Maximizing Your Sales Team with Epicor ERP Sales Order Automation

Maximizing Your Sales Team with Epicor ERP Sales Order Automation

In a previous blog post, we looked at the overview of Epicor ERP 10.2.400 New Features. But let’s dive into Epicor ERP Automated Sales Order Entry.

 

Currently, sales order entry staff do just what their title implies: they enter orders. Sure, an order might be generated from a quote, but someone must enter that first. Data entry, day after day. What if your customer could send you a purchase order and it just magically appears in Epicor?

 

It’s not quite magic, but pretty close. Here’s the basic operation of Epicor ERP’s Automated Sales Order Entry:

  1. Your customer sends an email with a PO attachment to a designated email address.
  2. Intelligent Data Collector (IDC) identifies the attachment and pulls it into DocStar.
  3. DocStar creates a “pre-order” and automatically filters it to a workflow.
  4. A user steps in at this point and checks for exceptions. If there are exceptions, they are corrected by the user.
  5. The pre-order passes validations.
  6. An order is born, demand is created, et cetera.

 

Oh, I see you’re starting to get the implications, so I’ll give you a moment. Okay, moment’s over.

 

How handy is that? Imagine how much more of your sales order processing staff’s time can be spent on value-added processes, versus mindless data entry, and how errors can be reduced through automation.

 

It’s not a panacea. It won’t handle parts-on-the-fly or configured parts. It will bring in sales kits, but there’s no way to edit the kit within DocStar. Still, exciting news.

 

Epicor has made a commitment to provide us with tools to rationalize our work processes and give us the information we need to make intelligent decisions, and we know more is coming.

 

Interested in reading about the other new features in 10.2.400? Read our first blog in the series “The Good, The New, No Ugly: Epicor ERP 10.2.400”

 

Have we wet your appetite about Epicor ERP Automated Sales Order Entry? Just give us a shout. We can talk about this stuff all day. 

The Good, The New, No Ugly: Epicor ERP 10.2.400

The Good, The New, No Ugly: Epicor ERP 10.2.400

In the beginning there was Epicor Vista. Then Vantage brought a new user interface. Epicor ERP incorporated a version into the name, E9, along with major changes to underlying structure on a Progress database. With E10.0.xxx, the structure was streamlined with a switch to Microsoft SQL Server, bringing huge increases in performance and a new (modern) menu, as well.

 

With the first major upgrade to E10, E10.1.xxx, incremental features were added, increasing ERP’s functionality. It was faster, more polished, did more. But from a user standpoint, most basic operations worked pretty well like they did in previous generations.  Order entry was order entry, was order entry.

 

A couple of years ago we heard rumors: get ready for some new stuff.

10.2.100 gave us new acronyms: EDD, REST. Active Home Page said hello. More ways to access data, and even other types of devices.

10.2.200, 10.2.300 came along, popping new things we could do into the mix.

Now 10.2.400 is on the horizon. And it promises a Kinetic jump in capability.

 

Here’s a quick overview of new features coming in the next release:

  • Automated Sales Order Entry
    • DocStar-enabled application allows automated entry from a scanned image or email attachment of your customer’s purchase order.
  • Connected Factory
    • REST-enabled communication lets EPICOR get information directly from shop floor machines and other devices via the IoT (Internet of Things).
  • Lite MES
    • Kinetic-enabled user interface allows MES (Manufacturing Execution System) operation via touch-screen devices such as smart phones or tablets.
  • Scheduling Boards
    • Kinetic-enabled versions of Job Scheduling Board, Resource Scheduling Board, and Resource Scheduling Board make it easier to drag/drop and drill down, dynamically change timelines, and schedule jobs in “what if” mode.
  • Time and Expense Mobile App
    • Provide the capabilities to access and maintain time and expenses via smart phones and tables, including a “read-only” offline mode.
  • Project WBS Phases Revenue Recognition
    • Allows revenue recognition of WBS phases independently of the entire project.
  • OData 4.x and REST v2
    • Tools allowing communication among many sources, including Excel spreadsheets and the Internet of Things.

 

All right, there’s a ton of information here, but difficult to fit into a single blog post.

In the next blog, let’s look at Sales Order Automation.

 

Questions on the new Epicor ERP 10.2.400 Features? Have questions on ERP, Epicor ERP, or even Prophet 21? Let us know.

Why on Earth Do I Need an ERP System?

Why on Earth Do I Need an ERP System?

My boss once said to me that nobody wakes up in the morning and cries “I’m going to implement an ERP system!”  

 

It’s a fair point.  Apart from a few business process masochists that I’ve met over the years, few people out there really go out of their way to implement an enterprise system.  Enterprise systems are costly and they drain a lot of time and energy from key resources within a company.  They can be generally…painful to implement.  And yet I’ve seen so many companies make the move to enterprise systemand benefit greatly from the transition, in spite of the challenges.  This raises a question that I’ve had more than a few prospects ask me: “Why on earth do I need an ERP system?”

 

Pundits have long noted that the “E” in “ERP” is the most important of the three letters.  The value ian ERP system comes iits applicability to the entire enterprise and not just to a few selective functions within the organization.  And while ERP has been around now for many decades, there continues to be ample opportunity for better enterprise-level integration among companies.  Quite often, the “why” of ERP comes in a quick analysis of a Company’s current-state application architecture. 

 

With many of the customers that I’ve helped migrate to Epicor’s ERP platform, I’ve observed a current state application map to include one or more of the following:

  • The utilization of stand-alone financial modules such as QuickBooks for financial management.  Such systems are good for counting waves, but not for making them.
  • The use of manufacturing oriented work order systems for managing the shop floor.  Job Shop-oriented systems can be effective in defining product structures and working them through the shop-floor, but are less effective in managing the selling and shipping of manufactured products anin comparing the resultant revenues to costs.
  • 1980s-era ERP systems, with one or more bolt-ons for managing product configuration and/or the shop floor.  First-generation ERP systems are generally solid when it comes to inventory management, and basic order-to-cash cycles, but are limited in many areas, and are a burden to maintain.
  • Paper-based systems for inventory management & time card entry—some customers are still pounding the paper when it comes to basic warehouse and shop floor transactions.
  • Varieties of macro-enhanced spreadsheets for doing one of many things.  Spreadsheets are a great gap-filling tool, but their limitations quickly become apparent as multi-user capabilities and large data requirements become a necessity.

 

Based on the above, iis no surprise that companies come to us looking to implement Epicor because their current state is a drafty quilt of poorly-stitched and poorly-patched legacy applications, homegrown boondoggles, and siloed modules.  Customers come to us believing that there must be a better answer, anin most cases there is.  The problem is, most companies took a lifetime to grow into their patchy ponchos.  At certain early stages in their relative existence, most companies can get away with the above scattershot array of systemand pseudo-systems.  But these same systems become hindrances as the company looks to scale up, expand its offerings, ramp up its output, or better integrate with customers, suppliers or best-of-breed applications.  As these challenges become clear, the “why” of ERP begins to take shape.

 

Our work as Epicor partners quite often has to do with explaining the “why” of ERP.  My own “why” came to me many years ago.  At the time, I was still a customer and still quite naive regarding the ERP space.  Working on a process-improvement project with my company’s Vice President of IT, I asked him point blank whether our recent ERP implementation had been a success.  “Yes!” he replied, emphatically.  “Why?” I responded.  I was a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at the time and was practicing my “5-Whys” methodology.  I only needed one of them, for his answer changed the way I’ve seen enterprise systems ever since.  By implementing an ERP system, we were laying the foundation for everything that was to come.  In our case it was configurability—we were an engineer-to-order company, living ian increasingly configure-to-order market, anneeded to make moves toward configurability before our old methodologies priced us out of that market.  By implementing an ERP system, we set in place the building blocks for product configurabilityand our subsequent initiatives took these building blocks and reshaped the way the company did business.  Fifteen years anan ERP system later, my old company is still successfully competing iits target markets, proffering configured products, andoing so profitably.

 

Now every company owns its own specific point in time, and faces its own set of unique challenges, as it tries to grow and thrive in changing markets.  I’ve seen a lot of good reasons for moving away from a patchwork of solutions to a more integrated and comprehensive system.  My own story may resonate with some, or there may be other stories that better answer the question as to why a company might make the move to an enterprise system.  This is all to say that there are a lot of reasons for implementing an ERP system.  And everyone here at the EstesGroup would love to hear your story.  Anif you don’t think you have a reason for implementing ERP, we’d love to talk to you about that as well.

 

Have a question for our consultants? Trying to determine if your company needs an ERP system?