EPICOR Strengths: production management
EPICOR is exceptionally popular in the manufacturing sector, particularly among companies specializing in discrete manufacturing. This is not accidental by any means. The secret to this success is the excellent production management module of the Kinetic ERP system.
On the one hand, the Manufacturing module of Epicor’s Kinetic ERP system is highly flexible, allowing a wide range of customization of the solution to meet the specific needs of organizations. Still, it is particularly recommended for companies engaged in discrete manufacturing, that is, those that repetitively produce – in shorter or longer runs – products that can be individually counted.
The solution allows setting up mass MTS (make-to-stock) production as well as short-run MTO (make-to-order) production runs. And it’s everything related to the latter model that makes Kinetic ERP so popular. Why? Because customers increasingly want to have a say in the products they buy. They even expect to be involved in the design and production process. They wish to be able to select individual options themselves.
Kinetic ERP allows flexible management of such requirements at every stage – from production orders to sales. What’s more, as soon as a product inquiry is received, a specific product structure can be associated with the offer so that while talking to the customer, one can be designing the product at the same time – this is a variation of MTO, which is sometimes referred to nowadays as ETO (engineer-to-order).
A win-win situation
The customer’s benefits are self-explanatory. They can create a product that exactly meets all their needs – regardless of whether they are key features of the product, not just the functions, but, for instance, the colors of the individual components.
On the other hand, what’s in it for the manufacturer? An integrated product configurator is available in the system. This IT tool allows one to build a list of questions and answers to present to the prospective customer. Once the questions on this list are answered, the configurator allows presenting a visualization of the product, either in 3D or using augmented reality (AR). Imagine a customer looking for a summerhouse for their garden or a gate for their property. The system can prepare a visualization showing what the selected product would look like in that specific garden or driveway. Another example is a customer looking for furniture for their room. As described above, the system can present what the furniture produced based on the selected options will look like in the customer’s living room, kitchen, or bedroom. So, what’s next? Then, based on the parameters specified by the customer, the system gathers the data needed to plan and execute the production and shipment to the customer.
Such mechanisms make life much easier for workers and allow optimizing production, thus increasing productivity. Imagine an air filter manufacturer offering products that must be added to existing installations. This means that there are no standard filters. The configurator allows a very extensive simplification and acceleration of the data collection process. The requirement for customers to describe the filter they need – even if only the material and dimensions – is a big problem that slows down the business process. This is not a fictional example, as we have implemented Kinetic ERP in a company with such a problem. Employees collected dozens of orders daily, which had to be developed production-technology-wise.
In practice, a new product had to be generated for each new customer inquiry. It required training of the staff and generated high costs. Additional problems arose if trained employees were quitting the company.
The Kinetic ERP configurator has made it possible to eliminate the problem almost entirely. Now, the company can handle a much bigger volume of orders. The implementation was the moment that kick-started a period of intensive business growth.
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