ERP Customization: Why You Should Consider Customizing Your ERP System?
ERP systems are written with flexibility in mind and provide suggested business processes for your company to follow. There are times when ERP customization is required due to a customer having a unique business model. This is tackled by custom code being written and ‘built into’ the ERP system.
For instance, we had a customer in the telecommunications business. They have a satellite orbiting the earth, and they charge their customers based on the usage of the bandwidth of the satellite. The satellite continually transfers communications about what it has broadcast, by whom, and the volume of use. We implemented our ERP customization service and wrote an interface that receives that data, identifies who the customer is, calculates the amount of data in each category of services, looks up the correct charges based on the type of data and volume, and processes invoices. Most of the processes are sent electronically to their customers. Before our work, this had all been done manually, and by the way, they do 60,000 invoices every month.
Benefits of Customizing An ERP System
This, however, is a tricky part of the ERP business. In our case, Epicor is based on ‘service-oriented architecture,’ which means we never actually touch the system’s source code. Epicor is constructed in ‘layers’ to add some custom logic to a layer, which effectively changes the logic of how the system works without altering or affecting the integrity of the base system.
The benefit of customizing an ERP system is the ability to utilize custom logic without the risk of damaging the core processes of the system. This gives the customer the ‘best of both worlds’ – ERP customization & functionality in a standard system.
As the system is upgraded over the years, these layers of customization can be updated to follow the system as it gets updated.
How Much Does ERP Customization Cost?
Because ERP customization requests are so unique, we provide a detailed discovery process to identify the necessary process(s) and give the customer an upfront estimate of the costs, usually with a range of hours not to exceed. We determine the critical functionality and scope of the project.
Certainly, there are times when the customer changes the scope or determines they need to add some functionality they realize they need – but rest assured that EpiCenter will NOT go over the quoted price unless approved by our customer.
There are some other recommendations we should make here when customizing ERP systems:
Select One Vendor For Doing ERP Customizations
These projects change the system’s logic, and it’s very easy for one developer to conflict with another if there isn’t adequate supervision. If one vendor is doing multiple customizations, it’s their responsibility to keep the various projects from stepping on each other.
Be Wary of Offshore Technical Help
ERP programming is sophisticated because it’s integrated, meaning everything is connected to everything else. Unless your developer has a masterful understanding of the system, they are unable to properly customize the system.If they make these tragic mistakes, you will likely not have any legal recourse against an offshore resource.
Use An ‘Authorized Partner’ of Your ERP Publisher
These are companies who are required to have training, certifications, liability insurance, and if something goes wrong, the publisher is obligated to back them up. Unauthorized consultants are risky to use not only from a liability perspective, but single person can know everything about a full fledged ERP product. It requires a team with various specialties to properly understand and implement an ERP system. We are proud to be amongst those authorized partners and an Epicor certified hosting partner as well.
Contact EpiCenter ERP Today and Speak with an ERP Customization Expert!
We work with Epicor ERP (Kinetic) because we feel it is the best small to medium size ERP on the market. We are the largest services provider to Epicor, and have a large team of experts in virtually every area you’ll need. Whether you are a ‘Lean’ shop, have multiple plants and/or companies, medical device, or engineer to order shop, we have extensive experience with companies like yours.
If you’re in the market for ERP customizations such as Epicor, please drop us a line and let us earn your business!
written by Jeffrey W. Glaze, President