We’re pretty good about continuing to invest in newer, modern machinery. In the last few years, we have added a new robotic welder, an Amada press brake with automatic tool changing capabilities and an Amada Ensis 3015 fiber laser, just to name a few. But there has been another recent major investment that’s not near as flashy as a new laser, but is just as important: We upgraded to the latest version of Epicor, the ERP, or enterprise resource planning, software we use.
Going from Epicor 9 to Epicor 10 wasn’t a huge jump (nothing like the switch from Vista 4 to Epicor 9 a few years back), but it still took quite a bit of planning and preparation. The change involved different database structures and jumping from on on-premises housing of the server to a cloud-based implementation.
Epicor truly is the glue that keeps everything connected. Nearly every facet of our business passes through this software. All of the front (and back) end processes and financials are captured and entered into Epicor. On the shop floor, our team clocks in and out of every operation through Epicor. So at any minute, we can see where a job’s at, who’s clocked into it and get an idea of when that operation and the whole job will complete. We can also pull up any customer or supplier and track down a specific invoice or track payment.
As much as our modern machinery contributes to our success, so does having a robust and current ERP system. Many of our jobs are assemblies using in some cases dozens or hundreds of different purchased components. Having a system that can automatically track all those parts and help us know what to buy, when to buy and how many to buy is essential. Major software upgrades aren’t that fun, especially when data conversion is necessary, and many try to put them off as long as possible. But just like we know having late-model machinery in our shop helps us to stay competitive and, ultimately, help our customers, we know the same is true with software.