Epicor ERP: Customizable Solutions for Manufacturing and Distribution

Introduction

Epicor ERP provides industry-specific enterprise resource planning to streamline operations for manufacturing, distribution, and more. With robust capabilities purpose-built for producers, Epicor enables improved productivity, increased efficiency, and data-driven decision making across the value chain.

What is ERP?

ERP software consolidates an organization’s critical information systems into a unified, real-time platform. It standardizes processes and data flows to coordinate functions across departments. Typical ERP modules include:

ModuleFunctions
FinancialsGeneral ledger, accounts payable/receivable
Order ManagementSales, purchasing, billing
Inventory ControlTracking, valuation, orders
Supply ChainProcurement, planning, logistics
ManufacturingProduction, scheduling, materials

Core goals for ERPs include efficiency gains, informed decisions from better data, and digital transformation.

Benefits of ERP Systems

The benefits of implementing ERP software span multiple operational dimensions:

BenefitDescription
Improved productivityby streamlining workflows
Increased flexibilityto react quicker with integrated data
Enhanced customer experiencethrough order/billing accuracy
Better reporting and analyticsfor strategic insights
Lower IT costsby consolidating disparate systems

Manufacturing organizations also realize more targeted gains like maximized output, reduced cycles, ensured compliance, and minimized waste.

Manufacturing-Specific ERP Capabilities

While ERP solutions share common baseline functions, manufacturing-focused systems deliver additional capabilities:

CapabilityDescription
Production ManagementAdvanced planning and scheduling, manufacturing execution
Inventory ManagementMaterials requirements planning (MRP), optimized levels
Quality ControlInspections, corrective/preventative actions (CAPA), audits
Supply ChainIntegrated procurement, supplier management, logistics
MaintenanceEquipment monitoring, scheduled repairs, asset tracking

These purpose-built tools boost efficiency across factory operations.

Evaluating ERP Systems for Manufacturers

Selecting ERP software for manufacturing organizations involves multiple factors beyond baseline functionality. It requires analyzing business-specific needs and processes against solution capabilities, company size and growth objectives, and cost considerations.

Identifying Business Requirements

Defining organizational requirements guides ERP evaluations:

  • What are the pain points with current systems?
  • Where are process bottlenecks limiting output?
  • What data challenges affect quality or planning today?
  • How could better analytics improve market responsiveness?

Documenting these gaps to address with a modern ERP facilitates solution comparisons.

Prioritizing Capabilities

While comprehensive ERPs offer broad functionality, manufacturers should align high priority capabilities based on strategic goals like:

  • Improving on-time delivery performance
  • Increasing production scheduling agility
  • Reducing costs with better inventory accuracy
  • Launching new quality initiatives
  • Building supply chain resiliency

These priorities dictate must-have solution criteria.

Considering Implementation Factors

The software platform alone will not determine ERP success. Organizations should also evaluate:

FactorDescription
Ease of UseCritical for user adoption and ROI achievement
ScalabilityAccommodating growth without sacrificing performance
FlexibilityAdaptability to unique or evolving business requirements
Training/SupportAvailable resources to ensure effective usage

Determining Total Cost of Ownership

Upfront software licensing leads just a fraction of the total ERP investment. Additional cost considerations include:

Cost ElementDescription
ServicesInstallation, customization, workflow analysis
Hardware/InfrastructurePotential server upgrades
MaintenanceOngoing support fees, version updates
TrainingEnd user education, administrator enablement
IntegrationConnecting legacy systems, data migration

While advanced solutions may carry higher price tags, operational improvements can justify costs.

Why Choose Epicor ERP?

Epicor offers comprehensive ERP systems purpose-built to meet manufacturing and distribution industry needs today and in the future. From optimization capabilities to deployment flexibility and analytics, the feature set aligns to modern producer priorities.

Industry-Specific Functionality

With decades serving manufacturing segments, Epicor packs proven capabilities for:

IndustrySpecialized Capabilities
ElectronicsNPI collaboration, test integration, RoHS compliance
FabricationSheet metal, MTO engineering, nesting automation
Food/BeverageFormula management, quality testing, freshness tracking
MachineryConfigurators, costing, maintenance history

And many additional verticals…

Scalability for Growth

With flexible cloud deployment supporting businesses from 20 to 20,000+ employees, Epicor scales up or down appropriately. This allows room for organic growth or mergers that may outpace initial user counts.

Flexible Deployment Options

Each organizations has unique IT considerations between preferences, existing infrastructure, and regulatory factors. As such, Epicor ERP allows selecting:

OptionDescription
On-premisesLeveraging current servers and data centers
CloudFaster access and reduced server management
HybridBlending both models for transitional shift

Data and Analytics Functionality

Epicor emphasizes actionable data insights for managers across roles, now including embedded AI/ML for automation. Benefits encompass:

  • Automated forecasts to guide supply planning
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metrics
  • Real-time quality analysis at machines
  • Predictive inventory analysis

These analytics transform manufacturer decision making.

Epicor ERP Manufacturing Solutions

While all ERP options have baseline order processing and accounting tools, Epicor stands out with its focus on optimizing production environments. Robust functionality tuned to the unique needs of makers supports the entire product lifecycle.

Production Management and Planning

Epicor enables modeled, flexible production methods while maximizing efficiency through:

  • Accurate cost analysis down to machine levels
  • Actual production rates visible for continuous improvement
  • Document control linking specifications to finished outputs
  • Automated waste tracking against processes

Detailed visibility of factory performance information fuels leaner production.

Materials Management

Comprehensive materials capabilities prevent shortages while lowering carrying costs via:

  • Multi-site inventory tracking with cost layering
  • MRP generation based on current supply signals
  • Purchase order consolidation by supplier
  • Landed cost analysis reflecting duties, freight charges

Increased inventory accuracy ensures product availability.

Quality Assurance and Compliance

Protecting product quality and consumer safety requires robust tracking like:

  • Batch/lot traceability down to ingredients
  • Tolerance testing linked to specifications
  • Corrective action documentation and analysis
  • Automated certificates of compliance

These rigorous QA controls also ease regulatory audits.

Supply Chain Logistics

Beyond internal production management, Epicor optimizes supply network operations through:

  • Cross-company inventory visibility
  • Integrated supplier self-service portals
  • Logistics analysis with transportation resource planning
  • EDI information exchange across partners

Together these supply chain tools increase responsiveness.

Key Manufacturing ERP Modules

ERP platforms contain multiple modules spanning capabilities required to run an end-to-end business. For manufacturers, these integrated components enable executing production all the way through order fulfillment:

Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

This specialized module connects production data flows, personnel, and equipment on the factory floor for real-time reporting of:

  • Downtime alerts to minimize disruptions
  • Resource consumption monitoring
  • Production output tallies against schedules
  • Work in progress visibility

Quality Management

Protecting finished goods quality requires capabilities like:

  • Inspection checklists and signoffs
  • Corrective/preventive action (CAPA)
  • Audit management
  • Document control

Together these ensure compliance while preventing rework.

Product Data Management (PDM)

Centralizing specifications, BOMs, routings, engineering changes and documents provides:

  • Single source of truth for product records
  • Automated BOM version updates
  • Engineering change visibility across departments
  • Mixed mode manufacturing support

PDM eliminates prior disjointed systems.

Planning and Scheduling

Advanced tools enable superior production planning agility for:

  • Accurate cycle times reflecting production losses
  • Constraint-based load balancing
  • Simulated production schedules
  • Visual drag-and-drop sequencing

These drive informed plan adjustments.

With deep expertise tailored for various industry verticals, Epicor provides both baseline ERP essentials augmented with specialized manufacturing modules to optimize output.

Optimizing Manufacturing Operations

While Epicor provides transformational tools across general ERP functions like costing, purchasing, and financials, manufacturers truly benefit from production-focused capabilities driving operational excellence.

Enhanced Production Control and Tracking

Getting detailed visibility down to individual production runs enables:

  • Monitoring actual output rates by shift
  • Identifying Constraint resources limiting flow
  • Validating active cycle times for accurate planning
  • Auditing material consumption accuracy

Such granularity motivates continuous improvement.

Improved Inventory Accuracy

Unreliable stock counts waste money and risk shortages, whereas Epicor leverages:

  • Cycle counting policies by ABC class
  • Automated adjustments from consumption
  • Logging for write-offs and adjustments
  • WIP visibility by job and work center

These techniques minimize distortions.

Greater Manufacturing Visibility

Connecting data across production, MES, inventory, quality, and maintenance provides:

  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) KPIs
  • Real-time productivity analysis
  • Total quality metrics by line/product/material
  • Enterprise view of yards in progress

Such aligned visibility guides decisions.

Lean Initiatives Enablement

ERP data also lays groundwork for transformative lean methodologies via:

  • Detailed breakdowns of lead vs cycle times
  • Identifying top bandwidth constraints
  • Right-sized production batches
  • Eliminating process waste

Together these shrink manufacturing cycles.

Supporting Distribution Processes

While manufacturers primarily focus on plant floor operations, supporting distribution capabilities also prove essential for integrated customer experiences post-production.

Sales Order Management

Tools to ensure fulfillment accuracy and responsive customer service include:

  • Real-time inventory availability
  • Configurable order options and validations
  • Flexible split shipments and drop shipping
  • Customer self-service portal

This accelerates perfect order processing.

Purchasing and Procurement

Automating high-volume supply transactions minimizes administrative burdens:

  • Supplier bids and RFQ process
  • Blanket contracts with scheduled releases
  • Self-service supplier portal for PO confirmations
  • Automated payment runs

These efficiencies accelerate scaling.

Warehouse Management

Inventory is a major asset requiring careful oversight for:

  • Expiration management by batch/lot
  • License plate tracking through all storage locations
  • Handheld mobile devices for fast picking
  • Wave planning to group orders

Such WH capabilities prevent shipping errors.

Transportation Management

Reduced freight expenses and delivery delays come from:

  • Parcel carrier integration with label printing
  • Load optimization by volume/weight
  • Automated rate shopping across carriers
  • Appointment scheduling and GPS tracking

Together these ensure logistics efficiency.

While the plant is priority one for manufacturers, Epicor ERP keeps post-production processes like distribution and logistics running smoothly as well.

Epicor ERP Implementation

Like any major business software platform, realize that installing Epicor ERP requires much more than just activating user licenses. Careful planning of the deployment strategy combined with change management best practices guide organizations to maximum solution adoption and ROI achievement.

Determining Scope and Strategy

Defining business requirements and processes to address upfront provides direction for tailoring the rollout. Teams should document:

  • Departments to onboard first vs later phases
  • Must-have customizations from base package
  • Existing systems to integrate or retire
  • Infrastructure requirements with cloud vs on-premises

These plans focus efforts on addressing pain points and minimizing disruptions. Change leadership principles applied across the initiative also smooth transitions.

Data Migration Planning

Preserving information from legacy systems during cutover to the new ERP solution prevents business continuity gaps. Businesses should inventory master and transactional data required, including:

  • Customer and material masters
  • Open sales orders and buyer histories
  • Pending and recently closed financial periods
  • Actual production history

With proper extracts, data migrations prevent hiccups between systems.

Testing and Training

Extensive testing by both IT and end users ensures readiness before go-live. Hands-on simulation in scaled down environments identifies configuration issues. Dedicated training camps acclimate impacted teams to new workflows and screens well prior to rollout. These combined efforts de-risk deployment.

Go-Live Preparation and Support

In the days before and after live launch, businesses brace for potential hiccups by:

  • Freezing non-essential data changes in old systems
  • Scheduling additional staff across teams for floor support
  • Establishing escalation procedures for priority incident triage
  • Planning for rolling kickoffs of various functionality

With close monitoring as processes transfer over into Epicor ERP, manufacturers sustain operations.

While no implementation is completely pain-free, proper planning from the start minimizes disruption risks and drives user adoption for faster time to value.

Getting Value from Epicor ERP

Justifying the total cost of ownership for comprehensive ERP solutions requires capturing concrete operational improvements. With Epicor systems purpose-built for manufacturers and distributors, organizations realize robust gains across business metrics.

Improved Productivity

By connecting data flows across departments while automating repetitive tasks, manufacturers achieve:

  • Streamlined production workflows
  • Faster new product introduction
  • Accelerated order fulfillment cycles
  • Reduced supply chain administrative tasks

Staff output surges by focusing efforts on value-added work rather than data re-entry.

Increased Operational Efficiency

Smooth integrations between order processing, production planning, inventory control, logistics and accounting directly enhance:

  • Manufacturing schedule attainment
  • Inventory turns improvement
  • Warehouse space utilization
  • Production cost analysis accuracy

These compound to bolster profitability.

Better-Informed Strategic Decisions

With a unified data platform spanning the extended supply chain, analytics offer:

  • Executive sales and operations reporting
  • Production dashboard for constraints analysis
  • Supplier risk assessment
  • Enterprise profitability views

Leaders can adjust tactics based on real scenarios.

Reduced IT Infrastructure Costs

Migrating from disjoint legacy systems to integrated Epicor ERP reduces annual costs for:

  • Hardware hosting of multiple platforms
  • Vendor support fees for various packages
  • Internal IT maintenance and troubleshooting

Cloud deployment amplifies these savings from minimized servers.

Case Studies of Epicor ERP Success

Epicor does not lack validation from long-term manufacturing customers demonstrating measurable operational gains. A few examples showcase this value delivery:

Trojan Battery: Power Sports Manufacturer

CompanyTrojan Battery
Business IssueSlow legacy system hindered production and order management efficiency
SolutionEpicor cloud ERP improving analysis with stronger reporting
ResultsDoubled order accuracy to 99%
Cut fulfillment cycles 20% with workflow automation
Gained real-time visibility of $90M inventory

Precision MetalWorks – Custom Metal Fabricator

CompanyPrecision MetalWorks
Business IssueDisjoint systems caused inventory and job cost inaccuracies
SolutionIntegrated Epicor ERP on Microsoft Azure cloud
ResultsReduced raw stock outs by 65%
Sped quote turnaround 38%
Cut IT costs 28% by consolidating servers

TriMark USA – Foodservice Equipment Distributor

CompanyTriMark USA
Business IssueOperating 19 divisions on separate systems limited enterprise analytics
SolutionStandardized distributor processes on Epicor ERP
ResultsImproved inventory turns 17%
Doubled daily orders processed
Gained cross-company reporting for strategic decisions

With proven ROIs across key metrics like these demonstrated by long-term Epicor customers, manufacturers find the solutions delivering operational excellence.

Conclusion and Summary

Epicor ERP provides a customized fit for the complex requirements of industrial manufacturing and distribution businesses. With the most robust depth of capabilities prioritizing planning, production, inventory, and more, Epicor optimizes workflows while providing analytics for smarter decisions. Cloud deployment streamlines access and maintenance with lower IT burdens. And with expertise forged from years serving intricate industry vertical use cases, Epicor enables organizations to achieve heightened competitiveness and profitability. Using powerful ERP technology tuned to manufacturers’ strengths sets up producers for success both today and in the future.