Enterprise Resource Planning

What is ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the category of business software that provides integrated end to end solutions for all functions of a business.

Typically, small organizations have a combination of off the shelf solutions that help the business organize itself and analyze its information. These solutions are discrete, meaning they don’t connect to other products, and provide a solution for a particular issue.

As an organization grows, the following shortcomings become increasingly difficult for the organization:

    • Reporting on various business functions has to be generated through many disparate systems and then manually combined for overall metrics.
    • Accountability is difficult because of differences in how systems report on their own data, and it’s difficult for the user to know exactly what is being reported.
    • Auditing is very difficult, and in some cases an organization can be ‘unauditable’ meaning there is no way to reconcile the various systems. This makes borrowing money quite difficult and if an organization is preparing for sale, much more difficult to properly position.
    • Management and careful measurement of key performance indicators (KPI’s) is difficult at best. The organization spends an inordinate amount of time trying to gather data, and has little faith in that data when it is finally compiled.

With an ERP system, all other business software is abandoned, and the ERP system follows transactions all the way through the business. This provides ‘one single version of the truth’ for the organization, allows real time reporting, and the business can respond to requests for information with full confidence that the information is accurate.

ERP systems are inherently complicated, with their own internal ‘checks and balances’ to ensure the proper treatment of information and process flows. Typically ‘off the shelf’ ERP packages can be somewhat modified to allow business policies to be enforced within the processes. The degree to which these ‘customizations’ can be made is a distinguishing factor among ERP systems. A company looking at ERP systems should first document their current state, and identify the key processes that need to exist in the ERP. Once the initial ‘fit’ is identified, the ability to be flexible and adapt the ERP to future needs is critical, along with the ability to provide for industry specific and regulatory requirements.

Epicor ERP

EpiCenter exclusively represents Epicor ERP, which is an industry leading ERP package for manufacturing companies that are ‘engineer to order’ and mixed mode (some standard products as well as various custom or ‘one off’ products).

Epicor is a very mature product, with many areas of very deep expertise including:

Epicor allows the user to copy in actual materials and operations, from jobs, standard operations, or from Epicor’s ‘methods of manufacturing’ which are templates setup for standard items. This builds a cost based estimate that can then add on markups and commissions to yield a full cost based quote.
Models can be built to custom build products with rules based commands that can incorporate all options of a product or product line, rather than having to build a myriad of products illustrating every possible version of a product.
Discrete sales orders, forecasting, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), master production planning, Material Requirements Planning (MRP).
Purchasing, supplier relationship management, contracts, time based price lists.
Fully integrated to every aspect of production, including receiving inspection, first piece, quality plans, statistical forecast based production planning.
Finite and infinite capacity planning, electronic gantt charting, directed work, statistical forecast based production planning.
Where needed, control contracts or large projects including rollups of cost at the phase or overall project level, scheduling of the project, project costing, and automatically triggered incremental billing (progress billing).
Lot and serial number traceability throughout the lifecycle, logging of all fields in the software, complete auditability.
LIFO, FIFO, Standard, Average, and Average Lot costing available.
Including cycle counting, warehouse management, kitting and picking.
Integrated with all commercial shipping carriers.
Integrated with A/R, A/P, G/L, and can handle asset management (depreciation schedules).
SQL Server Reporting Service (SSRS), dashboards, business intelligence.