Recently, we’ve been receiving many questions on Epicor’s Lifecycle Policy. This blog will outline the currently supported versions of the Epicor ERP system, the difference between Active and Sustaining support, and the upgrade options available.

Release Lifecycle

Like other software packages, Epicor Kinetic requires frequent patching. These can be for cosmetic (Updates), functional enhancements (Releases), or wholesale architecture changes (Version). Regular patching is necessary to keep the software running smoothly or plug security holes to keep you and your data safe. Epicor’s cadence is defined and outlined in the graphic below of how often you can expect updates, releases, and versions from Epicor. 

Support Lifecycle

Support is an essential part of any software package, and when things are running smoothly, you seldom need it. However, when issues arise and you need support, having an active support contract is the difference between being down for a short period versus an extended outage. The chart below shows what you can expect from a support contract. 

Active support gives you full access to Epicor phone support, security updates, and new issue investigation, to name a few. Sustaining support gives limited phone support, access to the latest release, and an online knowledge base. While you will no longer be able to purchase new modules under Sustaining support, you can purchase additional users for your version.

Review the comprehensive FAQs for Epicor’s support lifecycle. You will need a valid Epicor EpicWeb ID to review the guide. 

Product Lifecycle

All good things must come to an end. Or so the saying goes, right? The good news is Epicor software supports versions back to Version 8.03.400 and earlier under their Sustaining support model. Below is a chart outlining the transition date for each version of Epicor Kinetic ERP. If you are on the Epicor Public Cloud model, you never have to worry about being out of Active support – more on this option below.

What are the Options?

Your options are straightforward. On-premise customers have two options:

  1. On-premise upgrade: As long as you have an active maintenance contract with Epicor, you are entitled to the latest version of the Epicor Kinetic versions. This version can be installed in your server farm, a hosted server farm, or your cloud subscription (i.e. Azure, AWS, Google, etc.)
  2. Migration to Epicor SAAS Cloud: You can migrate your on-premise database up to the Epicor public cloud. Doing so provides a future of hassle-free upgrades and allows you to get back to running your business.

No matter which option you choose you will need to do something if you are on Epicor ERP 10.2 or earlier. To have a conversation about upgrading your Epicor software, email info@encompass-inc.com.


The financial challenges that businesses face can be difficult to overcome without the right person at the helm. A fractional CFO or similarly-qualified financial consultant may deliver the results and value to help your organization succeed. Maybe a full-time financial leader does not make sense for your business or you need support while searching for the right individual. In any case, a fractional CFO or similarly qualified financial consultant may deliver the results and value required to help your organization succeed in a fiscally-healthy, responsible, and sustainable way.

What a Fractional CFO Does for Your Business

While a highly organized person may be able to step into an operational leadership position or a persistent and detail-oriented person can excel in marketing and sales, financial leadership is a unique skill set.

Optimizing cash flow, maximizing growth and profitability, and ensuring the financial stability of an organization are just some of the essential services a fractional CFO can provide. However, a full-time CFO can be tough to justify in terms of cost or it may be difficult to find the right individual to not only make the best financial decisions for your company but also has deep knowledge of and experience in your particular industry.

Whatever the reason a full-time CFO may not make sense for you at this point, Encompass has consultants to provide the experience and expertise you need at a fraction of the cost of an in-house CFO.

Specialty Financial Consulting Services

As a provider of financial leadership consulting, Encompass consultants can strategic expertise to help you better understand and outline your financial goals, ensure your business stays on course to achieve those goals, and excel in a competitive industry.

Partnering with Encompass ensures your business will have a qualified representative leading your financial department to satisfy the most essential functions of a financial department. These services include but are not limited to:

  • Financial Strategy, Planning, and Management
  • Financial Analysis, Planning, and Forecasting
  • Financial Regulation and Compliance
  • Accounting, General Ledger, Administration, and Operations
  • Financial Management > Financial Relations and Policies
  • Cash Management – Cash Flow Analysis/Financial Position Analysis
  • Automation and Process Improvement
  • Financial Technology and Solution Evaluation
  • Financial Strategy Alignment in preparation for, as part of, or following ERP implementation
  • Report Development beyond the initial Balance Sheet and Income Statement created in XLConnect
  • Booking Journal Entries as needed to record Reconciliation differences or reclassifications
  • Financial Statement preparation and review
  • Discussions regarding General Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP)
  • Month and Year End processes
  • Clean up old and new accounting issues
  • Account reconciliations and analysis

A modern business requires modern tools to maintain a competitive edge. An ERP solution or other business management system will empower your business to address the needs of financial strategy and stability. Our financial professionals work within these systems daily to ensure our client’s financial goals are aligned with their internal processes, and regulations, satisfy the financial compliance requirements of all jurisdictions in which they conduct business, and are liable for financial reporting and payments to which they are subject.

Partner with an Encompass Fractional CFO or Financial Consultant

If you are ready to have a conversation about the financial leadership needs of your business, we’re standing by to help.

Contact us today to learn how Encompass can help position your financial activities and policies on the path to success.

You can download the financial services summary in a sharable format (PDF) below.

Fractional CFO Services

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


Watch this short video (5:45) to improve your relationship with your customers with automated templates triggered by certain conditions. Use SMS, automated phone calls, or e-mails as you prefer.

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


Four key technologies promise to drive digital transformation over the next five years. They are expected to shape small- and medium-sized business investment strategies and priorities across industry sectors.

Technology is driving digital transformation and creating a futurescape where artificial intelligence (AI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), automation, and blockchain are converging in what some futurists call the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0.

Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how organizations use technology, people, and processes to fundamentally change business performance. In the next five years, key technologies— including AI, IoT, automation, and blockchain—promise to better enable how companies use data-driven insights to improve operations and boost ROI.

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


2020 saw a surge in remote work with companies experiencing shutdowns and business disruptions. But thanks to Industry 4.0 and smart factory technologies, many resilient businesses were able to adapt. Manufacturer Hytera reassigned a few of its production lines to produce disposable face masks. Baoshan Iron and Steel kept its facility in Shanghai running with automated production. According to a news report, “The two major product lines in Baoshan are fully unmanned. Each line needs two to three workers for inspections.”

Companies have had to reevaluate their operations to meet social distancing requirements. They created virtual workspaces and leveraged new skills for their employees, Gartner reports. Hytera and Baoshan maintained production with new health guidelines to keep employees safe. With the sudden global changes, many businesses expected a change in production. Close to 80% of U.S. companies surveyed by the National Association of Manufacturers anticipated a financial impact. More than half anticipated a change in operations.

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


Entrust EDI is an ERP-agnostic solution that enables the automation of document exchange between a business, its trading partners, and customers. This Entrust EDI Automation Demo shows the manual steps Entrust EDI can remove from the document exchange process. This saves time, cuts down on errors, and improves supplier/trading partner relationships.

Implementation of the Entrust EDI solution will depend on your business’s level of preparation before engaging with Encompass. You can begin the process of readying your business by completing a simple checklist. We’ve outlined an EDI readiness checklist HERE with the most common information required to move forward with an EDI implementation project.

To expedite the process, you can complete the EDI discovery questionnaire at your convenience. This will help both Encompass and your organization to move through to implementation more swiftly.

For an idea of the costs associated with implementing EDI, you can use our convenient EDI quote calculator tool.

Want to know more about Entrust EDI? Contact our representatives from the Entrust EDI support team at edisupport@encompass-inc.com or get in touch with us for a general inquiry using the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page.

Watch the Entrust EDI Automation Demo Recording

Additional Entrust EDI Resources

Entrust EDI Brochure

 

Entrust EDI Brochure

 

Entrust EDI Functionality Technical Overview

 

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Entrust EDI Managed Services Overview

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


Manufacturing has had one wild year and, in the wake of COVID-19, many industry experts, boardroom executives, and men and women on the production floor are “shopping” their theories for 2021 manufacturing trends.

Theories for what 2021 will hold run the gamut, but there is plenty of crossovers shared among contributing voices. Here are some of the most often mentioned subjects we are sure will emerge as the most impactful 2021 manufacturing trends.

The Reshoring of Manufacturing

When the mechanisms of manufacturing all but ground to a halt in Q1 of 2020, it became vividly apparent just how dependent nations were on the capacity and capabilities of a select few manufacturing powerhouses. A year on and COVID scarcity has driven the prices of raw materials up 100-200% when compared with the same period last year.

In the wake of this glut, more than one-fifth of US manufacturers surveyed by BDO are committed to the reshoring of operations as a top priority in 2021.

While both the current and previous administrations are pushing for consumers to “Buy American”, the same sentiment is ringing loud and clear through the EU, Japan, South Korea, and many other leading nations.

The world bought cheap and abundant labor out of China for decades, which left supply chains around the world bottlenecked and vulnerable. Today, diversification of the supply chain is widely regarded by manufacturers as a must-have, and countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Mexico are raising their hands to offer the capacity and talent to meet the needs of more local-focused supply chains.

Addressing The Education And Skills Gaps In Manufacturing

With decades of reliance on external manufacturing capacity, US-based manufacturers have seen an ever-increasing skills gap needed for their operations at home.

A tremendous contributing factor is the perception of manufacturing as a Triple-D sector. That is, dirty, dangerous, and dull. Whether on the shop floor or at the engineering desk, manufacturers are struggling to fill a gap in skilled jobs that Deloitte expects to reach nearly 2.5 million positions by 2028. Fortunately, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), manufacturers are willing to pay to close that gap.

Chad Moutray, NAM Chief Economist, said “Manufacturers consistently cite the inability to attract and retain talent as their top concern, and as this survey underlines, they are taking strong proactive steps to overcome it.” The Institute surveyed US manufacturers on their spending in the sector, which totaled more than $26 billion targeting training programs for new and existing employees.

Trade schools, analytics, sensor technology, robotics, AI, VR, etc. are garnering considerable investment to draw in the talent required to fill the deep need these manufacturers are experiencing.

Experts say that simply throwing money at the problem is not enough. Manufacturers and institutions need to share in the investment and collaborate to ensure that what students are learning now is what will be relevant in the manufacturing sphere by the time they graduate.

Talent simply cannot be trained to meet the needs of businesses because tech is changing at such an exponential rate. Agreements between schools and manufacturers will have to provide work experience opportunities while studying to close the gap.

In Encompass’ backyard, Guilford Technical Community College has received both considerable financial investment and buy-in from regional manufacturers with the institution’s recently opened Advanced Manufacturing Facility in Jamestown, NC. There is just as much investment from other manufacturers around the country who are hungry for an engaged and talented workforce produced locally.

Global Shortages Of Computer Chip Manufacturing Hit Home

With climate change, a topic of ongoing significance globally, the reliance on regionally produced tech has put the entire world’s supply of computer chips on thin ice.

Regional environmental conditions are now playing a much larger part than before in how we view the risk associated with the supply chain. For example, the majority of the world’s motherboards are manufactured in Taipei, Taiwan. This region is categorically prone to massive and disruptive weather events and earthquakes. For decades, this has been a reality the US, and frankly, the rest of the world accepted as part of navigating a global supply chain.

Initially, when the coronavirus pandemic first hit, semiconductor factories shut down, causing delays in the supply chain. Because it can take up to several years for these factories to reach their previous production levels, the shortage will likely persist for some time.

Everything from TVs to cars is affected by the shortage of chips, which effectively function as the brain of electronics. To put it in perspective, Apple, the phone manufacturer with a $2 trillion value and semiconductor budget of $58 billion annually, could not get enough of these in-demand chips for their iPhone 12 launch last year. The result was a two-month delay and things are only getting worse for manufacturers big and small.

According to Mirabaud tech analyst Neil Campling, “There is no sign of supply catching up, or demand decreasing, while prices are rising across the chain. This will cross over to people in the street. Expect cars to cost more, and phones to cost more. This year’s iPhone is not going to be cheaper than last year.”

Med Device And Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Look Pale

Such supply chain bottlenecks as mentioned above exposed overreliance on external manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices over the last year, as well.

Supply chain resiliency, through redundancy and duplication, is a costly and time-consuming effort. However, manufacturers are increasingly adopting a shift in thinking to ensure they can avoid the pitfalls COVID-19 has exposed.

Many medical devices and pharmaceuticals are only sourced through specific geographies. As a result, strategic goods and services will need to be tackled first in a new wave of focus from US manufacturing industries and policymakers. Luxury and consumer-driven products will have to take a backseat until those top-shelf items can be secured at home.

Shifting Trade Policies From Corporate To Congress

US manufacturers are driving the demand for diversity in a capacity beyond East Asia. However, many of the west’s manufacturers, big and small, are making moves to end reliance on the East Asian manufacturing hubs. Recent upsets in trade policy, like free trade agreements, Brexit, tariffs, the repositioning of NAFTA, etc. all impact these efforts.

While not directly parallel, policymakers and legislators are approaching the problem from their perspectives. Regulators’ opinions on the evolution of the supply chain are translated through a different lens than manufacturers. Geopolitical relationships and national security may not translate into the most favorable outcomes for businesses back home. Manufacturers want speed, efficiency, and capacity to deliver products to the hands of consumers. The government will view its priorities through a different lens.

Digital Taxation and Role Reversal

As the border between big tech and manufacturing become more blurred, digital taxation and who does what are the new hot topics. With an increase in digital cross-over into the material realm, the mechanisms of how to handle taxation have not quite caught up.

Namely, this involves the lines between tech and tangible and where the border between industries is truly defined. Perhaps the broader question is, can it be defined?  With companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and others, who traditionally created digital products, now constructing marketplaces, and investing in tangible goods, like autonomous vehicles, are they considered the new pioneers in manufacturing?

Where does that leave traditional processes and discrete manufacturers? As discrete manufacturers create IoT and IIoT solutions to complement their tangible goods, like sensor and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) software, do they share the profile of Big Tech? The waters grow muddy. One thing is for sure, the landscape of both tech and manufacturing is sharing more overlap than ever before.

Access to Cash and What it Means for SMBs

Borrowing and access to capital is a defining issue for smaller manufacturers. With interest rates low for manufacturers, questions about effective tax rates, trade relationships, and capital expenditure have been conservative. Fortunately, trade talks with the Biden administration and China have started to take shape, vaccinations are rolling out, and outlooks are generally optimistic.

One leading indicator of this upward trend is found in the number of bankruptcies experienced by manufacturers over the last year. Not nearly as many bankruptcies emerged as were predicted by researchers, analysts, and economists. The big change may have been the fact that banks do not want to become owners like after the 2008 housing crisis. There is simply too much to manage in manufacturing and rather than take on the headache of industry banks may not know enough to run effectively, they opted to work with businesses in the sector to find solutions that worked for both sides.

Robotics and Automation

Robots and automation have been four-letter words for decades, essentially scaring people away from manufacturing. Unfortunately for fear mongers, the need for skilled labor is even more necessary with the inclusion of these advanced technologies. More engineers, more cobot operators, maintenance personnel, and even truck drivers to fuel the internal distribution networks of the United States are in high demand. There will certainly be an upset in the world of manufacturing as these technologies proliferate. However, the timeline by which that proliferation overtakes a human workforce grows ever longer as technology proves to be just as reliant on us as we are on it.

The New Contract Manufacturers

New methods of manufacturing, such as 3D printing or additive manufacturing, are upsetting the traditionally held roles in Industry.

Take, for instance, the effect these technologies have bestowed on traditional distributors.

Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) like Fed Ex, UPS, and others are entering the manufacturing arena, cutting out a space for themselves, and cutting off competitors, in some cases manufacturers, by assuming certain aspects of manufacturing. By leveraging additive manufacturing technology, these logistics providers can cut out the middleman to handle the production and delivery of simple parts and components on a decent scale. You can send your CAD file directly to the 3PL, who will then print out the part and ship it directly.

For the recipient, potentially a manufacturer, in this case, there is a degree of control that is relinquished. Depending on your product, at some point, you will need to verify that your vendor (3PL) is meeting your quality requirements. While the approach is in its infancy with a foundation shaky enough to keep some at arm’s length, it could be a trend that picks up steam quickly. If these providers can achieve the quick turnaround they promise and meet the quality standards that manufacturers and consumers demand, there could be a real shift on the horizon.

Green Materials Propagate in 2021 Manufacturing Trends

Sustainability has never been a topic weighing as heavily on consumers’ hearts and minds as it is today. This puts more weight squarely on the shoulders of manufacturers.

If consumers want more environmentally conscious products and production methods, it’s up to manufacturers to adapt and educate their customers about the changes taking place.

Take for instance the textiles and plastics being replaced by renewable and eco-friendly materials, like mycelium.

Major global brands like Dell Technologies and IKEA have already committed to adopting a Styrofoam packaging replacement made by Ecovative Design.

Indonesian manufacturer MYCL will soon launch a series of sneakers, sandals, wallets, luggage tags, and watch straps made of its mycelium-based leather, Mylea.

The trend has even proliferated into the world of high fashion, with U.S. manufacturers Bolt Threads and MycoWorks aiming to make mycelium-based leather products more widely available this year.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


Providing important business documents and reports to the right people at the right time with the right information is complex enough without having to manage a non-integrated, third-party application. Now, you can have robust reporting functions for document distribution via printing and email attachments built right into your ERP system with Epicor ERP Advanced Print Routing (APR).

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


Accounts receivable is one of the largest business assets and the most accessible source of working capital. Yet most businesses fail to manage receivables effectively—resulting in back office inefficiencies, higher Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), and slower cash flow. Every $1 million in sales may potentially cost a business $40,000 annually in interest. Diminish the risk of bad debt write-offs with a more strategic credit and collection approach.

Epicor Cash Collect helps your team optimize credit decisions and resolve invoice disputes faster to unlock cash flow.

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.


If you own Altec Advanced Print Management (APM/APM+) or DocLink products, it’s time to consider modernizing with Epicor ECM (Enterprise Content Management, formerly known as DocStar). Your Altec products are currently under Epicor Sustaining Support which is very limited. It covers only support for known issues. It does not cover bug fixes, enhancements, or the ability to purchase add-on modules.

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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, or 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 the Industry.

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