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COVID-19 Remote Work Support: Message from CEO Bruce Grant

COVID-19 Remote Work Support: Message from CEO Bruce Grant

COVID-19 Remote Work Support: Message From EstesGroup

Dear Clients, Partners & Friends– 

I wanted to share an update on what EstesGroup is doing today to keep our community safe and our delivery services moving forward, as well as specific steps we are taking to continue to deliver the solutions your business relies on.  I encourage you to regularly check our website, which contains the latest operational updates and links to additional information on specific events.  We will also be reaching out individually to clients and partners over the next several days.

 

EstesGroup Continuity and Wellness Activities Update

 

Remote Work Tests
As part of our ongoing preparedness with respect to the COVID-19 spread, we are activating business continuity plans to continually test various teams’ remote work capabilities. This is done to ensure we maintain service levels and resolution times, regardless of where our teams are physically located.  We were founded as a remote-work company, and we have refined our tools and procedures over the past 16 years of operations.  As such, we feel confident that we can continue to deliver the exceptional remote service you have come to depend on from EstesGroup.

 

Limited Travel
In line with CDC recommendations, we have decided to limit much of our team’s travel schedules. Our teams are ready and able to conduct most of our delivery work virtually, as they have for many years. While we’ll miss our face time, we feel this is the right choice to support the health of everyone.

 

Remote Delivery Enablement
Some of our clients have asked for assistance in preparing their teams for better remote and home-based work, including security, access, backup, and remote connectivity.  We welcome any questions you may have or assistance you may require in helping to make your remote working environments as efficient and effective as possible.

 

Health and Safety
Finally, the health and safety of our colleagues, their families, and our communities are the highest priority. We continue to encourage everyone to follow the preventive measures recommended by the CDC to stay healthy and slow the spread of the virus, including:

  • Clean your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home if you feel ill

EstesGroup is well-positioned and prepared to work through this pandemic. Although we feel our plan is good for our partners, our colleagues, and our community, confusion may arise as we move through this situation. We ask for your patience as the situation progresses.  Please feel free to reach out at any time with questions or concerns.

 

As always, stay safe and healthy, 

Bruce Grant / CEO
970.372.4526 office
703.624.2759 mobile
[email protected]   
www.estesgrp.com

Prophet 21 Rebate Management is Right On the Money

Prophet 21 Rebate Management is Right On the Money

Right on the Money: Epicor Prophet 21 for Rebate Management 

 

Achieving profitability through distribution management software has never been easier.  With the technology available in Epicor’s Prophet 21, automation can quickly optimize workflow across the distribution spectrum.  In the critical area of rebate management, Prophet 21 rebate management modernizes supplier administration by streamlining the process of tracking and collecting.  This, in turn, minimizes administrative costs and maximizes overall profitability for your business. 

 

Prophet 21 Leaves No Money on the Table 

 

With Mardi Gras upon us, if you were a Mississippi gambler playing your odds on one of the French Quarter’s finest felts, you’d want to maximize whatever deals were available—without showing your cards prematurely or leaving any money on the table.  In a similar shake, the key to successful rebate management lies in the ability to define a robust set of conditions based on varying supplier parameters.  This allows for automated downstream processing and transactional accuracy.  This minimizes the internal costs of administering rebates, while maximizing those available.  Prophet 21’s vendor rebates support a similar strategy of capitalizing on what’s available, leaving no money on the vendor’s proverbial felt. 

 

mardi gras retail store discount management

 

Prophet 21 Makes Payables Playable  

 

Because Prophet 21 is a highly configurable application, it can meet the needs of a variety of different vendor scenarios.  Setup for rebates begins with the overall system settings.  The System Settings form allows users to configure enhanced rebate functionality.  Under the general settings within the Account Payable business area, “Enhanced rebate functionality” can be enabled.  This sets the stage for further downstream system configuration. 

 

Financial settings are made at the company level, where default general ledger accounts for rebates and rebate allowances are defined.  Subsequent settings occur at the vendor and customer levels.  Prophet 21 rebate tracking can be enabled for individual vendors—and this allows P-21 users to differentiate between rebate-applicable and non-rebate-applicable suppliers.  Further settings at vendor level enable the user to override the rebate and the rebate allowance accounts defined at the company.  At the vendor level, rebate variance-handling settings can also be defined.  At the customer level, the default rebate location can be optionally defined.  

 

The jackpot of P-21’s automated rebate functionality resides within the Sales Pricing pages.  A number of possible rebate methods can be defined within these screens, including the following: 

 

  • The Value Method: This specifies a cost-after-rebate valuewhich is subsequently compared to the base cost at the time of invoicing to determine a rebate amount. 
  • The Multiplier Method: This allows you to specify your costs as a percentage of the primary supplier cost, with the remaining value at time of invoicing resulting in your rebate.
  • The Flat Method: This allows for a flat rebate amount to be placed against the supplier cost.

 

When automated rebate capture is not possible, you can determine manual rebates through Prophet 21’s Manual Rebate Entry screen.  For payments, P-21 supports check and debit memos, which are applied with the AP module as if they were cash receipts.  Beyond automated and manual rebates, Prophet 21’s EDI solution supports outgoing rebate requests to vendors and incoming rebate payments from them.  And in the event that a rebate needs to be reversed, the Rebate Reversals screen allows you to completely reverse the original posting. 

 

Prophet 21 Means You Don’t Have to Gamble to Grow   

 

Epicor Software Corporation has a strong reputation for providing powerful functionality for the distribution industry.  With real-time tracking and optimal automation, Prophet 21 immediately boosts profitability and enables further success by bringing cloud and e-commerce technology to any distributor looking to grow or transform business.  With fast implementation at minimal investment, Prophet 21 ERP allows you to keep your purse strings tight and leave no money on the table. 

 

 

Want to learn more about Prophet 21’s distribution features? Read our blog on Prophet 21 Rental Management.

 

 

Do you have questions about Prophet 21 Rebate Management? Let us know by filling out the form below and we will contact you shortly to help make your distribution business run better with Prophet 21.

 

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.

5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

You might be reading this post if you are researching Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), your company needs to become compliant, or your company is already compliant with CMMC but you have need of more IT services. In 2019 the Department of Defense announced a new cybersecurity protocol named CMMC that all DoD contractors (and some of their supply chains) would need to adhere to starting in 2020. There are 5 Levels of CMMC Certification, and EstesGroup can be an asset to companies in any of the levels.

 

5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

  1. EstesGroup helps you identify the technology and/or services you need to meet your CMMC Level Requirements.  
  2. EstesGroup can improve your Process Maturity by helping evaluate your Procedures, Policies, or Practices. Once we’ve reviewed those processes, we can help update them to ensure you meet your CMMC Level and other compliance requirements. 
  3. There are 17 Domains that CMMC is built on. EstesGroup has the experience, tools, and services to support your business across nearly all of these domains.  
    • EstesGroup routinely deploys tools and managed services that directly support these CMMC domains: 
      • Access Control, Asset Management, Audit and Accountability, Configuration Management, Identification and Authentication, Maintenance, Recovery, Risk Management, Security Assessment, Situational Awareness, Systems and Communications Protection, and System and Information Integrity. 
    • EstesGroup can consult on and support technology used in these domains as well, but these domains typically require internal personnel or a third party on-site.  
      • Awareness and Training, Incident Response, Media Protection, Personnel Security, Physical Protection, and Risk Management 
  4. EstesGroup Managed Services (ERP Hosting ECHO & Managed IT) employ many of the standard Cybersecurity measures required for CMMC. We regularly monitor our internal and client assets for threats, perform preventative maintenance, and update technology or processes to meet or exceed cybersecurity requirements.  
  5. EstesCloud Hosting (ECHO) services enable many CMMC requirements without significant impact to you, your users, or your bottom line. By hosting your servers or software solutions in a managed cloud environment, you can compartmentalize your compliant systems and protect them at the highest CMMC levels, without locking down your whole office. For more details, see our page on EstesCloud Hosting for Aerospace & Defense  

 

 

To Learn about CMMC, read our blog What is CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?”

 

EstesGroup is a Managed Service Provider who works with Manufacturing and Distribution companies by providing: ERP Hosting (ECHO), Managed IT, Epicor ERP, and Prophet 21 ERP services.

 

Have questions about CMMC or do you want more information on how EstesGroup makes companies more secure? Contact Us or fill out the form below.

 

What is CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?

What is CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?

CMMC: The Looming Cyber-Security Certification that Affects 60,000+ Companies. 

 

In 2019, the U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced a new security protocol program for contractors, called Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). CMMC is a DoD Certification process that lays out a contractor’s security requirements and it is estimated that between 60,000-70,000 companies will need to become CMMC compliant in the next 1-3 years 

 

CMMC is basically a combination and addition to existing regulations in 48 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 52.204-21 and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 252.204-7012, and includes practices from National Institute and Technology (NIST) 800-171, the United Kingdoms’ Cyber Essentials, and Australia’s Essential Eight requirements. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) will remain a separate certification from CMMC; though companies that are ITAR Compliant will need to adhere to CMMC as well. 

 

CMMC Version 1.0 was released late January 2020. To view the latest CMMC document, visit the CMMC DoD site. 

 

CMMC Notables 

  • There are 5 Levels of security maturity process (basic is 1 and most stringent is 5) 
  • Any company who directly or even some who indirectly does business with DoD will adhere to CMMC – that means direct DoD contractors and high level CMMC companies’ supply chains must adhere to at minimum base level requirements 
  • No Self-Assessment (unlike NIST) Companies need to get certified through a qualified auditing firm 
  • DoD will publish all contractor’s certification levels requirements 

Is My Business Affected by CMMC? 

 

This is easily answered with a 2-part question: 1, is your business a direct contractor to the DOD, or 2, does your business do business with a company that is a contractor to the DoD*? If you answered “yes” to question 1, then your business will need to be CMMC compliant. If you answered “yes” to number two, then it is very probable that your company will need to be CMMC compliant. 

What are the CMMC Levels? 

  • Level 1 – “Basic Cyber Hygiene”  
    • Antivirus 
    • Meet safeguard requirements of 48 CFR 52.204-21 
    • Companies might be required to provide Federal Contract Information (FCI) 
  • Level 2 – “Intermediate Cyber Hygiene” 
    • Risk Management 
    • Cybersecurity Continuity plan 
    • User awareness and training 
    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) documented 
    • Back-Up / Disaster Recovery (BDR) 
  • Level 3 – “Good Cyber Hygiene”
    • Systems Multi-factor Authentication 
    • Security Compliance with all NIST SP 800-171 Rev 1 Requirements 
    • Security to defend against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) 
    • Share incident reports if company subject to DFARS 252.204-7012 
  • Level 4 – “Proactive” 
    • Network Segmentation 
    • Detonation Chambers 
    • Mobile device inclusion 
    • Use of DLP Technologies 
    • Adapt security as needed to address changing tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) in use by APTs 
    • Review & document effectiveness and report to high-level management 
    • Supply Chain Risk Consideration* 
  • Level 5 – “Advanced / Progressive” 
    • 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) Operation 
    • Device authentication 
    • Cyber maneuver operations 
    • Organization-wide standardized implementation of security protocols 
    • Real-time assets tracking 

One important thing to note about CMMC, is that unlike NIST and other current certifications, CMMC will require certification from an authorized 3rd Party CMMC authorized certification company. Currently, most companies can self-certify for DoD-related securities. EstesGroup is not a CMMC Certification Company, but we can help companies prepare and get their security up to requirements.

For more specifics on CMMC, access the latest DoD’s CMMC Revision.

 

Learn more about CMMC with 5 Ways EstesGroup Helps with Your CMMC Compliance

 

Do you have questions of CMMC or how EstesGroup can help your company with CMMC? You can Contact Us or make a comment in the form below.