Today marks a special occasion. Today, Encompass Solutions, Inc. celebrates its 20th anniversary delivering an array of services to small and medium-sized businesses in manufacturing industries. While it may not be sensible for us to come together and celebrate at this time, we feel it’s important to mark the occasion and thank our staff, partners, and customers for their contribution to making this day possible. In the meantime, we’ll settle for a slightly self-serving new logo:

An image of the Encompass Solutions 20th anniversary logo

The consulting life is unique in that it demands many of us spend time away from our families for extended periods or work long hours to ensure projects are completed on time and within specifications. It’s not easy, but the rewards are great when seeing the efforts result in success for clients and growth for our team members.

Encompass Solutions opened its doors in 2001, driven by a handful of veteran consultants. Since then, we have grown to include more than 25 full time employees and dozens more specialist contractors skilled in business management, process improvement, ERP software, EDI, and managed services. To date, we have helped transform more than 750 small and medium-sized businesses. We look forward to serving the needs of many more over the next 20 years.

A Few Words From Our Leadership

The time has flown by. I had no idea when we started Encompass that we would still be here 20 years later, nor would I be able to envision how much we have developed. 

I must acknowledge that we wouldn’t be where we are without the many wonderful employees we’ve had over the years (those that are still with us and those that were here for a season) and the loyalty of our customers. 

It is inspiring to see all the ways so many of our customers touch our communities.  It is also amazing to watch our team evolve over the years –even with the changes, they have supported each other to build enduring relationships and friendships. 

  • Sonia Haslam, Managing Partner

As someone who deals more with behind-the-scenes operations, I want to commend our staff and customers for helping to build Encompass into the company that it is today.

Every day, I see the projects and relationships we share progress and deliver the results we expect. Our reputation among vendors, peers, and partners remains in high regard because of their direct contributions to our mission. Thank you to everyone who has built this company into the shining example we continually strive for it to be.

  • Jim Baggerly, Managing Partner

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.


Today, businesses are trying to make important decisions accurately and efficiently — and to do that, you need access to the right information. But, keeping up with all of the available data can be exhausting – from sales figures and inventory data to financial management information. Do you know how your business is really performing?

EDA Dashboards and Scorecards Webinar

Dashboards and scorecards give valuable insights into your business and allow your teams to uncover new opportunities and improve efficiencies. Join our webinar, Dashboards & scorecards: How is your business really performing and discover how you can turn your raw data into actionable insights to open up new opportunities, reduce costs and streamline processes with Epicor Data Analytics.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • tailor dashboards to your business needs
  • summarize an entire database in a single interface
  • create an overarching view of your business that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

When:

September 10, 2020

1PM ET

During this webinar, you’ll see EDA dashboards and scorecards firsthand and learn how you can become a trailblazer in self-service, reporting, dashboards and analysis. We look forward to seeing you there.

About Epicor Data Analytics

Epicor Data Analytics (EDA), powered by Phocas, is an easy-to-use cloud service with powerful tools to help you reduce costs, identify new opportunities, and speed decision-making.

  • Stay up-to-date with the daily changes of your business
  • Eliminate time-consuming and error-prone manual reporting processes
  • Visualize data across all of your business systems from production to sales

About Encompass Solutions

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


In today’s business environment, organizations need the flexibility to adjust their metrics to adapt to current market conditions — not spending time looking in different places to get basic reports on the status of business operations. Introducing: EDA Financial Statements, which allows for timely, accurate and accessible financial reporting.

EDA Financial Statements Webinar

Join our webinar to see how modern finance leaders configure statements for their entities as well as branches, departments, product lines and more. And with permissions in place, empower users to proactively manage their performance and effectively answer their own questions.

In this webinar, we’ll uncover:

  • why it’s urgent to advance from static spreadsheet reporting
  • automated consolidation and presentation of month end reports
  • ways to empower managers with information they need to perform
  • a centralized source of timely and accurate financial data
  • why secure cloud access is critical for business continuity
  • how to do so much more than analyze AR/AP and ledger data in EDA

When:

August 25, 2020

2PM ET

During this webinar, you’ll see EDA Financial Statements firsthand and learn how you can become a trailblazer in financial self-service, reporting, dashboards and analysis. We look forward to seeing you there.

About Epicor Data Analytics

Epicor Data Analytics (EDA), powered by Phocas, is an easy-to-use cloud service with powerful tools to help you reduce costs, identify new opportunities, and speed decision-making.

  • Stay up-to-date with the daily changes of your business
  • Eliminate time-consuming and error-prone manual reporting processes
  • Visualize data across all of your business systems from production to sales

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.


An Encompass customer in the Industrial Heating industry recently fell victim to an opportunistic ransomware attack that had encrypted all internal system files, as well as their Epicor application files. As a result, work was unable to continue, bringing operations to a standstill. Encompass’ Managed Services (MS) were enlisted to help get things back up and running. The company requested this case study on their ransomware recovery project be posted anonymously.

Ransomware Recovery Project Background

The company’s network fell victim to a severe ransomware attack. Unfortunately, it had affected all internal systems, including backups. The attack took down the company’s systems completely in a matter of hours, forcing the company to rebuild from scratch.  Fortunately, the company was able to save its Epicor Database.

The Plan

Initially, there was no internal plan in place at this company to address the initial attack or the fallout from such an event. The results from the attack were a focused effort to get systems up and running as fast as possible as well as restore a state of operational functionality.

Objectives for the engagement with Encompass Solutions’ Managed Services team were to recover system use, rebuild what was lost, and establish backups.

A plan to instate standard operating procedures that would minimize the potential for reoccurrence and maximize the efficiency of response and ransomware recovery followed.

The Execution

The company’s staff were able to provide Encompass with the necessary documentation, in the form of a blueprint of the existing Epicor environment, to rebuild the system in a more structurally sound way than the original.

Encompass’ MS team worked with corporate IT staff to ensure backups and other security precautions were in place moving forward.

Overall, Encompass has just been a great asset to our organization. We have been through both a major Epicor upgrade and recovery process with them, and I am extremely impressed with everything they have done.  They definitely make my job easier.

– C.R., IT Manager

The Results

Encompass’ managed services team were able to work with the parent company to reestablish a stable network and functional Epicor system in less than one week.

Next Steps

Documented SOPs were put in place to routinely establish backups and test recoverability on a regular basis.

This company was pleased with Encompass’ level of service and expedient reaction to the situation. The two organizations will continue to work together on future Epicor projects and system maintenance.

About Encompass Solutions

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


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

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

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

ESI Discounted Consulting Blocks

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

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

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

Sample Workshops And Initiatives

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

Physical Inventory and Cycle Counting

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

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

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

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

Preventative Maintenance

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

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

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

Fixed Assets

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

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

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

Costing

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

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

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

Project Management Module

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

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

Case Management

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

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

Task Management 

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

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

Enhanced Quality Module

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

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

Discounted Consulting Terms and Conditions

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

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

About Encompass Solutions

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


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

We are holding a food drive for the SPCA of the Triad from March 1 – April 14, 2020 (extended from the original March 31 close). Ideally, we want to funnel all goods to our Greensboro office and monetary donations through our local SPCA. However, if you’d like to support your local chapter, that’s just as admirable.

We don’t want this effort to be limited to ESI employees. So, please invite your friends, family, and colleagues to participate. Please see our donation drive flyer below for more details on how you can participate and what items are needed most. To make a donation directly to the SPCA, you can do so here:

ENCOMPASS Q1 FOOD DRIVE SPCA FLYER

About Encompass Solutions

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


Encompass Solutions’ Managed Services offers a simple, structured patch management cycle to keep your on-premise Epicor installation aligned with Epicor’s update cadence policy.

The Encompass patch update program keeps your Epicor ERP system running at peak performance. This update cadence keeps your business in sync with the latest iteration of your Epicor software. The benefit Encompass provides is a dependable and iterative service that leaves you more time and energy to focus on revenue-generating activities for your business.

Stop spending time on tedious back-end tasks that can distract your teams from making real headway in the form of productive work.

What Is Patch Management?

Patch management is a component of overall system management that generally includes acquiring, testing, and installing multiple patches. Common patch management tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining knowledge of available patches
  • Determining which patches are appropriate for specific systems
  • Proper patch installation
  • System testing prior to and following installation
  • Documentation of configurations and procedures

Patch Management Service Schedule

The whole patch process takes roughly two weeks to complete before the cycle is ready to start anew. Here’s how the Encompass Solutions Patch Management Service works:

Day 1 – A new patch is released from Epicor Software Corp. and notification follows

Day 2 –  Epicor ERP system patch updates are disseminated and installed

Days 3 through 12 – Testing of processes and Unique Business Cases (UBCs) takes place in the test environment to ensure no process is impeded with new patch rollout.

Day 13 – After testing is completed, the new patch is pushed to the live Epicor ERP environment.

Day 14 – A new patch is released from Epicor Software Corp. and notification follows

an image of the encompass solutions Epicor ERP Update Lifecycle - Managed Services patch management

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 Encompass team has returned from DMC 2019 / DMSMS 2019 in Phoenix. We had exceptional conversations, learned quite a bit from industry leaders, and started on the path to a few strategic partnerships. All of these activities will benefit our current and future customers. Like all conferences, there are ups and downs, as well as ways in which the event delivered and fell short. This event was no different we’re glad to have the opportunity to share our findings with you. Here’s a high-level account of what we learned.

The Big Picture At DMC 2019

We had the opportunity to hear from and speak directly to the leading manufacturers supplying our defense forces. Companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics headlined the event. However, smaller manufacturers far outnumbered industry heavyweights. These SMBs keep the United States at the top of aerospace and Defense technology. Their achievements and efforts are no less integral or noteworthy.

At the Defense Manufacturing  Diminishing / Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages Conference, additive manufacturing took center stage. This technology is a solution to the problem of parts and material shortages. Aerospace and defense industries, forces, and researchers are looking to additive manufacturing technology to deliver on the acquisition of parts and components that no longer have reliable procurement sources.

Unfortunately, according to the university professors, high-ranking military personnel, and manufacturers we spoke with, additive manufacturing is not where the technology’s marketers would have you believe it is. The technology is still very much in its infancy. It doesn’t have the reliability that industrial manufacturing processes possess. In short, 3D printing can’t yet meet the tolerances, conformance and compliance requirements that many aerospace and defense applications require. The tech is too new to be reliable. So, for now, 3D printing is relegated to consumer markets and non-essential components. However, everyone agreed that in a few year’s time, this technology will be much closer in delivering on those expectations.

Where We Fit In

Encompass Solutions maintains a wealth of industry knowledge in manufacturing, sourcing, and distribution. Not only this, but the Epicor ERP solution and peripheral products are perfectly aligned to assist our most integral and transformative defense industries. This helps in keeping our servicemen and women at the forefront of technological superiority. Many of the manufacturers supplying our defense forces have engaged Encompass to leverage our expertise and solutions. We look forward to continuing the conversations started at DMC/DMSMS 2019.

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.


We had an amazing time in Orlando, FL last week during Epicor’s annual partner training event, Ignite. The Encompass team got a firsthand look at some of the biggest developments coming to users in the near future.

The Epicor Kinetic Framework, Collaborate social tool, cloud infrastructure advancements and so much more were on display. The next six months will be full of innovative new additions to the Epicor ERP system and we can’t wait to share them with you. Keep in mind, these items are currently in development and all forward-looking information contained herein can be changed without a public update.

Epicor Kinetic Design

created with the goal in mind of transforming Epicor ERP into a first-class, cloud product, the kinetic design framework will be converting smart client screens from thick client to web client. This is the Epicor ERP browser-based architecture in action. While Epicor ERP’s deep, industry-rich functionality is its biggest draw, both the UX and UI have been seen as less attractive than younger systems. This new look and feel will change all of that. The framework will incrementally deliver transformed, customer-tested, functionality with completion estimated by 2021.

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

  • Kinetic transforms how customers interact with Epicor software, making them more productive by simplifying everyday tasks.
  • Kinetic is more than a modern look and intuitive experience, it also aims to streamline and automate critical business processes to accelerate delivery.
  • Kinetic is designed to be simple, intelligent, modular, and consistent.

 

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

Epicor Collaborate

The next evolution in Epicor Social Enterprise, Epicor Collaborate is a full collaboration entity within the Epicor ERP system. It allows for direct communication between colleagues and easy referencing of orders, accounts, inventory, and more. It will provide seamless integration with industry-leading collaboration tools developed by third-parties, as well.

an iamge of epicor erp collaborate as revealed during epicor ignite 2020

The embedded knowledge center will provide a means of searching across multiple knowledgebases, simply and quickly. It is an always-available resource featuring smart controls licensing and system status awareness. This invaluable tool is fully integrated into the new kinetic design framework.

Epicor Cloud ERP Update

Serving as the foundation of the new Epicor IoT hub, Epicor’s Cloud offerings are powered by Microsoft Azure. Epicor Cloud ERP is developed with continuous industry innovation, when and where users need it, while letting them focus on business growth and market leadership. In regard to safety and security, Epicor’s experts and world-leading cloud providers guide businesses as partners in cybersecurity and proactive business protection.

One of the biggest draws of Epicor ERP in the cloud is its affordability and low TCO. Epicor and Encompass take on the burden of managing technology, so the IT teams can prioritize the business and drive strategic value. As business needs change, Epicor ERP cloud adapts in tandem. Choose among flexible cloud services designed for the greatest ROI.

You can subscribe right now for live Epicor cloud ERP status updates: https://status.epicor.com

These are just a few of the items that were covered at Epicor Ignite 2019.

Encompass Awards

Last but not least, we’d like to congratulate the team on earning several awards this year.

Congratulations to Lynn for receiving Customer Account Manager of the Year. Congrats to Sean for winning the Marketing Excellence Award for the Americas. Finally, a BIG shout out to the entire team for earning us another year as Epicor Gold Partners!

an image of the encompass team members who won awards at epicor ignite 2019

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.

 


A business unit of CSA Ocean Sciences, SeaRobotics is an SMB that is transitioning from a custom-engineered and prototyping house into a manufacturer of configurable autonomous maritime vehicles. Theirs has been an engineer and build to order process that they would like to standardize into more of a configure-and-build from standardized components driven by new investors. SeaRobotics has been the engineering and manufacturing work for the water rides at Universal Orlando in Florida and continues providing support for the theme park’s water attractions. The company has also developed and deployed the HullBUG which, much like a robotic vacuum for the household, cleans hulls on large ocean-faring vessels.

The Challenge

As primarily an engineering firm, each aspect of the SeaRobotics’s business processes were tied to specific projects. There were issues of:

  1. Stock Inventory or inventory control, as nothing is purchased to stock.
  2. Deliveries being regularly late because there had been no way to schedule purchases or jobs.
  3. Reports were generated from multiple sources, including spreadsheets, and were not available on a timely basis.
  4. SeaRobotics could only recognize revenues at the completion of jobs. This left management in the dark as far as financial performance due to revenue being highly concentrated at random periods.
  5. The business processes were heavily manual and dependent on one-to-one communications to achieve each step.

The heavy reliance on spreadsheets became cumbersome and fell short in supporting the projects and resources at SeaRobotics. Additionally, the company had outgrown its legacy system, Sage for accounting, purchasing, and project management. As a result, Project Management and the related revenue recognition were the most heavily investigated functionality being evaluated by the president, sales and operations. Integration of engineering design and BOM from first Solid Works and then PDM was another consideration of SeaRobotics’ evaluation team. While many business systems were evaluated, none had the support required for SeaRobotics’ operations team, save for Epicor ERP.

an image of a searobotics product on the water

The Project

After a lengthy selection process, Epicor was selected as the system to be implemented for several reasons. Namely, for SeaRobotics’ size, Epicor addressed the greatest number of challenges in an integrated package and offered proven “best practices” to there unique business processes.

Jim Browning, the COO and implementation Project Manager, relied on Encompass’ managing partner Sonia Haslam for advice on how to overcome issues arising from Epicor’s cookie-cutter implementation steps. Encompass consultants were brought on to adapt the system to more appropriately fit a smaller company in which staff whore multiple hats.

The implementation project was headed by Joe Sunderhaus of Encompass who designed the build to address five key requirements set by SeaRobotics. Their requirements were:

  • For staff to be self-reliant in training and process development using Epicor User/Implementation manuals
  • Project Management with WBS history that could be aligned with their old systems, plus monthly revenue recognition
  • The streamlined interface of Engineering and Epicor BOMs
  • Standardized business processes that eliminated the previously inefficient personal communication and follow-up necessary to complete any order
  • Better Job Planning and Scheduling of projects

To address these requirements, Encompass staff setup a workshop-oriented series of remote sessions with stepped through single functional areas. Additional, “homework” at the end of each session was assigned to ensure a complete grasp of the concepts presented.

an image of the searobotics HullBug

Next, the Encompass team helped SeaRobotics staff to overcome unique business issues with standard Epicor functionality on-demand. In order to keep costs down, Encompass kept site visits to a minimum. Remote training and education efficiency made this a cost-effective and effective process, though more training is needed for staff to assimilate to the “Epicor way” of doing things, rather than reverting to the way things were always done.

for the engineering and project components of the project, Encompass facilitated Qbuild in delivering CADLink and then stepped back, letting the vendor work directly with SeaRobotics engineering personnel. Now that the system is live, staff can put their new-found knowledge to use. However, there is more work to be done and weekly status meetings will continue, reviewing accomplishments and setting objectives for the following week.

The Results

With a completed and successful Go-Live in July 2019, SeaRobotics received the functionality they were seeking in a brand new Epicor ERP system and on budget. That said, no project is without its road bumps. In the case of SeaRobotics’ ERP implementation, the inability for critical team members to step away from business demands and focus on Epicor caused their initially projected April go-live to slip into July.

Now that the new ERP system is in place, the company has committed to using better procedures in-line with the system to run their business. Encompass will support a first month-end on August 5 and 6 as well as outline a Phase 2 to include added functionality to be later submitted for board approval. Our two companies will also discuss whether Epicor can/should be extended to include SeaRobotics’ sister company, integrating the manufacturing processes between the two companies to maximize the manufacturing resources.

Additional Details

Founded –1999
Location – Stuart, FL
Industry – Manufacturing
Employees – 25
Epicor Version – Currently 10.2.400
Deployment – Cloud MT

About SeaRobotics

SeaRobotics was founded in 1999 to pursue the development of robotic systems for deployment in the marine environment. The company has assembled a staff of highly qualified engineers, technicians, and personnel with extensive offshore and field experience. SeaRobotics specializes in developing products and technology for the maritime industry, producing autonomous, semi-autonomous and remote-control systems. The company focuses on commercial, government, and defense markets around the world.

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.