to the old way of doing things, a culture of best practices will emerge and steer your business toward new growth.

an image of manufacturing process improvement with erp

4. ERP Gives Your Business Tools To Expand

As the world grows more interconnected, shipping and sourcing nationally and internationally become viable options. As a result, doing business in a single currency, presenting your brand’s story and products in a single language, and abiding by just one region’s regulation may leave your company in a position of exclusion. Not only this, but the capability of modern ERP systems enables your business to easily tackle the challenges of corporate and operational growth as you scale to include bigger teams, bigger facilities, and multiple sites, at home or abroad. With global supply chains reaching around the world many times over, sourcing quality and affordable materials from international suppliers and partners are far less daunting hurdles to overcome with the help of ERP. EDI goes further in helping automate traditionally manual processes using data sourced from your ERP system.

An image of connectivity and expansion facilitated by ERP systems that can improve manufacturing processes across multiple facilities around the world.

5. ERP Allows You To Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Modern ERP systems are all about the data and connectivity. delivering that crucial data to those who need it most. This data will inform and improve manufacturing processes, allowing decision makers to see just how teams, machines, and processes are working together. When advanced technologies like machine learning and AI come into play, you can identify patterns that will lead to breakdowns further down the road. This is most evident in maintenance cycles, where a breakdown lasting just hours can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Leveraging ERP analytics you can identify problematic events before they affect your bottom line. Drive time and utilization for your machines to new heights with ERP, while process and quality improvement are the results.

an image of a factory working proactively to improve manufacturing processes using ERP data at an endpoint.

As the most indispensable tool for modern manufacturers, ERP is essential to improve manufacturing processes. Use these systems to drive your business’ digital transformation, gather data to make informed decisions in real-time, stay connected on a global scale, and see around the next big turn for your business.

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.


Medical device manufacturing has grown more and more complicated as products become more intricate and their regulators become stricter about conformity to rigid standards. These two industry trends have driven Medical Device Manufacturing ERP systems to command an increasingly larger portion of the conversation on where the industry is headed.

an image of items that can be created through medical device manufacturing erp with encompass solutions consulting services

Medical Device Manufacturing ERP And Encompass Solutions 

As a result of the growing trend, Medical Device Manufacturing ERP implementations and integrations into existing business systems are in high demand. But that doesn’t mean all implementation specialists are created equal. Encompass Solutions delivers proven implementation and consulting experience to an array of medical device and bio-science clients. The longstanding partnership with ERP vendor Epicor has kept Encompass on the forefront of ERP and manufacturing industry developments.

What A Medical Device Manufacturing ERP Can Do For You

The platform is one that allows all facets of business to derive data from a single source. Epicor ERP allows users to control accounting, production, forecasting, performance metrics, product lifecycle management, 360-degree visibility, and much more. Encompass Solutions empowers clients with the training and support to utilize these powerful tools to their fullest extent in heavily regulated markets like medical devices, aerospace and defense, and aviation.

Whether a medical device manufacturer is regional, national or international, the same essential tools can be leveraged to manage quality, meet demand, and facilitate the corporate and operational growth of their organization. Automating manual and non-value-added back-office tasks with an ERP system will provide talented staff to take on more value-added tasks, such as customer care, sales, and ensuring conformity to government and industry standards.

Encompass Solutions Is Your Medical Device Manufacturing ERP Partner

Encompass clients utilizing medical device manufacturing ERP systems work with our consultants regularly to automate manual tasks, improve processes and maintain their organization from the shop floor to the top floor with less effort and fewer costs.

Our position as subject matter experts ensures that clients not only have a partner that speaks their language, but can value-add to their organization for the lifetime of their partnership. From implementation, to upgrade, and beyond, you bring the vision and bring the tools with business systems to fit the build.

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.


When it comes to an ERP implementation or ERP upgrade, there are a significant number of factors to consider. Not only will you have to employ essential and proven ERP selection strategies, but getting the job done in a reasonable amount of time can be just as important. For some, it’s more important. Here are just a few ways a rapid implementation can be leveraged for a faster, smoother implementation process.

For more info on ERP implementation strategies, download our free guide for 8 Essential ERP Selection Strategies.

A customer recently went live in January, about 4 months after signing their purchase agreement with the ERP Vendor. Encompass had engaged with them in October, days after they completed their initial install. Several factors really helped ease the process, and you might want to consider them as you evaluate the potential benefits of rapid implementations.

1) Timing

Trying to time the project to coincide with your slow season will minimize downtime and maximize utilization of staff during what may be your least productive time. In the case of this example company, January to March is a dead time for one of their companies and about half volume for their second company. As a result, the choice was made to focus on a minimal go-live event in January. This allowed for extra time in February to wrap up loose threads and address potentially unforeseen issues.

an image of an hourglass, signifying that when time is short an erp rapid implementation may be the best solution.

2) Experience = Wisdom

The company’s core team was comprised of three members that had firsthand experience in other ERP implementations. That perspective made for significantly better decisions and focused efforts to be made throughout the project. It can be difficult imparting similar perspective to inexperienced customers who do not want or cannot afford to hire a consulting team for their rapid implementation, but it definitely helps when they have it.

3) Embrace The Phase

If the core requirement for your go-live strategy is to sell, ship, invoice customers, buy, and pay suppliers on day 1, a phased, or layered, approach can work exceptionally well. For all the other “wants” out of your ERP system, logging, planning and working on those components as soon as possible after go-live will deliver the results you are after. With this approach, you can be working other functionality you need within days of your go-live event.

In the case of our example company, the phased approach can be applied to things like engineering. By making sure they had their top-selling parts and parts on order fully engineered, everything else was pushed out with the understanding they would work through the list over time. In this case, data conversion from their old system wasn’t very clean, and most of their engineering data were bad, to begin with. Trying to have perfection on day 1 would have pushed the project out three months. Instead, they do not lose any operational function while they work within their ERP system to migrate and clean up their company data moving forward.

4) Vanilla Is A Good Choice

While a perfect implementation would be created around a business’ processes and workflows, this can cost a lot of time and money. For our example company, they didn’t have time to customize. Knowing that processes would have to change as a result, they accepted Epicor standard workflows and trained to them. Rather than bending the system to accommodate their process, they adapted some processes. Staff understood the legacy system was being replaced and that change was inevitable. It was a very realistic approach which delivered ideal results for an imperfect scenario.

a picture of vanilla ice cream,

Interested In An ERP Rapid Implementation?

If you are considering an ERP solution, think a rapid implementation is the best fit for your business, or would like to speak with an Encompass consultant about the topic, don’t hesitate to contact us using the link below. We look forward to connecting you with a business solution that fits your build.

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. 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.


Fraud has been a thorn in the side of B2B business transactions as long as those transactions have existed. With more advanced technology at their disposal, illegitimate parties’ payment fraud attempts become more elaborate. According to the Association of Finance Professionals, last year saw the highest percentage of businesses impacted by payment fraud in the last decade. Here are a few of the payment control best practices your business can put into action today to combat fraud.

an infographic illustrating the prevalence of payments fraud experience by businesses with insufficient payment controls best practices.

Photo: Association for Finance Professionals

IT And Security Professionals On Payment Control Best Practices  

The rising instance of payment fraud has It and security staff concerned. As many as 85% of security professionals surveyed responded that their companies lacked the necessary security and infrastructure to combat payments fraud.

The biggest windows of opportunity for fraud reside in the Accounts Payable (AP) department of a business. Errors made during the process of manual data entry and inefficient email communication concerning dozens of invoices at any given time are just two examples of significant vulnerability. However, a majority of fraud cases results from the most insecure payment method accepted by businesses — paper checks.

Why You Need To Implement Payment Control Best Practices

While most businesses are aware of fraud and do implement some steps to mitigate its effects, few are willing or capable of giving the subject the undivided attention it requires.

Common activities businesses use to combat fraud include:

  • Reconciling validity against invoices, department heads, and their vendors
  • manual comparison of invoices to purchase orders
  • compiling checks over time to have the CFO sign off at a later date

These activities may be sufficient to insulate Accounts Payable, in theory. However, with an increase in volume as a company grows, these methods fall short of providing the security AP needs. If Outlook is where your invoice approval process resides, chances are a few of those invoices are getting lost in the shuffle. Bottlenecks emerge when it comes time to audit or get approval through a CFO, who may have only a small window of availability.

Payment Control Best Practices To Mitigate Risk

Despite the growing prevalence of fraud in B2B transactions, here are some payment control best practices you can put into place today to insulate your company from the associated risks.

1. Ditch the paper in favor of electronic payment methods

Electronic transaction support can deliver a lot of benefits to businesses of any size. not only are they convenient, secure, and efficient, these types of payments add multiple layers of security through encryption. Virtual cards take things further with the inclusion of tokenization, a process by which data is assigned a series of symbols that retain essential information without compromising security.

an image of payment control best practices being used

Beyond security, electronic payment methods expedite the payment process significantly. These more opportunities reduce liabilities and increase working capital benefits that your business can leverage. the convenience of electronic payment methods can be felt on the other side of the transaction, as well. customers and vendors that can leverage an easy to use payment system in conjunction with your business will feel greater satisfaction from your B2B relationship. Increased partner satisfaction results in stronger relationships and can lead to more referrals for your business.

2. Remove Autonomy Over The Payments Process

Accounts payable is no exception to the rule when it comes to checks and balances. It is never a good idea to give a sole individual complete control of the flow of money in and out of company accounts. Breaking up the process to include several staff members ensures that no single person is responsible for the flow of capital. Designating one team member to set up payments and another to approve and release those payments ensures proper checks and balances during the process.

3. Automate Accounts Payable

Automation isn’t just a buzzword when it comes to your accounts a payable department. with volumes of data to be received, recorded, and processed, there is plenty of room for error when the tasks are carried out manually.

Fortunately, modern tools and solutions that can be leveraged alongside your ERP system exist. The automation of these tasks increases security, efficiency, and the benefits your company is able to leverage as a result. putting manual data entry errors and headaches aside, how easy is it for your accounting department to keep up with rapidly changing rates, rules, and laws? automated software that integrates with ERP delivers that real-time visibility you need to remove mistakes from the equation.

An automated accounts payable process embeds payment controls — like the aforementioned segregation of duties — into the AP process and establishes them as simple and repeatable processes:

Segregation of duties: AP automation solutions designate separate roles in the accounts payable process by creating separate login credentials and separate dashboards. Not only does this make it incredibly challenging to forge approvals, but it also preserves receipt of all approvals in one central location for easy access at any time.

Two-factor authentication: adopting an AP automation solution that requires dual-factor authentication will decrease the probability of an account becoming compromised. the process dictates that a password and text message-delivered verification code must be entered before access tot he system is granted.

Auto AP three-way match: For businesses working with purchase orders, AP automation can take the pain out of matching them to corresponding invoices by doing it automatically and flagging any that are mismatched within your ERP system. The “three-way” part of the three-way match refers to the three documents that will be compared:

  • The vendor’s invoice that was received and will become part of an organization’s accounts payable when it is approved
  • The purchase order that was prepared by the organization
  • The receiving report that was prepared by the organization

With these controls in place, it’s much easier to protect and sustain your AP process, even as you continue adding vendors on a monthly basis. The results are felt in:

  • Improved compliance and supplier relationships
  • Simplified vendor setup and management
  • Improved visibility, insight, and control of the entire accounts payable (AP) process
  • Ability to focus your AP team on higher-value work

When automation is factored into the equation, the benefits are felt even further with:

  • Reduced cost per invoice (CPI)
  • Instant storing, securing, and cataloging of electronic documents
  • Streamlined AP workflow processes
  • Dramatically reduced paper and storage expenses
  • Improved cash flow with fewer data entry errors and early pay discounts
  • The ability to work anywhere, anytime, on any device

We Can Help With AP Automation And Payment Control Best Practices

For more information on how to implement these best practices and automate AP for your business, get in contact with the experts at Encompass Solutions.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider, Suite Success Partner, 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.


2019 ERP Trends

2019 ERP trends and digital transformation strategies can take many shapes. However, an ERP solution may exist as the most powerful tool to empower businesses. These systems unify people, processes, and resources within a single environment, more importantly, one that provides a single source of the truth (read data). With a modern ERP system in place, you can inject renewed vigor and capability into once disparate, siloed systems and departments within your organization. The ERP landscape is one that is changing constantly alongside new and emerging technologies. Businesses are increasingly leveraging these technologies as they become more attainable than they have been in the past. New deployment methods also enable smaller organizations to do more with less. You can download a free PDF guide of the most essential ERP selection strategies, here.

Here are just some of the 2019 ERP trends we expect to see take shape over the next year.

More System Audits And Disaster Preparedness

Cybersecurity has long been brushed aside as a buzzword but, with ransomware and bad actors abound, it is a topic taking up more an more meeting time among IT professionals and C-suite executives. Maintaining systems is another topic that often gets put on the back burner, as businesses find a system that works for them and effectively ride it until the wheels fall off in many cases. however, failing to maintain modern infrastructure for critical systems is setting oneself up for disaster in the long run.

Last week I spoke with a newly-hired IT professional whose company manufactures products for the railway industry. Their company had been operating on an AS/400 system for more than 15 years. In all that time, it had been working without a hitch and the company could get by conducting business as usual without a second thought. Until they couldn’t. The system began freezing intermittently a few weeks ago. It eventually required a hard reset as many as three times a week, taking 2-3 hours to become operational in each instance. Eventually, it stopped responding altogether. It was then revealed that there were no backups of any kind and no disaster recovery plan in place. A mad dash to get something, anything done and resume operations ensued. However, the company was left in the dark with an in-house system on antiquated hardware with that left no quick recovery in sight.

an image of an IT professional wishin he had paid more attention to the 2019 erp trends and digital transformation topics sooner

Fortunately, the company was able to locate an AS/400 and data recovery specialist in Florida that had an intimate knowledge of their systems. They are now on the road to recovery. What’s important to note about this situation is that the subsequent events brought their systems to the forefront of just about every internal conversation. Moving forward, there will be a disaster recovery system in place and you had better believe they’ll be backing up their data religiously.

While anecdotal, the account highlights the need to be hyper-vigilant at a time when technology is moving faster than most businesses can. You should always be evaluating your systems and disaster preparedness plans, regardless of what technology you use. There will always be companies that won’t budge on setting aside the budget for regular audits of internal systems and disaster recovery plans. However, more companies are getting on board with the idea of ensuring they are safe from infrastructure failure from the inside out. Tech will earn more focused discussion not just in the server room, but the boardroom, as well.

Cloud Deployment Of ERP On The Rise

The above anecdote leads into our next item on the list of 2019 ERP trends, whereby traditional deployment models of ERP systems fall by the wayside and cloud deployment is elevated to top preference. This deployment method not only saves companies high upfront costs associated with traditional deployment models but also provides a significantly more capable data protection strategy to be adopted.

cloud erp as part of 2019 erp trends

ERP vendors that offer cloud deployment are already pushing for this method over on-premise and hosted options. These entities often have substantial budgets for storage and security of client data that surpass anything small and medium-sized businesses can alone dedicate to maintaining their internal systems. While cloud deployments will certainly be on the rise, we expect traditional deployments will be offered and implemented less frequently if not entirely phased out, as a result.

More Failed Implementations

That headline is one you probably don’t want to read, but it’s a result that manifests all too often. As many as 2/3 of all ERP implementations fail. It’s a scary statistic. When businesses without the experience and teams they need try to implement an ERP system on their own, a menagerie of things can go wrong. With this push for digital transformation and adoption of technology to stay relevant and competitive, we expect many small, medium, and even large enterprises will be lulled into a false sense of capability. On the other end of the spectrum, we anticipate many independent contractors and other tech professionals making moves to break into this competitive market of ERP integrations and consult. The results will be many new operators faking it until they make or learning on the company dime

If you are considering an ERP implementation as part of your company’s digital transformation strategy, at the very least you should consult with the vendor directly about best practices. Additionally, there are value-added resellers (VARs), independent consultants, and project managers with decades of experience in the field who can ensure these projects are successful. Do your research and align your organization with a proven partner that can deliver effective strategies to make your implementation a success.

Accountability For Integrators

As ERP systems become more affordable and prevalent in small and medium business environments, we fully expect more failed implementations to result as more businesses adopting the technology without proper preparation. However, not enough can be said about the increased scrutiny that will be heaped on independent consultants and integrators. It’s understandable for a business to want to go it alone if they’re already paying the in-house staff carrying out the project. Bringing in external help can be costly. This is doubly so when the hired help doesn’t deliver on their contractual obligations.

increased accountability as part of 2019 erp trends

Unfortunately, there are a lot of less-seasoned professionals in the implementation space. With so many ways to conduct research, read unbiased reviews, and consult with former customers of integrators, businesses have plenty of resources at their disposal to find the right partners. They also have the right tools to let the world know when one hasn’t lived up to their promises in the past.

No More “Old Way” Of Doing Things

As with all new processes, integration needs to be approached with caution and a considerable amount of planning. Let’s say a business, not unlike the one mentioned earlier, decides to implement a new enterprise-wide system. Continuing to operate with the same processes that are decades old just doesn’t make sense. Businesses will have to adopt change not just at the technology level, but at structural and operational levels, as well.

new methods of achieving results as part of 2019 erp trends

With new technology, new ideologies need to emerge within an organization so that it may rise to operate on the same level as its innovative tools. Internal processes, organizational cultures, and business models will all need to be reevaluated. If change is deemed necessary, that change needs to be managed appropriately. This way, operations are not disrupted while these new approaches to how things get done take root.

Start On Your Path To Digital Transformation

If these 2019 ERP trends have piqued your interest in taking your organization to the next level of operation, we can help you get there with a few essential strategies to adopt in your ERP evaluation process. Download your free guide of ERP evaluation strategies by clicking the link below.

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.