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Why Should I Switch to Epicor?

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Why Should I Switch to Epicor?

Enterprise resource planning software is a powerful tool for businesses. Providing comprehensive, customizable business management on a single platform. The applications you need to run your business —  everything from sales and marketing to human resources — can run through the ERP.

Putting an ERP in place eliminates inefficiencies like duplicate data entry and increases productivity. Instead of grappling with the inefficiencies of a homegrown system, Epicor®, one of the leading software platforms, helps businesses focus on growth instead of worrying about IT infrastructure.

Epicor® is designed specifically to fit the size of your business. Without adding an enormous IT budget burden, offering industry customization, melding to the specific needs of your company. If you want to increase productivity and scalability through an ERP system, find the right partner to help you with a system audit and a custom plan of action for implementation. Practical Technology Solutions has worked with companies like 3M Corp., Ashcroft, PosiTronic, and Shearers Foods to implement Epicor®.

One client, Unique Sports Products, Inc., offers insight into Practical Technology Solutions’ Epicor expertise:

 “I definitely recommend PTS as a partner for Epicor technical services and continue to use them. I only wish I had found them sooner. I will continue to go to them for enhancements, training and consulting as there is no doubt they will help us maximize our investment and minimize our time spent implementing various Epicor solutions.” 

Analyzing Your Current System 

A survey of software buyers found that approximately 66 percent of buyers do not use an ERP system, according to Software Advice. A significant number of these buyers (44 percent) use a mishmash of different systems to achieve the same functions of an ERP. This type of system is often considered homegrown. In this case, a business’s IT staff will build parts of a system or a whole system to carry out the various functions. While building your own system in-house does save money in the short-term, business leaders will have to think ahead. What will happen once your original IT staffers leave? Will the new IT department leader know how to efficiently use and maintain a system built by someone else? Will everyone else in the company have a simple, efficient user experience with the system? Homegrown systems are often dependent on the original programmers who made it. These systems also often lack the sophistication of an ERP. For example, a homegrown system may not have customer-specific pricing.

Your business may have a homegrown ERP, but as the scale of your business increases, so does the likelihood you will outgrow the software. Of software buyers at a company not using an ERP, 27 percent report wanting to change to an ERP specifically because of company growth. Look at your business’s needs and growth trajectory needs as you analyze your current system. Does it make sense to leave behind the homegrown model?

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Finding The Right Solution

An ERP application can be customized to fit a variety of different industries, businesses and business sizes. ERPs allow data sharing across any aspect of your business. Different modules within the system handle various aspects of day to day business. Four core areas include:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Human resources
  • Sales and marketing
  • Supply chain management

Bringing all of these different areas of your business onto one scalable, customizable platform that conforms precisely to your company’s needs can drastically improve company efficiency.

What are the advantages of enterprise resource planning? Many modules have automated functions, decreasing the amount of time your company has to spend on that particular function. Automation increases productivity. A LinkedIn post based on statistics from the Aberdeen Group found:

  • ERPs can cut operating costs by 23 percent.
  • Better productivity stemming from an ERP system can increase a company’s on-time deliveries by 24 percent.

Companies that do not use Epicor® often run into significant limits on productivity and face challenges when it comes to scalability.

Which Version of Epicor® Is Right for You?

Users can choose from a number of different versions. Here is a quick look at the different interactions to help you decide which one best fits your business needs:

  • Why should I switch to Epicor® 9?

Epicor® 9, built with the ICE 2.0 business architecture, helps businesses support their financial, supply chain and sales operations. The ERP’s financial tools are designed to help businesses improve their bottom line, while the supply chain tools help businesses gain visibility and control throughout the entire supply chain process. Lastly, the sales and operations tools help improve quote accuracy, meet customers’ needs and make the entire order process more streamlined.

  • Why should I switch to Epicor® 10?

Epicor® 10 incorporates all of the tools offered with the previous version, but it has improved speed. Businesses with more users and increased need for an ERP will likely appreciate the speed of this version. It also comes with a significantly lower hardware cost to implement.

  • Why should I switch to Epicor® Vantage?

Epicor® Vantage is an ERP is a software system designed for the manufacturing industry. This system includes modules for:

  • Financial management
  • Supply chain management
  • Production management
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Project management
  • Product data management
  • Service management
  • Human capital management
  • Sales management
  • Customer relationship management

The system is built on a service-oriented architecture. Epicor® also offers solutions for other industries based on the Vantage® manufacturing ERP.

Pitfalls of Homegrown Systems

A homegrown ERP can seem like a great way for a business to start managing its operations. Building a system in-house requires much less of an investment, and the system can be built specifically to meet your business’s needs at that time. Users will feel comfortable with a homegrown system, and this type of system will work wonderfully for maintaining the status quo. But, one of the biggest pitfalls is the lack of scalability. If your business changes or increases, you will inevitably outgrow the software’s limits.

For example, your business might have only had a small amount of inventory to manage. As your client base and the scope of your business grows, so will the amount of inventory. Your homegrown system will not have the electronic data interchange and reporting tools necessary to easily manage a growing business.

While you may not have invested much in the homegrown system at the outset, it will rapidly become expensive to maintain and update. You will spend internal resources scrambling to keep every part of the homegrown software relevant and capable of supporting your business. As your industry changes and your business works to adapt, a homegrown system will struggle to keep up. Your business will spend increasing amounts of time and money to support a system that is struggling to provide the functionality you need.

Epicor® will have the comprehensive business intelligence to provide advanced functionality, which will translate into both time and cost savings.

What Happens When Your Employee(s) Leave?

Homegrown systems are built in-house, meaning they are the work of one person or a small group of people. Your talented IT director and programmers who create that system are in charge of maintenance and system training. They know everything about the system and how to teach others how to use it.

Internal support seems like a valuable asset, but employees are not guaranteed to stay with your company indefinitely. If your IT director and programmers leave for another job or retire, they take all of their expertise and knowledge of the system with them. They may have time to help train their replacement, but it is unlikely they will be able to share all of their knowledge before their departure.

Once they leave, you will either be faced with a significant loss of time, money and productivity as your current staff struggles to learn how to maintain the system. If the system goes down, your business will struggle even more.

Instead of waiting for the day when your company ultimately outgrows its homegrown system and loses the people who built it, you can transition to Epicor®.

Epicor® provides your business with the customization that made a custom solution so attractive. It also eliminates the inevitability of outgrowing the software. Epicor® is designed for scalability — the system will grow as your company grows. Additionally, you will not have to rely on the expertise of people who will not always be with your company.

Go Remote with your System Administrator

Practical Technology Systems provides its clients with a dedicated Epicor® system admin. This administrator is an invaluable resource who helps you maintain your system without adding to your overhead or taking up your staff’s time. Additionally, you do not need to worry about staff turnover with an outside system admin. Other benefits of an outside system admin include:

  • Experience in multiple different versions
  • Expertise in data training and best practices
  • Ability to help with server diagnostics

Businesses can save money with the reduced overhead and save time without the constant need to train backup system admins. Instead, a dedicated system admin is always available.

Practical Technology Solution’s client Kadant Black Clawson has greatly benefited from the company’s support:

“Their technical quality has been excellent and their cost reasonable. PTS has always been able to address our requirements even in emergency situations. I would recommend PTS as a partner for Epicor® technical services and continue to use them.”

Duplicate Data Entry

Homegrown systems lead to increasing inefficiencies as the needs of your company grow beyond the system’s capabilities. One of the greatest inefficiencies of a homegrown system is its lack of integration. If your company operates in multiple different locations, or even in one location with multiple different users, data often settles into isolated silos. This makes it harder to find and use important information.

When a system is poorly integrated, users waste time searching for data. Often, duplicate data entry occurs in an effort to avoid data silos. Duplicate software data entry not only wastes your employees’ time, but it can also be inaccurate and incomplete — which is wasteful and has the potential to actively harm your business’ day to day.

While you are sifting through duplicate data, your system is likely only showing you historical data. On the other hand, modern ERPs provide real-time data access. It is important to have access to the most up-to-date information when making any sort of decision that could affect your business or your customers. 

Homegrown systems can cost you both time and production in the long run. Trying to navigate data silos, wasting time on duplicate manufacturing data entry and basing decisions on historical data can negatively affect your business. A well-implemented Epicor® system can help you reduce the amount of time you spend on data entry, increase the accuracy and timeliness of your data and overall streamline your system’s processes.

 Unique Sports Products, Inc. commented on how Practical Technology Solutions and Epicor® helped automate and streamline data entry processes and reports.

“So far Jim and a group from PTS have come in to do a CRP/training session for two days that was extremely helpful. They have also developed and installed a customized program to assist in automated order entry and processing, shipment entry and processing and have developed customized SSRS reports. They have always addressed our concerns in a timely manner, and are very conscientious about costs, and very detailed in their work.”

Finding the Right Partner

The switch from a homegrown system to an ERP like Epicor® can be intimidating. After all, a homegrown system is familiar, and an ERP is a significant investment. Instead of clinging to what is comfortable, perform an objective analysis of your current system. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Can the system easily adapt to the growing needs of the business?
  • How streamlined are the processes managed by your homegrown system?
  • How disruptive would it be if the IT director or a programmer left?
  • Does the system fall prey to duplicate data entry?
  • Do you notice inaccurate or incomplete data?
  • Have users raised questions about productivity related to the system?

If the answers to these questions make you stop and think about the sustainability of your current setup, it is time to think about switching to a Epicor®. It has the scalability to grow with your company, the customization to meet your company’s needs and the integration to avoid duplicate and inaccurate data entry. This increased functionality has the power to save your business time and money, while dramatically increasing productivity.

However, you do not have to make the transition alone. Practical Technology Solutions is an independent professional services company that can help your business with every aspect of implementation to ongoing maintenance. The company offers services including:

  • New installs
  • Upgrades
  • Development
  • Consulting
  • Training
  • System admin support
  • And more

 Give us a call today to learn more about how Epicor® can help transform your business.