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Epicor Kinetic Upgrade: A Customer Perspective

Epicor Kinetic Upgrade: A Customer Perspective

An Interview with an Epicor Kinetic User

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with an Epicor customer to discuss their recent upgrade to Epicor Kinetic 2021.1. For many Epicor customers, this is a decision they will be facing in the next 12 months since the Epicor lifecycle for 10.2.700 will create a decision point in September 2022.

During the discussion, we covered a lot of questions that are commonly asked. My hope is that what you learn here will be an input to your thought process about when and how to upgrade to Epicor Kinetic.
Epicor Kinetic Upgrade

Conservation of Manufacturing Energy

Epicor History

This customer has been using Epicor for almost 8 years after they went live on version 10x. After the implementation they fell into the habit of not upgrading on a cadence. They regretted this because it made upgrades more challenging. Plus maintaining an Epicor upgrade cadence would have benefited them with better Epicor support, fixes, and new features. In their situation they were faced with upgrading to Epicor Kinetic from V10.2.200.

They currently have 35 users and expect to expand to 50 users in the next 12 months. They do light manufacturing and lean more to the distribution side of the spectrum. They also use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and a Business Intelligence (BI) solution that interfaces with Epicor.

Upgrade to Kinetic

The upgrade process took them about 90 days of effort. Knowing that future upgrades are released regularly, they invested front-end effort into documenting their business processes, end-user procedures and customizations. They also developed standard test plans that they can reuse in the future when they need to do upgrades.

They are expecting this investment to pay off as they move to 2021.2 later this Fall. During the upgrade preparation they took some time to clean up reports on the system, review their over 300 dashboards and look for ways to reduce the complexity and number of customizations that had accumulated over the years.
They then did very thorough testing in a Pilot Kinetics environment. The testing used formal test plans with each department supporting the effort. They ran all reports and validated cross-functional capabilities of the new system using a copy of their production 10.x data. As they found issues, they created solutions and documented them.


They found that many of their reports didn’t fully convert over to the new Kinetics format. So, they reached out to get external SSRS support for conversion of these reports. They were able to resolve any conversion issues with their dashboard reports using internal resources. This typically involved compiling them in the new environment and then saving them in the new Kinetic format.


They also set up two separate menu structures, one with a Kinetic look and one with the Classic look. This allowed users who were hesitant to use the new Kinetic menus some time to adjust. They estimate that they will transition all users away from the Classic view over a nine-month period.

Epicor Kinetic Upgrade Process

The actual upgrade was done on the 3rd weekend of the month to avoid month-end closing activities. They pre-arranged for necessary on-call support and proceeded with the upgrade. It finished and they applied any solutions they had discovered during testing. Then they tested the overall functionality using some pre-determined tests. No glaring issues were found so they were able to release the environment to users.

They found that the minor kinks that remained took them about 30-45 days to resolve. They were pleased that there were no issues with user permissions after the upgrade or with printing and labels.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few Epicor Kinetic upgrade suggestions from the customer perspective:

  • Make sure you have the necessary licenses for your Pilot environment,
  • Don’t forget the testing of integrations that access or share data with Epicor,
  • Make sure that department heads sign off on the test plans, so they understand any gaps/concerns, and
  • Consider using the developed Test Plans to next create new End User Documentation.

In the end, they felt like the Epicor Kinetic upgrade was more of a UI and programming change than a lot of new features for their users.

One More Thing

In retrospect they had one other recommendation that I found valuable.

Since the new Kinetics Users Interface (UI) allows all Forms to be displayed in any popular browser, there is an important decision to make. The decision is whether to allow Users to access Epicor from personal devices (tablets, home computers, phones). Most companies will have security concerns that will affect this decision. In their case, they decided to not allow users to use personal devices for accessing the Epicor application.

Overall, this customer was pleased with the upgraded UI. They found that the new UI is cleaner and more modern. Plus, the users like the ability to sort, and rearrange columns on the screen. In version 2021.1 some of the features they needed still required them to use the Classic interface, but the new release 2021.2 seems to have resolved these problems.

For now, the largest issue has been helping users make the transition to the new User Interface. Some users felt it was a steep learning curve for them and others didn’t. It confirmed for them that users rarely like change particularly in the screens they use each day. That’s why it is important to give them time to experiment and view the new interface well before any upgrade.

The I.T. department didn’t see any speed issues with processing under the new release. And they are looking forward to not having to install/upgrade clients on user laptops/desktops as they fully use the new Kinetics interface. 

I hope this quick look at one client’s experience will provide some background for your decision-making and spur some questions that your organization needs to explore. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us.

Ask the Author about your Kinetic ERP Project

Rob Mcmillen ERP Consultant

Rob McMillen is a Senior Project Manager with EstesGroup. He has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years supporting multiple implementations of new ERP systems and leading projects. Because his mom was an English teacher, he grew up with a love of writing. Combined with his working experience, he has written articles for LinkedIn and User Groups, and has published numerous blog posts. He is also a co-author of a book on technology and working collaboratively. He currently lives in the DFW area. Ask Rob a question now by clicking here to visit our “Ask An Expert” page.

Do you need help with keeping your ERP project kinetic?

For 18 years, EstesGroup has helped manufacturers and distributors implement, optimize, and support their ERP systems. With veteran consultants highly skilled in both the old Epicor ERP versions and in the latest version, our upgrade service is all-inclusive. Our Cloud ERP experts can help you understand everything from data migration to upgrade tools. We support companies on every version of Epicor, so whether you want to maintain your old system or upgrade to the latest release, you’ll find everything you need to make your application studio shine. 

Kinetic Epicor ERP Project

Are software upgrades or technology upgrades in your future? Our IT experts are here to help with your business. Are you wondering how to upgrade to Epicor Kinetic? Rather than focusing on your Epicor software, or other ERP system, focus on the work you love. Let our Epicor Kinetic experts do the busy work, the maintenance, and the specialized tasks while you focus on manufacturing. Put your data in a private cloud hosted environment for ultimate backup & disaster recovery and cybersecurity.

Employee Retention: The Attrition Mission

Employee Retention: The Attrition Mission

There’s a significant shift occurring in the job market. And our manufacturing and distribution industries will not escape the impact.

For the past few years, it has been an employer’s market and many workers were unable to find jobs. But that has changed in the last 18 months and there are growing concerns about employee retention.

In the past 5 months, over 15 million US workers have quit their jobs.

Plus, in recent surveys, 40% of employees are considering leaving their jobs in the next 3-6 months. Rather than cooling down, there are projections that more attrition is coming.

There are many reasons this could be occurring. And many strategies to consider. What’s clear is that if your organization is not understanding the root issues, it will increase your employee attrition rate rather than reduce it.

Before we can answer what it takes to retain your best employees, it’s important to understand the dynamics of the situation.

Employee Attrition vs Attraction Recruit and Retain Gears

Differing Perspectives

A recent article, by McKinsey and Company, explored this topic. It noted several disconnects between organizations and employees. These disconnects are likely contributing to employee dissatisfaction.

The article highlights that organizations often focus on increasing compensation and financial perks as a first step to stop employee attrition.

But is that scratching the itch that employees are feeling? What if there is “more at work” (pun intended) than making more money? And if compensation is not the driving issue, how should your organization respond?

Let’s start with the emotional toll of the last 18 months during the pandemic. Behind it we can learn more.

Most employees have experienced rapid change. Illness, online meetings, hospitalizations, new work procedures, vaccines, deaths, politics, changing recommendations, school closings, and daily unknowns have been their daily diet. At work their relationships were frayed by new routines and rules. Constant fear contributed to few social interactions, no get-togethers and limited travel. And with it the use of masks limited our ability to communicate visually.

Employee Expectations

The result has been a change in employee’s work needs. Studies are showing that employees are looking for these benefits in their work:

  1. A sense of value from being in the organization
  2. The potential for advancement
  3. Having caring and trusting teammates
  4. Options for a more flexible work schedule
  5. Feeling more valued by their managers
  6. A sense of belonging

Shared Expectations

Both employers and employees do agree on some things. They both believe that these issues need to be addressed:

  1. Work-life balance
  2. Unmanageable workloads
  3. Feeling disengaged at work
  4. Help with caring for families

Organizational Focus

This leaves us to consider whether employers are right in focusing primarily on these issues which may not be valued by employees:

  1. Creating more opportunities
  2. Accommodating more remote work
  3. Improving the health of employees
  4. Discouraging employees from looking for new jobs
  5. Taking steps to limiting poaching by competitors

Suggested Focus

The McKinsey and Company article recommends that organizations start by listening to employees and including them in discussions. This signals that employees are valued.

That doesn’t happen when management decisions are handed down without employee input. Such decisions are often seen as indicators that management is uncaring and disconnected from employees. And who wants to work in a place like this?

There are positive things that can change the tone in organizations. And they involve asking hard questions about your organization and then moving to address any problems.

  1. Is our organization sheltering toxic leaders who do not value, inspire or motivate their employees?
  2. Are the right people in the right roles in both our management and non-management ranks?
  3. How can we make our culture more collaborative and open to conversations?
  4. How do we replace transactional approaches with relational approaches that stress collaboration and value?
  5. Are our company benefits aligned with employee priorities that are top-of-mind?
  6. What career paths and development opportunities do our employees really have?
  7. How can we build community at work by encouraging better relationships?

From Ideas to Action

Each of these questions focuses on increasing the collaborated relationship across the organization. They send the message that the organization is empowered by trusted relationships and a shared future.

So, what can we say at this point?

First, it is clear is that the employee/employer relationship has changed over the past 18 months. Employees are wanting a more relational approach to their work, more connectivity and more value from their workplace.

Secondly, there are real opportunities for your organization. Those manufacturing and distribution organizations which lead with dialogue and listening will find ways to benefit from the changes.

They will retain top performers because they communicate value, a shared future and positive opportunities.

Now, what can you do to get this moving with your team?

Ask the Author

Rob Mcmillen ERP Consultant

Rob McMillen is a Senior Project Manager with EstesGroup. He has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years supporting multiple implementations of new ERP systems and leading projects. Because his mom was an English teacher, he grew up with a love of writing. Combined with his working experience, he has written articles for LinkedIn and User Groups, and has published numerous blog posts. He is also a co-author of a book on technology and working collaboratively. He currently lives in the DFW area.