Our expertise lies in the discrete manufacturing sector and so it makes sense that we pick the best ERP software for this complex area. Implementing an ERP for discrete manufacturers aims to optimize production cycles, reduce lead times, and enhance product quality. Epicor ERP was recently placed top in the influential SelectHub ERP System Leaderboard, with its manufacturing processes coming joint first. This supported something we know from years of experience: Epicor is the best ERP system for discrete manufacturers. But why is this?
Epicor’s heritage in the ‘job shop’ environment means that it is inherited and built upon the flexibility needed in a discrete manufacturing ERP system, supporting “mixed mode” manufacturing like no other system.
With many ERP systems, you are restricted to defining parts as make-to-stock or make-to-order, which directly impacts on the ongoing processes. However, with Epicor ERP you simply default the system to your normally preferred status but, order-by-order or job-by-job, you can change the way that part is processed. You can even have a job for a particular part that can be configured to make some items direct to a sales order and others to stock.
This gives you a great deal of granularity in your visibility and control, without overwhelming configuration requirements.
Discrete manufacturers benefit from ERP’s ability to provide end-to-end visibility, helping them make informed decisions and adapt to market fluctuations. Visibility of all aspects of the system is vital in today’s market where customers, both internal and external, need instant access to information.
The integration of ERP for discrete manufacturers facilitates seamless communication between departments, from engineering and production to sales and distribution. ERP systems often include communication features such as messaging, notifications, and alerts. These features enable employees to communicate directly within the system, ensuring that important information is conveyed efficiently.
Epicor’s ERP software has system trackers which provide you with the ability to get true 360-degree visibility of information relating to any business process flow. All ERP systems these days give you ‘drill down’ but Epicor also provides you with ‘drill around’, another way in which it is the best ERP for discrete manufacturing. You can go from looking at a sales order to a shipment, to an invoice, to a GL journal (if you wish) without ever leaving your starting screen, and all in just two clicks.
Extensive search functions like Google
On top of its trackers, Epicor also has tremendous search capabilities. Again, all systems allow you to create your own searches but you have to know where you are in the system to be able to enact them. This isn’t always possible, or at least not without wasting valuable time.
Epicor’s Enterprise Search allows you to enter any piece of data into a Google-type search engine. This instantly presents you with a Tag Cloud showing you where in the system that piece of data is found – whether it be a customer name, product code, or anything else. You can then drill into the appropriate screens directly from that search, where the trackers will help you navigate the remainder of the system.
Twitter meets WhatsApp for business
A recent introduction to the Epicor ERP system is Social Enterprise – one which they have been fine-tuning internally for 6 years. Trackers and Enterprise Search are great at finding information quickly, but you still need to go and search for it.
What would it be like if the information I needed automagically presented itself to me? Social Enterprise does this!
Epicor’s Social Enterprise works like a combination of a Twitter feed and a Group Chat system. You can subscribe to a particular data entity (customer, order, contract, project, etc.) and the system will notify you of each and every transaction that takes place against that data entity.
It also removes the annoying issues that arise when working with colleagues on matters like new projects or issue resolutions. Instead of emails flying round and round with the associated multiple versions of the attachments, you can all collaborate in an area in which you can all share and update everything you are doing.
Epicor’s Social Enterprise also appeals to the generation coming into the workplace today. They don’t use email; they use chat rooms and messaging such as Whatsapp and Snapchat – and coming into a business they don’t want to have to learn ‘old’ technology. They want to be able to work efficiently with the best ERP for discrete manufacturers, one that is leading the way and not lagging behind.
Business Processes Configured to You
Given all of this ease of access to information and brilliant technology, it might be easy to forget that we still need to control our business processes and ensure that they are adhered to. The last thing we want is to be swamped in exception messages that become less and less exceptional!
Epicor ERP has a number of user available tools that allow you to configure the user interface layer to enforce your business process requirements. Business Process Manager (BPM) allows you to build in your own rules to suit your own processes.
So, if you don’t want discounts of >10% being given by sales staff you can still allow the order to be placed but be put on hold, with the sales manager informed of the situation. They can then decide whether or not to authorise the discount, or change it – even directly from her phone if they are out on the road.
Equally, your spares department probably doesn’t need all the complexity of the full sales order process, so you can simplify the screens that they use to make it easier to work with and therefore improve compliance. Meanwhile, contract sales may require a more complex set of data in their sales order screen. Epicor ERP allows you to have multiple versions of screens, all working at the same time, for the differing role types within the organisation.
As you can see, Epicor is inherently set up to the needs of discrete manufacturers, whilst allowing flexibility towards the business processes that you require.
It’s not all about the software
The first step is selecting the right software. However, one of the biggest factors in whether your ERP implementation is successful comes down to whether you do so in the right way. The amount of businesses that fail to address fundamental issues prior to implementation is a key reason we have put together an e-book called, Implementing Epicor for Growth and Profit.