Evaluating new ERP Systems including Epicor

So I am in the market for a new complete ERP system. I have research many options and they all say they can do everything but so does the one I use now. I like reading all the users groups on many different software companies just to get a feel from the users. Here is my general question, I want to schedule a manufacturing company that does Fabrication work, machining work, powder coating, and assembly of fairly larger conveyors. I want to be able to take a quote from the software and turn that into a BOM for the shop floor. Ecommerce is also starting to become a very large part of our business. Is Epicor one that I should be looking at? Honest opinions please, not sales.
Thanks

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What are you using currently and what issues are you facing with it?

There aren’t going to be a lot of people with experience with multiple modern ERP systems, so getting a good comparative picture can be difficult. And all of them seem to lack transparency and direct you towards sales people, making it difficult to know your true costs and capabilities.

My two biggest gripes:

  • Lack of base functionality (shipping, ecommerce, HR, etc etc) that needs to be corrected with additional modules. This wouldn’t be so bad if there was a lot more transparency and the process wasn’t so awful. For us cloud users we should just be able to browse a store of modules, see prices and demo videos, and buy with a click of a mouse. They should have a demo DB for people to log into and experiment as well. Right now the process is like haggling with a used car sales man, and you have no idea what your really getting.
  • Slowness of the system. All other issues can be addressed with changing your business work flow, customizing the software, or buying a module. My users constantly complain of slowness and there is nothing I can do for them.

My two largest praises:

  • We do have a very helpful community here, and Epicor Employees actually post here, which is a big credit to a company that otherwise has poor transparency and communication. This means that if you have any programming experience (C#), Epicor is really pretty darn easy to customize.
  • Actual continuing development. Some pieces of software barely change each update, but Epicor is making real, meaningful changes multiple times a year and adding additional modules. They do listen to feedback as well, for example the latest UI overhaul they are working on received a good amount of critical feedback, and they are delaying it’s rollout to the masses based on this feedback, so they can (hopefully) address the things that are being pointed out.

I think I good team could make most of the major ERP systems work for your company. But you need people who are committed and dedicated to the ERP system, who are willing to become experts on it. An ERP system isn’t just some piece of software, its a huge part of how your whole company is going to work together.

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Yes in general Epicor can do that but I don’t know what you are comparing to (and am not very familiar with the functionality in other systems either).

It sounds like your business is similar to ours so I will call out a couple of issues we have. There isn’t a built-in way to batch schedule a paint line. We batch our paint operations to minimize changeover time. But its done with a mishmash of dashboards and excel spreadsheets and basically prevents us from using Epicor’s scheduling engine.

Epicor also doesn’t handle shipping from jobs very well. For example, if you want to ship some pieces of a larger assembly, you can’t really do that - Epicor wants you to ship (and invoice) the whole line on the sales order all at once. If you only ship the whole thing at once this gap won’t matter to you.

Epicor is going through some major growing pains with the transition from classic to kinetic. I think the situation is improving, but right now we are in a painful limbo where a lot of the kinetic functionality is not quite there yet (and definitely not documented to the standard that classic was) but improvements are no longer being made to classic.

All that being said, I think Epicor is a great ERP system. In the context that there is no ERP out there that will provide everything you want out of the box, getting 80% of what you need, and a toolset that is very deep and accessible to build the rest yourself is huge. I think where people get disappointed is expecting you are going to get everything you want without a major investment in process development and customizations above and beyond the cost of the software.

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I think where people get disappointed is expecting you are going to get everything you want without a major investment in process development and customizations above and beyond the cost of the software.

@aosemwengie1 hit that nail RIGHT ON THE HEAD.

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My 2 cents; pay the 20 grand for an actual erp needs evaluation. You don’t want to end up with the wrong software or the wrong partner. I love epicor but it’s not one size fits all. It might be the perfect thing for your company, but at least if you have a semi-neutral third party evaluation of your needs, you can feel good about why it was chosen over others. Partner selection is a whole other thing too, but this would typically be included in a software selection engagement.

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Any recommendations on who for these ERP evaluations?

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I’d probably start with a local search to see what you have in your area. Get references and all that. There are a ton of companies that do it. I can pm you if you want the one we landed on.

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So many times I’ve seen “I’ve spent money to buy the software therefore it is now instantly useful”.

Nope.

Anybody seen this before:

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Hi Darrel,

We use Order to Job so no quotes are involved but it works well.

I really rate Epicor. It does what you need it to and provides access to the view data in any way that matches someone with base SQL query knowledge.

It does provide features for alot of different environments e.g. small to large so some are not required and it takes time to weed out what you don’t need.

It can allow inventory to go negative which I understand for smaller orgs without inventory control but we’ve turned that off.

I can’t comment on Ecommerce though.

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Are you planning on using the configurator at all? Our sister company looks to be in the exact same business as you and I’d be happy to discuss our usage of the system from Quote to Invoice, with one company using the configurator for all its worth and another using it strictly for comment generation.

I agree with all that has been said here. We really like it for it’s customizability - and we’ve spent some money & time on that to do what we want. And we also think the non-web/Kinetic version is a bit slow, but I’ve played with the new web screens and they seem a LOT faster. We are also multi-company, multi-currency, with consolidated reporting through elimination companies - and not many systems do this well, if at all.

But you should get a comparison going, and generate your NEEDS list first. Get some process mapping done for your key processes and get a handle on what you want the end goal to be - and document it. Once you start looking at other systems you’ll get distracted, and unless the 3rd party who is doing the eval for you is really really good in controlling things, the process will be long and expensive.

Oh yeah - there are links to CAD to do automatic BOMs and stuff - we looked at it and it’s really cool.

Be happy to talk, one conveyor company to another, if you want - just let me know.

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@EMI This may seem biased on first, but Epicor can provide you with a list of influencers. influencers are the consultants who help you understand your needs and select and ERP package. https://www.epicor.com/en/partners/influencers/
We met a few of them at an Epicor conference. Non of them were consultants who implement or work with the software.
Some other guidance, deal directly with Epcior or an Epicor partner.

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Thanks for all the comments, very helpful.

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Great thread - your high-level scenarios sound like a perfect fit for Epicor Kinetic. The advice in this thread is spot on, reach out to people in this group to get perspectives, engage with our Sales / Pre-Sales team as they will be happy to come onsite and learn about your business and how you work, then establish if there is a fit and walk you through options.

An independent selection consultant is an option, they typically have the right incentives driving their work, but you live with the decision, so the better you understand your needs the lower the risk of making a mistake.
An ERP is like the operating system of your business, it needs to be compatible with your industry and your needs.

No system is going to fit everything you need out of the box, which is why it is key to have flexibility, but do not reinvent the wheel.

If you need to connect to someone in the team let me know, I hope Epicor makes your shortlist.

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Truthfully, it ends up being your processes, and not the ERP, that dictates success. If you do not do the work upfront to review your current processes, standardize to standard business practices, and document; that will be why you fail.

I, unfortunately, have been involved in more failed ERP implementations than successful ones. And everyone that failed came back to business processes not the ERP. Too many people think purchasing an ERP will solve their problems. What usually happens is their problems get compounded.

Sorry to be a jerk, but I really don’t care what you choose. If you go into evaluation knowing what YOUR COMPANY NEEDS, you will choose the correct one.

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I love #7 :joy: :rofl: :joy:

So true

Too many people think purchasing an ERP will solve their problems. What usually happens is their problems get compounded.

My absolutely favorite ERP expression, “An ERP system does not solve your problems. It points them out in stark relief”.

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One thing is for sure; the community and Epicor company involvement on this forum is insanely cool. Like Epicor SVP of Engineering and Chief Innovation Officer @Edge showing up to humbly give some advice and access to the product owners and SMEs at Epicor in some random thread is worth its weigh in gold.
I have never met anyone in person from here yet I have built relationships with many and have vastly improved by personal abilities and my company’s technology with the knowledge and access of this community. For a big software company, it sure feels like a tight knit community that I truly don’t believe you’ll find elsewhere.

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And they probably all can…to varying degrees of effort/satisfaction.

And shortfalls can (almost) always be attributed to your own shortcomings.

My opinion, you’ll never be able to know too much about a system until you’ve actually been using it for an extended period.
Knowing yourself is easier, which is why I might do an honest audit of the site first. e.g. manpower/skills/budget/attitudes (especially mgmt), why the current system isn’t “cutting it”?

FWIW… I wouldn’t say I like any ERP systems I’ve used.
However, I do tend to stick with the “devil I know” unless… it REALLY sucked.