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Epicor System Monitor: Canceling a Hung Task

Epicor System Monitor: Canceling a Hung Task

Epicor’s System Monitor is a handy ERP tool that can be used for one of many purposes in working with the background processes and reports that Epicor’s Task Agent orchestrates. The Epicor Task Agent handles all server-side tasks for a given application server. These can be scheduled tasks or “immediate run requests” that are triggered by end users. Additionally, these can be SSRS reports or long-running processes like MRP or PO Suggestions. Whatever the tasks may be, the Epicor System Monitor is the perfect tool for viewing their status as they run, and their history once they complete.
Chalkboard Sketch of Planning Steps Including Tasks
On occasion, a task may hang or get stuck such that it prevents further processing. Imagine that a process such as PO Suggestions hangs up and stops processing, for one of many reasons. Tasks are stored in Epicor’s SysTask table, and if an active task such as PO suggestions is stuck in the System Monitor, it will prevent any subsequent attempts to run PO Suggestions. This can be a great problem to a company that needs to get new suggestions in the hands of its purchasing department.
Epicor System Monitor Generate PO Suggestions

Fortunately, there are a number of steps one can take to cancel or complete a stuck task.

When troubleshooting a stuck task in Epicor, look to address it in the following order:

  • Cancel the task in the System monitor
  • Bounce the Task Agent
  • Bounce the AppServer instance
  • Update the rogue SysTask record directly in SQL

Cancel the Task in the Epicor System Monitor

The simplest way to kill a task is using the Epicor System Monitor itself. This can be done by navigating to the “Active Tasks” tab, selecting the task you intend to cancel and clicking the delete (“X”) icon. If successful, this task will fall out of the “Active Tasks” queue and fall into the “History Tasks” queue as a task with a status of “Cancelled”:

 

E10 Canceling Active Tasks

Bounce the Task Agent

If the task will not cancel through the System Monitor, you can try to bounce the Task Agent itself, which may free up the task and allow it to cancel. This is a relatively noninvasive method and will generally go unnoticed by the user community. From the AppServer, launch the Epicor Administration console, and from the Admin console, launch the Task Agent Configuration utility. Select the task agent you wish to cancel and from the “Actions” menu, select “Stop Agent…”:  

Epicor Stop Agent Screen

Bounce the AppServer Instance

If a Task Agent bounce is ineffective, bouncing the AppServer itself may work. This is a much more invasive solution, so it should be done when the user load is low, or else at a prescribed time such that the user community will be prepared. From the Admin Console, navigate to the server you wish to bounce, right-click the server node and select “Stop Application Pool.”  Once stopped, right-click it again and select “Start Application Pool.” In my experience, this will normally shake loose the stuck task:

Epicor System Monitor Admin Console to Stop a Hung Task

Update the rogue SysTask record directly in SQL

If all else fails, your last recourse is to update the SysTask record through SQL Server. Opening an instance of SQL Server Management Studio, navigate to the Database in question and create a new query. Enter the script below, adjusting the SysTaskNum to reflect the specific task number as found in the System Monitor. Run the query to update the record. While I am never a fan of direct SQL updates, this is one case in which such an update may be necessary.

 

update ice.SysTask set EndedOn = GetDate(), TaskStatus = ‘Complete’, History = 1 where SysTaskNum = 55228
delete ice.SysTaskKill where SysTaskNum = 55228

 

 

The Epicor System Monitor Lets You View, Manage and Cancel Tasks

At times, Epicor tasks need to be stopped. Hopefully, this article helped you understand the steps to take when trying to kill a task. This Epicor screen shows you which tasks are active, and it enables the initial steps for task resolution. You might even use this ERP feature daily. Due to its usefulness, the System Monitor is a classic. If your ERP system is a labyrinth, then your Epicor System Monitor is a golden thread, helping you navigate the maze and kill the wrongful task. As I’ve always said, it’s better to monitor than to minotaur… 

 

For more ERP tricks from our Epicor consulting team, download our case study on CTO and ETO implementations.

 

Or watch our Epicor Summit to learn about Planning Workbench, SQL Server Administration, and SSRS Reports.

 

How to Update Multiple Tables in Epicor DMT

How to Update Multiple Tables in Epicor DMT

Multi-table updates for Epicor implementation and beyond

As part of Epicor ERP’s overall implementation and optimization toolset, the Data Management Tool (DMT) is a fundamental aspect of a successful implementation strategy. It gives you the ability to load, update, and even remove data. These capabilities allow you to cleanly load the setup and master file data as part of an environment build activity prior to go-live. When a user imports data, DMT keeps upload and update behaviors in check so that data migration is efficient and effective.

Multiple Table Updates Data Management Tool Epicor

Epicor DMT also enables you to load live transactional records such as sales orders and purchase orders. These are essential to a successful cutover. Better yet, DMT possesses the ability to maintain records and improve the system’s data integrity long after the system is live. This allows an Epicor admin to efficiently clean up and even optimize the master file. This benefit also applies to transactional files in the live environment.

The Epicor ERP “Part” Routine

Within this context, one especially helpful capability involves the ability not only to update multiple columns of a table but to also update multiple related table records at once. For example, DMT’s “Part” routine allows for the creation and maintenance of records existing in the “Part” table. But DMT’s “Part Combined” routine allows not only for the creation of Part records. It also provides the ability to simultaneously add and/or update related Part Site (PartPlant), Part Warehouse (PartWhse), and Part Revision (PartRev) records. One could update these records individually, but Epicor provides the ability to perform multiple row updates in a single pass.

Sometimes DMT necessitates a multi-table setup in order to load and update data

For instance, the Resource table requires that you utilize the Resource Group routine to make updates to the Resource table. Let’s assume that you are the Epicor admin for your company. What if your operations manager decides to forgo using Epicor’s finite scheduling functionality? As such, you need to run an update to uncheck the Resource.Finite flag on all active resources. Should you search for a routine in DMT to update the “Resource” table, you will discover that none are available. Only the “Resource Group” load program is available:

Epicor ERP DMT Search Resource Group
DMT Engineering Resource Group
Fortunately, you can utilize the Resource Group load program to update the Resources related to all Resource Groups. Within Epicor’s Data Management Tool, multiple table update routines utilize a specific field naming convention to differentiate the primary table from its child tables:
 
  • Primary Table: The field names are sufficient—given that the program knows the table context, the parent table (in this case, the “ResourceGroup” table).
  • Child Table: Epicor utilizes a [ChildTableName]#[ChildFieldName] convention when defining the fields for the child table to be utilized.

For example, should you click the “Required” fields button for the “Resource Group” load, you will discover that to update the “Resource” table, you will need a number of key Resource Group fields but also the “Resource#ResourceID” and the “Resource#ResourceDescription” fields:

multiple table updates in Epicor DMT resource group required fields

This is also evident when using the “Template Builder…” functionality to create a load template. 

Given the above scenario, I opted to include the “Resource#Finite” field when creating the load template:

DMT Resource Group Template Builder
To perform the ResourceGroup-Resource parent-child table update to the finite-scheduling field that I had intended, I now have a load template with the following fields, named as follows:
 
  • Company
  • Plant
  • JCDept
  • ResourceGrpID
  • Description
  • Resource#ResourceID
  • Resource#Description
  • Resource#Finite

As is the convention with Epicor’s Data Management Tool loads, I entered my data into a spreadsheet:

DMT Resource Group Template

Finally, by loading the spreadsheet file into DMT, I can now perform the necessary update. The file, as defined below, loads without error:

Multiple Table Updates in Epicor DMT Resource Group Finite Update

Epicor’s Data Management Tool is replete with capabilities.

However, these features that are not always well documented or communicated. But with a little foreign key fiddling and a few Epicor consulting friends, DMT can be of great assistance to your Epicor ERP implementation.

Epicor Supplier Relationship Management 2020 Trends

Epicor Supplier Relationship Management 2020 Trends

In March 2020, before the shutdown, I traveled to a few customers and had an opportunity to talk supply chain with some of their commodity managers. Given the centrality of China-based supply chain sourcing, I wondered if pending restrictions on material movement between countries and potential productivity downturns overseas would affect these clients. At the time, the impact was uncertain—many of these companies had placed forward-buys on key commodities, such that they expected to have a bit of a buffer to ride out the ensuing uncertainty. Strategic supplier relationship management proved to be the ideal way to weather 2020 supply chain challenges.

Epicor Supply Chain Management

How do supply chains keep up with demands?

During the subsequent months, strange things abounded. On the home front, demand patterns changed drastically, trimming back the need for auxiliaries and tertiaries, leaving much of the stockpiled inventory pushed to a corner, waiting for needs to level off and go back to their old ways. In other markets and verticals, demand for certain products and services had gone through the roof, and companies struggled to realign their supply chains to support the fulfillment of surging demand.

 

This resulted in a great deal of wheeling and dealing, including searches for alternate suppliers. Local companies took on the manufacturing of components that had long been outsourced. These activities are ongoing for everyone balancing new supplier relationship management trends.

 

As situations continue to evolve, folks immersed in the supply chain community continue to try and understand just what can be learned from this strange turn of events. One point of interest has to do with the actual dynamics of demand. Strangely enough, it was not the downturn in supply that created the many supply chain challenges, but rather, it was the spiking nature of demand. Product and service demand did not decrease uniformly. Rather, it scraped bottom in certain product categories, markets and verticals, and sky-rocketed in specific niches.

As a supply chain manager, predicting such strange peaks and valleys would be a fool’s errand. Rather, the successes in Epicor SRM that I’ve encountered have had more to do with the ability to rapidly react to challenges than to anticipate them. This ability to react is normally due to a few key capabilities:

  • The ability to develop a broad supplier base. This means locating multiple potential sources of supply, in the event that one source of supply goes dark.
  • The ability to leverage alternate parts and methods to manufacture high-demand finished goods, in the event that primary components become unavailable.
  • A highly capable supplier relationship management toolset that can closely monitor and maintain incoming supply, as to ensure that incoming supply will meet the company’s needs and provide maximum reaction time, in the event that supply will not make it in on time.

SourceDay can assist in this final capability, which is the ability to organize supply in order to ensure that Epicor customers can support the shifting and shifty demand patterns of their own customer base.

Has 2020 changed your supplier relationship management strategy?

See how companies like yours respond to supply chain disruptions.

Watch a webinar to understand 2020 industry trends:

Covid-19’s Impact on Your Supply Chain 

Presented by our partner SourceDay

On September 17th, 2020

Covid-19’s Impact on Your Supply Chain

Epicor ERP Event: EstesGroup Fall Summit 2020 (Video)

Epicor ERP Event: EstesGroup Fall Summit 2020 (Video)

Epicor ERP Virtual Event EstesGroup

​An Epicor ERP Event to Begin a New Season

Are you ready for change? In June, we gathered friends and strangers together at an Epicor user event covering everything from master file setup to security to embedded customization. To further support this ERP community, we’re meeting again on October 7th for another Epicor event that will raise awareness of new techniques for manufacturers and distributors using ERP software solutions. This fall summit will serve to assist Epicor users with customization and optimization steps that are often overlooked by ERP project teams.

 

Epicor is a large and complex application and can be configured in a multitude of ways. Depending on how you’ve configured your application, different capabilities and different issues present themselves, and understanding how other Epicor customers have addressed these issues is often a great way to add perspective to your own challenges. On the technical front, the tools available for super users often span the skillsets of multiple roles, so for those of you who wear multiple hats by necessity, a better understanding of some of Epicor’s key technical foundations can assist in better maintaining and optimizing your installation. If you’ve experienced work culture shifts because of the pandemic, you might benefit from new Epicor consulting techniques that can address challenging project checkpoints (like conducting an Epicor CRP remotely, for example).

Making the Most of the Planning Workbench

Job management and scheduling are critical to any ERP implementation, but no two companies manage the work orders passing though their factories in quite the same way. Not surprisingly, Epicor offers a number of planning and scheduling tools that often go underutilized. Epicor’s Planning Workbench is one such tool, and integrating it into your suite of management tools can take a little fiddling, and its tendrils extend into Epicor’s part master setup, into its Time Phase and MRP programs, and even into Epicor’s underlying PartDtl table. In this session, we’ll be working though the logic underlying the Planning Workbench and demonstrating how it can be leveraged to keep ahead of quantity and timing issues on your shop floor.

 

SQL Server: Tips and Tricks For the Epicor Administrator

For those in the user community with Epicor experience that dates back to the days of 905 and earlier, the challenges of working with Epicor’s legacy backend are long remembered, like bad memories from another place and time. With the advent of Epicor’s E10 application, Epicor moved to an entirely Microsoft-centric stack, resulting in a much more stable, robust and scalable platform. And now that Epicor’s E10 ERP platform is built upon Microsoft’s SQL Server database engine, there are many new tricks and techniques that can be applied to best leverage the capabilities of the SQL Server RDBMS, while avoiding the common pitfalls of SQL Server administration. Understanding the principles of configuration, tuning and optimization at the database level can have a significant positive impact on your Epicor application’s performance and stability. In this SQL Server session, we’ll provide key insights to keeping your database server running smoothly.

 

SSRS Reporting: Modifying Standard Reports

Speaking further along the lines of Epicor’s Microsoft-centric stack, Epicor’s use of Microsoft’s SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) as its primary reporting platform allowed for tighter integration across the different elements of the application. But the move from Crystal Reports to SSRS was a significant one, given that SSRS differs significantly from Crystal in its fit, form, and function. For users unfamiliar with the paradigms underlying SSRS, simple things like adding a logo or a field to an existing report, in order to address the needs of a given company, are not always self-evident.  In this SSRS Reporting session, we’ll provide some steps that will allow you to make basic modifications to standard reports to help fit them effectively into your business.

Please join us on October 7th

Watch our Epicor ERP fall event preview to begin a new season of ERP solutions.

Planning Workbench 

Presented by Brad Feakes

SQL Server

Presented by Daryl Sirota

SSRS Reporting

Presented by Joe Trent

How to Manage Epicor Part Replacement

How to Manage Epicor Part Replacement

One area of Epicor consulting that we frequently get asked about spins around engineering change orders. Engineering updates to the part master once the company is live has been likened to working on a car’s engine while speeding down the freeway. This is especially true when creating new parts to replace existing parts in existing Bills of Materials. It would be an understatement to say that parts are rather important to ERP systems—even novice Epicor consultants know that parts are one of the foundational building blocks upon which everything else rests.
Epicor Part Replacement Management

How to Introduce Engineering Change Order

Shake-ups to the part structure invariably have tremor effects on the upper decks, so you would want to minimize these by following a careful approach to introducing engineering change order. Such an approach involves two steps: carefully understanding the exposure of the legacy parts to be replaced and planning the update accordingly, and then systematically executing the necessary updates to pull off the switch. In one case you might be renaming a part or a number of parts, to ensure consistency across your part master. But such changes affect a number of areas, so the steps to execute such changes need to be well planned out and executed. The following is a guide to do just that—planning and executing Epicor part replacement within your business system.

 

 

Planning and Review: Steps for Replacing Parts in Epicor

Before making changes, it is a good idea to plan through the changes you wish to make and ensure that all areas of the system that might be affected by these part changes will be addressed. The following tasks should be performed before a change is implemented:

  • Review any cases where the part exists on an open sales order and review any related allocations.
  • Review any cases where the part exists on an open purchase order or purchase order suggestion.
  • Review any cases where the part exists as a job material—this might include open firm jobs and unfirm jobs.
  • Review any cases where the part exists as the part to be made on a job header— this might include open firm jobs, unfirm jobs, and even part suggestions in the planning workbench.
  • Review the cases where the part exists in the BOM of another part.
  • Review the cases where the part is located in a Part Bin as on-hand inventory.

Execution of Part Replacement in Epicor

Once ready to execute the changes, care should be taken to ensure the proper steps are done, and in the proper order:

  • Create the new parts, revisions, MOMs, part costs, etc.
  • Run an update to replace the material parts in any part Bills of Materials.
  • Remove any Sales Order Allocations. Run an update to replace the parts in any Sales Order Lines.
  • Run an update to replace the material parts in any open, firm Jobs’ Bills of Materials. Delete any unfirm Jobs that contain the legacy parts as materials.
  • Run an update to replace the Job Header parts in any open, firm Jobs. Delete any unfirm Jobs for the legacy part. Delete any Part Suggestions for the legacy part.
  • Run an update to replace the parts on any open purchase order lines. Delete any PO Suggestions for the legacy part number.
  • Run a quantity adjustment update to remove the on-hand quantities of the legacy parts. Run a quantity adjustment update to add the on-hand quantities of the new parts, using the legacy part quantities that were previously on-hand.
  • Inactivate the legacy part.

 

Playing the Part in Epicor Part Replacement

Above all, care should be taken to make sure that sufficient communication has been made across the organization, beginning with your designated Epicor consulting team and extending throughout your entire company’s infrastructure. As you can see, such a change affects multiple modules, so you can anticipate that many people and departments will likely be affected by such a change in Epicor. As such, make sure to communicate accordingly. Following the proper steps, you can help keep your part master clean, and your business system running smoothly.

 

 

Looking for more tips from our Epicor consulting team?

Read our white paper on Epicor Part Setup.

Epicor Administration & Helpful Tools of the Trade

Epicor Administration & Helpful Tools of the Trade

A Day in the Life of an Epicor Admin

One of the best parts of working as an ERP consultant is the opportunity to work with so many smart people, and you’ll find many working in Epicor administration. Companies are successful for a variety of reasons, and the strengths, skills, and character of individual employees are at the core of organizational performance. The privilege of working with devoted coworkers makes it all worthwhile. As they say, iron sharpens iron — and even should a few sparks fly, I am thankful for the grind. Epicor admins come with a toolset capable of managing the application’s configuration, performance, and architecture — administration responsibilities that demand precision and prowess.

Epicor Administration

What exactly is an Epicor admin?

Of the many ERP positions I’ve encountered, none are so perplexing and nebulous as those responsible for Epicor administration. What I have come to understand is that the Epicor Administrator is as thankless a role as it is undefined. In my years as an Epicor consultant, I’ve encountered countless ERP administrators, and their skills and responsibilities extend in all directions.

 

For example, an average day for an Epicor admin might look something like this:

  • Address system errors first thing in the morning.
  • Perform an ad hoc backup of the production database and restore it over the test environment to give new employees a place to train.
  • Troubleshoot intermittent MRP issues.
  • Educate the engineering department on correct part setup.
  • Deploy yesterday’s dashboard tweaks.
  • Blow away some pesky personalizations that have been flummoxing a particular user.
  • Help the finance department with some BAQs in anticipation of the coming month’s end.
  • For free time, work on a chip-away-at SSRS report.
  • On the way out the door, kick off a DMT run to mop up some of last week’s indiscretions.

What does tomorrow bring for the Epicor administrator?

 

Every admin I’ve met hosts a similar blend of firefighting, process improvement, and general oversight. And in spite of the tremendous breadth that such a position demands, I have encountered many an admin whose depth of knowledge has matched their breadth. Over the years, I’ve done my best to learn from them and to document what I’ve learned. As such, here are a few Epicor administration tricks I’ve picked up along the way that you can bookmark, revisit, and share.

 

Need your BAQ to return more than 10,000 rows? BAQ Execution Settings help Epicor administrators get more data.

Have you wondered how to manage the multiple sessions flag in user security works?

Do you need to enable new functionality through the admin console? Check out our post on Epicor licensing.

Looking to launch a form’s custom version from a right click or an MES button? Learn more about binding Epicor customizations using process calls and menu IDs.

Trying to work out auto-login? Review Epicor sysconfig files and auto-login capabilities.

Need to relate UD tables to their parents? Learn how the SysRowID fields relate parents to children.

Are you running into the “CGCCode Mismatch” error when importing dashboards in Epicor 10? Learn how to edit a dashboard definition.

Are you looking to deploy customizations in a multi-company environment?

Beyond Epicor Admin

Are you looking to go beyond administration knowledge?

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