Epicor: how can ERP help aid growth for manufacturers?
1) What is the l...
Stuart Hall is Sales Director for Epicor Software, and he shares his unique perspective on the various roles of ERP in manufacturing.
1) What is the level of superiority of solutions you offer for the manufacturing industry?
Manufacturers worldwide select the Epicor ERP solution for its ease of use, ability to adapt to business and industry-specific requirements, and ultimately to scale as their organisation expands or changes.
Epicor drives growth with flexible solutions that provide manufacturers with accurate information in real-time, helping them to drive smarter, faster decision-making, and enabling them to quickly meet changing market demands, and stay ahead of their competition.
Our solutions are driven by industry best practices and flex to easily accommodate an expanding user base, product lines and geographic range.
Epicor ERP is built for collaboration and mobility. Epicor’s continued investment in creating a new mobile framework supports a modern user experience on virtually any mobile device for anytime, anywhere information access. This mobile framework is the foundation for delivering a mobile dashboard application, which is ideal for modern-day manufacturing.
Offering the same rich visual and navigational user experience that users have come to expect from any mobile application, the mobile dashboard application connects users from varying roles within an organisation to the right slices of ERP data from anywhere, on virtually any device.
2) How can software take care of the energy efficiency of manufacturing companies?
Advances in technology are allowing better management of equipment and processes. Software tools such as MES, ERP, and SCM can also be optimised to achieve energy efficiency goals.
Software helps companies track their energy consumption and identify areas where savings can be made. These solutions provide decision makers with relevant information about the impact of production planning to support business decisions on energy consumption.
Improvements in energy efficiency can be driven by the regular review of data collected on energy usage. This information can help to set new performance goals, action plans and reveal best practices.
The ability to capture large amounts of performance data has improved in the past decade. The challenge for manufacturers will be to develop analytics capabilities, in order to interpret their data and report on their performance.
3) How does Epicor help the manufacturing industry to reduce errors and improve process control?
Epicor offers industry-specific solutions that have been designed with a deep understanding of manufacturing processes such as make-to-order, make-to-stock and engineer-to-order.
The Epicor ERP software solution provides one source of data across the enterprise that helps in reducing errors . A common database provides the ability to access the right information, from the right source, at the right time, empowering all users throughout th organisation to make valid, informed decisions. Access to information gives managers an insight into what’s happening in the business and they can take action accordingly.
As an example, at precision sheet metal manufacturers KMF, Epicor has put information in people’s hands that wouldn’t have been possible before. It means that staff are in full control of the processes they manage and can make informed decisions without having to refer to various departments. In fact, KMP told us that its team can now “process customer orders more quickly than in the past, ensuring best practice and innovation in the business and keeping customers constantly informed of progress, through automated daily updates.”
Our solutions provide a rapid return on investment and a low total cost of ownership – because they help manufactures to improve the efficiency of their processes and reduce the likelihood of mistakes.
4) What are some of the typical problems that manufacturing companies face in terms of process that Epicor can help them with?
Traditional ERP software is inherently inflexible and slow, and often has an unfriendly user interface. It can, in fact become an obstacle to growth. Traditional enterprise software solutions also have high implementation costs.
This in itself is a challenge for manufacturers, which are under pressure to streamline their processes, enhance product standardisation and boost productivity.
Epicor enables enterprises to use the full power of social, mobile and cloud technology in one solution that is specifically designed with manufacturing in mind.
We are seeing our manufacturing customers use Epicor to gain better insight into their business and integrate their systems from managing raw materials, to coordinating the production line, and beyond. What’s more, these customers are accessing the data they need from any device; reaping the benefits of mobile functionality wherever they are.
Epicor removes the complexities of running an ERP solution and enables manufacturers to focus on running their business rather than becoming an obstacle to growth.
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Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.