Terri Hiskey, Vice President of Product Marketing for Manufacturing at Epicor Software, tells Intelligent CIO about the latest developments in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and reveals what questions companies seeking to deploy ERP solutions need to ask.
Can you tell us about the latest developments in ERP solutions?
ERP solutions are starting to adopt and integrate various industry 4.0 technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to gather data in order to make better, faster decisions and to even identify potential opportunities for growth and/or improvement.
Delivering a better customer experience is something that all industries are struggling with, and the application of innovative new technologies can make a difference.
How do you cater for different verticals?
Epicor ERP was built to solve problems not just for manufacturers in general but has specific strengths and capabilities that better enable make-to-order (design-to-order, engineer-to-order, configure-to-order) manufacturers.
Most manufacturers today – prompted by customer behaviour and enabled by the latest technologies – have been slowly decreasing the amount of ‘make-to-stock’ items that they make, and are instead starting to manufacture smaller quantities of items that are customised for each customer.
As a consequence, we are starting to see the need for ERP software that can manage various modes of manufacturing in sub-verticals that are more likely to produce make-to-order products like fabricated metals, industrial machinery and electronics. This is where Epicor stands apart in terms of features and capabilities it offers.
When an enterprise is looking to deploy an ERP solution what are the factors they need to consider?
One of the biggest considerations to think of today is whether or not to deploy in the cloud. We are seeing more and more companies that, as they are looking to deploy an ERP solution, are considering the value that a cloud implementation can bring – there is no need to worry about hardware and maintenance as it is all included as part of the cloud value proposition.
In looking at the cloud, companies also need to consider plans for scale – including where they plan to expand in terms of global support – because it is essential to have a partner that can support the growth.
What are the main benefits an enterprise should profit from following an ERP implementation?
Most of our customers see almost immediate productivity gains from users being able to find and produce relevant information more quickly. There might also be improvements in the time it takes to process/schedule orders as they come in.
Better visibility can help with better decision-making, so when it comes to pricing, if users have a better idea of the cost of various parts, then companies can price end products with maximised margin. And finally, it’s the user experience – delivering a great experience to your employees that use our new, modern Epicor ERP solution is important to retaining your workforce.
What questions should an enterprise looking to deploy an ERP system ask of vendors that supply such solutions?
• Is your solution delivered in the cloud or on-premises or both?
• What is the difference in the on-premises version versus the cloud solution?
• How safe is my data in the cloud?
• How can I get my workforce trained and excited to use this solution?
• Can your analytics provide our executives with dashboard views into what is going on with the business?
• Can you share with me some success stories of other companies who are similar to me that have achieved their goals using your solution?