Flexible and Modern System Architecture Solves the Automotive Challenge
Epicor ERP is one of the major players in the automotive and transportation industry which extends beyond vehicle manufacturing to include related and similar industry segments such as boats, recreational vehicles, buses, motorcycles, military vehicles, aircraft, and much more. In fact, Epicor has customers in all of these industry segments as well as their downstream suppliers making it a top choice for the industry.
The pool of automotive suppliers continues to shrink as only those with the most flexible IT infrastructures can adapt to the increasing demands of their automotive customers. The inspired answer is Epicor for Automotive, our enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution built from the ground up using a 100% service-oriented architecture (SOA) using a 100% Microsoft® technology stack. Other ERP systems install an “XML wrapper” around their systems and call themselves “SOA,” but that adds another layer of abstraction, complicating setup and slowing down transactions. Every business object in Epicor for Automotive is available as a collection of services, to be made easily accessible by your trading partners’ systems without a complicated application programming interface (API).
Flexibility to Support Complex Manufacturing Processes
Epicor was the first in the industry to introduce a 100% SOA-based ERP system and now, we are the only ERP provider who can offer you these deployment choices for the exact same product: on-premise, hosted, or single- or multi-tenant software as a service (SaaS). In fact, you can choose on-premise and use it to set up SaaS for your own enterprise. But that’s not the only reason we’re at pole position. With forty years of experience, we have unparalleled experience in working with manufacturers to solve their business challenges. Having successfully implemented more than 10,000 manufacturing customers, we’ve developed a deep understanding of the needs of manufacturers. As a result, Epicor ERP is used in a wide range of manufacturing operations from agile make-to-order applications to repetitive production under long-term supply contracts:
- Metal processing
- Forming and stamping
- Plastic injection molding and extrusion
- Plastic sheet thermoforming and processing
- Electronic assembly and components
- Fastenings and springs
Support for Global MMOG/LE
Many of the Epicor manufacturing customers make complex products, and by the same token, they view themselves as complex businesses that defy categorization. Epicor manufacturers have the tools to effectively serve their customers—public sector or private, domestic or foreign, because they are aided by ERP functions for every area of a manufacturing business, whether they are make-to-stock, configure-to-order, engineer-to-order, kit-to-order, repetitive, or some combination thereof. Nearly all of the Epicor for Automotive ERP modules, including financials, are not integrated, but embedded together in the same code base. The resulting real-time visibility, in addition to the other benefits described in this document, will help your organization achieve a world-class materials planning and logistics system in accordance with the Global MMOG/LE™.
User Friendly Screens Enable Efficiency and Mobility
One of the most important aspects of an ERP system is what your users see and control: screens written in Microsoft® Visual Studio® .NET. They’ll see a state-of-the-art user interface that looks and acts like the newest Microsoft Windows®-based applications they’re used to, with index tabs, F1 help, cut-and-paste with other Windows applications, such as Microsoft Office Excel®, multiple open records, and a scrolling grid with frozen rows. And they can “personalize” these screens too, by changing such things as tab order, grid sort order, menu shortcuts, and hotkeys. The Epicor for Automotive technology platform enables rapid deployment to desktop client, web browser client, mobile devices, manufacturing touch screens, and additional touch screen capability using the latest tiled Windows user interface (UI). In fact, nearly all of the desktop client screens are available via web browser out-of-the-box.
Use Demand Management and Purchase Contracts for Release Accounting
Epicor for Automotive provides an efficient interface and process to manage the volume of data that is possible with long-term Just-in-Time (JIT) contracts. It includes Demand Management, which handles creation, analysis, manipulation, and reconciliation of cumulative records for releases from your automotive customers. The Purchase Contracts module handles cumulative records for releases to your automotive suppliers. Setting up and changing deliveries (i.e., delivery dates and quantities) on purchase orders is automated, so that you can easily make changes to the schedule as your needs change.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
The Epicor ERP system framework readily supports the following listed standard ANSI® X12 and EDIFACT documents:
- Purchase order (ORDERS, 850)
- Planning schedule (DELFOR, 830)
- Shipping schedule (DELJIT, 862)
- Change order (ORDCHG, 860)
- Purchase Order Acknowledgement (ORDRSP, 855)
- Advanced Ship Notice (DESADV, 856)
- Invoice (INVOIC, 810)
- Purchase Order Change Acknowledgement (865)
Many more are available from the Epicor EDI Solutions Team, who are experienced in making EDI work in various environments and can offer enhanced functionality that is tailored to the EDI needs of your business.
TIE Kinetix® Software—Epicor has partnered with TIE Kinetix for close to 20 years to ensure close collaboration during implementation of EDI solutions. TIE’s Business Integration products, including EDI translation software, support all industry B2B eCommerce standards, and communication and security infrastructures.
— Epicor takes pride in the freedom of choice we offer our customers for their EDI implementations. Choose the level of assistance you need from the Epicor EDI Solutions Team; such as having them train your team in Demand Management setup and operation and then building and customizing all your EDI maps for you, or simply training them to do it all themselves. If you have made a significant investment in your existing enterprise-class EDI translation software, you can continue to use it with Epicor ERP.
— Epicor offers its own value-added network (VAN) service that supports millions of transactions daily. In addition to this service offering, TIE Hosted Services are available for the EDI message translations. The benefit of combining these solutions includes significant savings in VAN fees and low up-front setup fees for TIE Kinetix translation software. The Epicor EDI Solutions Team can provide training for your ongoing management of EDI mapping and operations.
— Import standard EDI messages from the VAN and translation software directly into the Epicor ERP system without middleware, and optionally review them for errors in a user-friendly format before committing them to your production environment. In the Demand Workbench, easily correct common errors such as a bad contract ID or trading partner ID before sending on for processing.
— Automatically track functional acceptance status of EDI documents, including acceptance, rejection, and partial acceptance of outbound documents through receipt of functional acknowledgements from trading partners.
— Improve cash flow by providing ASN data elements required by trading partners for ERS/POR functionality, enabling your trading partner to send back a Cash Application Advice EDI document (REMADV, 820) to process the cash application.
— Help prevent your ERP system from making promises to your trading partner that you can’t keep. A very powerful EDI/Demand Management feature is the Capable to Promise function you can turn on for specific trading partners, to first check your available stock and resources against each EDI message that comes in. If not enough resources are available to make and ship the product by the date requested, then the line is optionally adjusted, preventing an inaccurate purchase order acknowledgement from being sent to the trading partner and the costly fines that go with delayed order fulfillment.
— Specify customers for whom you can bypass manual review of incoming EDI documents in favor of automated receipt of un-firm or firm orders and changes based on predefined customer attributes.
Improve Lead Time and Reduce Waste with Lean Production
Epicor for Automotive is a real-time solution that was designed to support paperless manufacturing. Through the use of Kanban production, you can produce your fast-moving products without setting up work orders, and create queue records for the work that needs to be completed, therefore eliminating the need for paper.
Support Bidding, Estimating and Prototyping with Project Management and Supplier Connect
Project tracking is entirely embedded within the ERP system for budgeting, accumulating, rolling up and analyzing costs. You can generate a multi-level project at any time, in “broad brush strokes” in the Quotation module, where established part numbers are not yet required, or later, in the Engineering Workbench. You can link jobs, orders, and quotes to a project ID, which is designed to automatically capture their direct/ indirect labor, material issues, and purchase order costs. Project milestones can be set to trigger progress billing. Project management also supports a bi-directional integration with Microsoft Project.
RFQ’s can be tied to a project from both the quote and the job. The RFQ requirements entered by the project manager/ engineer are immediately visible to the buyer via the Buyer Workbench, where the buyer has a coordinated view of sourcing, procurement, and expedited requirements. The buyer has the option of consolidating purchasing across multiple projects to gain superior economies of scale. In addition to the Buyer Workbench, Epicor for Automotive aids project procurement via the Supplier Connect Web Portal.Supplier Connect enables online, efficient access for your suppliers to bid on RFQ’s, receive your PO’s, and view scheduling information.
Monitor Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
Epicor Mattec™ Manufacturing Execution System (MES) extends your Epicor system to help get the powerful metrics you need to improve performance–OEE, run rates, scrap, yield, energy consumption, material consumption, and much more. Accurate machine-related data, along with operator depth and dimension helps you pinpoint critical issues, reduce waste, and improve quality and customer service. F MES supports digital and analog machine signals directly from sensors or PLCs, or via OPC-compliant PLCs.
Customize Products On-the-Fly
Epicor for Automotive Product Configurator not only allows for easy selection of product features and options, it can perform calculations and present specific choices based on parameters entered by the user, such as dimensions of a door opening. Product Configurator verifies the selections against the rules, and may present additional options based on its calculations against engineering specifications. It rolls up costs and pricing and generates bills and routings. Alternatively, the Product Configurator will accept configurations from incoming EDI messages, priced according to contract. Your customers can also log into the Web Configurator that is part of Epicor for Automotive Commerce Connect and configure their product options.
Effectively Manage Global Growth
Epicor for Automotive supports enterprise purchasing management and advanced multi-plant management, which enables companies to synchronize their manufacturing operations globally, by deploying and consolidating enterprise information across multiple companies, multiple servers, multiple databases and multiple countries. Epicor for Automotive supports many languages, most notably Traditional and Simplified Chinese. The underlying SOA makes the ERP system inherently “internationalized,” so that it can be adapted to any region and any user easily without modifying the source code. The ERP system is also localized to address the various and necessary requirements for doing business in other countries. As an alternative to maintaining in the base software code, global engines contain the rules for posting, multicurrency, rounding, legal, and tax.
Epicor for Automotive Currency Management automates the process of both buying and selling in foreign currencies. With tracking of default currencies as well as extensive exchange rate tables, manual transactions are reduced. Lock transactions in at a specified rate with automatic gain or loss reporting, reducing the guesswork from handling foreign transactions. Throughout the system, the currency symbol is displayed notifying the user of the currency being used.
Ensure Business Continuity
Epicor offers two additional applications—XSOL InOrder and Epicor Knowledge Mentor—to help ensure your critical business functions will continue despite disruptions such as loss of key employees. XSOL InOrder is a process mapping tool that simplifies the process of defining, documenting, and visualizing business processes. XSOL InOrder enables users to visualize operations across their entire orgranization, helping them to identify process complexity, redundancy, and inefficiencies, which ultimately supports reducing costs. Along with Epicor’s Best Practice models, customers are provided a best practice platform to capture their unique processes.
Epicor Knowledge Mentor enables users to easily create, deploy and manage custom role-based computer training. Knowledge Mentor provides an interactive approach to show users how to use the system exactly as it will be used in their own work environment, with their data.
Create AIAG-Compliant Labels
Epicor for Automotive provides the information necessary to support AIAG-compliant labels tied to ASN, and also the ability to create RFID labels.
Integrate Seamlessly with Other Systems
Any of the ERP system’s business objects can be published as services. As a result, XML data from the outside going into the ERP system via these services are designed to obey the business rules of the business objects. In other words, if it’s bad data that could corrupt your database, the business rules will help stop it dead in its tracks. Epicor Service Connect is the preferred business integration platform for ad hoc connectivity to the ERP system. In it you can set up secure workflow orchestrations between the ERP system and external applications or processes. Epicor Service Connect consists of security, messaging, workflow orchestration, transformation, scheduling, notification, exception handling, and service components.
Manage the Entire Product Lifecycle
Epicor PLM is the product data and document management system that is designed to supervise the entire process, the product life history, in conjunction with the ERP system. Workflow management, scan and plot management, as well as document viewing in large heterogeneous networks and over the Internet, complete the range of powerful Epicor PLM features employed. Key features of the Epicor PLM application include full integration with more than 12 computer-aided design (CAD) systems and Microsoft Office. Using classification and indexing substantially reduces the expenditure for retrieving documents. Drawings, bills of material or product descriptions can be re-used for similar products and comparable projects. Push BOM and routing data directly from within the CAD application to the ERP system.
Manage All Aspects of Quality from a Single System
Epicor Advanced Quality Management is a suite of applications that address the mission critical issues impacting automotive manufacturing profitability. Quality improvement initiatives reduce scrap and rework, produce fewer non-conformances, lower production PPM, reduce warranty exposure, and improve time to market. Complete APQP and PPAP management, product and process documentation are designed to give you control over your business processes to streamline product launches and dramatically reduce warranty exposure. Supplier performance management creates scorecards for ongoing supplier performance ratings. The AQM Supplier Portal offers a web-based quality performance and communication tool for your suppliers which helps to integrate seamlessly with the data collected within the AQM system. TS 16949 quality performance management dramatically reduces the time and effort typically associated with compliance audits. Maintain all documentation, issue resolution records, employee training and skills records, and all key audit information in one easy-to access system.
Flexible Deployment Options
As your business grows and changes, you need a solution that can grow and change with you. As a single solution able to be deployed on premise, hosted, or in the cloud, Epicor Manufacturing provides unprecedented deployment flexibility. For example, if your business has limited IT resources you may opt to initially deploy the solution in a hosted model or in the cloud. As your business changes you may subsequently opt to redeploy Epicor ERP on premise.
Epicor is one of the few vendors to have architected a full multitenant software as a service (SaaS) and on-premise version out of a single product and is the only vendor who has deployed it to customers.1
Industry Leading Service and Support
Epicor has over 40 years of experience delivering industry focused, world-class solutions, and ongoing customer care and service to over 20,000 customer installations. It is a true global solutions partner with support offices all over the world. The key vehicle that transforms Epicor for Automotive into a successful business solution is our Signature Implementation Methodology. Epicor delivers one of the most cost effective and efficient techniques to plan, design, validate, and deploy your Epicor solution. Staffed with direct employees around the globe who are properly trained and equipped with world-class implementation tools, Epicor follows our proven 5-stage Signature Methodology designed specifically around Epicor software and our customers. The end result is an on-time, on-budget implementation of your Epicor solution that allows your company to quickly begin using Epicor for Automotive in day-to-day operations saving you time and money by providing broad functionality at a lower total cost of ownership.
1 Magic Quadrant for Single-Instance ERP for Product-Centric Companies, Gartner Inc., September 11, 2013