Setting Up MES - Data Requirements

Just starting a thread for myself as a newbie to epicor, we are implemeting the full suite from MRP to advanced planning, MES and the likes a full set up and implementation

I want to get ahead of the curve and start getting some data together so we can make decent inroads when we start work with the consultants from Epicor, likewise i want to see the gaps we may have

we have bins, barcoding, warehouses on site, we have times for some processes not all, and have production cells for each part in its own BOMS so its just the Operations functions within Jobs that is throwing me on how you set these up

If you have any tips or helpers for setting up Epicor and the data required i can make a flying start, no point sitting idle!

thanks to all,


Welcome @Mitch_B!

(I’m a consultant… I work for an Epicor partner… be sure to consider the source as you read my reply!)

Has your organization used an ERP system before, even if it wasn’t Epicor? Where is your data (bins, warehouses, part numbers, customers, suppliers, etc.) currently stored (ERP, Access, Excel, post-it notes)? Is your staff (not just production staff, but front office too) comfortable with following established processes? Do you have existing processes, and are they written down?

Clean, consistent data and clear, well though-out processes are what will win you into your consultants’ hearts. Having social security numbers in the Zip Code field, using the Part Description field as a “comment” field on a sales order, and being determined to continue doing things just like you always have regardless of new functionality will make your (and everyone else’s) lives completely miserable.

The data and the processes are the least sexy but arguably most critical pieces of this puzzle. Mapping what you have for them onto how Epicor wants to store and process them is huge… work with your consultants and listen to what they say. Ask questions! Ask them why they recommend something. Boots on the ground are vital… they are there seeing what’s going on, absorb as much as you can (and feel free to come back here and ask us what we think!)

There isn’t a magic bullet, sadly, it’s a lot of work. But if you know what you have, and have a vision of what you want to see, you’ve got a great start.

Good luck, and I hope you keep coming back to drink more from the fire hose!


Firstly thanks for the prompt reply, nice to join a community and get engagement! so thanks

They currently use SAGE but simply for the job creation and the top level stock management that is it, and built a web based Dapp that is pulling data from SAGE to a “readable” format front end. our customer database is in salesforce and there is very limited purchasing contracts/arrangements in place we spot buy pretty much everything.

The business has a data manager and a team so we have alot on hand to play with its just merging it into a format, I think we are really shy on the data for BOO’s and Times against the BOO but having over 60,000 part numbers in the systems its understanding if we can just roughcut it or if we have to nail it to a real precise times… Can operations be simple as “load equipment”, “use equipment”, and group these resources and put target times in, and collect data via MES to get accurate times?

The warehouse structure is rather deep for we have 16 warehouses in sage that cover the site, so they can book raw material in, raw material out to a bin, bin to stores, stores to job, job converts part numbers, booked into paint raw, booked out of paint to painted part number, booked to warehouse dispatch or bulk yard… they touch each and every step of the process with labels barcodes and bookings transfer orders… Ive come from a JIT manufacurer these guys are job shop with mix of stock and engineered products, short windows… alot to take in to be honest haha - - - But they are pretty good at this, confusion comes where the paper travellers are being pulled from pillar to post and job prioritisation is robbing peter to pay paul in terms of raw material and component material… MRP will sort that no issues and the AMM and APS side of epicor will close the issues down… just how is my concern right now

I have implemented SAP before in a global manufacturer but as its not “the same” in essence some data is a tad more refined than in SAP.

Honestly, thanks for getting back, look forward to building a relationship up with the community its exciting for me, i want to make that impression and doing homework is key to that for sure…

Any useful links/videos please drop them below im all eyes and ears!!


@Mitch_B Welcome. Rough cut is fine for scheduling. Your BOOs can grow as you learn more or not. We have some BOOs that are just, kit, build per process instructions, test, audit. All of our first articles are done like this and then the BOO is expanded. We use a simple MISC operation for any odd things that don’t warrant their own operation, just a description on that BOO.

Always play in a test or Pilot environment. Nothing goes into live unless it is vetted. Once you have a parttran record, which happens even with setting a part’s standard cost will lock in that part.


Morning Greg, Again thanks for a response,

Im in a meeting today about SOP (standard operating proceduers) in the factory being written and we dont know how best approach it, do it in BOO steps by machine type, or by Part and its end to end process… its again all tied to the way we develop that BOO over time, but i was hoping we could get away with the rough cut intially and grow it from there - taking that “Kit, build” etc. logic to get us rolling with estimated times in that we know we can adjust if required

BOO is a weird concept in my mind as an operation “standard” to be assigned to specific parts. We cut tube and box section to length, the time to cut the material can vary, so creating a time for it could be difficult and i dont want to get into the world of managing individual operations by part number we arent greatly furnished with resource that way

how do you and your team manage BOO’s? do you have unique opeations per part or just generic times for normal processes and use MES to get the start/finish times for the “Build/Make” opeations?

The operations can be setup in a variety of ways, but I will talk about our two different base setups.

One in a Custom welded facility: The BOO is determined by product (Aluminum vs Steel) and then times are dependent on the model and currently (guessed at and set by std time from UD table which could be retargeted later when MES stations are on the floor collecting data to provide real times.) About 10-15 operations (variable and determined through the configurator)

Second in our ‘Adjustable’ facilities: Here is just 1 op for final product with it either being KD (knock-down) or FA (final assembly) for main facility either it goes out as a kit to a distributor or another site to be finished/final assembly on site, or shipped as a finished assembly to dealer. BOO here is 1 OP at either end (just std times in configurator table also configured end product).

Our subassemblies have many stages and get better time data from MES stations on the floor and have more than one operation. Cut, Bend, Punch, Drill, etc. and most of this starts with a standard time for the operation specific to the part being made to measure efficiency against (start and end activity and when reporting qty).

Not sure if any of that helps, but the system is very flexible and just comes down to setup and design choices during implementation IMO.

So ill start by apologising about my dump/overload of information here…

This is interestsing to read your responce so thank you

i just wanted to explore my situation with you so, for high running stock items (Make to stock finished goods), we cut lengths down to size, stock components/Piece parts, pick components(Sub question on that) and then feed bots or hand weld bays (some product can be done on both), to produce sellable raw material requiring paint… finish prod ready to go, pick and pack the fixings and fasteners and then its ready to ship basically… Im assuming my operations would be as simple as:

–Set up time-- Fixed value
Op10 - Cut
–Request Collection–
–Request Feed of Components–
–Set up time-- Fixed Value
Op20 - Weld
–Request Collection–
–Loading Time-- Fixed Value
Op30 - Paint
–Request collection–
–Request pick–
Op40 - Available For Dispatch

Does that sound sensible? or am i really over simplyfying my understanding of it??

Now we also have product that is Final assembled from a number of smaller “sub assembly” components that need painting, so paint them, then assemble them to a finsihed product that is run either Make to stock or Make to order… its one or the other we stock “make to order” due to no Sales Forecast.

I dont know what to set my parts up as - pull from stock or make to order in turn, and use a forecast/demand to drive the requirements my heads spinning.

----My sub question i had was, our robots do batches of 200pc to get the most out of the setup and required demands, but the size of the product means we would have to do multiple picks of components and multiple jobs of cutting components to feed these robots when they run… how does that work in terms of picking and feeding----- doing fencing that is minimum 4m x 4m in batches of 200 per order alot of footprint in raw material storage so stocking all the components at 1 time for the runs on the robots will cause concern physically I think, what they do now is cut and feed just very inefficiently - im getting the vibe Finite here on these items…

However we also do some product that is not stocked finhed items and the finished products marked as MTO (Make to order), Process currently being that we dont stock the components and make these to Sales Orders as they come in (Terrible lead times due to the adhoc nature and confusion in manufacutring of doing 1 off requirements here and there kills our nesting, programming the lot when they are dropped in) … However in my head if we stock the components in a minimum sales order quantity we could convert this material quickly to finished product and not interupt the stock items flowing through en-masse allowing finite Just in time method to run the stock items and run mins on the make to order items, just needing a decent sales forecast…

we also then have engineered to order - a whole other beast that i cannot begin to think about, but just manage manually hahahaha

Again sorry for mass overload im just brain dumping to pro’s and users as i may find someone in a similar boat to me that i can relate to and get a better understanding of how they run their set up

Thank you all


Our BOOs are generic and for time keeping and can go from our basic seven required operations to hundreds of details operations. This is mainly determined by batch size. We have a separate process instruction document. Your four operation boo would work. As @CSmith said you can have a one operation job.

As Clint eluded to you can flex the operation time on the job and not necessarily have the details in the boo. We have a cutting operation and depending on the number of wires in the assembly I can set the time with a bpm that runs after job creation.

The make to stock or make to order can happen with the same boo on the fly at the time of sales order entry based on the order quantity. The software isn’t going to change the MTO/MTS puzzle or even Eng to order, but it can adapt the same boo to all of those scenarios.

The batches of 200, are those mins to run the job or just best optimization of the robots? You can set min lot size in the system, but that could force a lot of finished inventory with no demand.

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Yes, BUT.

Probably a better way to answer the question is… what data do you want Epicor to provide? What are you wanting to automate?

If you want to use the Scheduling module, then Epicor has to know how long an operation will take. If that time varies greatly depending on things outside of Epicor’s control, then your schedule will be inaccurate. If you are mostly interested in costing, then the actual clock-in/clock-out by the operators will drive that regardless of what your original “estimate” was.

I’m working with a company now that assembles complex machinery, and building one piece takes months… but the BOO (routing) only has a single operation, “assemble per print”. They just keep clocking into and out of it. That is all that’s important to them at this point.


Thanks to all for a response on these queries of mine its greatly appreciated

In terms of automation i think backflushing is sufficient for most operations we do here, ive spent a day out with the production team and starting get a feel for the “steps of the dance” but in terms of timing these steps of the dance, yeah i think im a good 2 years away from this

we have some, not all operation times for the process of manufacturing X amount of fences or X quantity per 8hr shift so something to start with, its the bits in between

i think i need to go away and work out what it is we want to record, we use a standard costs model so im sure itll be more the operation of clocking into a job, and when a job is finished clocking out and using that time to start to drive the schedules - Question being can you embed jobs within eachother or can you use the production cell data to drive the work direct to that area, and just run 1 top level job? whats peoples expereince of multiple jobs to stock parts, and multiple jobs to finish parts VS 1 job for a finished item and working backwards from that?

after a day out in the shop… anyone got any ideas for being able to pull out the milimeter thickness of material as our nesting operatiors cut different thicknesses and pull jobs forward based on utilising plate… any ideas on that front?

4 day weekend ahead of me so thanks again for responces and catch up after the weekend, many thanks ALL


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Do not plan on tablets for MES. It is very difficult even for basic time keeping. Plan on getting all in ones to make it it actually usable on production floor. Do not get overly complicated on your warehouse structure and bins until you understand more how back flush will impact both parts and resource groups. Epicor has very nice “DMT” Csv type tools to upload mass data but dont underestimate how poor your current systems might be pulling data to upload. i cannot stress how you must have units of measure correct in epicor. Once any type of transaction is on the part, cost or inventory, there is no fixing unit of measure but is critical for correct cost reporting. i cannot tell you how many times we ended up having to wipe data and refresh to fix these issues. epicor has 10 character limit on customer name. if your current system has longer make sure you understand how it will impact other systems your epicor consultant might not think about like Avalara tax. if you are coming from a system like quickbooks that is not structured, please set expectations with upper management now. else they will be hearing from sales , ,accounting etc “it takes 10 times longer to do anything” after launch. A proper ERP controlled system comes with some overhead on the front end folks need to understand that. Identify if you are happy with your consultant right off the bat and change quickly if needed. Start working on getting a consultant in now as it might be 3 months after project signing you are assigned one if you let it go. We have Mes, adv qc, quickship, multi language, multi company, mainteance, adv print, ecc,… Im very impressed with Epicor its a great system. My only disapointment is we have a small project team we havent been able to impliment so many features yet like maintance, dashboards simply because of time. The kinetic UI screens are imo awful- try to stick to Classic screens when able.

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@micheleburns brings up a GREAT point…

Kinetic and Classic programs are, out of the box, EXTREMELY dependent on a keyboard. In many cases on the MES screen a barcode wand will suffice, but if you’re entering quantities or there isn’t a barcode available, you’ll need to bring up and use the soft keyboard on a tablet (which is never a pleasant experience).

You can customize those screens to a fare-the-well, and people do with great results, but that is not out of the box and can be a lot of work.

No argument about tablets and entry. We’re moving to Mattec here and those web screens are made for the shop floor. The one downside of the tablets is that if you’re not running Windows (iOS or Android) then it’s RDP which is an extra expense.

The system is very flexible but your operations of Cut, Weld, Paint Pack are very very similiar to some of our BOOs for our parts. Your question of cutting tube you can do several ways as well. You can just assume you cut tube on a 1 to 1 basis and not create a cut tube part number . However, if i read you right, if you need to cut tube you are going to cut more than you need for the job as its common part for other parts or you just want to have more available for the next time you build this top level part. In that case i think you would want to make the tube a part.
Job for Top -Level-part:
Material : MFG-Cut-tube-10inch (with its own op10 BOO)

If you Dont have MFG-Cut-10inch in stock for this job, the MRP will automatically set off another job for it and its set of operations.

With the large system you purchased does it come with Education database? If so you can immediately start playing with boo and follow epicor test scripts to learn the process. Its difficult to use Pilot before the consultants come and do some basic configuring.

Good morning all,

thanks for the messages over the weekend its been a great read this morning,

I think the organisation wants to get MES to drive the operation so confirming jobs are done etc. so ill pay close attention to the MES side with the consultants, im personally in the mindset that the Team Leaders are the systems operators as they currently are computer savvy, they will input the confirmations for the operators “on-the-go” so to speak

ill pay some attention on the warehousing and bin strucures, we currently have a shed load of warehouses we move product between with flexible bins, and multiple parts per bin too add to that complexity, but again ill tie with the consultants these bits of advise and findings, we have consultants from epicor coming start of next month so hopefully we can get rocking and rolling. I am concerned that the warehouse structure is too much as its just physical locations buuuut there is some logic of what goes in what warehouse so hopefully that can be determined and maintained when we start to implement.

thanks again for the little key notes like 10 characters etc. these are the bits im worries we will trip up on as a very flexible org right now, they use currently SAGE and ESS a self service portal thing, its not overly complex but i agree things will change and im concerend ill not have a finger on every button when the project starts… im not the Project Manager but I am being asked to have a full time position on the project for the duration

This is very helpful, we have the raw material as part numbers now, we have the next level up as a part number and the sizes, and part characteristics all set up in our core data in CAD/Engineering Software so we are in a good position from that point of view, its the OP’s on OP’s that im head spinning at as ive not got a chance to play with it in real time to see how the operations impact eachother

Yes i believe so, itll be my first go to place, as this is a key driver for the whole package doing what its supposed to do - we are getting very ambitious from a project point of view that we get the times and processess “done” before launch - something im abit sceptical of currently…

If you dont mind me asking how bigs the team? how long has it taken you to get where you got? did you have good source data to start with etc. helping me outline expectations as you suggested?

I feel ive got a mountain to climb infront of me but the little pointers and nudges you are all giving me is HUGELY appreciated!

Ill be back with more Q&A when the consultants come in for the real world feedback on things! haha

thank you all again,


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Had my first session with the Project Manager from Epicor last week! its all systems pending right now waiting for that start date!

Im out in operations the last 2 weeks working out that BOO steps that should make our lives easier when it comes to set up

Ill be back for 20Q’sim sure in a few weeks time, but as a side note… anyone else got anything that i should be looking to document while im in ops? any little querks that caught people out?



You wont be able to do much of anything until the financial consultant does some basic configuring and sets up your chart of accounts. Your accounting department really needs to be ready to load this in Epicor for you before you can do much of any production work. Your project manager should be able to have the loading spreadsheets sent to you before the financial consultant arrives.

We are a small/midsize manfacturing company with work force approx 100. 60% batch assembly line product, 30 percent standard product made to order, 10 % custom work. We only had two people on the project team dedicating about 80 percent of time to this project. One member was an owner that really pushed along the project. We went live about 9 months after true project start when the consultants arrived. We we were told it was a really agressive time line . In reality , our launch did not roll out all the modules like adv quality, maintenance, and tbh not really the mrp features either. But we had NO production system, just a quickbooks accouting system so we felt having something for production, even incomplete, was better than no system at all. Unlikely replacing a working system will allow such a quick implementation. Lucky us , the week we launched hurricane Ian came thru knocked out internet for 3 weeks and we learned quick the down side of cloud based software. Epicor is quite slow on a running on iphone hot spot! I gained about 5 pounds a month over the course of the project.

We simply did not have staff to put more than two of us on the project. Had i understood the system better at get go, i would have set up staff that didnt need to know anything about the main project but be working with epicor "tools " consultants online to learn baqs, dashboards, bpms, configurator designers. Things that we didnt need to learn to get the process implimented , but ended up helping tremendously fine turning how it all works together.
If you purchased quickship module, watch your bills closely after launch. The documention on it is pretty sketchy, dont go three months before you realize even thought the labels say “collect” or “third party” , you are really getting billed ppa.