What Are The Benefits of Using Epicor ERP Software?
For companies comparing systems, it’s pretty difficult to make ‘apples to apples’ comparisons. Systems name certain features differently than others, some are organized differently, and many ‘subtle’ differences can make a huge difference for the customer. This article will provide some insight into how Epicor Kinetic is organized and illustrate the ‘Epicor’ approach to business. Hopefully, it will give you the ability to understand Epicor Kinetic better and compare Epicor Kinetic with other ERP systems.
Major Elements of Epicor Kinetic
Many ERP systems are similarly designed, but here are the major elements of Epicor Kinetic and what makes it stand out:
- Quotes: Cost-based quotes can be developed from scratch or drawing on past history of similar products. Epicor Kinetic has a powerful Product Configurator feature that allows you to build a new product by answering various questions to narrow down the choices and ultimately arrive at specified products for your operation. You build the rules to do this and the ones to set up the production steps. This allows customer service staff to enter the information and produce a well-engineered job for the shop floor.
- CRM: Your CRM is fully integrated and allows tracking of ‘cases’ regarding customer shipments and appropriate work to be done, whether that’s engineering change orders or replacement of lost or damaged shipments. Corrective Actions can be generated to track quality improvements and provide evidence of quality activity for outside auditors.
- Sales: Orders are those discreet orders that come in from customers, and the system handles multiple releases, price lists (customer-specific, customer groups, industry groups etc.), as well as incoming orders from EDI, forecasting, master production schedules, and transfer orders from other facilities in your organization.
- Production planning: Product planning consolidates this demand and allows you to determine the size and schedule of production orders. MRP can also be used to do this automatically, so you maintain min. stock quantities, optimal run sizes, and other production planning master data, and the system does the rest.
Methods of Manufacturing
Methods of Manufacturing are Epicor’s wording for routings and bills of material, and they are stored 3 ways:
- Quotes: Quotes remain static for the term of the quote, and can be pulled into a production job so the job is made exactly the way the job was quoted.
- Jobs: The actual ‘as built’ record of what was done on the shop floor.
- Engineering Workbench: This stores the ‘master’ records for assemblies that are done repetitively, and these records are dynamic, which means that as labor rates or material prices change, these records are automatically updated, so your costing information is always up to date. When jobs are made, they copy the current record from the engineering workbench and the job is done with those current costs.
More Benefits of Epicor ERP
- Capacity planning: In Epicor, this is extensive and is primarily done by resources (individual machines, people, or production lines) or resource groups (groups of these resources that are common). Scheduling can be finite or infinite, front to back, back to front, or however you’d like to set it up.
- Fulfillment: Fulfillment is integrated into Epicor ERP, which makes Epicor an excellent fit for ‘mixed mode’ manufacturing, where some products are made to stock and sit on a shelf, while others are strictly made to order. The fulfillment module ‘picks’ the products from wherever they are to combine them for on-time shipping. In addition, the ‘replenishment dashboard’ triggers inventory replenishment of stock on the shop floor and ‘cascades’ inventory from master stores onsite or in other warehouses, so the replenishment of inventory is done promptly, and when necessary triggers purchases or internal jobs to replace stock wherever needed.
- Project management: All elements of a project (quotes, orders, jobs, purchase orders, and project-related tasks) are coordinated in a job management module, and there’s a scheduling window for all elements of production that relate to a given project. Automatic billing at certain rules-based stages is set up so you don’t forget to send invoices for incremental billing. Project costing is kept at the project phase level as well as the overall project. This is very useful for long-term contracts in many industries.
- Costing is real-time in Epicor: Actual cost data is entered on the shop floor through Epicor’s shop floor data collection screens, however, the system can be interfaced with virtually any PLC to automatically feed production information into the system including quality data.
- Quality: There are 3 levels of quality management in Epicor that arrange simple-reason code analysis to quality plans, SPC, as well APQP, and all manner of quality evaluation and analysis required for your industry.
What is Integrated with Epicor ERP?
There are many facets of a company with which Epicor ERP can integrate. Let’s break them down below:
- Procurement is fully integrated, and the system presents ‘purchase order suggestions’ for your buyer’s review, or PO’s can be automatically issued. Rating of vendors is built into the system.
- Shipping is integrated into all major manifesting systems, and the act of shipping moves the transaction into a pending place for invoicing, so there isn’t any data entry required, and nobody ‘forgets’ to invoice for shipped items.
- All accounting functions are also fully integrated, so AP/AR/GL is all interconnected. This minimizes data entry and allows your accounting staff to have excellent visibility into your production and costs. Epicor’s accounting system is extremely powerful, including the ability to set up as many as 20 segments, 200 character GL codes, dynamic segments (no need to pre-set up segments, the system will generate them if needed automatically) and GL Controls allow the accounting team to set up special rules for tracking certain transactions.
- Multi-site/multi-company accounting has the unlimited ability for any number of plants within companies, and companies within an enterprise. Automatic consolidations are done so end-of-period financials are accurate. Epicor ERP has 41 country-specific modules for global organizations.
- Asset management including depreciation schedules is available, as well as maintenance management which tracks the cost of maintenance for production equipment. This is also integrated into scheduling, so when machines are down for periodic maintenance, production scheduling will know not to look for these devices.
What is ERP and How Does It Work?
Now, with all that background, you may be ready to start to evaluate whether Epicor ERP is a good fit for your organization, but most likely you’ll have more questions. Here’s a list of some of the more popular features of Epicor to help spur your need to see the software. We suggest you put together your questions from this article and the list of features below and contact us at EpiCenter to help you understand what else Epicor has to offer and potentially set up a demo of these various features:
Epicor ERP Features
- Windows functionality, right-click, configurable screens, role-specific
- Help screens take you exactly to the topic you’re on
- Controlled documents available as annotations to Help, ISO compliant.
- Epicor University provides multimedia instructional information for all modules
- Security down to the field level, that works throughout the product ie reporting/dashboards
- Security groups & individual security
- Dashboard developer embedded, lots available to copy and make net changes.
- Traceability of every transaction for every field (change sales price example)
- Enterprise search – every field indexed in the system
- True document management (master document storage, vaulting, revision control)
- Indexing on the full document
- Intelligent Data Capture – the system ‘reads’ incoming documents such as sales orders, and can automatically enter them into the system via rules you set up.
- Ideal for eliminating data entry
- Menu tree view, role-based panels
- Quote system architecture, separate MOM, BOM for quotes
- ‘Part on the Fly’ – truly unique products can be quoted, produced, shipped, and invoiced without being set up in the master system
- Capable to promise at quote level & sales order level – allows a quote to be ‘scheduled’ on top of the current schedule to give accurate delivery dates at the quote or order time frame
- Master BOM maintenance (Engineering WB)
- Drag & drop from a master list to build a new assembly very quickly.
- Revision control – follows standard engineering practices, giving you the major features of an EPDM system, and may replace the need for an engineering system
- Mass replace – automatically replace items across all bills of materials
- Jobs give live costing right to the minute – no compilation time
- Scheduling views: finite, infinite, front-back, back front, my job, resource, or project
- Scheduling by resource group, resource, capability
- Project costing, multiple levels
- Project billing, rules-based
- Price lists – multi-layered approach for customer-specific, customer group, industry segments, etc., and price lists have effectivity dates, so a new year’s price lists can be set up over time, but all become active on the same dates.
- SQL, Microsoft Gold ‘more Microsoft than Microsoft’ – if your staff is already familiar with SQL, they will be right at home with how Epicor is ‘Microsoft centric’.
- Deployable dashboards for iPhones and Androids
- Microsoft Office, SalesForce integration, and many other front-end systems
- Multilingual – language packs are available to translate all screens (including help) into native languages
- Help screens can be annotated for specific instructions in your organization
- IOT integrations, Machine Metrics, etc. – allowing all kinds of interfaces to connect your devices with Epicor
- Embedded quality system for quality plans, calibration, training, maintenance built-in
- Asset management, depreciation schedules for all equipment, including updating the schedules with periodic maintenance activities
- Traceability by serial number, lot, forging, heat lot, etc., to any level
- Serialization can occur at any operation, or only when an item ships. Tracking of serial numbers occurs across the entire product.
- Direct accounting connection to shipments, receipts (3-way match)
- Advanced units of measure to allow items to be purchased by the pound, yard, skid, etc., inventoried in any conversion, and shipped an invoice however the customer needs it done. Very useful in sheet metal, machine shops, or any production facility that processes materials in various ways.
Additional Epicor Kinetic Features
- Auto reconciliation of checkbook
- Electronic distribution of PO’s and invoices
- ‘Lockbox’ to automatically post incoming receivables
- Extreme accounting functionality
- GL numbers – up to 200 characters
- GL controls – set up rules for processes, but can have ‘special rules’ for certain products, customers, etc.
- Multiple segments – up to 20 segments
- Dynamic Segments – you don’t have to set up all segments in advance – if a certain combination of tracking is needed, the system will automatically set up new segments when needed.
- Current technology product with periodic updates
- Deployment – can be deployed in a multi-tenant cloud, single-tenant cloud, or on premise with the same code set. Customers can move their data from the multi-tenant cloud into either of the other options as they grow or need to change. This is a very unique feature.
- Very active user group/enhancement portal/engagement with Epicor – Epicor truly ‘listens’ to their customers, and 80% of new enhancements come from customer suggestions.
Contact EpiCenter to Learn More About Epicor Kinetic
written by Jeffrey W. Glaze, President