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.

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.

The article “It’s 2020 — Should Business Owners Fear The Cloud?” was written by Epicor Software Corp. CEO Steve Murphy and published by Forbes on March 2, 2020. You can read the original article here.

The cloud. It’s a small word that packs a big punch. Defining what cloud is can cause confusion for some, while implementing it raises concerns for others.

We should consider three key factors as we continue into a new decade and business owners ask if they should fear the cloud: privacy, interoperability and cost.

But first, what is the cloud, and why are businesses migrating to this solution?

Essentially, the cloud is a delivery method for your software. It’s a network of servers that are linked together and operate as a single system. The cloud can perform a variety of functions (e.g., storing data, running applications, delivering content, etc.), and you can access it online. There are both public and private cloud options. The biggest difference with the cloud is what it doesn’t require. You don’t need any hardware or networking gear on-site – all you need is a tablet or a phone to run the software.

One of the major reasons I believe cloud adoption continues to grow is the flexibility and productivity enhancements it offers. As the CEO of a company that offers cloud platforms, I’ve found that these features are particularly attractive as business owners look to build resiliency in the face of unpredictable trade wars and other geopolitical changes. Business owners often look to business management software to provide stability. According to Goldman Sach’s 2020 review (via CNBC), 23% of IT workloads are now in public clouds.

So, should business owners fear the cloud when it comes to privacy, interoperability and cost?

Should I fear privacy in the cloud?

There is no denying privacy is a major concern when it comes to data. Data breaches continue to increase, as does the projected production of data. To keep pace, both software solutions and IT departments will have to up their game.

First, I’ll share the bad news. According to Hiscox’s 2019 Cyber Readiness Report, most businesses are unprepared for cyberthreats. In fact, in the U.S., 73% of businesses are “novices” at cyber readiness.

The good news, however, is that the public cloud has proven safer than on-premise data center environments. Specifically, Gartner found that “to date, there have been very few security breaches in the public cloud” and that “through 2020, public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) workloads will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers.”

If you decide to move to the cloud due to these safety findings, you should still be mindful of cloud vulnerabilities. Take stock of what kinds of sensitive information you are putting in the cloud, and ensure you understand how the cloud provider will protect that data. The time needed to safely migrate systems and data can be lengthy, but it shouldn’t be rushed at the expense of security infrastructure. Select a provider who prioritizes security during the migration process and who has a solid reputation for getting the configuration right, and communicate with your team so that they understand the migration timeline and can manage their expectations.

Regardless of your software solution, privacy issues will continue to be a concern. One of the most important things business leaders can do is ensure they have a crisis management protocol in place if and when a breach should occur.

Should I fear cloud interoperability challenges?

I have great news on this front. There have been major strides toward interoperability. In fact, multiple systems can exchange and use information easier than ever before. This is due to a variety of reasons: Many application programming interfaces (APIs) continue to get better, and standards continue to improve, and, notably, I see tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft Azure frequently expand the universe of applications that can easily be put in their clouds. I believe their efforts have significantly moved the needle.

While interoperability isn’t perfect, there’s a lot of upward momentum. I expect that to progress.

Should I fear the cost of the cloud?

If you’re a business owner and you aren’t sure cloud makes sense for you from a cost perspective, ask yourself if you have a good grip on how much it costs to have your own data center in your business. Do you already have the IT skills in-house to run your own system? If so, the cloud may not make sense.

However, many business owners are surprised to find that their IT operations cost them a lot more than they think and that implementing cloud solutions can save them both time and money when it comes to issues such as automatic upgrades (which keep your company current and competitive), labor and maintenance costs, or increases in workforce productivity, to name a few.

Just remember that the decision between on-premise and cloud will be unique for each business. When you’re evaluating your IT operations cost, ask yourself how scalable you need your solution to be in the future. How adept is your IT department at staying up to date with evolving technology? Will you need additional data storage, and do you have the physical space to accommodate an expansion of your on-premise data center? Do you need access to data on the go? If a natural disaster hits your business, how will you back up your data?

What it comes down to is the total current cost of your on-premise data center versus a cloud solution. For business leaders who are still on the fence about expense, make sure you evaluate your options regularly. Cloud providers will have to continue to be cost-competitive, which could work in your favor.

Bottom line: Don’t fear the cloud. It could be a safer option than on-premise data. Its interoperability continues to improve. It can be highly effective at increasing productivity. It can save you money long-term. And the cloud will likely continue to improve over time. The year 2020 may be the one for you to move forward with implementation.

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.

Businesses of every size contend with keeping the availability of materials, components, products in sync with their rate of production and customer demand. Finding the balance between these factors is, at a high level, the core concept of inventory management.

What Is Inventory Management?

As a business digs deeper into the specifics of inventory management, it will refine its goals. This includes all the additional details that make the process more efficient. Suffice to say, good inventory management goes beyond the weight, dimensions, quantity, and location of items.

At a foundational level, your business will need a system of categorization to manage inventory. This also requires a means of interacting with this system when adding, removing, and identifying items.

Your system may require software and interactive technologies. These technologies can include computers, barcoding hardware, and scanners.

Knowing what you have in inventory and where is only one part of the equation. Forecasting demand to inform a business of when to replenish stock or when to buy more materials to manufacture those products is just as essential.

By ensuring that warehouse space is used efficiently and in sync with the rate of sales and replenishment, the cost associated with goods held in inventory is kept to a minimum.

In a broader sense, Inventory management is the component of your business’ supply chain that keeps material flowing into and out of your facility.

This is kept in accordance with production processes and customer demand.

Suppliers may experience fluctuations in the ability to fulfill PO’s and global events may shake up availabilities across the board. However, you can keep your own house in order with inventory management best practices.

For example, keeping a detailed record of products as they enter and leave your warehouse provides visibility your business needs. This ensures you are able to deliver on customers and supply chain partners’ requirements at any given time.

Businesses of every size use inventory management principles to manage their flow of goods. However, there is no defined set of guidelines that all businesses can look to for the answers.

The best inventory management strategies will change from business to business, but generally accepted best practices can be applied in almost every case.

Identifying the right set of guidelines for your mode of operation will ensure you are able to deliver the right goods in the right quantities to your customers at the right place and time.

The Difference Between Inventory Management And Inventory Control

While these terms may seem the same at face value, they are generally not considered interchangeable.

A strong inventory management system ensures a business can source, store, and sell materials or finished goods in such a way that yields a consistent and dependable profit for the business overall. Good inventory management is a sustainable practice.

Inventory management follows a structure of thought as a business principal. It is an overarching set of concepts that address a larger business model.

Inventory Control is housed, pun-intended, within the larger concept of inventory management. Inventory control is focused on maintaining visibility and understanding of the materials and their flow. Namely, where and how much inventory can be found on-hand and readily accessed in a retail location, stockroom or warehouse.

Why Inventory Management Is Important

Global supply chains are complex and in a state of constant ebb and flow.

Manufacturing processes that utilize raw materials and components are also changing continually according to customer demand, specification, and regulatory requirements.

In short, what is available today may not be available tomorrow. However, there are usually indicators of when a supply shortage may be looming or new regulations will be coming into effect.

Keeping up with these constant changes is more than simply difficult, it’s outright unnerving and even chaotic at times. Being stuck with an abundance of stock that can’t be used, spoils, or becomes obsolete can cost a considerable amount of capital, running a business well into the red. This is where the balancing act of inventory management becomes so critical.

The costs of carrying goods can be considerable. For this reason, many organizations seek to refine and optimize their methods for ensuring they have just enough material on hand to deliver on anticipated production levels or sales.

Streamlining inventory management will keep inventory levels low, which keeps costs sunk into stock on-hand to a minimum. Furthermore, lower stock levels will ensure less space is required to match material requirements to production levels. With less space required, facilities can be kept to a more manageable size and minimize warehouse leasing costs.

How You Can Implement Best Practices

Fortunately, for many decades, businesses have been refining how they bring stability to the unpredictable world of global supply chains, manufacturing processes, and inventory management.

As part of those efforts, two major philosophies of inventory management have emerged as the most widely accepted and utilized: Just-In-Time (JIT) and Material Requirements Planning (MRP). Both instances have their benefits and drawbacks. We go into more detail in dedicated articles on JIT and MRP inventory management strategies.

Technology And Software

Beyond JIT and MRP inventory management, there are a number of technologies and software that make the process of managing inventory easier on businesses, staff, supply chains, and customers.

ERP software is one such technology that delivers all the critical data needed to inform demand forecasting and purchasing, whether a business is based in manufacturing or wholesale and distribution.

Inventory management data housed within the ERP system is accessed and reported digitally, while also easily sharable for key stakeholders and managers to use in their decision-making processes.

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, 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 we near the Epicor ERP Cloud 10.2.600 Update, here are the important dates and enhancements you should know.

Epicor ERP Cloud 10.2.600 Update Important Dates

  • Tuesday, April 7, 2020 New Kinetic forms are turned on in your pilot environment. Your systems will not experience any downtime during this simple enhancement, and your version will not change. Details can be found in the Epicor ERP Kinetic FAQ for Customers.
  • Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Deadline for Flex customers to submit an EpicCare ticket indicating their preference to defer their upgrade to one of the alternate upgrade dates. This has been extended from April 6.
  • Saturday, April 11, 2020 The new Kinetic forms are turned on in your production environment. Your systems will not experience any downtime, and your version will not change.
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2020 and Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Upgrade webinars are held live, recorded, and posted as documentation. Please plan to join or watch the replay so you are aware of the upgrade process. Registration information will be sent shortly.
  • Friday, April 17, 2020 – Saturday, April 18, 2020 Pilot system upgrade to 10.2.600. 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, May 12, 2020 Pilot system update to 10.2.600.2 and UBC Opt-In Deadline. The final version that will be loaded into your Production system will be 10.2.600.2, 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, May 16, 2020 – Sunday, May 17, 2020 Production system upgrade to 10.2.600.2. Your upgrade weekend arrives! While Epicor upgrades your production system to Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.600.2, your system will be unavailable for several hours during this time.

Note that dates are subject to change.

What’s New in Epicor ERP Cloud 10.2.600

A few highlights include:

  • Multi-region Multi-company Cloud Transactions—Accelerate your growth plans. New in 10.2.600 is the ability to connect separate instances of Epicor ERP across Azure datacenters—or even across Azure datacenters to on-premises locations—through multicompany transactions to enable a distributed cloud or hybrid cloud business model.
  • User Experience—Ease of use continues to be a top priority. We’re introducing new personalization tools, enhancing Epicor Functions, and updating visuals throughout the application. You get new file attachment options with Google Drive and Dropbox. And for your mobile time and expense apps, get the ability to edit timesheets and expense reports in offline mode.
  • Epicor Collaborate—Get connected to get it done. Building on the first release of Epicor Collaborate in our last release, 10.2.600 features so much more. Epicor Collaborate will offer custom notifications, multiple channels and groups, filtering options, translations support for eleven more languages, and fit-for-purpose integrations with Epicor Data Discovery, Epicor Virtual Agent, Epicor IoT, and Microsoft Teams.
  • General Enhancements—This release features enhancements throughout the applications, including Epicor Advanced Project Management, Financials for Epicor Data Analytics, four new modules in Epicor Cash Collect, full cloud enablement for Epicor Quick Ship, and more.

How to Prepare Epicor will upgrade your pilot system one month before your production system so you have the opportunity to explore the updates in 10.2.600 without affecting your production system. As a best practice, please use this time to review and make any necessary changes to your Unique Business Components—custom reports, BAQs, BPMs, User Interface customizations, etc.—to 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.

Flexing Your Upgrade Subscribers to the Epicor Public Cloud Flex Option can follow the same schedule, but you have the option to defer your upgrade to Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.600. Below are the two date options for your flex upgrade.

Epicor ERP Cloud 10.2.600 Upgrade Pilot/Production Schedule

Option 1: Week of Jun 22, 2020

Jul 25/26, 2020

Option 2: Week of Jul 20, 2020

Aug 22/23, 2020

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 Wednesday, April 8, 2020. If you do not choose to defer, we’ll keep you on cadence and automatically upgrade your system in April 2020.

Note: If you choose to defer your upgrade, you will not receive any 600.x updates after the 10.2.500.10 update, but you will continue to receive any planned Kinetic form enhancements that we turn on during the Flex period. We only host the upgrade webinars on April 14 and 15, 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 Upgrade Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.600 is the first of two major upgrades planned for 2020, as part of our 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 You are invited to join educational webinars on April 14 and April 15 to learn more about Epicor ERP 10.2.600, 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.

What’s New in Epicor ERP Cloud 10.2.600 and How to Prepare Webcast Option 1

  • Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2020
  • Time: 9:30 am – 10:30 am CT

What’s New in Epicor ERP Cloud 10.2.600 and How to Prepare Webcast Option 2

  • Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
  • Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm CT

We hope you are excited about the new innovations coming soon in Epicor ERP 10.2.600.

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 Advanced Projects Module addresses the industry need for project-based ERP software with embedded contract management and billing. With this unique tool, you can manage projects, contracts, claims, subcontractors, variations and revenue recognition within one single user-friendly system. Take advantage of a tool that gives you full ERP functionality, including manufacturing and supply chain management, for a complete solution.

Advanced Projects for Epicor ERP

Advanced Projects for Epicor ERP is built in the Epicor development framework and is a fully integrated software solution. Built for businesses that have a need to manage complex contracts and multi-faceted projects within their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system Epicor Advanced Projects is the solution.

Advanced Projects for Epicor ERP is a specialist solution, addressing the challenges of complex contract management in a world-class modern ERP environment. Enjoy a consistent experience while unique business requirements can be easily accommodated within the flexible toolset.

Capture all costs and invoice everything, on time, as per the contract

Many companies involved in the design, delivery, fabrication and construction of major projects need to capture costs on a project for labour, equipment usage, material, expenses and subcontractors. These costs then need to be invoiced based on the agreed contractual billing terms which could be fixed price, progress percentage, quantity-based or a complex combination of all of these. On top of this, these businesses also need to manage retentions, claims and variations, all of which add another layer of complexity to the billing process.

Improve cash flow and forecasting through effective management of contracts and projects

Large, complex projects present a lot more risk to the business. Managing cash flow is critical, and if claims are missed, it impacts more than just the bottom line. Businesses need the visibility to enable them to bill or claim everything they can, at the time they are allowed contractually. This process must be systemised with workflows and automation, to help the Project Managers and Cost Accounting team do their jobs effectively and keep the projects on a profitable track.

Get control of the numerous subcontractor obligations and on-charges

Complex projects are rarely a 1:1 relationship between the customer and the vendor. More often than not, many aspects of the job are contracted out to other companies and this web of multiple contracts must be managed very carefully. The management of subcontractor terms and deliverables can prove challenging, especially if they are not linked with the one or more customer contracts they are working on. Spreadsheets and memory soon become unreliable and more revenue is lost through charges not being billed.

Eliminate spreadsheets and manual journals from your revenue recognition process

Long term contracts are not unusual in these industries, so the management of revenue recognition is key, especially with the changes to the revenue recognition standards. Gone are the days when Cost Accounting teams battled with spreadsheets to manipulate period accruals at month and year-end, hoping they have captured all costs and revenue. What they need is an easy to use workbench that generates proposed accruals but allows them to make changes to the calculations as required. When the accruals are agreed, the GL journals are posted automatically upon commitment. What they want and need is flexibility.

Epicor Advanced Projects module contract summary dashboard

Epicor Advanced Projects Contract Management

• Manage complex contracts.
• Contracts can be tied to a single project, or many projects.
• Manage small and long-duration contracts.
• Multi-level item/scope definition.
• Revision control and variation controls.
• Retention management.
• Ability to do complex invoices with a mixture of fixed-price, progress, and quantity-based billing methods.

Epicor Advanced Projects Project Accruals

• Financial recognition of revenue and expenses based on various valuations methods, including; amount billed, progress percentage, cash received.
• Enables true project profitability based
on current performance and expected completion.
• Ability to adjust accrual calculations as required.
• Automatic posting of accruals to the GL.
• Manual journal adjustments to projects as needed.

Epicor Advanced Projects Claims Management

• Cumulative claims management.
• Applications for payment/proforma invoice processing.
• An approval process to validate prior to submission to the customer.
• Integration to Accounts Receivable to enable holistic customer reporting.
• Invoicing based on valuations, not just part shipping.
• Flexible invoice and claim layouts to show summary or detailed lines.

Epicor Advanced Projects Enhanced Project Budgeting

• A budget approval process to lock in an original/baseline budget.
• Cost code/cost head budgets.
• Comparison of spent vs recognised.
• Budget and capture costs by phase and by cost code.

Epicor Advanced Projects Subcontract Management

• Manage complex contracts.
• Subcontracts can be tied to a single deliverable or many.
• Revision control and variation controls.
• Retention management.

Epicor Advanced Projects Subcontract Claims

• Cumulative claims management.
• Integration to accounts payable to enable holistic vendor reporting.
• Payments based on valuations, not just goods received.

Epicor Advanced Projects Built-in ERP Benefits

• Advanced workflows and approval functionality to manage everyday business functions.
• Integrated procurement functionality to manage the requisition, purchase and invoicing lifecycle.
• Full project sub-ledger with cost capture from the core ERP system.

Managing the financial aspects of large and complex contracts is not an easy task, and if it isn’t done well, can result in costly mistakes.

• Variations not billed, resulting in missed revenue.
• Penalties and potential lawsuits through not meeting contractual obligations.
• Manual integration of disparate systems, costing time and facilitating mistakes.
• Cashflow stress caused by the mismanagement of claims and subcontractor payments.
• Lack of collaboration across the business due to misalignment of contract obligations within departments.
• Poor customer, subcontractor and employee experience due to lack of visibility, inaccurate invoicing and processes that aren’t consistent.
• Reporting that is slow, manual and always historical, with no real-time visibility of the health of the business and the status of the projects.

Ask yourself can your business afford to continue working like this?

How many more contracts can you take on when it is a challenge handling the ones you already have? What you really need is an integrated system that works for you. One that generates efficiencies in the business, automates manual tasks and streamlines processes so that mistakes are kept to the bare minimum, if at all. You need to ensure that every project is profitable so that your business flourishes.

The benefits are endless and extend beyond systemisation. Epicor ERP teamed with Advanced Projects has been built with your challenges and goals top of mind. We know and understand the importance of managing complex contracts and multifaceted projects within companies like yours.

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.


With Industry 4.0 taking the lion’s share of headline space, smart manufacturing technologies are bigger than ever. For many manufacturers, these concepts can seem more than just a little intimidating, if not worthy of some cautious scepticism. Fortunately, there are manufacturing technologies that have been proven by years of practical application. Industry 4.0 concepts support them with more informed data and more efficient process improvements. We’re looking at you EDI. The concept of a digital twin is another one of these manufacturing technologies anyone can implement to improve operations.

What Is A Digital Twin?

The term “digital twin” refers to a digital replica of a physical asset. This asset can be any common hardware found on any factory floor. This includes heavy equipment, a smart machine, a robot, a work cell, an inspection station or a manufacturing line. These “Physical Twins” are anything that can provide data to the Digital Twin for interpretation. Connection bridges the physical and digital to create a cyber-physical system, whereby data flows through and informs a process.

The digital twin concept can be broken down into three distinct parts:

  • a physical product
  • a digital/virtual product
  • connections between the two products

Digital Twins birthed in the Apollo Missions

The digital twin is a true example of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) at work.however, the concept outdates the term Internet of Things by decades.  The term was coined by John Vickers of NASA in a 2010 Roadmap Report. however, the concept goes back even further in the NASA toolbox when the Apollo program utilized digital twins of the Command Module, Lunar Module and Lunar Rover to carry out maintenance, support, and troubleshooting activities.

How Are Digital Twins Used In Manufacturing?

As we stated before, the connection between physical and digital twin creates a cyber-physical system that feeds real-time performance data to operators, analysts, and managers.

Individuals and groups fulfilling these roles within an organization can leverage industry 4.0 concepts to analyze and interpret data to make sound predictions and carry out appropriate actions. Here, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) all come together to troubleshoot, raise alarms to identify potential problems, view maintenance conditions, support the various condition-based maintenance required to maintain seamless operations.

How Do The Components Of A Digitial Twin Work Together?

Analytics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) technologies all have a  hand in making Digital Twins work for manufacturers. Here’s how they come together to deliver leaps in process and operational improvement:

  • Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT): Connects the physical and digital systems to provide accurate data in real-time.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Intelligent software analyzes the data, provides an interpretation of what is physically taking place, what outcomes or problems may arise, and what actions should be carried out to maximize performance.
  • Machine Learning (ML): Builds on scenarios, both experienced and potential, to execute analysis more quickly and orchestrate improvements for the physical counterpart, ideally, without human intervention.
  • Analytics: Additional tools that simplify the data to communicate, diagnose, predict and prescribe actions to optimize the operation of physical systems.

How Do Digital Twins Optimize Or Diagnose To Improve Operations?

By leveraging the data they receive, Digital Twins get a snapshot of how machinery or other physical systems operate throughout a process. The data serve to build a picture of what is good performance and what is bad or what is streamlined and what is bottlenecked.

Optimization comes into the picture when historical data can inform future operations to “say” this didn’t work well last time, let’s try something else. One example of how digital twins are used in optimizing machines emerges with the maintenance of power generation equipment such as power generation turbines, jet engines and locomotives. How can we make this piece of machinery more efficient? Let’s look at the historical data and improve on past performance by trying other tweaks our engineers and machinists can implement. Or, better yet, what hypothetical concepts can we experiment within the digital realm? The same is true for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. In enterprise architecture (EA), architects create EA blueprints as a digital twin for the organization.

A more relatable example may be found in autonomous vacuums. Many homes now employ robotic servants to clean while their owners are away. Digital twin technologies could effectively map the optimal vacuum path of a room and then employ that strategy to mitigate wasted energy and clean living spaces more quickly.

Diagnostics are another huge component of digital twins’ utility. By referencing historical data for machinery, a digital twin may be able to predict maintenance intervals, make service recommendations, and ensure downtime is kept to a minimum. In his case, the digital twin isn’t relegated to just one machine or just one plant. IIoT technology can connect like-machines across an organization or several organizations to show a more complete picture of how machines perform under an array of conditions. This includes when they are most likely to breakdown or characteristics that can indicate a serious issue is looming on the horizon.

Leveraging The Digital Twin

To be certain, a digital twin and the technological concepts it relies on are no substitute for a skilled workforce. Those autonomous vacuums don’t dust or polish just yet. However, digital twins can inform and supplement your skilled workers to better utilize their machinery and improve operations overall. By now, it should be clear that implementing the concept of a Digital Twin within your organization can yield real benefit. Consider adding this invaluable tool as a complement to your business operations and remain competitive.

Epicor ERP delivers this technology in the form of a production environment. This component of the solution allows users to map their entire production process or even back-office process for simulated activities. This way, any company using Epicor ERP can experiment with their mad scientist and what if we tried this ideas on how to improve operations without the hassle of interrupting day-to-day operations. The result is a fine-tuned approach to process improvement that can be utilized in real-time after pushing the changes into the live Epicor ERP environment.

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.

Once upon a time, ERP systems were reserved for companies with hundreds and often thousands of employees, multiple locations, and even global points of operation. Who ever thought of evaluating ERP For start-ups?

Those days are gone, ERP has been re-imagined and redesigned to fit the build for companies of just about any size. These powerful and affordable software solutions can streamline your daily operations and make your start-ups success much easier to achieve.

While you may still think your start-up, small or medium business isn’t ready for ERP, you may be missing out on some essential tools that will set you up for positive outcomes and scale as you grow. You may be small now, but that won’t be the case for long. You may already have more business than you can handle.

In any case, you need to be able to manage the company operations and responsibilities to your stakeholders, staff, and customers. Evaluating ERP for start-ups is the first step into satisfying those responsibilities and making good on your obligations.

ERP will make your start-up run more efficiently, drive consistent outcomes, and deliver the data you need to inform business decisions.

This data comes from all the departments of your organization, including finance, sales, operations, inventory, and more. It delivers your staff a single source of truth they can rely on to improve their performance and deliver on the expectations your start-up must satisfy to succeed.

Here are just a few ways to begin evaluating ERP for start-ups.

When to Begin Evaluating ERP For Start-Ups

While each unique situation will dictate the process of evaluating ERP for start-ups, these indicators will reinforce the idea that it’s time to start looking. The more these examples crop up in your day to day, the stronger a candidate you are for implementation.

Waste Is Plentiful – Whether it’s time or capital, waste is one of the biggest contributing factors to a start-up’s success. Whether you are building widgets or delivering a service, processes that produce waste leave room for improvement. This is one of the areas of business management that ERP shines most.

Consolidating software and housing all your data in one central location is perhaps one of the most valuable moves your start-up can make. It cuts out the time spent searching for reports and invoices or delays when production materials can’t be found in the warehouse or worse, were never ordered when safety stock ran low.

Demand Is Outpacing Delivery – Not entirely a bad problem to have, right? Think again. If you get a reputation for missing deadlines and leaving customers with a sour taste in their mouth after doing business with you, know your competitors are waiting to step in and deliver.

Customer Relationship Management, production planning, scheduling, and Sales Management tools provided by ERP solutions ensure you have the tools you need to manage volume with a lean staff, budgets, and space.

Erroneous and Duplicate Data Is Abundant – Multiple points of data entry between disparate systems slow down your operations. It also leaves room for errors and errors can end up costing your critical customer accounts.

ERP ensures you only need to enter data once. That data can easily be verified within that same system. Add to that the risk of human error at the point of entry is kept to a minimum and your business does not suffer.

This means data used downstream is more likely to be accurate and ensure your orders, supply chain, and analytics give a true picture of your start-up’s performance.

You’re Missing the Forest For The Trees – the metaphor may seem obscure, but it’s about as apt as can be when we’re talking about access to the bigger picture of your business’ performance.

ERP will give your start-up the visibility it needs to see how you’re delivering on KPIs, grant access to analytics that illustrate where investments need to be made or scaled back, and superior reporting tools that show everyone you’re on the right track.

What to look for when Evaluating ERP For Start-Ups

By now, it should be clear that ERP can be a real boon to businesses at any size. However, for the start-up environment, there are specific qualities that make some ERP solutions better suited than others. Here are the most basic qualities you can evaluate in your search.

Cost vs. Price – while the two words may seem interchangeable, when it comes to ERP they most certainly are not. The true cost of not implementing an ERP system can easily be higher than shouldering the price of purchase.

Price is also not about what you can afford right here, right now. Keep in mind that sticker shock is just as real for enterprise-wise software. However, we have to remember that these are powerful systems that take a lot of time and engineering to develop. Not to mention save resources immensely but cutting down errors and non-revenue generating tasks. Fortunately, grants, tax write-offs, and financing are available to make the lessen the impact of the purchasing process on your overall business operations.

That said, the price of your system should be in line not only for the tools you need now but also those necessary to facilitate easy expansion as you grow. Which leads to the next characteristic to consider when Evaluating ERP for start-ups, scalability.

Scalability – Often, businesses evaluate ERP software vendors and decide what they have to offer is too rich and expansive for what they need here and now. That may be true. Instead, they may opt for a static product that is meant for small-scale operations that don’t expand capability or functionality as a business grows.

You also need to consider the future development of the product. Patches, updates, and versions that build on the ERP’s current state are essential to keep up with Industry as a whole.

It’s important to understand where your ERP vendor’s vision for their product will lead. Does that vision for the future include the functionality your business will need to remain competitive? Are they developing tools to enhance UI, automate manual processes, and facilitate superior eCommerce or self-service portal interactions?

Scalability is also a consideration for those evaluating open-source ERP solutions. Open source ERP vendors might only develop a product up to a certain point, package it, and sell it. Further development may cost significantly, fall on your shoulders directly, or be left up to the user community at large.

Accessibilitythink about who is going to use this system. Will they find it intuitive? How much training will they need before they can use the ERP system to its full potential? What about ongoing maintenance and customization to your unique business components?

Accessibility also means permission. Can you easily segment who gets to see what in the system or is it a free for all with the data available?

When evaluating ERP for start-ups, make sure to get plenty of demos that include your company workflow. If possible, get an NDA in place so you can see that workflow in real-time with your own data. This will give you the best picture of what is possible and how transactions, projects, and reporting progress within any given ERP solution.

Who to consider as a partner when Evaluating ERP for Start-Ups

If you’re currently Evaluating ERP for a start-up, this information is probably quite intimidating. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Vendors, consultants, value-added resellers, industry peers, investors and stakeholders all have a vested interest in your success.

Consider what it means to partner with an experienced implementer and reap the benefits of streamlined project methodology, knowing where to avoid pitfalls, achieve quantifiable milestones, and lead to Go-Live success.

Encompass Solutions here to help, let’s talk about where you’re going next.

About Encompass Solutions

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

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

Cloud ERP Solutions

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

1. Understand And Communicate The Need To Take Action

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

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

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

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

3. Actively Listen To IT Concerns

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

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

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

4. Get Help In Addressing Concerns And Answering Questions

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

5. Learn From Experience

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

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

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

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

7. Create The Plan. Execute The Plan.

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

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

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.

ERP and automation technologies have grown by leaps and bounds to address small business’ need for efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Modern process automation and efficiency increases are essential to departments like finance, accounting, human resources, production, material management, quality management, distribution, and sales. Without a proper framework to bring these departments together and working in harmony, a business of any size risks catastrophic failure. ERP supply chain management solutions deliver focused tools to businesses, providing better overall performance, accountability, and customer satisfaction.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) And Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Affordable Enterprise Resource Planning software for manufacturers and accessible automation technologies for manufacturers enable competitiveness in an industry that is constantly evolving. Supply chain automation technology is in higher demand with each passing day. Built to increase the efficiency of operations that extend beyond the four walls of the factory, supply chain management software holds suppliers accountable, builds stronger trading partnerships, and delivers increased customer satisfaction that earns businesses brand loyalty.

How ERP Software Enables Better Supply Chain Management

When a business considers all the parties involved in the supply chain, from manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and customers, it can be difficult to control. The process of keeping everything in line requires careful and diligent planning, execution, control, and ongoing monitoring of supply chain activities.

Businesses will find that an ERP system built with the supply chain in mind will be more than effective in handling the storing, transporting, managing demand for manufactured goods. From procurement to product delivery, the integration of material, information, and financial information flow cement ERP as an essential tool for efficient supply chain management.

The Roles Of ERP In Supply Chain Management Processes

From the global conglomerate the mom-and-pop job shop, ERP and SCM software may seem intimidating. However, their viability for businesses at any size cannot be overstated. It simply becomes a matter of size and scope of the software. Placing a focus on efficient supply chain activities and strategy going forward will enhance facility productivity, product quality, and cost-efficiency.

ERP software scales businesses, plain and simple. With growth, the subject of Supply Chain Management demands greater emphasis. Mixed-mode, make-to-order, make-to-stock, Engineered -to-order, and configured-to-order manufacturing operations all have a need for these advanced technologies. This doesn’t even consider the supply chain automation opportunities that arise when ERP systems in place. Replenishment, communications between partners, manufacturers, and customers, even automated profiling of suppliers to get the next replenishment from your favored vendors are possible with automated supply chain management software embedded within ERP.

ERP software doesn’t just enable supply chain management strategies, it informs your teams and keeps them running at peak efficiency. This ensures your business runs smoothly in the face of supply chain disruption. We can break down the role of Epicor ERP alongside supply chain management into eight main categories:

  • Purchase Management
  • Demand Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Shipping And Receiving
  • Warehouse Management
  • Advanced Material Management
  • Supplier Relationship Management
  • Supplier Connect

ERP Supply Chain Purchasing Management

Collaboration is key during the purchasing process to ensure orders move smoothly in and out of an ERP system. Tracking the performance of collaborative activities becomes more difficult as an organization grows. ERP fills the gap, providing businesses with the means to track, control, and comply with regulation and governance standards of their given industry. The result is accuracy, compliance, and security in supplier relationships.

  • Automated purchasing tools improve supplier collaboration, order accuracy, and negotiating while streamlining purchase order writing and tracking of supplier performance.
  • Improved on-time delivery reduces inventory levels, which improves cash flow and enables cross-referencing, mass purchase order receipts, requisition tracking, and more.

an image of a purchasing manager in a warehouse as part of ERP Supply Chain Management solutions

ERP Supply Chain Demand Management

Convert demand into sales orders and forecasts thanks to the efficient management of short- and long-term customer demand contracts. As a result, fulfillment decisions become second nature.

  • inventory management is made easy with statistical forecasting and planning tools that enable collaboration, consolidation, and aggregation.
  • Leverage invaluable insights to decrease on-the-shelf inventory, enhance flexibility, improve fill rates, and deliver a better customer experience overall.
  • Visual tools make interacting with supply chain demand data efficient and easy.

ERP Supply Chain Inventory Management

Digitize, automate, and simplify your processes for greater profitability at any scale, all while minimizing the inventory costs and risks associated with conforming to industry standards.

  • Meeting customer expectations becomes easy with superior visibility into costing, tracking, and country of origin.
  • From purchase order through manufacturing and shipping, material flow management becomes easy with an extensive suite of analysis tools, including shortage monitoring, reorder analysis, stock status, and many more.
  • Reduce annual audit costs significantly by leveraging automated control and regular inventory counting tools provided by ERP solutions for the supply chain.

an image of a full warehouse as part of ERP Supply Chain Management solutions


ERP Supply Chain Shipping And Receiving Management

Ensuring accuracy and customer satisfaction becomes easy with the shipping and receiving logistics solutions provided by ERP. The ability to monitor incoming and outgoing items for orders, subcontract parts being sent to a supplier, raw materials being received, or filling an order from stock all contribute to the enhanced shipping and receiving tools found in a robust ERP solution.

  • Efficiency, speed, and a consistent interface promote the rapid processing of shipments and receipts to provide reliable tracking at every stage of the journey.
  • By tracking container shipments and regularly updating purchase orders with enhanced accuracy and information visibility, your business can improve reliability and deliver on expectations without sacrificing time, money, or customer goodwill.
  • By driving out the cost of freight, insurance, and import duties with landed cost processing functionality margins improve significantly.

an image of shipping and receiving workers as part of ERP Supply Chain Management solutions

ERP Supply Chain Warehouse Management

ERP systems link warehouses with order processing and manufacturing operations seamlessly to optimize pick, pack, ship, and receiving processes.

  • Drive out errors and wasted resources by automating pick-and-pack, mobile-driven, and pre-pack fulfillment processes.
  • Leverage greater visibility into resource utilization throughout your warehouse to optimize processes and improve efficiency.
  • Rapid fulfillment capability enables businesses to better compete not just on cost and quality but on speed, as well.

an image of two warehouse management workers as part of ERP Supply Chain Management solutions

ERP Supply Chain Advanced Material Management

Track materials with real-time visibility and control with an advanced material management module, like that found with Epicor ERP. This function enables the monitoring of raw materials and work in process (WIP) activities throughout an entire enterprise using mobile devices and bar-coding technology.

  • By simply scanning a bar code tag you can produce accurate and timely electronic requests for materials.
  • Ensure that the right parts are delivered to the right resource at the right time utilizing an online queue of raw material and WIP parts
  • Track movement of raw materials and WIP to continuously improve efficiency

ERP Supply Chain Supplier Relationship Management

Supplier relationship management is a critical and ongoing process for manufacturers. Identifying the best partners to work with and improving supplier collaboration is easier with ERP supply chain management tools that enable buyers, procurement staff, and purchasing agents or those providing quotes, to request quotes for raw materials or subcontract services from one or multiple suppliers.

  • Make smarter and more informed sourcing decisions thanks to greater visibility and insight into supplier communications
  • Create centralized records for buyers, parts, and suppliers to maintain accuracy, simplify workflows, and eliminate redundant data entry
  • Reduce transaction times with automated tools that quickly convert supplier responses into actionable purchase orders

Epicor Supplier Connect For ERP Supply Chain management

Supplier Connect is unique to Epicor ERP and a feature of Epicor Commerce Connect. It is specifically tailored for suppliers It delivers an intuitive environment use to update their information via the supplier portal, answer requests for information, and confirm changes to purchase orders.

  • Enable business partners and customers transact with your brand online for a competitive advantage.
  • Improve collaboration by offering supplier self-service on open orders, part information, and access to invoice history.
  • Reduce staff time spent answering email, phone, or fax inquiries and increase efficiencies of your sales team.

The Competitive Benefits Of ERP Supply Chain Management

It’s a cutthroat world and businesses need every legitimate advantage they can get to ensure competitiveness. ERP competitive benefits are about as integral to the success of an enterprise as it gets.  Providing visibility and efficiency across departments, automating workflows with ERP from procurement to product delivery leads to lower overhead and operational costs.

By streamlining the path materials, financial information, and operational data take from source to destination, Epicor ERP delivers SCM that results in better control over performance, costs, and customer satisfaction. Here’s how:

  • The cost of inventory is minimized through effective demand forecasting lean inventory levels. This ensures just-in-time production methods can be effectively put into practice to bring down production costs while maintaining supply chain flexibility.
  • Epicor ERP supply chain management reduces production bottlenecks between internal processes and your external supplier. By enabling procurement best practices, the supply of goods, services, and other resources throughout the supply chain are more readily accessible and more easily leveraged.
  • Whether production revolves around children’s toys or Aerospace and Defense, transparency throughout the supply chain is key to ensure quality, accountability, and safety. Epicor ERP supply chain management delivers that transparency alongside the consolidated supply chain visibility that a business needs to thrive.

How ERP Supply Chain Management Contributes To Organizational Growth

ERP and SCM software go hand-in-hand to contribute to the overall growth of an organization. By tying in all the essential components of the procurement process, warehousing, and sales, Epicor ERP supply chain management module informs the business to a much greater degree. As a result, businesses of every size using Epicor ERP gain greater insight and operational capability.

  • The Small Business – Take advantage of an agile, cost-effective supply chain management solution that scales rapidly, effectively future-proofing your business for long-term innovation and growth.
  • The Midsize Business – Accelerate entry into new markets, quickly add new product lines and engagement with customers more easily and effectively.
  • The Enterprise – Enable team flexibility and responsiveness across verticals, whether B2B, B2C or B2X, at a global scale.

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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