Epicor – The Powerhouse Behind the Scuderia Alphatauri Powertrain

“Any technical Partnership is crucial for us and especially the partnership with Epicor. 

Because nowadays, Epicor manages the team”.

 

Franz Tost, Team Principal
Scuderia Alphatauri

“The main improvements are the communication, the time saving and at the end the performance, because people aren’t spending time entering the data into they system or to look for the data within the company.

So at the end we gained a very good team performance using Epicor kinetic software”.

Giovani Cattarina, ERP Engineer
Scuderia Alphatauri

“For sure you can see a better performance in the car. More parts in a shorter time, with more reliable data”.

Simone Balilla, Production Planning Manager,
Scuderia Alphatauri

Part 3: BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL ERP BUSINESS CASE – (3 of 3)

In this third and final instalment of “Building a Successful ERP Business Case in 3 Key Steps” we’re finally sharpening our pencils and getting to the nib of the issue.

What info to include in your report to successfully ‘green light’ your ERP project!

Note: In part one of this blog series we spoke about the importance of completing the right kind of homework before putting your ERP business case before a decision committee. The primary take-away from this step was to stop generalising about the results of an ERP project and get really specific about its impact on your company. 

Part two, highlighted the importance of identifying at least one ERP champion on the decision committee that will advocate for your project behind the scenes. The key take-away here is to solve your champions pain points with ERP, and then furnish them with all the details and company specific anecdotes they’ll need to advocate on the projects behalf during the decision making process.

See links below to Step 1 & 2 in case you missed them.

STEP 3: Craft Your ERP Project Case Correctly

Once you’ve done the right kind of research and established your ‘champion’, it’s time to concentrate on crafting your ERP business case / proposal.

The key thing here is to remember your audience, be succinct, and focus on answering one fundamental question – Why Now?

Time and time again, companies decide to stall an ERP implementation because of the imbalance between what they know, versus what they don’t. They know it’s a risk. They know it’s going to be costly. They also know that it’s going to take months of work. 

What they don’t know is whether the rewards will be worth it!

So, admit that there are concerns. Address the anticipated risks (ROI timing / operational disruption / 3rd party integration/ security / etc.), and counterbalance each risk with details on the return.

Articulate the rewards by bullet pointing specific reasons why the project is needed NOW.

For example:

  • We’re all drowning in spreadsheets. It’s causing errors and wasting valuable time (cite examples/facts/figures). With ERP all key data would automatically be pulled through our systems, eradicating the need for spreadsheets and duplication of efforts.

  • The current system is preventing scale and growth. Last month we had to turn away a project because we couldn’t fulfil it. ERP will allow us to improve decision making, giving us visibility on stock flow and labour costs that we currently don’t have.

  • Poor data flow between departments is causing errors (cite examples) and costing the company money (again, examples!).

  • Current [named] competitors/suppliers have the edge over us because….,

  • Customers are sourcing elsewhere because…insert specific facts/examples.,

Clearly answer the ‘What Does Our Company Gain?’ question. 

Cite specific improvements / value that will be delivered through ERP and (again) remember to include specific facts / figures for your company wherever possible.

Examples:

  • We’ll have more competitive advantage because…

  • We will be able to offer more services such as…

  • Decision making will improve because we will have real time information on stock levels, x, y, & z.

  • By getting things right 1st time, every time, we’ll decrease costs, improve customer satisfaction &… etc.

  • An integrated business system will provide us with new operational capabilities to…. (include specific examples).

Next, include baseline information around the potential solutions you’ve identified, but don’t make the mistake of prioritising solution specifications over the reasons WHY you need the solution in the first place.

Taking up your audience’s valuable time with an overload of data on the differences between Epicor V’s SAP V’s NetSuite V’s whatever, will only serve to confuse and augment perceived risk at this early stage of the process.


Answer
the
Question
-

What
Does
Your
Company
Gain?

So, with all that said, inclusions in your ERP business case should include:

  1. Why [insert company name] Needs ERP Now

    Summary of why the lack of ERP is hindering current process and future growth.

  2. Internal & External Factors Driving the need for ERP

    Specific, data driven commentary on both the internal and external factors /pain points driving the need for ERP.

  3. What [insert company name] will Specifically Gain from ERP

    Scope out the project requirements and develop a data driven list of how ERP will improve your company’s specific operations, increase sales channels, improve supplier & customer relationships, and reduce CAPEX / OPEX in the long term.

    Take care to include improvements that will resonate with each stakeholder and decision maker.

  4. Solution Options

    Briefly outline your top 3 – 5 ERP solution offerings. Cite the pro’s and con’s of each solution when set against your core requirements, and include ballpark upfront, recurring and TCO cost estimations.


    Don’t get bogged down in technical data (include this in the document appendix if required) or cut and paste information from the vendors website or sales collateral. Technical data and sales spiel will only serve to clog your plan with information that’s irrelevant to this stage of the process.

    Think about ranking each solution against the same set of criteria so that you, and your audience, can easily discern differences. Make sure to rank for costs, core, and bonus functionality, references, support, and the providers local or global reach (as this will be important as your company grows).

  1. Next Steps

    List the steps needed to drive the project forward and make sure to include a proposed timeline. (Note: I’ll be posting a blog soon with recommendations on this) 
  1. Why Now (Conclusion)

    Conclude with a detailed list of the improvements and benefits that the ERP implementation will have on the company, making sure to include a short-medium-long term timeline, and improvements within each of your stakeholder functions. 
  1. Appendix
    To include your research sources, solution specifics, etc.

Written by Leeann Matthews, June 2022

Part 2: BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL ERP BUSINESS CASE (2 of 3)

In this second instalment of “Building a Successful ERP Business Case in 3 Key Steps” we’re talking about CHAMPIONS. 

You won’t find details about wonder horses, Katie Taylor, or league finals here; but what you will find is advice on the type of person you should approach to be your ERP champion, and tips on how to rally them as an advocate for your project.

NOTE: If you missed part one of this blog series, you’ll find it here.  

In step one of this blog we spoke about the importance of completing the right kind of homework before putting your business case for an ERP project to a decision committee. The primary take-away from this step was to stop generalising about the results of an ERP project and get really specific about its impact on your company. 

Now, lets move on to Step Two.

STEP 2: Gather Your Champions!

Someone told me once that they felt like Sisyphus when it came to getting their ERP project off the ground. They were forever trying to roll that project up the hill only to have it roll right back down again because senior management looked upon ERP as a costly technical issue, not a value driving company necessity.

So let’s be realistic,  you are never going to get sign off on a project if it is not championed by senior management, and I use the word ‘championed’ very deliberately.

Your project needs at least one advocate with decision making power, that will entice/cajole/demand that all the other key stakeholders are on board.

So, if you don’t already have a senior management ‘champion’, make it your business to identify (at least) one within your organisation and get them working on your behalf.

Get them on board by sharing your findings  (from step one).

  • Ask for their council on approaching other key stakeholders,
  • Decide what language would resonate with each decision maker,
  • Identify what pain points concern them most, and
  • work with them to sow the seeds of requirement within other departments.  

That way, when your proposal / business case comes before the decision committee, they’ll already know what value the project will deliver for them specifically, and they’ll be more open to the discussion.

Next, in Step 3, you’ll need to craft an ERP Project Case that sticks to the Be Bright, Be Brief, Be Gone theory of reporting!

Read more here.

 

Written by Leeann Matthews, June 2022

Part 1: BUILD A SUCCESSFUL ERP BUSINESS CASE IN 3 KEY STEPS

If you are struggling to get budget for an ERP project within your company, read on.

This 3 part blog series cites key advice that has proved successful for your peers, irrespective of whether you work in the manufacturing or distribution sector.

Over the years, I’ve had countless conversations with managers that need ERP in their business but can’t get a project off the ground.

Interestingly, it’s not usually the cost of a project that is stalling progress, most ERP projects get benched because of deficiency in two primary areas – stakeholder buy-in, and time.

Simply put, if those with the power to green light an ERP project don’t understand the company-wide value of it, you will never get budget. And, if you can’t articulate why now is the perfect time to start, decision makers will keep kicking that ‘can’ down the road, letting other priorities override progression on a project that you know would positively transform the company.

If that sounds familiar, and you’re keen to learn ways to overcome these issues and get the green light on your ERP project, read on. This blog series cites the 3 key things you need to do in order to build a successful ERP business case.

Step 1 (below): Start with the Right Kind of Homework

Step 2: Gather Your Champions!

Step 3: Craft Your ERP Business Case Correctly

Lets get started. 

STEP 1: Start with the Right Kind of Homework

Writing a business case that states you want to implement ERP in order to boost productivity / automate tasks / decrease costs / etc., simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

These terms are bandied around so frequently that they’ve become generic ‘noise’.

To put it bluntly; you could state, “we need to implement ERP to boost productivity, drive efficiencies, and increase competitive advantage”, but your decision-making audience only hears “yada, yada, everyone wants budget for the same thing, yada!”.

To overcome this, stop generalising about the results of an ERP project and get really specific about its impact on your company.

Take time to identify and list all the areas of the business that will be affected by an ERP implementation (finance, operations, manufacturing, warehousing, etc.).

Identify the key people in these areas (i.e., the people that the business can’t afford to lose), and then put your investigative hat on in order to gather details from them about:

  1. Their specific pain points & bottlenecks (including facts and figures wherever possible),
  2. What they’ve heard competitors are doing better,
  3. What improvements they know customers/suppliers are looking for, and
  4. What they’d love to automate in order to make their everyday job more enjoyable/easier/more productive.

This information is golden for two reasons. Firstly, its coming directly from key staff that are integral to the business. And secondly, it relates specifically to your company and its current operations, so decision makers can’t ignore its impact or pretend that the information doesn’t relate directly back to the bottom line.

For added impact, consider compiling a short video (simply taken with your phone) showing peoples responses to the question, “What would you most like to automate to make your job easier?”. The visual impact of watching staff / colleagues / friends talking about what would make their life easier is hugely powerful. And humanising the impact of an ERP implementation could go a long way to getting sign off on budget.  

Next, you’ll need to identify at least one champion in senior management (or the Board of Management) that will advocate for your project.

Read STEP 2 of this blog series for tips on how to identify an advocate and get them on-board. 

 

Written By: Leeann Matthews, June 2022

Epicor has acquired Data Interchange, a UK-based provider of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Cloud Technologies and Managed Services

Epicor Acquires EDI Provider Data Interchange, Expanding Global Reach in Helping Customers Drive Value in the Supply Chain

Austin, TXJune 07, 2022

Epicor, a global leader of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, today announced it has acquired Data Interchange, a UK-based provider of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) cloud technologies and managed services. The Data Interchange acquisition expands the reach of Epicor in European markets and adds to the company’s portfolio of B2B integration technologies, empowering customers to connect businesses and trading partners, increase efficiency, and drive value in the supply chain. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“The future of EDI is about creating more flexible and transparent supply chains that can seamlessly accommodate a wide range of inputs while ensuring automated and controllable outcomes,” said Epicor CEO Steve Murphy. “The Data Interchange acquisition gives Epicor customers an even more powerful set of cloud-based EDI solutions to streamline supply chain collaboration, simplify processes, and make data-driven decisions to identify trends and opportunities.”

As companies, particularly across European markets, manage increasing requirements for data integration across B2B supply chains, they are challenged in navigating the complexities of trading partner compliance, communications protocols, and local language support.

Data Interchange’s B2B integration solutions – including the company’s DiNet global EDI Network, Odex B2B communications platform, Darwin order processing solution, and XE EDI mapping tool – will help Epicor customers streamline their supply chain strategies, providing a single-source of truth to more closely manage supplier relationships, automate business processes, and plan for changing business needs. That includes support for European market protocols and standards such as OFTP2, EDIFACT, VDA, TRADACOMS and PEPPOL.

“Our goal at Data Interchange has always been to streamline the way EDI is delivered and presented to our customers and partners,” said Data Interchange CEO Andrew Filby. “By joining with Epicor, we’re extending our mission to help companies drive positive business outcomes by simplifying every stage of their EDI journey.”

Backed by more than 30 years of experience, Data Interchange pioneers the technology underpinning the world’s most complex supply chains with fast, accurate data exchange. A deep and experienced team and partner channel with specialists across Europe help customers in automotive, manufacturing, retail and logistics sectors optimise supply chains and trading processes, with an innovative product and services portfolio that helps customers improve their business operations.

See www.epicor.com for further details

Manufacturing Insights Report – Cloud Adoption Rates are Soaring

Manufacturing is Moving to the Cloud

Epicor asked nearly 600 industry decision-makers about cloud and why manufacturing is seeing a rapid increase in cloud ERP adoption.

The resulting report explores what is currently important to manufacturing businesses, what challenges the cloud might solve, and what companies need to make cloud adoption a success.

Content includes

  • Why manufacturing is rapidly changing

  • Why cloud is fast becoming a business necessity

  • Why security is even more important now than ever &

  • How powerful partnerships are essential for success.

 

Read the full report here

March 2022: Epicor Names Aspera its International Partner of the Year

Epicor award Aspera International Partner of the Year 2021

Epicor has named Aspera Solutions as its International Partner of the Year

Consistent performance over many years earned Aspera Solutions the coveted International Partner of the Year award, delivering strong and consistent year-over-year growth executed in each of Epicor’s strategic areas – cloud, key new accounts, migrations, add-on sales and platform sales on both Kinetic and Prophet 21 platforms.

“Congratulations to Aspera and all our winners! Partner recognition is very important to Epicor as we celebrate these achievements and international success. We thank you all for your hard work and commitment and look forward to accelerating our success over the next 12 months,” commented Andy Coussins, Senior Vice President and Head of International at Epicor.

Additional award detail can be found here: asperasolutions.com/awards

 

Join Aspera as it Demo’s Epicor Kinetic at the ERP HeadtoHead March 8-10th

If an ERP project is on your radar for 2022, then the virtual ERP HeadtoHead event (March 8th-10th, 2022) should be on your radar.


At the event, Aspera Solutions will demonstrate Epicor Kinetic ERP and Epicor Prophet 21 (for distributors), alongside 13 other vendors via 28 live ERP product demo’s. It’s the perfect opportunity to compare solutions and their potential fit to your organisation.

If you are interested in attending, feel free to use the promo code ‘AsperaDiscount2022’ to receive a 20% discount on the cost of attendance (normally £75 per person).

Find out more, and register directly with the event organisers at
https://erpheadtohead.com/uk

Not sure if Epicor should be on your radar as an ERP Solution? The answer is YES, if:

  • You’re a manufacturer, distributor or services company with 100+ employees.
  • You’re looking for a vendor that provides solutions on premise, or in the cloud.
  • You want an experienced solution, that understands the nuances and needs of your specific industry.
  • You want a modern solution with remote working options, integrated social-network-style communication, automations and easier data workflow.
  • You want to work with a skilled, local implementation partner with excellent support and dedication to project success.


Leeann Matthews
Aspera Solutions

Mobile: +353 (0)86  852 8757
Landline: +353 (0)1 461 1708

Tips For Choosing an ERP Vendor – Part 1 – Narrowing Down Your Options

If you’re in the market for an ERP solution in 2022, I expect Google Search has become an ‘old friend’!

What are the pro’s and con’s of various solutions? What solutions best suit your type of business? What are the current innovations in ERP that could transform your business?

Whatever questions you’re asking, your first task is to identify what ERP solutions best suit your business. To help you along the way, we’ve compiled Aspera & Epicor’s top tips for narrowing down your ERP potentials vendor list:

  1. Start with Analyst Research
  2. Learn from Peers / Competitors – especially those in similar industries
  3. Identify your individual companies needs

1) Analyst research

ERP industry analysts like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, etc.  provide a reliable and objective analysis of ERP vendors and products. They’re plugged into the current trends and future projections of the industry, and they can provide valuable insights and unbiased opinions that you won’t get from prospective vendors. They’re also trusted names within the ERP industry, and their data is often featured or cited in publications and other studies.

An example would be Gartner’s 2021 iteration of their annual report—“Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Midsize Enterprises”—in which they placed Epicor Software in the “Visionary” quadrant. This position is based on a full evaluation of Epicor’s global ERP solution—Kinetic. The Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP focuses on ERP systems that are offered in a cloud services application deployment. It covers midsize enterprises across all geographies with an annual revenue between approximately $50 million and $1 billion USD.

While it’s a smart move to take analyst opinions and data into account, relying solely on them may not yield the best choice in cloud ERP for your business. Say, for example, you’re looking for the best cloud ERP system for your discrete manufacturing business. Maybe you have one or two locations, but you don’t have the infrastructure in place to support some of the more robust software solutions used by large national or international companies. An industry study will likely not narrow its focus to something for your specific needs—they’ll likely evaluate all cloud ERP systems instead of just the cross-section of software that’s a good fit for your business. Analyst lists are great for thinning out the herd, but you shouldn’t stop your search there, thats why it’s important to investigate what your competitors / peers are using.

2) Learn from Peers / Competitors

Once you’ve looked at ERP analyst reports, it’s time to see what others in your industry are saying. Getting customer references from your peers is essential, because they can tell you what software they’re using and why they selected it, as well as give honest feedback on their experience. Speaking with users in your industry helps you learn the details of how existing or desired functionality might be handled or improved by the new system. Going back to our previous example, it’s important to reach out to other small-to-midsize discrete manufacturers to find out what they’re using. Find out what they like, what they don’t like, what works, and what doesn’t.

Seeking out analyst reports and peer recommendations will provide valuable perspectives, but when it comes to choosing the best cloud ERP system, your own organisational needs and growth objectives should ultimately guide your decision.

3) Understand Your Organisation’s Unique Criteria

Ultimately, the best cloud ERP system is the one that fits your business. You have to assess your business needs and define certain criteria that only exist for your organisation or line of work.

For example, manufacturers might require an integrated whiteboard-style production scheduling application that allows production planners to do their job within the ERP system, instead of settling for disconnected spreadsheets. 

Retailers might require a solution that offers them real-time visibility into their inventory and provides a mobile point of sale (POS) system.  It’s also paramount to choose retail management software that offers an eCommerce solution.

Distributors need to look for a software system that offers front counter functionality that can automatically enter customer order information—eliminating manual processes and rekeying errors. 

These are just a couple of examples, but the point remains the same—find a cloud ERP system that fits the way you do business. 

Gather representation from every aspect of the business that will be affected by the new solution. Together, note what works well within your organisation and what needs improvement. Make a list of requirements and determine whether or not these requirements are ‘need to have’ or ‘nice to have’ elements and use this to narrow down your vendor list.

Once you’ve identified your preferred vendor list, the next step is to assess their commonalities, advantages and disadvantages.  Aspera recommends pitching the same questions to each vendor so that it is easier to make comparisons & we’ll cover that in part 2 of this blog.

Contact Aspera Solutions for clarification / support.  

 

 

 

Please note that elements of this piece are attributable to Epicor  – How to Choose the Best Cloud ERP Software