Digital transformation is a term that has received a lot of air time lately, and not surprisingly, it has also received a fair amount of suspicion. This should not be surprising, from the dawn of the written word, people have been suspicious of change.
In the Roman era, Ovid’s metamorphoses cataloged various characters of ancient myth, characters who, for one reason or another, were transformed by circumstance: The changing of a young man into a deer, for instance, or the turning of a young woman into a tree.
An in Ovid’s work, the transformation invariably was from a higher form to a lower form—radical change, for Ovid was essentially a bad thing. I wouldn’t mind being a tree, for instance, at least until the nearest roman tree surgeon came lumbering by.
In the 20th century Kafka’s own metamorphosis chronicled a similar transformation—this time, of one individual from an everyday man to a monstrous hideous beetle. One day you’re squelching the bugs underfoot, and the next day you’re the squelch! I see now why Kafka had such a hard time finding dates on Saturday evenings.
In this way, writers and thinkers over the years have been suspicious of change. Such types are often in search of the timeless, the eternal, the constant, and transformation has no place to stand among these pillars of persistence. It should also be noted too that Socrates was a lousy businessman. Just ask Asclepius about the rooster he had coming to him.
Now business rarely fit neatly into a literary narrative—businesses can be rough, and jumbled, sometimes tedious, sometimes unpredictable. But what businesses understand is that they cannot afford the stability and stasis that our literati longed for. Stasis just does keep the lights on for long
I met once with a small company in the mist of expanding its operations and they said to me that they were trying to move from being a big-little company to a little big company. That they had to change the way they did business, in order to sale up its operations and grow, and was making adjustments to its ERP system configuration to support these changes.
Another company I met was in the middle of a rocky new ERP system implementation, as it worked to replace the decades of paper-based processes that just didn’t work in the digital age. The processes and procedures that they had developed just no longer could support the work they needed to do. Their world had changed—their suppliers, their customers, and they knew that they needed to undergo a similar conversion.
For these companies, ERP digital transformation isn’t a literary reflection—it’s a simple necessity. What they’ve been doing up until now just cant support what they need to do, in order to hold onto what they have, or reach out for new opportunities. And our work at the Estes group was to support their reinventions utilizing the new ERP system implementation and the fine-tuning of their enterprise systems as the catalysts.
At the Estes group, we realize that the necessity of change comes with technical and organizational challenges, and we work with our clients to blend different approaches to ERP digital transformation in order to help our clients reshape themselves to better compete with an ever changing landscape.
EstesGroup, a leading Epicor ERP partner and NetSuite Solution Provider, today announced the appointment of Mark Herman to the post of Vice President of Professional Services.
Mark brings 25 years of experience working in complex business and technology environments, helping manufacturers transform to world-class operations. He’s recognized as one of the top Epicor ERP implementation consultants and holds three U.S. patents.
EstesGroup utilizes a proprietary 5-step PEAK methodology to provide best-in-class ERP services to more than 500 clients worldwide. EstesGroup has expertise in the manufacturing, distribution, medical and services industries and provides implementation, support, optimization, training and integration solutions for Epicor, NetSuite, IQMS, and Microsoft ERP.
“EstesGroup was one of my key strategic partners when I needed to scale a major project,” said Herman. “Not only is their staff 100% certified to the highest levels of ERP systems, but they also understand the business side of their client’s operations, allowing them to offer tighter integrations between the software and the company’s internal processes. It’s tremendously exciting to now join the company and provide the Estes Professional Services team with the tools and guidance to enable them to continue their exceptional record of customer engagement and satisfaction.”
Before joining EstesGroup, Herman served as Vice-President and Principal Consultant of IHS Technologies. He has extensive experience in manufacturing and technology, having started on the shop floor while putting himself through college to earn a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University. Following a successful career in Engineering, during which he was awarded 3 U.S. Patents, Herman managed the transformation of a national manufacturing company from a disparate multi-site environment into a centralized organization using the latest virtual and cloud-based technologies.
“Mark is a respected global business and technology leader with strong cloud, SaaS, and on-premise expertise,” said Bruce Grant, CEO, EstesGroup. “Mark’s solutions-focused approach and creative problem-solving skills have established him as a go-to expert in the ERP industry. Mark and his team will provide solutions to allow customers to remain on the leading technology edge and be competitive in the global marketplace.”
EstesGroup helps businesses run better. We provide solutions to industry-specific verticals including the needs of manufacturing, distribution, medical, retail, and service industry customers. With our own PEAK methodology and over 12 years of experience, our clients enjoy the highest level of professional support in the industry―in the cloud, hosted, or on-premises – for their ERP or Managed Services needs.
Epicor’s Product Configurator is among its most enigmatic and elusive modules. Configurator has been diversely characterized and mischaracterized, as everything from the cure to all that ails you to the straw that broke the company’s back. This presents a daunting task for Epicor customers operating in engineer-to-order and configure-to-order environments, for there are a lot of answers and partial-answers out there, and getting to an answer specific to a given business is more easily said than done. Different companies, in different markets, have specific questions, and Epicor’s introductory materials tend to serve a general audience. Moreover, the experiences of customers from different industries and earlier versions of configurator may or may not apply to a company looking to implement or upgrade to the current Epicor release. The place of the customer within the Epicor implementation lifecycle also greatly affects their needs. For companies implementing Epicor for the first time in version 10.1, the questions may relate to the applicability of Epicor’s Product Configurator module to the company’s product offerings, or to the ease with which Product Configurator instances can be constructed and maintained. For companies moving from Vantage 8.03 or Epicor 9.05 versions, the questions may relate to the ease with which they can convert their configurators from Epicor’s older architecture to its new platform, and how to get their staff ready to maintain them, moving forward. Customers already in the heart of an implementation effort may just need someone to look over their shoulder and ensure that best practices are being followed, or even help expedite the configurator design and development.
For these reasons, The Estes Group tailors its Epicor ERP implementation services to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the client in question:
Configurator Upgrade Assessment: For existing Epicor customers considering the move from Vantage 803 or Epicor 905, but are concerned about the ramifications to their existing configurators, an assessment of their current use of Epicor’s Product Configurator module is often of great value. Estes’s consultants have configurator experience going back to Vantage 803 and moving forward into its current 10.1.600 release. Moreover, Estes’ consultants have experience uplifting and rebuilding configurators from earlier versions to Epicor’s current architecture, capturing the business requirements from the original versions, while leveraging Epicor’s new features, such as the expanded user interface, the elaborated method rule architecture its user-defined method capabilities and its highly-flexible configurator lookup table competencies. Such an assessment is most often a combination of remote and onsite effort, analyzing the existing solution and mapping its requirements to the Epicor 10 configurator.
New or existing customers often benefit from the traditional business process review (BPR) format, tailored to the areas affecting or affected by Epicor’s Configurator (quoting, order entry, planning, manufacturing). The goal of a Configurator BPR is to help the client understand whether Epicor’s Product Configurator module will address their business needs. It is common to incorporate a Business Process Review at the onset of an upgrade assessment when working with existing Epicor customers. These events normally extend from a few days to a week in duration, depending primarily on the size and complexity of the business and follow a detailed agenda, designed to explore the customer’s products and processes from multiple angles.
Epicor ERP Configurator Proof-Of-Concept:
For new customers in greater need of verification, or for customers looking to get a jump-start to their implementation, a Proof-Of-Concept activity (POC) is often the appropriate direction. Normally performed on the heels of a BPR, POC events involve a configurator and a production consultant working with the client team to develop a working prototype that can be processed through the quote-to-ship cycle, for purposes of business process prototyping and configurator verification. For companies in need of a definitive answer to specific questions, a Proof-Of-Concept activity is the most concrete way in which to provide them. And for companies struggling to gain project momentum, these events can be highly beneficial in gaining much-needed project traction.
Configurator Development Support: For customers in the midst of an Epicor implementation, but in need of some “extra muscle” in the area of Product Configurator, Estes offers trained consultants who can step in, roll up their sleeves, and immediately assist with design review, configurator development, and related system consulting. These activities can be performed remotely or onsite, based on customer need, and can vary in scope from a few remote hours a week, to an onsite intensive session, to ongoing engagement.
Ask us any question you have about Epicor ERP Configurator. We have answers.
New competitors are entering the market, product categories are evolving rapidly, and customers are consuming products and services in new and different ways. These factors are driving unprecedented changes to the industry and your distribution business.
The question is how will you respond to all of this? Will you be reactive in trying to keep up with the pace of change, or will you become a change agent and transform your business to harness change as a competitive advantage?
Fundamentally, there are five strategic goals you need to pursue to remain on the cutting edge of the distribution business:
Provide a best-in-class e-commerce experience to your customers
Attract new customers, leveraging your online presence and e-commerce platform
Become the preferred supplier in your target verticals
Optimize your processes
Defend your base
Key to achieving these goals is having the right systems and processes in place. In this post we look at the Epicor P21 software system, its flagship product for distributors.
Epicor P21’s user interface has a similar look and feel to Microsoft Outlook, which makes it intuitive and easy to use. This also tends to make implementations go smoothly.
Using Epicor P21 software you’ll be able to enter service quotes, process orders, and track by serial numbers with ease. Keeping track of warranty claims, scheduling technicians and billing for labor is seamless.
The Prophet 21 system is specifically architected to handle the high transaction volumes required to scale your distribution business. Here are the platform highlights:
The P21 distribution ERP system has a familiar look and feel to any other Microsoft application and runs on Microsoft SQL Server. This makes it easy to use and provides the necessary scalability and reliability. It’s capable of accessing real-time information from a wide range of data analysis platforms.
Mobile POD (proof of delivery)
Delivery personnel can use mobile POD to capture customer signatures electronically and send that information back to Epicor P21 software. Your drivers can build their delivery list by selecting orders and assigning them to specifics routes or dates. Custom routes can be built based on order and required delivery date. Drivers can also issue return RMAs and pick-up the returned items.
Customer Service & Maintenance Contracts
Using the P21 distribution ERP system you can create service quotes and process maintenance orders seamlessly. The system can track serial numbers, mapped to customer information. Customers can make inquiries using the serial number, service orders can then be created directly from those queries. You can configure your system to suggest upsells for preventive maintenance contracts at the item level. USEABILITY:
The data entry format and modules of Epicor P21 software are quick, easy to access and with a separate Navigation Pane featuring folders, you will have the capability to launch various functions such as Order Entry, Inventory Control, CRM, and Accounting.
Need to go back through history and find a specific job or order? No worries here, the P21 distribution ERP’s History Panel allows for very rapid access to information and previously accessed documents, modules, functions.
And then, there is the game-changer: DynaChange
Now, once we implement your customized Prophet 21 ERP distribution software, you will make use of the DynaChange page designer. We will work with you to make sure all of your interfaces bring up the right distribution information you need using this powerful tool, and you will not need a specialized programmer to make future changes to your pages. Prophet 21’s DynaChange allows for such ease-of-use and customization, that you will be able to change as your distribution business grows.
At EstesGroup, we know technology is only a good investment when it makes your business run better when it improves deliverability, customer satisfaction, and financial forecasting.
Together we will implement Epicor’s powerful P21 distribution ERP and customize every one of its amazing modules, technology, and features to ensure your distribution business is more scalable, delivers even better customer service, and of course more profitable than ever before.