Richard Townend began working for Epicor 20 years ago and was pulled into the Consulting team from his support role 2 years later. He was soon a leading consultant with vast knowledge of business and the Epicor ERP software. Over the years he has worked on many projects and led them to success. After several attempts over the last few years, we have been lucky enough to welcome him on board to CBO in 2018 and are looking forward to working with him for many years to come.
What attracted you to ERP in the first place?
I began my career as an apprentice at General Electric Company (Rugby) from 1989 until 1994. During my time there, I attended East Warwickshire College on block release and then three years full-time at Leeds Metropolitan University.
After I completed my degree, I went to work for a small engineering company, JMR Electronics, based in Leeds as a product development coordinator as well as managing the planning side of the business. Due to the nature of those roles, I naturally took over the ERP system which was an Epicor product called Data Flow.
Between 1997 – 1998, I attended then went to an Epicor user conference (formerly known as Data Works.) It was at this conference where I was approached to be a Project Manager for an implementation project for Shandon Scientific located across Runcorn, UK, and Pittsburgh, USA. Not only did I gain additional valuable experience of ERP but pleased to say that this implementation project was delivered on time and on budget. It was then in 1998 Epicor offered me a position to work in their Support team.
What attracted you to join CBO?
Since that I have been established within the ERP industry for quite some time now, I have already crossed paths with most of my CBO works colleagues and have always enjoyed working with them. Like myself, my colleagues have been approached by CBO due to their knowledge and expertise of ERP software; whether that be working directly at Epicor or they were originally a customer of Epicor.
What’s more, it’s great to be working with a like-minded team, who are not only hard-working and provide a valuable support network but also add a fun and friendly atmosphere across the CBO business.
What’s the best thing about working at CBO and with Epicor software?
I like the way CBO do business in terms of collaboration. As a consultancy team, we collate and share each other’s knowledge of previous projects, to help and support customers. I’m happy to be working for a consumer-centric business-like CBO, they really know their customer base and genuinely want to look after each customer and help them reach their end goals.
Also, I’m lucky to be working with the Epicor software as its quite versatile and open; making it adaptable to customise and fit the requirements of that specific industry or company you are working with.
What’s the challenging thing about working at CBO and with Epicor software?
The most challenging part of any project is that every customer (no matter what sector, size or turnover) must understand the process of what you are trying to achieve from an ERP project.
A crucial part of my Principal Consultant role is to correctly communicate the core message of why we are doing this project, as well as gain buy-in and agree on goals and outcomes. Also, right from the very beginning of each project, it’s important to set the expectations, as well as be honest and upfront about what the software can and can’t deliver.
Is there a customer or industry you would like to work with and why?
In Epicor’s younger years, the software was originally positioned towards the fabrication and electronics market; so, I do have a soft spot for those two industries.
What is your top tip for new Epicor users?
The advice I would give to new Epicor users is to try and fully understand how the software works before you request changes to the software.
Also, remember that an ERP system is fully integrated. The way you use and enter data into the system will more than likely impact other departments further down the line, therefore; you must be considerate of other departments and other users.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as a software consultant?
Working with the Epicor ERP software is only 40% of your job. It’s important for any aspiring as well as an experienced consultant to have strong communication and people skills. You need to be able to listen, show empathy as well as understand people’s requirements, but also to challenge if and when appropriate.
Any imminent ERP trends? And how do you see the software developing?
Originally ERP was designed to help people with processes within a business. Over time, ERP has naturally evolved, and right now data is key for any successful business. Companies need access to data to make the right decision and thankfully; Epicor data analytics enabled us to select the correct data analysis to get the relevant KPI’s.
Going forward, all types of software is moving toward being more user-friendly i.e. easier navigation, 1 click etc in which I believe in the long-term future, this will continue to evolve.
Are you interested in joining the CBO team or applying to our CBO Academy? Get in touch.