If you have not read the writing on the wall, cloud-based technologies and digital transformation initiatives are quickly becoming the focus for enterprises around the world. Providing more security, reliability, and mobility, cloud technologies simply provide too many benefits to ignore. However, their adoption is not always easy. As with any significant change at the organizational level, cloud ERP implementation challenges can stack up quickly. Here are the top 5 challenges in cloud ERP implementation and how you can address them before they impact your success.

Cloud ERP Implementation Challenges

While there are far more than five challenges that cloud ERP implementation may present an organization, these are what we have found to be the most common. Several of these challenges are compounded by the increased reliance on remote workforces and the inability to meet in-person due to environmental factors.

1. Change Management

While the age-old adage is nothing is certain but death and taxes, in business the only constant is change. For most people who are comfortably entrenched in the predictability of a routine, change can be a “four-letter word”. In most cases, change will be unsurprisingly met with resistance.

Change management will be one of your biggest hurdles in moving towards a complete cloud ERP solution from a system that was either previously on-prem or a hybrid deployment model of on-prem and cloud-based.

The easiest way to address the inherent resistance to change is to illustrate where things will improve. This is done not just by saying things will be new and modern. Show where those improvements will take place, the cost savings and gains in productivity that system users and the company can expect to reap.

2. Focus

The last several months have pretty much done away with the divide between work life and personal life for a significant portion of the global workforce. Transitioning to remote work from home has presented it’s own unique challenges for enterprises of every size.

The result has been a muddying of workhours, family obligations, selfcare, and a host of other responsibilities in one venue, without end.

The ability to focus on an implementation can be a challenge in the best conditions. In a completely remote environment, where distractions are abundant, maintaining focus will be a challenge that presents itself consistently.

To overcome distraction and maintain focus, set aside specific windows of time for core project components. It’s important for businesses be open to scheduling compromises with employees and their families when the lines blur between work and home. By compromising on specific project hours, there is a higher probability of remaining focused on the progress of your implementation project. The remaining work time can be more fluid as the separation of workday duties and household obligations continue to muddy.

3. Security

One of your project initiatives may be an effort to move towards heightened system security. This is a great feature of Cloud ERP. However, during the implementation phase, you may not have advanced security in place to maintain your sensitive data. This security becomes even more difficult to maintain between remote resources, like staff and their workstations.

Make it a point to understand the risks upfront. You can take on the challenge alone, hire on a consultant or work in tandem with your implementation partner to find the right protocol for your case. Simple step, like password protecting Wi-Fi connections, not allowing users other than staff to utilize on remote workstations are a necessary first layer of security.

Firewalls and network security software should follow. If you do not provide the hardware your staff will be working from while remote, you may want to consider doing so. A small investment in this area can result in big savings when you consider the alternative.

Lastly, have a plan in place, both documented and practices, with your staff. Make sure they understand the risks and the results of a security breach and demonstrate the protocol they are going to follow moving forward.

4. Access, Permissions and Productivity

Yeah, I know that’s three things but each build on the former to deliver a complete effort. So, in the interest of time and space, they’ve been combined.

Not everyone on your cloud ERP implementation project will need access to all components of your system. Working with IT to designate the proper permissions will be critical in ensuring that staff remain on task and don’t have an opportunity to ruin transitioning data, either by malice or mistake.

Provisioning web and mobile access may fit into this implementation scenario, too. If your staff have spotty connections based on their location, consider bolstering their coverage through their provider to ensure your project isn’t impeded by poor connectivity. This is usually as simple as flipping a switch on the provider’s end. This way, you won’t lose precious time in the event cloud cover conceals the satellite internet connection of your data analyst in rural Illinois.

5. Knowledge

When making the leap from on-prem and, in many cases, outdated data management systems, tribal knowledge and training will be integral as you move forward.

By relying on your most knowledgeable IT professionals and department heads to deliver their expertise during the cloud ERP implementation process, you have your top minds tackling your biggest challenge yet. However, there will be scenarios for which even they are not prepared. This is where training can be one of your biggest assets. Whether training is provided by your vendor or consultant of choice, or you have chosen to produce your own training plan, enabling your project staff with defined direction and knowledge will ensure their success.

Lack of familiarity with a new environment is sure to produce plenty of anxiety and opportunities for missteps. Proper planning can help to mitigate these pitfalls. Having an experienced and knowledgeable guide through the process can all but eliminate them entirely. That is because every implementation is different, and every company is different. With the experience of an implementation professional, there is is a wider breadth of experience to draw from in the event an obstacle presents itself.

There will inevitably be some unexpected challenges for even the most experienced vendors, VARs, and consultants to guide you through. However, doing your research and taking the time to get familiar with the nuances of cloud ERP implementation will impart the confidence and understanding any business needs to go through the project on their own.

About Encompass Solutions

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

 


Encompass solutions delivers an array of useful services to support your business beyond ERP implementation. Whether you need IT support for your on-prem or cloud-deployed ERP system, EDI management, or system patch management services, we are fully-equipped to deliver on your needs. Make use of these managed services promotions to ensure your business has the support necessary to enjoy continued success.

Keep in mind, These offers are applicable to any of the Managed Services coverage levels outlined HERE.

Managed Services Promotions

Whether assisting with infrastructure support, reporting customization, Epicor patch management or EDI managed services, we are proud to add value for our customers.

New Managed Services customers committing contracts can take advantage of considerable savings on waived fees and free services.

6-Month Commitment : on-boarding fee waived (up to a $2,000 value)

12-Month Commitment : on-boarding fee waived and an additional 1-month service included (up to a $4000 value)

Offer Terms and Conditions

  • To remain eligible for discounts, commitments must be signed by October 30th, 2020
  • Terms are based on your organization’s Managed Services proposal
  • If 12-month agreement is broken, the user owes remainder of contract and waived on-boarding fee
  • If 6-month agreement is broken, the user owes remainder of contract and waived on-boarding fee
  • Contract termination based on service subject to review and approval
  • As an introductory offer, contract promotions are available to new Managed Services customers only.

For any questions or to request customer referrals on our Managed Services offerings, please contact us to set up a meeting.

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.


Given the uncertainty of today’s business climate, owners and managers have a lot of questions about everything from sales and operations, to logistics and inventory. The answers to these questions will help determine next steps, whether it’s to pursue new products or markets, drop under-performing branches or reduce raw goods in the face of industry slowdowns. All of these are real scenarios, and making decisions on gut feel or based on traditions are likely to result in disappointments, or worse, losses. Data analytics has never been more important to help organizations find answers to their critical business questions and help owners and executives understand how their businesses are truly performing.

Data Analytics From The Source

For most companies, there are multiple sources of data, as well as untapped data silos where undervalued information may reside. Keeping pace with this growing data, as well as ensuring key pieces of information are considered for decision making, can be exhausting. Many ERP systems, as important as they are to business processes, were not created for intuitive data access and analysis. In addition, if Excel spreadsheets are the foundation of your reporting, then true data analysis can be challenging as you are limited to the static numbers that you can see, and not perhaps the beauty of the details beneath the surface. This is why understanding business performance, truly digging into the details to find answers to shape strategic decision-making, is challenging.

But this is why Epicor Data Analytics (EDA) is so valuable to businesses. EDA was built from the ground up to provide access to intuitive data analytics for users of all skill level. Data is critical to everyone’s role, so limiting access and analysis to specialists, or managers and higher, limits what team members can do within their roles and responsibilities.

Perhaps the strength of EDA and data analytics is the ability to turn raw information into easy-to-understand dashboards and scorecards. Modern data analytics systems such as EDA enable users to quickly and easily connect diverse data sources into a single source of truth, and conduct ad hoc analysis. The software does most of the heavy lifting, presenting results in interactive dashboard that can be shared with other team members, customers and decision-makers.

Measuring Business Success

Converting the data into a visual presentation such as a chart, graph or table, eliminates much of the guesswork, providing clear indicators of challenges and opportunities. In addition, with a simple click, users can drill-down, or use advanced dashboard filters, to view the underlying transactions or take the analysis even further to different angles or more levels of granularity. These fully customizable dashboards and scorecards help companies to combine all of their information into a single location so that the entire business is referring to and analyzing the same information.

Armed with access to a single source of truth, easy-to-use data analytics, easy-to-understand and interactive dashboards and scorecards, team members across the organization can be empowered with the ability to make important, data-driven decisions. This level of information strengthens the ownership that everyone in the company has in their role and area of responsibility. Perhaps more importantly, it makes tracking performance across individuals and departments, and as a whole, easier and more powerful, as owners and executives can monitor the business from all levels, providing a much more comprehensive picture of performance.

Dashboards and Scorecards Webinar

To learn more about EDA, the importance of data analytics and how to use dashboards and scorecards to track business performance, watch the recorded webinar:

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.


ERP for start-ups may seem like a bit of an oxymoron. The nature of ERP is to connect several departments  in a unified information system. This allows you to leverage crucial data to make informed decisions that drive the success of your business. When most people hear those three little letters, they tend to think large scale enterprise, multi-national conglomerate, or global entities. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Small And Medium-Sized Businesses Include Start-Ups

The modern enterprise isn’t a fortune 500 company. It isn’t even a fortune 5,000 company.

In the US There are roughly 17 million businesses with fewer than 500 employees. This number represents 99.7% of all US businesses and almost half of total private sector employment.

With that in mind, it would make sense the market for ERP that speaks to the small and medium sized enterprise is ripe for development. In the last 40 years it has done just that with tremendous effect.

Among businesses surveyed in a 2017 Deloitte report commissioned by Google, the top 20% of the most digitally advanced companies:

  • Earned 2 times as much revenue per employee
  • Experienced revenue growth over the previous year that was nearly 4 times as high
  • Were almost 3 times as likely to be creating jobs over the previous year
  • Had an average employment growth rate that was more than 6 times as high
  • Were also 3 times as likely to have exported over the previous year

Those stats can’t be ignored. However, what were the digital advancements these successful companies used to gain their edge in the market? Here’s how the levels of digital transformation of business is represented among those surveyed:

  • Basic – An email address
  • Intermediate – Website, basic marketing tools, online directories, and third-party marketplaces
  • High – Advanced website, mobile or e-commerce capability, engagement on multiple social media platforms, online marketing channels
  • Advanced – Advanced data analytics and applications for business management and customer interactions

It’s clear a business using advanced digital tools to help their business will perform better than those businesses using only basic or intermediate tools. But what does advanced really mean?

In this case, advanced digital tools includes:

  • Data analytics used to examine characteristics of customers, to inform business decisions such as online marketing strategies or products offered.
  • The ability for customers to make bookings and purchases through online channels, such as enabling payments through the business’ website or use of third-party e-commerce platforms.
  • Digital technologies and tools utilized internally in order to improve business processes or worker productivity (e.g. cloud-based software, video conferencing, corporate social networks).

Epicor ERP For Start-Ups Facilitate Sales Excellence

Let’s start with the first benefit of ERP for start-ups. It’s no secret that sales are top of mind of a start-up.

Whether you are in it for the long-haul or just long enough for get an offer, proving viability through sales is key in attracting investors and securing longevity.

Epicor ERP CRM and Sales Management tools drive intelligent marketing and provide insightful data about what products are and are not moving. Add to this the ability to collaborate with internal teams as well as customers externally through one unified system and you have a recipe for success.

With Epcior Sales Management tools Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team. By giving your sales teams the ability to manage their opportunities and automating administrative tasks, you free up their time to focus on building lasting, profitable relationships. It also enables your sales team to:

  • Produce accurate estimates
  • Streamline your order-to-cash cycle
  • Fulfill perfect orders and ensure high customer satisfaction

Components of the sales management module include:

Estimate and Quote Management – Easily generate and track all customer or prospect requests for quotation (RFQs)—from the time of receipt until an order is placed. Create estimates and get quotes out more quickly with more accurate pricing and lead times with a wide range of powerful tools.

  • Generate accurate and timely estimates and quotes
  • Import data from a variety of customer and system sources
  • Check inventory availability during quote entry
  • Manage the sales cycle with dynamic task lists that ensure the right people are working on the quote at the right time
  • Automatically cross reference customer part numbers to your part numbers during the quoting process

Order Management – Order Management drives the Epicor system. From the time an order is entered, its progress is tracked through final shipment—producing perfect order fulfillment on demand for maximum customer satisfaction.

  • With the Order Job Wizard, generate appropriate jobs for new orders in a single step
  • Check customer credit status online at quote entry, order entry, and shipment entry
  • Using blanket orders, establish multiple releases for each sales order line and pull parts directly from inventory
  • Link sales orders, jobs, purchase orders, field service calls, cases, tasks, milestones, and budget information to manage projects

EDI/Demand ManagementEntrust EDI/Demand Management secures your competitive edge by incorporating electronic data interchange (EDI) with demand scheduling.

  • Get full flexibility and control for setting up customer contracts and handling their schedules in the Epicor ERP system
  • Reduce lead time and effort for planning and procurement
  • With Demand Management, set up contracts per customer with such agreed-upon parameters as pricing, initial demand schedule, and contract end date

Point of Sale – Epicor Point of Sale (POS) extends the power of your Epicor ERP to a customer-facing sales environment—regardless if you need a single POS station or if you’re a multinational chain.

  • Feature-rich system that empowers store personnel to deliver an enhanced customer experience
  • Comprehensive functionality includes electronic gift cards, gift receipting, customized receipt per transaction type, coupon redemption/issuance, layaways, special orders, suspend and resume, item marking for various functions, additional input fields, multicurrency, start/end of day functions, cash management, and more.

Epicor Commerce Connect – B2B and B2C eCommerce are the new norm. Epicor Commerce Connect (ECC) provides your buyers and sales channels with a simple online shopping experience that encourages repeat purchases and sets your brand apart.

  • Launch an attractive, simple-to-use eCommerce site with your own branding in less time
  • Manage only one product database with tight integration into Epicor ERP
  • Simplify channel support by letting your partners make payments on accounts, access pricelists, and place quick re-orders

Epicor Customer Connect – Today’s customers want new access to information. Epicor Customer Connect helps you improve customer loyalty and online commerce.

  • Special promotions and pricelists
  • Enable your customers to make repeat purchases

Startup Growth And Innovation With Advanced Digital Tools At An Affordable Price

Epicor technology is powered by industry-leading innovation and expertise. The software empowers businesses of every size and is modular to fit the needs of a start-ups, no matter their stage of growth. Epicor solutions feature seamless integration with thousands of existing software applications, web-enabled platforms, and fully configurable interfaces and reporting systems.

Utilize the components of Epicor ERP your start-up needs here and now. Add more functionality as you scale, customize the framework to fit your unique business components, and take as much control of your technology as you like with on-premise, cloud, and hybrid deployment options. Mobile solutions can further be utilized to access the system from Windows, iOS, and Android devices.

Epicor ERP for start-ups is designed to be both accessible and affordable for the small business and start-up. Financing, subscription models, and even tax write offs are available for Epicor ERP software purchases.

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.


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

EDA factsheet – Download
EDA customer success story – Download
EDA top-ranked Highlights in Business Application Research Center (BARC) Report – Download

Epicor Data Analytics Prebuilt Content Packs

Each of the currently available Epicor ERP content packages for EDA provides starter dashboards and deep integration into a specific set of Epicor ERP data. You have the freedom to build onto these content packs with any additional fields from Epicor ERP and augment from any other data sources, such as Salesforce and ADP.

Epicor Data Analytics for Sales (sales, orders, quotes)

Quickly discover business trends by visualizing the sales data in your Epicor system. Get deeper insight into sales results by account, location, geography, order, and more.

Answers questions like:

  • What is my average sales and gross margin by invoice?
  • Who was buying, but is not buying now?
  • Where are we succeeding geographically?

Gain full visibility into:

  • Net sales
  • Quantity shipped
  • Quantity ordered
  • Material cost
  • Fixed burden
  • Variable burden
  • Labor cost
  • Other cost
  • Gross margin

Epicor Data Analytics for Materials (inventory, purchasing, and shipping)

Improve the productivity of what is likely your largest fixed asset—your inventory—by making sure you invest in the right inventory mix. EDA can help you see your inventory data more clearly.

Answers questions like:

  • What is our current inventory value today?
  • What are our potential inventory shortfalls?
  • What is on order in my open POs?
  • Where are my shipments?

Gain full visibility into:

  • Quantity on hand
  • Inventory value
  • Cost
  • Allocated
  • Backordered
  • On PO
  • In transit
  • Quantity ordered

Epicor Data Analytics for Financials (AR/AP and general ledger)

Improve overall visibility into your business by drilling down into categorized accounts and transactions within your income statement and balance sheet.

Answers questions like:

  • What are this year’s actuals versus last year’s actuals by account?
  • How long is money held up in accounts receivable?
  • What payments are receivable and what invoices are due?
  • Did we take advantage of discount terms and how much did we save?

Gain full visibility into:

  • Amount paid
  • Terms taken
  • Allowed
  • Bad debt amount
  • Amount receivable
  • Owing
  • Items invoiced
  • Invoices paid
  • Memos
  • Terms taken
  • Transactions for income statement and balance sheet

Epicor Data Analytics for Production (production, reporting and quality)

With the production content pack for Epicor ERP and iScala, make certain that quality products are produced for the right customer at the right time—for the right price and profit margin.

Answers questions like:

  • What are my resource earned hours?
  • Do I have differences in production rates between shifts?
  • How do I improve the overall effectiveness of my resources?
  • What is the most frequent cause for product rejections?

Gain full visibility into:

  • Good quantity
  • Total quantity
  • Good value
  • Total value
  • Estimated setup hours
  • Estimated production hours
  • Actual production hours
  • Actual production
  • Rework hours
  • Actual setup hours
  • Actual setup rework hours
  • Production run standard
  • Production labor rate
  • Setup labor rate
  • Production burden rate
  • Setup burden rate
  • Actual labor cost
  • Actual burden cost
  • Rework labor cost
  • Rework burden cost

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.


Collaborative robots (cobots) are gaining traction in modern manufacturing facilities. Prices have steadily fallen into the realm of affordable for most small and medium sized manufacturers. By offloading the repetitive portions of a human counterpart’s workload, the cobot increases overall output, accuracy, and safety.

With COVID-19 forcing business to reevaluate collaboration in the workplace, cobots are entering conversations at an increasing rate. Where two humans may not be able to share a common space, a human and a cobot can do so safely without sacrificing productivity.

Cobots Are Built For – Wait For It – Collaboration

When we examine robotics and automation in the age of Industry 4.0, we can identity many familiar, though more archaic, forms of robotics in the manufacturing facility. Unfortunately, many of these examples pose quite a hazard to their human coworkers. Robot cell design has traditionally put human safety in the forefront and locked these machines in cages or behind walls.

Cobots break free of those bonds and work right alongside people. By design they are considerate of our fragility. Internal and external sensors ensure they speed up and slow down operations based on proximity to humans.

This is just one example of how collaborative robots are making their adoption more palatable in the factory.

With a starting price tag on most models circling $25,000, cobots are more affordable than they have ever been.

As adoption increases and innovation in human-cobot collaboration proliferates, we can expect to see even more exciting technologies and use cases emerge as Industry 5.0 approaches.

Collaborative Robots Make Smart Manufacturing Accessible

Not only can we program cobots to perform any series of dull, dangerous, and dirty tasks ad nausea, we can also ensure they adopt new methods of performing work easily.

This is in stark contrast to hard or fixed automation examples in industries like aerospace and automotive manufacturing.

Those robots, generally referred to as articulated robots, are built with one purpose in mind and are rigid in their programming. To change tooling and behavior takes significant effort. Too often resulting in lost production time. These robots even risk becoming obsolete as production changes over time.

On the other hand, collaborative robots can be reprogrammed and equipped with novel end of arm tooling to complete an array of complex tasks. Whether the job requires drilling, stamping, welding, gripping, or just about any other method of manipulation, chances are there is a cobot solution out there already or currently being developed.

The experience of programming cobots is becoming more intuitive every day. Examples like drag&bot and mblock come to mind, with simple drag and drop coding snippets that can program a robot to perform manufacturing tasks. as the coding environment becomes more accessible to workers who traditionally had a hands-on interaction with jobs, the result is new ways of achieving efficiency. This is in stark contrast to a computer science-oriented way of thinking about manufacturing scenarios.

Not only this, but career machinists can put their valuable knowledge to work in new ways that spark creativity, growth, and fulfillment in their career.

Where Cobots Fit Into The Manufacturing Facility

Collaborative robots in manufacturing can take the mundane and stressful in stride. Excelling at dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks is what they do best.

Consider cobots scaled down versions of other familiar robots already utilized in manufacturing facilities around the world.

Bench-top models resemble miniature articulated robots, at 3 to 4 feet in length. They are agile, lightweight, and customizable to an array of tasks. These same robots can also be mounted to mobile platforms. This can expand the cobot’s range of operation, assuming many different assembly tasks with quick changeover from station to station.

Mobile cobot examples are also gaining momentum ferrying materials and components to staging areas, so that staff don’t waste time walking from their bench to picking locations in your facility. Manufacturing and distribution centers gain incredible productivity when these useful robots can carry weights no human possibly could between storage and staging areas. The result is more employee engagement regarding the tasks at hand, fewer opportunities for accidents, and less time wasted walking the floor.

Mobile robots also make managing inventory much easier on your operations. They can complete non-stop audits of inventory, suggest amended sorting based on flow of goods, and other efficiency opportunities based on the data flowing from their sensors into your ERP system. Businesses can then bring planning and scheduling to greater levels of efficiency, driving supply chain management like never before.

Beyond the physical examples, there are digital examples of cobots to consider, too.

Chat bots answer visitor inquiries on your website and report back to your CRM with visitor profile data.

Robotic process automation (RPA) routines fall into this category, too. They handle repetitive data-entry and admin tasks at an exponentially faster rate than humans. Not only does this example enable immense cost savings for large operations, but smaller businesses can remain competitive by handling more tasks with fewer costs sunk into non-revenue generating activities.

Both examples automate repetitive tasks that free your staff to take on more creative and value-added work.

All these collaborative robots fit into your facility in some way or another and feed the information they gather into enterprise systems.

These data transactions inform every level of your business, enabling you to make more intelligent decisions on the fly.

The Elephant In The Room – Fear Of Replacement

Ever since robots made their debut on production floors, humans have feared being replaced. Robots don’t complain, they don’t get tired, and they don’t get paid.

Despite these perks for companies, perhaps the biggest drawback when it comes to robots is that they don’t think for themselves.

They do not innovate; they do not come up with more efficient ways of doing things and they certainly are not creative. In this sense, they are about as dumb as the sum of heir parts without a human giving the orders in the form of a program.

Before Covid-19, talent was hard to come by, especially for skilled trades in manufacturing. Cobots were one way to ease the burden these companies faced in an “sellers” market for talent. According to one 2018 Deliotte study, as many as 2.4 million U.S. Manufacturing jobs were expected to remain unfilled through 2028. This translated into an economic impact of $2.5 trillion.

The argument can be made that there are many skilled workers that complete repetitive tasks daily. These tasks are the target of cobot solutions. These tasks that wear on the hungry mind or eat at the fragile structures of the human body, the result is nagging injury and unfulfilled potential.

When cobots shouldering the burden of these tasks, their human counterparts can develop personally and professionally.

Take the Paradigm Electronics cobot example into consideration. The introduction of collaborative robots into the workplace didn’t lead to job loss. In fact, quite the opposite. Those staff who were machinists up-skilled to robot programmers. Those traditionally static jobs fell by the wayside to be scooped up by cobots. The resulting dynamic was not a job loss for humans, by a redefinition of their professional roles and responsibilities.

Collaborative Robot Proliferation

The rise of cobots has shown to bring more benefits than drawbacks.

Industries continue to adopt the technology and human workers see the benefits in their adoption.

Even start ups can reap the benefits of a workforce that doesn’t slow down and can always remain nimble to the changing landscape of business.

Whether it be on the manufacturing floor, the vineyard, or the back of the house at a restaurant, cobots are fast becoming a part of our daily lives.

Every day the price of cobots is driven down by fierce competition among robot manufacturers.

Innovations in sensing technologies and machine vision further increase efficiencies.

Currently, the cobot market is expected to exceed $11 billion by 2030. According to ABI research, the greater cobot ecosystem, which includes software, tooling, and customization, is expected to grow to $24 billion by the same time.

The above picture reveals a bright future for manufacturers and workers as this exciting technology develops.

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.


The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP is an annually published report that outlines the research organization’s perspective on the best software available. This year, Epicor Software again received designation as a visionary in the category of Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises.

The published report is free to download for anyone interested in learning more about Epicor Software and other Cloud ERP vendors.

an image advertising the 2020 gartner magic quadrant for cloud erp report

You can download the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises report HERE.

Epicor ERP Cloud is a secure, economical, efficient, and reliable enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

The solution provides businesses with flexibility and comprehensive support. It helps manufacturers simplify processes, optimize operations and ease IT responsibilities.

For example, Epicor Cloud ERP delivers a 99.5% or greater uptime.

Aerospace and defense manufacturer Wipaire leverages the benefits of Epicor Cloud ERP to free up resources and reduce costs.

The company enjoys real-time access to information, which delivers higher cost efficiency and better time management.

Wipaire Controller Mike Elrod commented about their choice to use Epicor ERP, “We chose to deploy in the cloud because it offered flexibility and cost savings and we no longer need to maintain in-house servers or equipment.”

Epicor ERP is built to scale alongside manufacturers as they grow and depend on better tools to deliver the results and experience their stakeholders and customers expect.

With Epicor Cloud ERP, businesses are better equipped to compete, thrive, and grow by harnessing data and implementing automation to improve productivity and profitability.

“We believe Epicor’s spot in the Visionaries quadrant proves that we are a cloud vendor of choice in the markets we serve, and that our cloud ERP software is providing customers with the tools they need to succeed in today’s mid and enterprise markets,” said President Himanshu Palsule. “Our customer base is large, incredibly loyal, and actively engaged, and we will continue to foster those relationships to address and prioritize their feedback in future product updates so that our customers can push ahead of their competitors and can focus on business resiliency rather than IT administration.”

Placement in the Visionary quadrant validates Epicor’s ability to provide businesses with the best ERP solution. Read the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises report HERE to learn more.

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.


As part of the Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update, Epicor Cloud ERP pilot instances will upgrade to the newest release in September 2020. Read on to learn what new business value awaits and how to prepare.

What’s New In The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update

More details will be released as we near September 2020, but a few highlights include:

  • Cloud Read-only Data Access—Safely and securely view your data in a read-only environment. Epicor ERP Cloud Data Access is a new offering that allows for read-only access to your Epicor ERP instance. This new offering gives freedom of access while also safeguarding data security and system integrity. Access to the database will be on a read-only basis, but also near real-time (within seconds) to provide high value, whether leveraged by you directly or by ISV partners via APIs.
  • Epicor Advanced Unit of Measure—Seamlessly conduct business in a different unit of measure. A new capability, primarily aimed at the metals industry and adjacent industries, provides the ability to buy and value material in one unit of measure and transact in a different unit of measure.
  • Epicor Data Analytics (EDA) Financial Reporting—Budgeting, forecasting, and planning simplified. EDA Budgeting and Planning will provide an easy-to-use solution for budgeting, forecasting, and planning. With EDA Budgeting and Planning, you will be able to create financial budgets from scratch or prior year actuals and generate a budgeting workflow process, eliminating the need for Excel spreadsheets.
  • Epicor Kinetic—Continuing the journey to provide a modern and intuitive user experience with Epicor Kinetic. With this release, Epicor Kinetic is focused on the transformation of maintenance screens and quote to cash process forms targeting high-impact maintenance and entry screens. New enhancements will be made to Epicor Application Studio, which allows you to tailor Kinetic forms with low/no code that won’t break during an upgrade.

How To Prepare For The The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update

Epicor will upgrade pilot systems one month before production systems. This will provide Epicor Cloud ERP customers a chance to explore the updates in 10.2.700 without affecting production systems.

As a best practice, please use this time to review and make any necessary changes to your Unique Business Components (UBCs). This includes any custom reports, BAQs, BPMs, User Interface customizations, etc. Effective testing will ensure everything continues to operate as expected.

If you submit an EpicCare ticket for help with moving your UBCs from Pilot to Production, Epicor will do so for you during the upgrade weekend.

Important Dates

  • Friday, September 11, 2020
    Deadline for Flex customers to submit an EpicCare ticket indicating their preference to defer their upgrade to one of the alternate upgrade dates
  • What’s New in Epicor ERP Cloud 10.2.700 upgrade webinars are scheduled for mid-September. Register for one of the sessions to learn the latest about Epicor Kinetic, AppStudio, and Identity. If you cannot attend, they will be available on demand.
  • Friday, September 18, 2020 – Saturday, September 19, 2020
    Pilot system upgrade to 10.2.700. During this time, your pilot system will be unavailable while Epicor performs your upgrade, but don’t worry—your production system will not be affected by the new release. Once it is complete, log in to your pilot system and start exploring what’s new.
  • Tuesday, October 13, 2020 
    Pilot system update to 10.2.700.2 and UBC Opt-In Deadline. The final version that will be loaded into your Production system will be 10.2.700.2, so we’ll update your Pilot environment on this date. Also, if you want Epicor to move your UBCs from your Pilot environment to your Production environment, you must submit an EpicCare ticket to opt-in to the process. If you do not submit an EpicCare ticket to opt-in to the process, the UBCs from your Pilot environment will not be moved by Epicor to the Production environment.
  • Saturday, October 17, 2020 – Sunday, October 18, 2020
    Production system upgrade to 10.2.700.2. Your upgrade weekend arrives! While Epicor upgrades your production system to Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700.2, your system will be unavailable for several hours during this time.

 Note that dates are subject to change.

Flexing Your Upgrade

Subscribers to the Epicor Public Cloud Flex Option can follow the same schedule.

Alternatively, you have the option to defer your upgrade to Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700.

Below are the two date options for your flex upgrade.

                      Pilot                                                                              Production

Option 1:    Week of Dec 14, 2020                                               Jan 23-24, 2021

Option 2:    Week of Jan 18, 2021                                                Feb 20-21, 2021

If you choose to defer, you must submit an EpicCare ticket with your selected upgrade date (Option 1 or Option 2) and we will send you a personalized confirmation with your instructions. We must receive your deferral no later than Friday, September 11, 2020. If you do not choose to defer, we’ll keep you on cadence and automatically upgrade your system in September 2020.

Note: If you choose to defer your upgrade, you will not receive any 600.x updates after the 10.2.600.11 update. We only host the upgrade webinars on September 16 and September 17, but replays are accessible at any time afterwards as documentation on EpicWeb. If you defer, you are strongly encouraged to either attend or watch the replay so you are aware of the upgrade process.

About The The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update

The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 update is the second of two major upgrades in 2020, as part of the regular cadence and commitment to helping your business grow through innovation.

Unlike the more frequent monthly updates that are minor yet enhance your daily experience, major releases like this bring you greater usability, performance, and strategic value in a single upgrade. That’s why we give you advance notice and the opportunity to test and explore the updates in pilot before upgrading your production system.

Next Steps

Watch for additional information about the upcoming upgrade. You will be invited to join educational webinars on September 16 and September 17 to learn more about the Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 update, how to prepare, and ways to leverage the new functionality for driving business growth. Documentation will also be made available on the Epicor customer portal EpicWeb. And as a reminder, reach out to EpicCare anytime you have a question or need application support.

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.


As of June 2020, Epicor is no longer delivering enhancements for Epicor Advanced Financial Reporting (AFR), but bug fixes are still available for existing customers on maintenance, and the product is still in the Active Support stage. However, AFR is expected to move to Sustaining Support by 2021.

If your organization is looking for an alternative product by Epicor that gives more value and benefit to your business, Epicor can offer you three great financial reporting products that are fully integrated with Epicor ERP and provide the same capabilities as Epicor Advanced Financial Reporting and much more.

Epicor Advanced Financial Reporting (AFR) Resources

To support the migration to these products, a new, very beneficial, non-time limited migration offer is available to every Epicor ERP customer on active AFR maintenance when migrating to Epicor XL Connect or EFP.

EDA Financial Statements is also a great option at your discretion, however for this product, the new non-time limited migration offer does not apply.

Further information:

Contact us using the link below for further details on the offer!

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.

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