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Epicor Functionality in the Admin Console, Unwrapped

Epicor Functionality in the Admin Console, Unwrapped

New User Access, New E10 Functionality

 

Managing the Epicor functionality available to the user community is one key role of an Epicor Administrator.  In this light, it’s not uncommon for customers using the Epicor application to continue to add new modules.  An understanding of Epicor 10’s functionality develops over time, as administrators and users learn the full capabilities of E10 and how ERP can help run a business.  Once new E10 modules are licensed, and once the license is installed, users will need to have an administrator enable access through the Epicor Admin Console in order to allow users to make use of this new Epicor functionality.

 

Let’s walk through the steps you need to know to effectively manage newly installed Epicor modules.

 

In order to enable a new module, you will first need to be logged into the application server, which is the box where your Epicor application is installed.

 

Once on the application server, open the “Epicor Administration Console”:

 

 

Once the Epicor Admin Console is open, perform the following steps to enable the desired module:

  • Open the “Server Management” node in the left tree view and locate the Epicor instance in which you wish to enable the new module.  In the example below, it is the “Demo” instance.
  • Open up the E10 instance node and click on the “Licensing” node beneath it—this will display the license file in the panel to the right of the tree view.
  • Double-click the license file.  This will raise a little properties window.
  • Navigate to the “Modules” tab.  Sort by module name and locate the module you wish to enable.  Check the “Enabled” box to enable the module in question.
  • Click the “OK” button to commit the change:

Once that is accomplished, a user who has just logged into the Epicor application should see the new module available in the menu:

 

 

If your team is making suboptimal use of your Epicor application, you can easily enable some new functionality through the Epicor Admin Console, and they’ll be licensed to thrive.  There are several ancillary modules that can help extend the benefits of the Epicor application throughout your business.  Epicor has plenty of goodies in the basket.  The Epicor Admin Console is the tool for unwrapping these bonbons, enabling delectable Epicor functionality.  Bonbon appétit!

 

 

Not sure what specific Epicor functionality to enable?  EstesGroup specializes in Epicor ERP, and our consultants can help your users make the most of your Epicor License.

 

 

 

Are you interested in some more Epicor traps and taps?  Download our “12 Days of ECHO” guide for the Epicor Administrator here.

Epicor Optimization Success for Remote Teams

Epicor Optimization Success for Remote Teams

Rock the House by Refining Your Epicor Application

 

After completing an implementation, you can continue fine-tuning your processes to gain maximum return on investment through Epicor optimization.  If your team is working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the temptation might be to stall ERP optimization (Phase 2) steps.  Such delay has been the pattern among Epicor customers over the years.  But home can be the ideal environment for managing these Phase 2 actions.  Epicor optimization activities that improve the utility of your Epicor application can be accomplished via remote work.

 

ERP Optimization

 

 

Improve While in the Home Office Groove

 

By necessity, companies implement ERP with an initial push for the system’s essentials, as to go live in a timely manner with the intention of circling back and further elaborating on the ERP application as time allows.  When implementing Epicor as a customer, I once had a teammate bemoan this delay in the implementation of a certain element of functionality: “If we push it to Phase 2, it’ll never happen!”  The functionality was, to his dismay, postponed until after cutover.

 

His concern was not unfounded: Epicor ERP implementation Phase 2 activities frequently get set aside in lieu of the daily grind.

 

You might similarly worry that if you push tasks to Phase 2, they’ll never happen.  This is a good reason to be proactive in your Epicor optimization.  The remote organizational structures necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 give you time to focus on process improvement, leading you toward improved on-site ERP functionality in the future.  Remote Epicor ERP optimization allows for time to be spent knocking off Phase 2 projects that will help you make better use of your application.

 

Let’s look at some of the optimization steps that your ERP team can do from home:

  • Data Cleansing: It’s not uncommon for a company to look back at its data and note the places where data discipline has been found wanting or where additional data could be updated to improve downstream processes.  Use remote ERP team time to query the data out of your system, massage it in Excel, and run updates through Epicor’s Data Management Tool (DMT).  DMT is a great tool when it comes to data cleansing—use it to your advantage.
  • Improving visibility across the enterprise: This is a great time to improve visibility to processes and data throughout the organization.  This is necessary in any organization, but even more so when the workforce is distributed.  Dashboards provide the simple kind of visibility that streamlines business processes and improves communication across your company.  But dashboards take a certain amount of quiet time to work through the underlying queries and predict how users might look to access the data.  Remote work gives your team those quiet hours.  Similarly, a well-done SSRS report can save time and effort, and remote work assignments to create these reports can help bridge communication gaps.
  • Enhancing existing modules: It’s not uncommon for customers to buy more functionality than they actually use at cutover.  Each functional area within an organization likely has some application capabilities that have gone underutilized, and Epicor optimization often begins with revisiting usage. You can also introduce or refine existing supplier and customer price lists, or even dust off the Buyer’s Workbench or the Fulfillment Workbench and put them to use in relating supply and demand.
  • Implementing new modules: Beyond utilizing existing licenses, some customers may take this time to implement new modules entirely.  Case Entry and Field Service are customer-facing modules that often get pushed to Phase 2 and are comparatively easy to do when implemented on top of an existing system configuration.  Project Entry is another module that can provide benefits when implemented on top of a live system.  Similarly, a customer looking to implement product configurator, to further enhance order entry and engineering processes, recently reached out to me, and remote consulting was a good way to address this Epicor optimization step.
  • Bullet-Proofing: Once a company is live, a number of places where processes can be tightened up always surface, such as missing steps or missing data that can create downstream troubles.  Optimization of your Epicor application can be remotely organized to help with tightening up or bullet-proofing existing processes.  Extended properties are a simple way to make fields mandatory or read-only, which may be of use in a given situation.  Similarly, a few well-placed BPMs can assist in providing extra validation or automation as needed. Cumulatively, these simple fixes go a long way in standardizing a given process.

Do More Than Float While Working Remote

 

Even if you’ve always used on-site consulting for your ERP implementation, you can, with a simple click into a web conferencing tool, have an expert consultant helping you with your Epicor optimization.  Sure, face-to-face meetings can be the ideal way for you to manage your team, and we’re all excited to eventually get our projects back in the office, but many Epicor ERP optimization project activities can be completed through remote consulting.

 

Looking for ways to use remote work time to improve your existing Epicor ERP implementation?  In addition to Managed IT, Epicor ERP, Prophet 21 and CyberSecurity services, EstesGroup also specializes in providing remote consulting assistance.  We’ve been working remotely with customers for years, providing the necessary assistance to knock off optimization tasks that help companies make better use of their Epicor application.

 

 

 

Learn a few more ways to use remote consulting to boost your team’s performance by checking out our blog on COVID-19 Remote Consulting Strategies in Epicor ERP.

COVID-19 Remote Consulting Strategies in Epicor ERP

COVID-19 Remote Consulting Strategies in Epicor ERP

Why Remote ERP Implementation is Essential

 

Remote ERP consulting in Epicor has become a necessary service for manufacturing and distribution industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Coronavirus quarantines and stay-at-home decrees have disbanded ERP project teams.  Separated from traditional onsite ERP consulting paradigms, office culture has shifted into remote consulting platforms in order to support the manufacturers and distributors critical to our nation.  With travel advisories in place, remote consulting has quickly become the new normal, and ERP consultants are empowering teams to meet the challenges of implementing ERP using remote technology and methodology.  Fortunately, remote ERP consulting strategies can be quickly and securely deployed to keep your Epicor ERP implementation projects successful throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

 

 

How to Effectively Enable Remote Work

 

Working with our customers over the past few weeks, we’ve used our team’s experience to come up with a few recommendations for remote ERP consulting and ERP project management:

 

  • Leverage Technology: Software providers have spent decades developing products that enable remote activities.  Go beyond basic connectivity and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your web conferencing tool of choice, such as Zoom, WebEx, or GoToMeeting.  Record sessions and look for ways to make file sharing and communication easier: SharePoint, Teams, OneNote, etc.  And if a remote engagement is on the horizon, work with your IT staff ahead of time to make sure everyone has requisite access.
  • Bring in remote expertise: As consultants, who by necessity have to connect to one of many types of projectors, screens, and presentation architectures, we naturally become quite adept at this process, bringing with us a toolbox of adaptors to connect to this or that technology.  In the remote world, we similarly need to master the skills of remote connectivity: VPN, Citrix, RDP, etc.  These communication modes work to bring clients and consultants effectively together, keeping an ERP implementation on schedule.
  • Modularize assistance: As COVID-19 disrupts traditional business culture across the manufacturing and distribution industries, moving key workers into home offices, Epicor ERP implementation projects demand adaptable technology and adaptable teamwork.  Remote consulting strategies that help to create ultimate flexibility for IT projects can bring success to your ERP implementations, even from your living room, by breaking up consulting into segments specific to particular individual needs.  Clients can optimize the increased flexibility of a consultant’s remote work schedule by using technology to enhance communication and productivity.
  • Master the help-homework-help cycle: Related to the above steps, look to leverage the modular approach by scheduling incremental sessions.  In this more intensive cycle, a consultant can provide instruction on a given topic with a customer, then allow a period of time between sessions for the customer team member to perform independent work before picking up with the next session.  The key here is getting to a good point at the end of a session such that homework can be assigned, with the customer not only responsible for the next steps, but also well-equipped with the knowledge necessary to be successful.
  • Keep your team connected: Communication becomes paramount during times of remote activity.  In these circumstances, consultants need to increasingly serve as the glue between team members.  Questions that don’t get asked are rarely answered, so this is a good time to get people asking questions.  In the absence of traditional project structures, individual team members might need more direction from their Epicor ERP consultants.  Customers working remotely are not only in need of consulting assistance but are also in need of increased project management.

 

When the Home Office Becomes Your Conference Room

 

Epicor ERP consultants are remotely managing teams to keep manufacturing and distribution projects successful throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.  With travel down and customers closing their doors to consultants who have been implementing ERP onsite, project teams might find themselves in an unfamiliar work architecture.  The shift to remote work environments brings challenges to ERP implementation teams and their consultants.  The coronavirus outlook for the upcoming weeks and months means the dependency on remote communication is only set to increase, making remote ERP consulting a necessity.  This will change the way that Epicor ERP consultants ply their trade for a while, but it won’t limit the success of ERP implementations.

 

Remote consulting strategies abound to assist customers in their remote business environments, and consultants more than ever need to be facilitators first and consultants second as we help manufacturing and distribution companies through the coronavirus disruption.  It’s a time for Epicor ERP project teams to be assertive, with consultants and team leaders providing direction, organization, communication and encouragement, not only though our application expertise, but also through the soft skills that we bring as part of our value proposition, keeping to our mission of Epicor ERP implementation success.

 

Looking for ways to enable remote work for your team?  Contact EstesGroup to learn more about our Managed IT, Epicor ERP, Prophet 21 and CyberSecurity services.  Stay well, be safe, and talk to us about the future of your business.

 

 

 

Looking for more information on Project Management to help keep your Epicor ERP Implementation moving forward? Check out our blog on: The Unique Family Dynamics of a Successful ERP Implementation.

Latest Version Epicor Multi Warehouse Tips And Tricks

Latest Version Epicor Multi Warehouse Tips And Tricks

Epicor E10 Multi-Warehouse Inventory Management

 

Epicor E10 adds optimal supply chain functionality to your manufacturing business by providing comprehensive inventory management strategies, all within a single management system.  For example, the new ability to move parts between warehouses without assistance from the office allows for improved supply chain execution.  Inventory management is one of the core challenges in managing the data of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.  Epicor’s version 905 ERP Inventory Management module has historically presented a number of its own unique challenges to employees in the warehouse and in the stockroom.  Epicor limits inventory transactions to the warehouses related to a given part.  In version 905, these limitations prevented inventory workers from making necessary part warehouse transactions without the assistance of an individual with access to Epicor’s part maintenance form.  Fortunately, Epicor’s latest version E10 multi-warehouse inventory management provides companies with much needed solutions.

 

The Goods on Goods in Epicor E10

 

Epicor’s latest version supplies users with many tips and tricks for inventory management.  For manufacturers, tracking everything from raw to finished goods accurately and efficiently is critical to developing strategy based on company data.  Epicor’s inventory transaction programs, such as Quantity Adjustments, Job Receipt to Inventory, and Inventory Transfer, are used to affect the inventory levels of parts in varying ways.  But these programs require the parts in question to possess a “Part Warehouse” record setup, in the part master record, to be able to transact against the warehouse in question. 

 

In the past, record setup characteristically posed challenges to inventory workers since the individuals responsible for part maintenance were required to directly modify the part master record and add the necessary Part Warehouse to allow for the necessary transactions to occur.  In the most recent versions of Epicor’s E10 solution, however, the key inventory screens now possess the “right-click” capability to add allowable warehouses to the given part records, without the need to run to a data steward to make the changes. 

 

Let’s assume you had the following part – 10001000:

The part 10001000 has a primary warehouse of “Main”:

In fact, “Main” is the only warehouse tied to this part:

Epicor limits inventory transactions to the warehouses related to a given part—in this case, since the only warehouse linked to part 10001000 is the “Main” warehouse, inventory transactions are limited to the “Main” warehouse:

A Quick Right-Click Tip for Multiple Warehouse Management

 

To resolve the warehouse limitation, Epicor provides the ability to link additional warehouses to a given part with a simple right-click.

 

For example, from the Inventory Transfer screen, right-click the Warehouse field and select Open With…Add Warehouse:

Elsewhere, from the Quantity Adjustments screen, right-click the Warehouse field and select Open With…Part Warehouse Entry:

In all cases, the above steps open a screen that allows the user to assign an existing warehouse to the part.  Selecting the additional warehouse and clicking the “OK” button is all that is required to link the new warehouse to the part:

Looking at the part maintenance screen, the new warehouse has now been added:

The user will need to right-click once more and select “Refresh List” to refresh the dropdown values:

But once accomplished, the warehouse worker can now select from the new warehouse in question:

Waring the Warehouse Wares with Epicor

 

The word “ware” comes from a twofold etymology of caution and production, and Epicor E10 helps your business ware your wares: your manufactured goods are protected by a trustworthy and proven inventory management system across the entirety of your supply chain and beyond.  Epicor’s Inventory Management module effortlessly integrates with other cost-saving features.  Epicor’s version 10 Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application greatly expands on many of 905’s capabilities, simplifying multiple warehouse management for manufacturers.  The E10 version introduces many new tips and tricks for you to learn—features integrated to help your business stay profitable and competitive within the manufacturing industry.  E10’s new ability to add part warehouses at the time of creating an Epicor inventory transaction streamlines your business process and saves your team time and effort.  Epicor’s Inventory Management module works with other new E10 features to boost performance, profitability and growth, leading to dependable success at every step along the manufacturing line. 

 

Looking for more tips in navigating Epicor E10’s capabilities?  To learn more about multiple warehouse inventory management or other manufacturing management strategies, contact us.  EstesGroup is a Managed IT Services and ERP provider with comprehensive solutions for your business needs.

Interested learning more about Epicor ERP and how proper Part Setup is paramount to your business? Download our Part Setup & Manufacturing Best Practices Whitepaper today.

What Are My ERP Private Cloud Options

What Are My ERP Private Cloud Options

Not All Clouds are Created Equal: Reviewing Your ERP Private Cloud Options

 

It’s no secret that cloud computing has been increasingly finding its way into businesses by providing reliable solutions to increasingly challenging problems.  But for ERP customers with complex environment maps, an unmitigated move to the cloud might feel risky.  For this reason, some customers look for middle options between full cloud deployments and on-premise installations.  Private cloud hosting is one such midpoint, and it’s not uncommon for customers to approach the opportunities of cloud computing in search of a private solution.  But will this option leverage the obvious benefits of the cloud, while effectively providing the necessary support for your complex ERP ecosystem?

 

Your ERP installation is rarely an isolated entity—it is part of an integrated ecosystem of applications and processes, with various third parties, bolt-ons, and in-house applications interacting with the core ERP system.  As such, an ERP system is not always easily extracted from its ecosystem, as such an extraction is something akin to major surgery.  If you’re looking at handling this complexity with private cloud ERP deployment options, there are basically two management directions you can take.  You can build a private cloud using AWS, Azure, or Google, or you can work with an already established team of experts in private cloud hosting.  Let’s explore these options in greater detail.

 

Private Cloud in AWS/Azure/Google

 

The big players in cloud computing entered the application hosting game a while ago – Amazon, Azure, and now Google.  The option here would be to build out your virtual machine architecture within one of these clouds, and install your applications within this architecture, while working in turn to integrate your company-specific application ecosystem with the new ERP infrastructure.

 

While this eliminates the hardware investment of an on-premise install, you are still responsible for all the administration activities, at the server, application, and database levels.  And if your Epicor Admin should win the lottery, you are left scrambling for options.  If you lack the internal resources and need to bring in assistance in the administration of the application, you are now adding another party to work within this ecosystem.  Moreover, to your monolithic cloud provider, you are still just a number, and the service levels you can expect to receive will indicate as much.  Will the hosting company be responsive and listen to your apps and your business needs?  Is there a human voice to reach out to when issues occur?

 

Private Cloud Through the Estes Group’s ECHO Managed Hosting

 

EstesGroup’s EstesCloud Hosting, or ECHO for short, is our hosting platform. For one monthly price, we include all the functionality and support you need to keep your hosted applications running properly for your business.  While providing the access level that companies look for in private cloud solutions, we also provide the support and expertise that a big box store cloud partner can’t provide.  One phone call puts you in touch with our support team.  Well-versed in Microsoft’s full stack, we cover your servers with 24x7x365 EstesCloud Monitoring.  We cover the backups and disaster recovery, and we protect your users with EstesCloud identity management under the security of EstesCloud-managed Firewalls.

 

We have experience in moving many customers to a private cloud environment, while working with them to integrate their hosted ERP platform with their family of related applications.  With this experience comes the knowledge in working with protocols, networks, VPNs, and database connections, and we leverage this knowledge when engaging a customer.

 

In summary, some of the benefits of the EstesGroup’s ECHO Private Cloud Hosting solution include:

  • Known monthly expense, with no large capital expenses
  • Growth with your business supported by continual and customized service
  • Proven backup and disaster recovery playbooks
  • Easy, secure access from anywhere you wish
  • No Server Maintenance
  • No need to upgrade or repair hardware

 

When it comes to deploying your ERP architecture, there are clearly a number of different options, and the implications of the decisions made will have a lasting effect on your company’s future.  Are you considering spinning up your own private cloud to host your ERP application?  Drop us a line first, and let us help you explore your options.

Interested in learning more about Managed Hosting for Epicor ERP or Prophet 21 ERP?

 

Visit our Managed Epicor ERP Hosting page

Visit our Managed Prophet 21 ERP Hosting page

Epicor MRP Keeps You On-Time and Customers Happy

Epicor MRP Keeps You On-Time and Customers Happy

ERP!  ERP!  How do I love thee?  Let me Count the Ways: A Robust Materials Resource Planning ( MRP ) Engine

 

 

One of my favorite movies growing up was The Wizard of Oz.  One of my favorite scenes was when the “Wizard” was exposed as the “man behind the curtain,” pulling levers and revealing the secrets of the kingdom.  In the business world, this phrase has morphed into meaning a person who elusively controls the intricacies of a large enterprise—and no one really knows the who, what, when, or how of the magic behind the success.  MRP (Materials Resource Planning) is like this “man behind the curtain.”  Incredibly powerful, MRP manages the forces of supply and demand, keeping everything under control.

 

 

There are basically three questions that a manufacturer has, and MRP answers:

  • What does the customer want?
  • How many do they want?
  • When do they want it?

 

While those three questions seem relatively simple in nature, executing them in an efficient and profitable manner can become an extremely daunting, or even impossible task if you don’t have the correct tools.  Fortunately, the Epicor MRP Engine is a highly sophisticated but user-friendly process that can help companies increase on-time performance, lower inventory and improve efficiency.  MRP takes all three of these questions and looks at them holistically, to manage all variables that can occur on a shop floor.

 

What product does the customer want?

 

To answer this, MRP first looks to see if the part is purchased or manufactured.  At the core of the system is the type-attribute of the part.  Epicor defines a part in three ways: purchased, manufactured or sales kit.  Purchased Parts can have a defined lead-time and are used in determining when product can be available if stock is not available.  Manufactured Parts are built-up with routings and bills of materials.  MRP will take into account the time it takes for each operation, dependent on the quantity and material availability, to determine when the product will be available to ship, based on capacity on the shop floor.  Sales kits can be a combination of purchased and manufactured Parts and will use either or both types of logic to determine availability.

 

What quantity does the customer need?

 

Based on demand from forecasts or actual Sales Orders, the system looks at the current inventory level.  If there is insufficient inventory, it will suggest to the Purchasing Department to buy some if it’s purchased or will suggest to the Planning Department to create a job to make some, if it’s manufactured.

 

What is the customer’s timeline?

 

This is where the Epicor MRP logic will take the first two questions and analyze two things: If we don’t have it in stock, can we buy it in time to deliver it, or do we have enough material and resources available to build how many they want?  And it does this by taking into account not just one particular Sales Order, but all of the Sales Orders, and all of the inventory stocking levels and Job demands within a plant.  Obviously, this is a very tall order, and in a dynamic manufacturing environment, things are often changing on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  Because the MRP process can be such an intensive hardware resource demand, Epicor can be configured to run on a schedule (often times at night), either by looking at net change (to only work on those things that have changed since MRP was last run) or by being regenerative (to recalculate all demand).

 

Epicor also has the ability to run MRP for a specific part.  Have a customer that needs a part ASAP?  Now instead of having to wait for MRP to run, management has the ability to see the potential status of a job in a matter of minutes, and not hours, as MRP only has a single part to analyze.  The MRP process can also be limited to a plant, product family, or commodity class—reducing the time and resources required to generate the needed supply records.   Epicor MRP also supports multi-level pegging, which gives users the ability to trace the supply to each discrete source of demand.  This process also drives the projected Sales Order shortages and is an incredibly powerful tool to manage customer satisfaction.

The Epicor ERP system, in conjunction with its versatile and powerful MRP process, allows your organization to “see behind the curtain” at an organizational level, revealing what the current demands for your products are and if you have the necessary supply to meet demand in a timely and profitable fashion.

 

There are lots of things to love about Epicor’s E10 ERP application.

 

Want to know a few more?  Read our “ERP! How do I love thee?” series and give us a call with any questions you may have. 

Do you want to learn more about Epicor ERP and MRP? Download the Manufacturer’s information packet.