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How to Use Technology to Manage Freight Costs

How to Use Technology to Manage Freight Costs

Freight costs are more important than ever in our turbulent times. With ongoing inflation, and the possibility of a recession looming, runaway freight costs threaten to take distributors’ profit margins for a ride.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions often lack proper tools within the base software for managing freight costs and often must rely on third-party applications and web sites to manage and execute carrier pricing. With a potential recession on the horizon, it is more important now than ever to recover costs and protect profits. Companies go to great lengths to negotiate freight rates with carriers but often fall short on execution of the rates resulting in paying higher costs. A better solution is needed, especially in light of the challenges that a recession will bring.

Freight Costs business concept: Small cardboard boxes with a plane flies above world map. Concept of transportation, international freight, global shipping, goods or services remotely. overseas trade, regional
ShipSource

November 30th @12PM – 1PM (EASTERN)

ShipSource: Using Technology to Manage Freight Costs During a Recession

On November 30th, at Noon (Eastern), Ron Cope of ShipSource will discuss the techniques necessary when using technology to manage freight costs during a recession. The session will focus on things you can do to improve freight execution and become more efficient to control spending.

Companies spend significant time, resources, and money to license and install shipping software. Efficient and fully-functional shipping solutions are a must in the distribution industry in general and in the Epicor Prophet 21 community, in particular. Moreover, there is a need in the P21 industry for custom platforms that meet clients’ needs, that are integrated immediately, and can go live within days.

ShipSource is an authorized distributor of the ShipVia multi-carrier transportation management system, and has been providing Prophet 21 shipping solutions since 2005. ShipVia was created to meet the Prophet 21 shipping needs of the P21 distribution community, by providing a robust rating engine that can be deployed quickly at affordable pricing.

Tailored to fit the corporate growth initiatives and financial strategies, the solution supports a robust solution and a rapid implementation. If you are looking for a solution that supports rating for all your carriers and can be fully implemented within days, then ShipSource has the system for you.

Meet Ron Cope of ShipSource at ESTES INTEGRATE 2022

Ron Cope has more than 35 years of experience with transportation management. Currently, Ron is the President of ShipVia, the manufacturer of the ShipVia transportation management software program and ViaDUCT integration software. Ron is also the Managing Partner of ShipSource that is licensed to distribute the ShipVia software products.

Ron Cope

Ron Cope, ShipSource

Ready to keep your freight costs in your control?

ERP Integration Software Event
How to Prepare Your Supply Chain for 2023

How to Prepare Your Supply Chain for 2023

Over the last few years, I’ve seen companies perform every possible inventory management tactic to mitigate the supply chain challenges that afflicted the nation as a function of the pandemic. Some strategies proved to be detrimental, with manufacturing and distribution companies burdened at times with massive quantities of low-turn product. 

That is to say, if you are a distributor recovering from stressors due to the pandemic, optimally managing your Prophet 21 inventory levels is of utmost importance as you head into the new challenges of 2023. COVID-19 and other recent global events are testing the resilience and flexibility of supply chains. 

Supply Chain Challenges International freight or shipping service for online shopping or ecommerce concept : Paper boxes or carton put in circle around a clear crystal globe with world map on a computer notebook keyboard.
slimstock logo

How Can You Prepare Your Supply Chain for 2023?

Slimstock is one company that can show you how to be ready for the possible supply chain rollercoasters of the new year. Slimstock’s forecasting, planning, and purchasing solution integrates with the P21 application to bring you to the next level of P21 efficiency and P21 optimization.

Slimstock is the market leading AI-powered inventory optimization software. Slimstock helps companies using Epicor Prophet 21 by enabling the delivery of the right stock to the right place at the right time.

Slimstock does this by all-in-one P21 integration of Inventory Forecasting, Demand Planning and Purchase Optimization, with machine learning capabilities.

Over the last 25 years, Slimstock has helped thousands of companies to boost profitability and unlock working capital by improving availability, increasing efficiency, and eliminating waste with guarantee on ROI within a year. 

Since their inception in 1993, they have worked in collaboration with business leaders, domain experts and academics and the P21 user community to develop their award-winning inventory optimization platform, Slim4.

Join Jeff Steinecker, Dennis Weir, and Ryan Shanks, on November 30th at 4:00 (Eastern), as they work to help Prophet 21 companies in supercharging their P21 supply chain strategies and practices.

Slimstock Supply Chain Prophet 21

Meet Slimstock at ESTES INTEGRATE 2022

Jeff Steinecker  (Strategic Accounts Executive at Slimstock): Jeff has an extensive experience in helping customers realize gains in productivity, efficiency, and fun. He is a knowledge expert in supply chain and can align, lead, and grow supply chains with assured returns.

Dennis Weir (Business Development Executive at Slimstock): With a strong background in supply chain, Dennis is your Knowledge Partner for Demand Planning and Inventory Optimization. He is excited to represent Slimstock and answer any questions you may have.

Ryan Shanks (Pre-Sales Demonstrations & Solution Architect at Slimstock): Ryan has a background in Supply Chain, primarily focusing on Logistics, Distribution, and Sourcing.  He enjoys sharing knowledge with others and thus is delighted to be a part of the webinar.

ERP Integration Software Event
Recurrency: Sales & Purchasing Automation in P21

Recurrency: Sales & Purchasing Automation in P21

Sales and Purchasing Automation

WEBINAR: Sales and Purchasing Automation in P21

Recurrency is the leading sales and purchasing automation platform for Prophet 21. At ESTES INTEGRATE 2022, Sam Oshay, Recurrency Founder & CEO, will discuss how distributors can leverage ERP automation to:

  • Accelerate revenue growth and increase sales efficiency to industry leading levels
  • Maximize the ROI invested into inventory
  • Eliminate operational inefficiency in sales and purchasing teams
  • Strengthen customer and employee experience

What You Will Learn

Attendees of this session will gather low-effort, high-impact strategies that help combat the challenges distributors face as a result of our inflationary climate and perpetual supply chain disruptions.

Sales and Purchasing Automation in P21

Recurrency @ ESTES INTEGRATE 2022

11AM to Noon, November 30, 2022

Why Recurrency?

Recurrency is a sales, pricing, and purchasing automation platform for distributors. Despite US distributors earning over $7 trillion in collective revenues, the legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that exist to help distributors manage their purchasing, inventory, sales, order processing, and accounting are decades behind. For the most part, ERP systems are painfully slow, difficult-to-use, and soul-crushingly manual.

Recurrency’s goal is to reverse ERP stagnation by building a streamlined and intelligent ERP Automation platform: blazingly fast and complete with powerful automation tools like sales intelligence, dynamic pricing, and demand forecasting. Using Recurrency can boost a distributor’s revenue and profit margins while reducing waste and saving time. Most importantly, Recurrency is fully-integrated with the customer’s legacy system, so deploying Recurrency in production can be done in as little as one day.

Meet Sam Oshay

Recurrency’s founder, Sam Oshay, grew up in a third-generation family distribution business where he saw first-hand how his family was locked-in to legacy systems that bottlenecked growth and operations.

Inspired by his experience and frustrated by incremental improvements to the status quo, Sam founded Recurrency to offer the solutions that his family distribution business was lacking. Sam and Recurrency are driven by the opportunity to create wildly successful customers – ones that are delighted by both our product and partnership – while making costly, time-consuming technology implementations a thing of the past.

Recurrency Logo
Sam Oshay Recurrency

Sam Oshay, Founder & CEO

The Distributor’s Guide To Breaking Operational Silos

The Distributor’s Guide To Breaking Operational Silos

Business Operational Silos

DCKAP WEBINAR: The Distributor’s Guide To Breaking Operational Silos

WHEN: November 30th at 10AM to 11AM (Eastern)

WHERE: @ ESTES INTEGRATE 2022 – an Epicor Prophet 21 community event

WHY: The DCKAP Integrator is the ultimate solution for problems that result in digital silos

DCKAP Integrator is the Remedy for “Digital Silos”

“Silos have been around for some time. If you are like me, when you think of silos you probably farming silo or a missile silo. Our silos are a little different nowadays, we call them, “Department Silos”. Silos are defined as a metaphor for separate entities that stockpile information and effectively seal it in. In the digital architecture of your company, there are silos they are called, “Digital Silos” and the remedy for that is the DCKAP Integrator. Either Department or Digital, knowing how to address the issues is half of the battle.” – Aaron Pallares

Aaron Pallares is a Solutions Engineer at DCKAP. He is always looking into the digital fabric of practices and models to better understand the psychology of the digital arts, its security, and forward trends. He is a forever student of the digital arts and when he is not working, he is watching movies or reading some books.

Aaron Pallares, Solutions Engineer at DCKAP

Aaron Pallares, Solutions Engineer at DCKAP

ERP Integration Software Event
P21 Integrations: Best Practices & Lessons Learned

P21 Integrations: Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Epicor Prophet 21 System Software Integrations

The most challenging part of a Prophet 21 migration are the P21 integrations. For many companies, third-party integrations are a necessary component of their P21 ecosystem. Compared to many ERP applications, Prophet 21 has been highly reliant on third-party software to round out the functionality necessary to support the needs of many Epicor customers. 

With this necessity comes the challenge of integration. Third-party solutions differ in their integration strategies, and depending on the P21 version and the architecture of the bolt-on, one of many integration strategies may be employed.

P21 Software Integrations Futuristic Technology Retail Warehouse: Worker Doing Inventory Walks when Digitalization Process Analyzes Goods, Cardboard Boxes, Products with Delivery Infographics in Logistics, Distribution Center

Seamless Integrations 

Speaking of architecture, historically speaking, the P21 application traditionally possessed a two-tier architecture, with the P21 desktop application acting as a fat client, talking directly to the P21 database layer. In the absence of a Prophet 21 middleware or application server layer, third-party applications, out of necessity, interacted with the P21 application at the database level. 

Logical Business Logic

Only over the past several years has the Prophet 21 ERP expanded to include an application server layer, known as the P21 middleware server. This allows for a new layer of P21 integrations. These integrations can speak to the P21 application at the application server level, or even at the API level over the web. But for customers yet to migrate to P21’s three-tier architecture, or customers with legacy integrations that are not yet API-compliant, these new opportunities are still a work in progress.

The combination of a two-tier architecture and a “best-of-breed” approach to functionality resulted in a significant number of integrations speaking to the database directly. This was the case whether the applications in question were external applications conversing over a given communication protocol, installed applications functioning through Windows scheduled tasks or ongoing services, or installed directly into the Prophet 21 database, through a combination of SQL Server stored procedures and scheduled jobs. Add the middleware server, the web-based and hybrid clients, and the expiring legacy desktop application to this already-complicated situation, and the plot thickens.

Custom Development, Access, Control

Not surprisingly, access and control are critical to a Prophet 21 installation, if you intend to integrate your P21 ERP with a family of third-party applications. That is why our private cloud hosted architecture has been such a great fit for P21 customers, removing the challenges of on-premise installations while retaining the full functionality of the P21 application, and a hybrid cloud integration platform that can support third-party integrations at any level. 

P21 Software Integration Worries, Care

All said, customers come to us with many questions regarding their Prophet 21 software and its integration environment:

  • What is the best way to integrate an application with the P21 environment? 
  • How much programming is required? 
  • If my third-party vendor only integrates over the REST API layer, what do I need to do to make this work? 
  • If I’m implementing a solution that has multiple integration layer options, which layer should I choose? 
  • What about home-grown apps? 
  • Are there security concerns? 
  • How many holes do I need to punch in my firewall? 
  • With all these options, what are my best options for Prophet 21 server care? 
  • How bolted-on should a bolt-on be?

How EstesGroup Can Help

As a company whose specialty is the migration of the P21 customers into private cloud environments, and integrating their entire P21 ecosystems, we’ve learned many lessons in the trenches. On May 11th, at the P21 Midwest User Group meeting, EstesGroup’s Daryl Sirota and Chris Koplar will be discussing Prophet 21 integrations, and some of the best practices and lessons learned, as they relate to Prophet 21 integrations. Bring your integration questions and we’ll tell you everything we know when it comes to creating a seamless hybrid cloud environment.

Prophet 21 Midwest User Group Meeting – May 11th

The P21 Midwest User Group meeting starts on May 11th, at 9:00. The event will be held at the following location:

Lee Mathews, a Cogent company

4525 NW 41st St, Suite 400

Riverside, MO 64150

 Are you a member of the P21 Midwest User Group and interested in attending? If so, contact Joseph Babbit ([email protected]) and spread the word!

Need help with Epicor Prophet 21 or general ERP system management, business processes, supply chain management, customer relationship management, or other key P21 challenges? Chat with us now to get real-time help with your P21 system, or fill out the form below, and our ERP experts will be in touch with you soon.

 

Trailer Telematics: How Cloud Technology is Driving Success

Trailer Telematics: How Cloud Technology is Driving Success

As trucking companies move closer to the goal of driverless vehicles, the technology that will enable this mission continues to improve. With this improvement comes a vast amount of information regarding the status of a given load. Enter the fleet of trailer telematics fueled by cloud technology.

Trailer Telematics Cloud Technology

What is trailer telematics?

Trailer telematics refers to a suite of technologies that provides the visibility needed to allow fleet managers to better control the key elements that impact the effectiveness of their fleet out in the field:

  • Finding viable trailers to use out in the field
  • Optimizing the rate that trailers get loaded, to ensure that as many tractors as possible have a viable load
  • Providing alerts when pickups and deliveries are made
  • Tracking the location and status of trailers between the point of load and the point of delivery
  • Tracking the status of various elements of a trailer (wheels, lights, etc.) to ensure that they are in working order

How does trailer telematics work?

Essentially, a suite of devices are installed on a given trailer, and these devices monitor various aspects of the trailer in question, and relay them back to a cloud server, where the data is delivered back to the trailer owner, normally via a web interface.  

The presence of cloud technology here is key.

Telematics companies are really SaaS solution providers masquerading as hardware dealers, and this allows for surprising extensions in functionality. While many of these capabilities are reactive in nature, an additional and still-evolving benefit to these technologies is the ability to provide predictive analytics to proactively react to potential problems.

With all of this data in the cloud, the application of AI analytics allows providers to mine this raw data for useful information, which can allow companies to proactively manage everything from security to regulations:

What does this mean for distributors?

For distributors leveraging their own fleet, the benefits should be self-evident — better opportunities to keep trucks on the road. But even for distributors working through third-party logistics providers, there are several potential benefits that might be available.    

Location Control

One immediate opportunity relates to visibility of delivery. The location control aspects of telematics allow for a real-time understanding of where your delivery currently resides, whether incoming or outgoing. This should allow distributors to plan for the realities of delivery timing, while also providing opportunities for expediting, negotiation, and accountability management in real time, allowing proactive companies to be the “squeakiest wheel” on the trailer.

Time and Tracking

As customers demand tighter delivery schedules, the ability to track your product to the day and to hour becomes critical, and your 3PL (third-party logistics) should, at some point, be able to provide this level of information. Moreover, as trailer location control becomes a reality, the ability to locate and schedule backhauls, based on the specific location of a given rig at any moment, becomes a reality.

Cloud technology helps distributors get the information they need to stay competitive.

The lesson to be learned here is that the information is out there, and it’s only getting better. Ask your freight provider whether they have that information, and how they can make it available to you.

Wondering how cloud technology will fit into your distribution technology plan for 2022 and beyond? Contact our cloud specialists today. Our IT industry experts would love to begin a conversation about trailer telematics solutions, supply chain management, data analytics, or other trends affecting distributors of the future. Reduce costs today by moving your trailer data to the EstesCloud platform, a private cloud hosting solution with hybrid cloud options. Support your telematics technology with help from our cloud consultants.

EstesCloud is the ultimate cybersecurity and backup and disaster recovery solution for manufacturers and distributors. Keep web-enabled and web-driven data safe. Secure your telematics devices through the preventative maintenance strategy of cutting-edge cloud technology. Private cloud technology helps you reduce maintenance costs while also protecting you against the risks of highly connected solutions like trailer telematics systems. Got trailer tracking on your company roadmap? The weather’s never been better to drive your commercial vehicles into a custom cloud built to fit the needs of your business. Smart cloud, smart trailer.