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EpiMed is EpiCenter’s comprehensive life sciences system that provides all of the necessary functionality for various life science requirements such as the medical device development process. 

The core of this offering is the Epicor Kinetic system, and as an Authorized Partner of Epicor, EpiCenter has developed EpiMed with the input and collaboration of many of our customers.

This system is very scalable and useful for startups & established organizations who need to comply with ISO 13485, and/or 21 CFR Part 11.  

The cornerstone of this functionality is Epicor’s extensive traceability and EpiCenter’s efforts at creating an ‘out of the box’ solution for key health sciences requirements.

AI

ERP 4.0

&

To illustrate the synthesis between AI and ERP, we've created an interactive diagram to demonstrate the ERP 4.0 concept. With this tool, we concisely describe what each level of ERP 4.0 contains, how to advance to the next, and how you'll benefit. With that being said, take a look below.

To distill AI's involvement in ERP down to its core essence, we've created ERP 4.0.  Comprised of four axiomatic levels, ERP 4.0 is an articulation of an ERP system's level of utilization and yielded efficiency, with AI being a critical part of ERP 4.0's highest order.

What's important to understand about ERP 4.0 isn't just about each of the four levels themselves, but the transitions between them. How you get from Level 1 to Level 4 is dependent upon your ability to effectively plan, address, and act upon the main transition barriers.

No matter what stage of ERP usage you're in or what ERP experience you might have, ERP 4.0 is your high-level guide to understanding what's possible, and more importantly, what benefits are probable by advancing your ERP system, all without bogging you down in details.

AI is not a new concept, with Stanley Kubrick's cinematic masterpiece 2001: A SPACE ODYSSDEY in 1968 being just one example of that. Yet, as technology has advanced, the concept of AI has roamed into new territory in unique ways. ERP is no different.

While an ERP system has some unique functionality already in place within its core modules, AI elevates an ERP system's usage beyond the standard reports that it provides to take both internal and external influences into consideration.

For instance, you could build a number of different special conditions into your MRP that you want AI to 'pay attention to' and 'anticipate' that could factor in fluctuations of a material's cost, availability, or even external, macro-economic influences. 

Black Hole Grid

ERP 4.0

An interactive guide to the four levels of fully-integrated ERP utilization & efficiency

Level 4

Level 3

Level 2

Level 1

Level 1 Initial State

  • No functional ERP system in place.

  • All tasks are done manually.

  • All hard copy documentation.

  • Environment where human error is highly likely, if not a certainty.

    • Critical business areas aren't maintained well, let alone conducted with proactivity.​

Level 1 Final State

  • Replacing existing, paper-based tasks and multiple, disparate systems.

  • Quoting, orders, jobs, procurement, quality, scheduling, logistics, and accounting are all integrated.

    • No information is entered multiple times, nor incorrectly.​

  • Accurate Costing and auto-updated overhead and materials costs.

  • Configured products with engineering rules.

  • Cloud offerings to 'fill in the gaps' in the ERP offering.

    • Sales Tax calculation (Avalara)​

    • PO tracking/sourcing/updating delivery & pricing (SourceDay)

    • Web inquiries/catalog/transactions (PartTrap/eCommerce products)

Level 1-2 Transition

  • Automation of processes.

  • Fully using the ERP system.

  • Now using all ERP system modules.

Level 2 Initial State

  • Level 1's full usage of the ERP system as a foundation.

  • Planning for automation of common/clerical transactions.

  • Structuring of automated workflows.

    • Customer service/Engineering/QA Integrated Document Management​

Level 2 Final State

  • Automation of processes done in conjunction with sophisticated modules added to core ERP system.

  • Intagrated document management.

    • ERP system's ability to 'read' documents & take action - automatically.​

    • Inquiry/quote/order process flow for existing customer.​

Level 2-3 Transition

  • Assess reworking organization due to access to analytics and automated processes.

Level 3 Initial State

  • Level 2's full usage of the ERP system as a foundation.

  • Initiating strategic/organizational reworking has a benefit of ERP system analytics.

  • Full automation of clerical processes, and the system is feeding the appropriate daily information to each user. This is according to what that user believes they need for their function, including internal and external inputs (weather, global pricing & availability etc). 

Level 3-4 Transition

  • Leveraging what the ERP system can tell us that we haven't thought of.

Level 3 Final State

  • Integration of global trends.

  • Forecasting utilizing internal and external information.

  • Price of oil, inflation, & specific market conditions related to your industry.

  • Predicting specific or market actions

    • Stock market model - 'Programmed Trading' condition & action (Puts & Calls)

  • Artificial Intelligence for real!

    • Information available by voice query.​

Level 4 Initial State

  • Initiate the integration global macro trends with micro trends that affect your business and industry.

  • Enhance the optimization of scheduling & forecasting.

  • Aim to integrate politics/areas of instability/market opportunities

    • Develop hypothesis

    • Test hypothesis

    • Revise hypothesis

    • Test again, etc. 

Level 4 Final State

  • Elimination of clerical work.

  • AI-empowered ERP systems interconnected to quality, shipping, forecasting, suppliers, vendors-all possible sources of information needed for decision making.

    • Builds on Level 3, but the difference is using AI to decide what information should be considered and the system either makes automated decisions, or suggests decisions based on information that the user is not aware of. For instance, if there is a shortage of oil due to a war, then the system sources plant-based products that function the same way, as long as they aren't more expensive. If the replacement product is more expensive, then the system asks the user if cost parameters can be changed to allow the purchase in order to maintain on-time delivery.​

  • 25%+ reduction in inventory.

  • 90%+ on-time delivery.

  • Only important, value-added expenses are afforded.

Hover over diagram for info

Initial State

Final State

Level Transition

Efficiency

The level of efficiency a company yields from their ERP system within the ERP 4.0 concept directly correlates to its ERP utilization. The higher the level in ERP 4.0, the more efficient an organization operates. 

What's important to understand about efficiency within ERP 4.0 is that the higher the level you go, the more unique a definition 'efficiency' becomes. That's especially the case when your ERP system is configured to do such things as leverage AI functionality to pay attention to, not just internal, but external factors. Those could be programmed behaviors to absorb and react to industry or market trends, procurement parameters to react to challenges in obtaining critical materials, or even information that a user wouldn't even think to look for. 

Efficiency

ERP Utilization

Plain and simple, this is how much of your ERP system you are using. With each incremental level in the ERP 4.0 concept, ERP utilization increases. That's not just in terms of things like how many users you have, but how many modules, integrations, and customizations that increase the number of 'touchpoints' your ERP system has with your organization. 

What many ERP administrators and users don't realize about ERP utilization is just how under-utilized their system really is. When configured and trained correctly, your ERP system can accomplish far more than just being 'the system' that everyone in your organization uses as a chore. It can become a driving force at the very foundation of your business, enabling you to attain your mostly lofty goals.  

ERP Utilization

While there’s a lot of buzz about AI, and for good reason, it doesn’t negate one important fact—especially in relation to AI within the ERP sphere. That being, AI, when and where appropriately integrated into your ERP system, is a tool for you to use and benefit from. It’s not some kind of an alternative sentient being, with machinations of global domination that you’d find in some doomsday-scenario movie.

When bombarded by the surfeit of AI stories in the news, reel yourself back and remind yourself of the nuts and bolts of AI in ERP, because that’s how you would benefit from it.

Artificial Intelligence is the ability for a computer system to draw conclusions from structured or unstructured information. Structured information is traditional data, such as customer lists, sales transactions, and inventory discrepancies. Unstructured information is the plethora of online news, economic data, social media trends, and comments made online. 

Keep This in Mind

We in the ERP world build routines that are ‘rules based’ – such as ‘if sales volume exceeds x, then trigger a price increase’. Other examples include programmed trading, MRP calculations and actions, and any place where we set up an automatic response to something happening in our system.

Unstructured information may be related to our ERP but includes unexpected information we have not anticipated.

For instance, if 20% of our inventory has oil-based components, then monitoring the price of oil would make sense.  However, if there’s a news item that one of the oil-producing countries is entering a time of instability, we may want to anticipate that and move some of our procurement before the price of oil spikes from that country. 

This is the paradigm shift of AI. We now have the ability to ask systems to search out related information that doesn’t appear to be related, all of which is to our benefit. AI, simply, is the tool that allows us to do that.

How AI is 'Controlled' in ERP

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