Enterprise resource planning - ERP

PLM, ERP, EAM, Digital Twin: What do they mean

PLM, ERP, EAM, Digital Twin: What Do They All Mean? – [PODCAST]

The power industry and technology worlds are filled with acronyms. It’s often hard to know what they all mean. Mark Reisig, director of Product Marketing at Aras, was a guest on The POWER Podcast. He explained how digital technology is being utilized to bring products to market and track assets throughout their lifecycle.

The process often starts in a product lifecycle management (PLM) system. Reisig said when a product is created for the first time, things like the engineering bill of materials (BOM) and computer-aided design (CAD) drawings can be linked to the component in a PLM system. In all, he said there are about 20 key attributes documented in the system. They typically revolve around the form, fit, and function of the product, including its description, revision, unit of measure, part number, and more.

The PLM information feeds into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. ERP is a transactional system. It coordinates how everything is put together. It tracks what is made and what is bought—including financial data—and allows the product to be manufactured and assembled. ERP systems often include 150 to 175 different attributes. When complete, the ERP provides an as-shipped BOM.

At that point, an enterprise asset management (EAM) system becomes important. It is used to track and manage the physical asset through its lifecycle. This basically covers construction, commissioning, operations, and maintenance, all the way to decommissioning and replacement. As an enterprise tool, it goes beyond a single plant to include all the assets an owner manages. The idea is to track all the changes to all the physical assets, which is what Reisig called an “as-maintained” or “as-running” BOM. The EAM system also facilitates planning and execution of the work required to keep everything running.

“The real value of the three systems that I just mentioned is that you can connect across them in a digital thread,” Reisig said. “The person looking into the enterprise asset management, when they click on a digital twin, if they want to go back and see what the actual requirement was, they can actually do so. So, the real value is when you can cut across all of these pillar systems—EAM, ERP, and PLM.”

What is a digital twin? Reisig said most vendors position digital twins as models. The models are typically created during the engineering phase, which means they are a representation of what was designed. However, they don’t always reflect what was actually made during the manufacturing or construction process.

“Right there, you’ve got a problem, and that’s because many things happen to products when they go through production,” Reisig said. “We believe the digital twin is first available after it’s been manufactured, and even after it’s shipped, during the as-built stage.”

By creating the digital twin in the as-built phase, much more detailed and accurate information can be captured. In this way, physical part BOMs and related simulation data can be linked to the digital twin. Things like CAD drawings, service bulletins, work order history, electronics wiring schematics, and more, can be connected using a digital thread back to where that information is stored.

“Our definition is: the digital twin is the individual configuration of that physical product or a system of assets, and that creates the context you need to create value across the lifecycle,” Reisig said.

Listen to the entire interview with Reisig on The POWER Podcast.

Source: Powermag.com

 


 

Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Pharma Pharmaceuticals deploys Epicor ERP

Pharma Pharmaceuticals deploys Epicor ERP

Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software, has announced that Pharma Pharmaceutical Industries (Pharma)—a leader in the kingdom’s pharmaceutical services industry—has implemented Epicor ERP to enhance data capture and archiving capabilities, optimise operational efficiencies, and guarantee on-time delivery to customers.
Pharma brings together business leaders and healthcare veterans to offer services to the Saudi pharmaceutical industry that include branding, marketing and sales, warehousing and logistics, facilities management, and regulatory compliance consultancy.
The company’s international reach demanded a new approach to technology to ensure it remained a leader in the new global digital economy. It embarked upon a bold digital transformation journey, with a robust ERP platform as the planned keystone.
“We didn’t have an ERP platform in place and relied on a paper system to manage each department’s activity,” said Tariq Kayyali, quality unit director and ERP project manager, Pharma Pharmaceuticals Industries, whose team of stakeholders focused on linking and integrating department transactions to reduce the time taken to locate vital archived data.
Errors in starting materials and the resulting mix-ups and delays in order deliveries became significant business risks to the company, pre-digitization. The risk of using incorrect or expired material in the manufacturing process was compounded by the company’s inability to accurately control all its assets and due to its tendency to produce inaccurate reports due to manual compilation.
With the support of trusted Epicor partner, Full Insight Technology Solutions (FITS), Pharma deployed a platform that was easy to install, user-intuitive, and provided tight-fit functionality with its needs. Over a period of 10 months, the system was rolled out to 15 users, who all reported ease of use and unprecedented accuracy.
Switching to Epicor ERP has allowed Pharma to smoothly link and integrate transactions across all departments and enhance accuracy in operations and inventory control. Strict audit trails now allow every critical transaction to be traced—to the user, date, and time of action—allowing Pharma to closely monitor related business impacts. Labelling problems have also been overcome, by enabling greater control over purchased and manufactured parts.
“We ended up saving about 30 percent of unnecessary warehouse-team transactions and managed to reduce the time taken to find or track historical data records or transactions, from hours or days to seconds or minutes,” said Kayyali. “We also reduced the risk of mix-up and eliminated the possibility Pharma Pharmaceuticals deploys Epicor ERP to streamline processes and optimise service delivery of using an invalid or expired part as a starting material—which is critical in the pharma industry.”
Having a validated ERP system helps us meet the expectations and compliance requirements of medicinal product agencies, both in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and around the world.”
“Remaining relevant in the digital economy is no minor feat,” added Amel Gardner, regional vice president, Middle East, Africa and India (MEAI), Epicor.
“Competitors—especially new market entrants—will not be using manual processes for critical functions. It is therefore vital that all firms digitise as much as possible. Epicor ERP will give Pharma a strong platform for growth and enable it to easily comply with granular industry requirements. The platform is designed to fit every business like a glove, delivering automation and operational enhancements that pave the way to true digital transformation.” — Tradearabia News Service

 

Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Learn about Epicor ERP in the wake of COVID-19 and get ready for the future.

Epicor ERP in Covid-19

Epicor launches partner support program in wake of COVID-19

Epicor has launched its ‘Fit for the Future’ program, designed to aid the company’s partners to build business resilience in response to COVID-19 and succeed in the current landscape.

According to Epicor, it is crucial to support partners as these businesses are a ‘vital’ component of Epicor’s go-to-market model. As such, the company is focused on providing competency, capability, and capacity within the market so partners can better serve and deliver value to its customers, Epicor states.

Partners include resellers, system integrators, and service partners, which can implement, design, and develop transformational IT strategies using the Epicor product portfolio and tools.

The program supports ongoing remote working situations and focuses on three core pillars, collaboration, skills and communication.

Togetherness: One Team focuses on staying connected to partners providing help in navigating changes and supporting connectivity and agility, the company states.

Epicor is actively encouraging partners to share their experiences and learnings in order to drive business improvements needed to fuel continued growth and shore up business resilience.

Partners will be able to access recordings, PowerPoint presentations, demo scripts, and other supporting documents from a partner hub to boost sales and scalability, Epicor states.

Developing Skills and Value brings an enablement plan to help partners continue develop a range of skills that can help them to remain competitive and agile in coming months.

Training is being delivered through a range of virtual sessions focused on sales skills, where attendees gain understanding in customer pain points and how to articulate increased value to customers; operational efficiencies and how to improve the customer experience; capability in accessing valuable collateral and managing pipeline; and business planning and driving SMART objectives.

To support partner development, Epicor is also publishing a series of weekly webinars and has been offering free-of-charge certifications over the last month.

Communication focuses on Epicor’s commitment to sharing information that ensures partners have useful data to help customers through a variety of new market challenges.

By keeping the lines of communication open, Epicor states it hopes to continue to grow alongside its partners, whilst supporting the wellbeing of each business and its employees.

Epicor Software vice president channel sales Paul Flannery says, “By investing in our partner community and supporting them through challenging times such as these, we are making sure businesses are resilient, by equipping them with the resources, tools, and knowledge needed to emerge stronger than ever before.

“We are dedicated to help our partners by helping them to thrive and adapt to the current environment in a way that’s rapid, streamlined, and scalable.”

For partners who have participated in the ‘Fit for the Future’ program, Epicor will be recognising these efforts through a scheme called the ‘Partner Olympics’.

Points will be awarded for attending webinars, downloading information from the partner hub, and achieving certifications. By putting this scheme in place, Epicor aims to drive continued engagement, whilst helping partners to adapt to a rapidly changing global climate.

Source: Chanellife


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Learn about Epicor ERP in the wake of COVID-19 and get ready for the future.

The Potential of ERP Amid a Pandemic

The Potential of ERP Amid a Pandemic

Automation on the plant floor can keep production flowing to refill store shelves. But the biggest problem manufacturers face right now is a disruption to the supply chain.

In the middle of a global health crisis, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic portends a drastic shift in the way the world will work in the future.

Whether it’s the need to ramp up production of hand sanitizer or convert automotive plants to produce more respirators, manufacturers are under pressure now more than ever to do more with less. The production floor is operating with skeleton crews to minimize possible exposure to the virus, and plant managers are in need of a better way to maintain visibility into the process. All of this points to the potential of implementing more automation on the plant floor.

In fact, the making of toilet paper is a highly automated process, as shown in the National Geographic documentary “Chasing Paper,” which highlights Sofidel, a manufacturer of toilet paper and paper towels. So, even if operators aren’t in the plant, more paper is on its way, people, do not panic.

The biggest bottleneck in the great paper chase—or for any product right now—is the supply chain. New research indicates that a weakened supply chain is the biggest business disruption related to COVID-19.

According to ABI Research, the impact of Coronavirus is both global and unpredictable, and the supply chain shock it is causing will most definitely and substantially cut into the worldwide manufacturing revenue of $15 trillion currently forecasted for 2020 by the global tech market advisory firm.

The virus will have both short- and long-term ramifications for manufacturers. “Initially, plant managers and factory owners will be looking to secure supplies and be getting an appreciation of constraints further up the supply chain plus how much influence they have on their suppliers,” explains Michael Larner, principal analyst at ABI Research. In the longer term, manufacturers will need to conduct an extensive due diligence process as they need to understand their risk exposure, including the operations of their supplier’s suppliers. “To mitigate supply chain risks, manufacturers should not only not source components from a single supplier but also, as COVID-19 has highlighted, shouldn’t source from suppliers in a single location.”

As a result, ABI Research forecasts that the supply chain impact of COVID-19 will spur manufacturers’ spend on enterprise resource planning (ERP), to reach $14 billion in 2024. While many ERP platforms include modules for inventory control and supply chain management, in light of the outbreak, many manufacturers will also turn to specialist providers. “Supply chain orchestration requires software to be more than a system of record and provide risk analysis and run simulations, enabling manufacturers to understand and prepare for supply chain shocks,” Larner said.

ERP providers agree that COVID-19—and panic buying which quickly exhausted the supply chain—has exposed a major vulnerability in manufacturing operations.

“Business processes need to be re-evaluated as this situation has turned the supply chain on its head,” said Steve Dombroski, senior manager for the consumer, food, and beverage market at QAD, a provider of adaptive ERP software. “Traditional methods of building safety stocks and buffer inventories have been replaced with Just-In-Time (JIT) item location forecasting to minimize re-deployment of inventories and to minimize inventory costs. Running JIT on inventories down and upstream through the supply chain caused delays.” This points to the need for manufacturers to address adaptability across the supply chain. “Manufacturing companies utilize two supply chains today; the physical supply chain consisting of all products and the digital supply chain that contains all information. Synchronizing both supply chains with all manufacturing, distribution, and procurement processes will enable companies to be flexible and agile.”

So, while all eyes are on automation, like robotics and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors, to flow product through the line, none of that matters if the manufacturer doesn’t have a steady flow of raw materials. “COVID-19 demonstrates that manufacturers need to be as focused on their supplier’s capabilities as they are on their factory floor,” ABI’s Larner concludes.

Source: Stephanie Neil


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. Particularly, the supply chain management module of Epicor ERP is one of the strongest features of this solution and has been utilized and continously improved for over 40 years, even during this Covid-19. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

end of enterprise resource planning

The end of enterprise resource planning

end of enterprise resource planninghe Harvard Business Review ran an article in 1990 by management consultant and former Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer science professor Michael Hammer titled “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” Hammer, recognized as the seminal theorist of reengineering, the consultant-driven discipline of streamlining work processes, encouraged businesses to radically restructure rather than rely on information technology to automate work.

This proved impossible. While the 1990s is now viewed as an epoch of business reengineering, the revamp of work processes advanced hand in hand with the rise of centralized corporate IT, enabled by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

The 2020s, on the other hand, appear poised for the final takedown of monolithic business IT in response to a new revolution in work processes spurred and enabled by digitization. IT managers in the chemical industry, among the first industries to opt for ERP systems, are preparing for a new wave of change in business management software.

To understand the likely changes ahead, it helps to look back at the provenance and evolution of IT systems currently in operation at most chemical companies.

The computing infrastructures that emerged some 30 years ago supported efficiency gains, the kind also targeted by business reengineering. But ERP software installations also caused years-long headaches for many companies as they converted from hodgepodge mixes of software to monolithic IT systems covering most financial aspects of business and plant operations.

During this period, SAP, a German software firm started by former IBM engineers, rose to prominence in ERP. Starting with its first customer, the UK’s Imperial Chemical Industries, SAP swept the chemical sector. By the early 2000s, many major companies had lashed their operations to the firm’s R/3 software.
By today’s standards, the IT platforms of the early 21st century are museum pieces. Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and big data have fundamentally changed IT and the workplace.

SAP and other major vendors of ERP software, including Oracle and JD Edwards, have introduced successive generations of their products over the years that chip away at the monolithic, comparatively lethargic control of early IT architectures. In the process, a modular approach to IT has emerged in which specialized software for specific work functions can be added to a centralized, often multivendor network of business management software with an ERP system at the core.

Industry watchers agree that the next step is to re-engineer the core.

“Enterprise resource planning has evolved far beyond its original purpose and scope,” the consulting firm Gartner writes in a report issued last year. “It now represents different things to different organizations, but in all cases is no longer focused on ‘resources’ or ‘planning.’ ” The view is echoed by Forrester, another consulting firm, in a recent report: “Today, we see the beginning of a new era of operational systems that are so different that calling them ERP no longer makes sense.”

The abbreviation is still in use, however, despite the alternatives floated, such as Forrester’s DOP, for digital operations platform. Gartner characterizes the current, modular state of business software as postmodern ERP. Mike Guay, a senior analyst with the firm, describes a “hybrid approach” in which specialist companies like Salesforce.com, a provider of customer relationship software, can add modules to an ERP system.

Guay notes that ERP vendors have partnered with and acquired specialized software providers to offer hybrid networks. SAP, for example, acquired SuccessFactors, a cloud-based human resources management services provider, and now offers the service as an adjunct to its core software.

In Guay’s view, today’s generation of postmodern software is starting to give way to something more abstract. This fourth generation of ERP—counting hodgepodge computing and monolithic software as the first and second—will dismantle the familiar image of centralized control.

GENERATIONS

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software’s path is from dispersed to monolithic to dispersed again.

end of enterprise resource planning

1980s to 1990s: Best of breed

 Functionally focused software

 Multiple vendors

 Lack of central control

can businesses stop automating

1990s to 2000s: Monolithic

 One core software product

 Centralized information technology

 Oversight by the corporate IT department

can enterprises stop automating

2010 to the foreseeable future: Postmodern ERP

 Networking of specialized software

 Maintenance of a central ERP backbone

 Access to cloud-based software and services

 Oversight by independent business departments

can we stop automation

Emerging architecture: Beyond ERP

 Supporting digitized business functions

 Greater automation with artificial intelligence

 Functional applications easily added to core IT

 Breakdown of business function silos

 Programming and oversight by power users

▸ Rise of functional applications

Source: Gartner.

“In 3 to 5 years,” he says, “IT focus will shift from doing most of the development in IT departments to architecting an environment in which the end-users — the power users in their departments—will actually be able to build applications. Low-code/no-code development platforms are emerging as a standard in the market right now.”

Liz Herbert, a vice president, and principal analyst at Forrester says business software is now driven by the speed at which data can be processed. “ERP conjures up overly complex, slow-moving technology that may not live up to expectations,” she says. “Technology has changed dramatically. It is much more cloud-based, much more built for intelligence, more for flexibility and easy extensibility by business users. Not everything has to rely on programmers and IT departments.”

Artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in business IT, Herbert says. AI was initially harnessed to improve error detection and automation accuracy, but the technique is ramping up. She points to two examples at SAP: Ariba, software for managing materials procurement that employs IBM’s Watson AI technology, and Concur, a travel and expense system that applies AI to vetting expense reports using data from receipts.

The latest iteration of SAP’s ERP software, S/4Hana, reflects the changes the consultants see. It stores tables in columns rather than in standard row arrangements, vastly increasing the speed of data analysis, the firm says. The database allows transactional and analytical work to be done simultaneously.

Joe Binkley, SAP’s director of cloud platform product marketing, notes that S/4Hana employs in-memory data processing, in which data is stored in random-access memory rather than disk storage or relational databases. “It means we are able to dramatically recast our systems and do things in seconds that used to require waiting days to complete.”

Dave Dunn, head of marketing for chemicals at SAP, says the company remains the dominant supplier of ERP software in the sector, counting 6,500 users it categorizes as chemical companies. A modular approach to adding software, such as Salesforce.com and SAP’s own adjuncts in areas like materials sourcing, has advanced with upgrades to R/3 in recent years. This includes a version called ECC consisting of a suite of business management software modules that put the tool to reach for smaller companies.

“Only the large guys could afford it years ago,” Dunn says. “With S/4 and ECC, a load of smaller, mid-tier companies has implemented SAP because it is simpler and much faster, to implement.”

Melanie Kalmar, chief information officer at Dow, says the company is focused on simplifying work processes and making it easier for customers to do business with Dow. – Credit: Dow

Dow, an early adopter of ERP, has rolled with the changes at SAP for decades. The company gained somewhat of a renegade reputation years ago by skipping an upgrade to R/3 when most of its cohorts converted. Dow eventually undertook a multimillion-dollar conversion to a version of the SAP software to which users add targeted software products, essentially the first step into Gartner’s postmodern ERP world. Since then, Dow has pushed further.

“Over the past few years, we have migrated capabilities to software-as-a-service solutions,” says Melanie Kalmar, chief information officer at Dow, referring to a technique of accessing software from cloud-based providers and paying a service fee rather than purchasing it. “Our current focus is all about simplification in how we do work. This means making it easier for our customers to do business with us while providing capabilities for our employees that make their job easier and them more empowered.”

Dow will continue adding “best-in-class” applications to its ERP system, Kalmar says while eliminating applications that fall short. “There is no plan to move away from our core ERP capabilities or to move away from our strategy of one global ERP instance,” she says.

DuPont is similarly working to adapt its core SAP system to a new generation of business IT. “We are constantly working to simplify yet modernize our enterprise-wide systems, including our legacy ERP,” says Steve Larrabee, chief information officer for the company. “Artificial intelligence, particularly in the R&D and manufacturing spaces, has helped significantly advance the roll of IT-based technology as a key business and value driver.”

Larrabee adds that modernizing and evolving from a monolithic ERP system does not lessen the importance of a core IT infrastructure. Centralized data, or “master data,” support old and new technologies, he says, and are necessary to “provide real-time information both to optimize our working processes and guide our decision-making.”

Evonik Industries, another longtime SAP user, is also sticking with its core system. “For Evonik’s core transactional business processes, like ‘order to cash’ or ‘plan to produce,’ a reliable and on-time information flow is key,” says Bettina Uhlich, the firm’s chief information officer. “You just want to have the right data at the right time in the right place. For this, well-integrated IT architecture is a key success factor. We see the monolithic ERP as an advantage.” She points to the company’s success in integrating the ERP system of J.M. Huber’s silica business, which Evonik acquired in 2017.

But Evonik also moves in the postmodern ERP world described by Gartner. “Business IT architecture can now draw from a far bigger solution portfolio than just SAP,” Uhlich says. “This might make it more challenging for the IT department, but it is clearly an advantage for the business.”

And challenges lie ahead. A move underway at Evonik to convert to SAP’s S/4Hana by next year will be more thorough than a mere software upgrade, Uhlich says. It will be a conversion of Evonik’s core ERP to a wholly new architecture.

Not all SAP users are Goliaths like Dow and Evonik. Borchers, a paint additives company, has been a customer since 2008, shortly after Lanxess sold the business to OM Group. When OMG sold Borchers to investors in 2017, Borchers upgraded to an SAP product called Suite on Hana—essentially ECC software running on the same database as S/4Hana.

Borchers plans to fully upgrade to S/4 by 2022, says Jonathan Mortlock, the firm’s chief information officer. He wants to act before SAP terminates maintenance coverage for Suite on Hana, at which time he foresees a rush of upgrades by companies that are all competing for support from SAP.

And there are plenty of other ERP software options for small to midsize chemical companies. Datacom, a supplier of distribution and process management ERP software, is one example. It began serving the chemical industry with its Chempax software in 1981.

Sage Group, a UK-based supplier of ERP software, is another. The company’s software is often sold by firms that adapt its software for specific markets. Net at Work, for example, enhances Sage software with functionality geared to chemical companies in a product called Chem at Work.

MFG Chemical, a midsize specialty chemical company based in Dalton, Georgia, installed its first ERP system, Datacor’s Chempax, 9 years ago. “It basically houses all our supplier information,” says Andrew Hopkins, MFG’s quality assurance manager. Formulas and raw material lists and prices are stored and managed on the system, which accesses data from a network drive or central data server.

MFG also uses software called OESuite supplied by a company called Operational Sustainability. It coordinates information on changes to production procedures and functions independently from Chempax.

MFG is considering implementing a materials resource planning (MRP) module that already resides in its Chempax system, Hopkins says. While the company would likely benefit from MRP, which keeps track of orders and inventory, he says it would be a complex installation given the number of customers and products the company deals with.

Bettina Uhlich, chief information officer at Evonik Industries, says the firm will move to SAP’s latest ERP software, S/4Hana, by next year. – Credit: Evonik Industries

Reducing complexity remains a key target in business software development. Vestiges of monolithic ERP remain in place at most companies, as do vendor service agreements and a need for support in upgrading or adding to systems. Software developers aim to simplify upgrades by allowing businesses to configure IT in a distributed fashion that includes gateways to customers and suppliers.

As new software options emerge, users are expected to have more discretion in adding applications using low- or no-code techniques that have moved into IT architectures since they were introduced about 20 years ago.

No-code approaches are especially likely to surge in next-generation business computing. Software developers such as Itesign, a German start-up targeting a midyear product launch, envision a future in which IT departments equip corporate networks with menus of options from which users choose applications to add to their work processes, according to CEO Jan Philippe Wimmer.

Those IT departments of the future, Forrester’s Herbert notes, will be headed by business analysts as opposed to computer technicians. In fact, she envisions a complete dissolution of the core ERP system, a shift that will challenge IT departments to keep add-on applications from reverting to the kind of IT hodgepodge that led to monolithic ERP software in the first place.

But industry watchers agree that the ERP model born in the age of reengineering has already been obliterated. “It is no longer about systems solely within an enterprise,” Guay and colleagues write in Gartner’s recent report. ERP “has simply become a three-letter acronym for something that most people cannot describe other than to name a vendor or a list of modules. Whether or not we continue to use the acronym remains uncertain.”

Source: Rick Mullin


Epicor ERP is one of the few software that has already applied the low or no-code approach. Indeed, many Epicor users of Data V Tech in China and Vietnam, rarely have to face any of code-related hassles thanks to the experience of the consultants and the flexibility as well as customizability of the system per se. More importantly, Epicor has sucessfully built up reputation in the chemical industry in the world. For further information, please feel free to contact us. We will get back to you the soonest.

Epicor ERP for cosmetics manufacturing in Dubai

Dubai-based cosmetics manufacturing firm enhances operations with Epicor ERP

Epicor Software Corporation has announced that Epoch Cosmetics and Toiletries has selected enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, Epicor ERP, to improve manufacturing and warehousing operations and streamline information flow across the company.

                                        Amel Gardner, Epicor

Epicor partner, Cork Information Technology, will work with Epoch Cosmetics and Toiletries’ stakeholders to bring the full power of the Epicor platform to the company and its employees.

Dubai-based Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries produces aerosols, deodorants, air fresheners and cosmetics for markets all around the world—including its native United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India, West Africa, Egypt, Oman, the UK, France, and the US.

The company supplies major brands—such as Elegant, Inspire, Pleasure, Hot & Cold, Mehas and The Scent—to distributors, and also offers contract manufacturing to other brands.

Having grown from a handful of employees to a monthly production capacity of more than two million products in just 10 years, Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries realised they would need to replace their existing ERP solution to continue to expand and grow.

“As we grew, our legacy system was not catering to our needs, especially in manufacturing, warehousing and sales,” said Abbas Hamid, director at Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries.

The company’s warehousing issues stemmed from a lack of real-time accuracy and visibility for on-hand stock levels from the front-end system. The necessity to implement manual workarounds was impacting productivity, and inaccuracies were affecting stock valuation.

In addition, stock retrieval was employee-driven, rather than system-driven, leading to further inaccuracies if goods were not correctly stored. Other complications existed based on the absence of a stock-taking module in the legacy ERP, requiring warehouse employees to perform an entirely manual reconciliation.

“In addition, the manufacturing module within the legacy system only captured the cost of materials, so labour costs and direct costs were never captured. These had to be generated through manual calculations and estimations, which affected our financials,” added Hamid.

Reporting was also cumbersome, with pending PO reports and shipment tracking requiring manual preparation, and the system offered no capability for real-time reporting.

Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries decided it needed an ERP system that was tailored to their business operations, was easy to deploy and use, and would be flexible enough to allow the company to grow unimpeded. After considering four major ERP vendors, Hamid and his team selected Epicor ERP due to the manufacturing-centric focus and native functionality of the solution.

“While we obviously needed some level of customisation, we were very clear that we wanted to adapt to a system and be in line with best industry practices, rather than the other way around—where the system has to adapt to us,” added Hamid.

Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries’ stakeholders were particularly drawn to the real-time reporting functionality of Epicor ERP, as well as its multi-region capabilities, so that future expansion plans would not be hampered and that consolidated reports could be easily compiled.

Implementation is expected to be completed by May 2020, and the company’s project team is currently working with regional Epicor partner, Cork Information Technology, to deploy the new solution to more than 40 users in the UAE. Supply chain, sales, CRM, manufacturing, finance and asset management will all be key areas of functionality that are expected to help enhance Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries’ operations.

“All across the Middle East and North Africa region, manufacturing companies are trying to digitally transform, so that operations are optimised continually,” said Amel Gardner, regional director, Middle East, Africa and India (MEAI), Epicor. “Processes that are overly manual impede growth, so digitisation is the key to agility. Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries realised its legacy architecture was holding back the fulfilment of its regional ambitions. When you have the vision to shake off the old and embrace the new, extraordinary things can happen. We are confident that with Epicor ERP in place, the company will march quickly towards a new horizon.”

Source: Tahawultech


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many manufacturing businesses in Vietnam and China. For further information, please feel free to contact us.

future of ERPs in blockchain

Blockchain And The Future of ERP (Part 2)

In my previous article, I discussed how blockchain helps create legally enforceable trust across organizations. By providing a distributed digital signature capability, enterprise blockchains like Hyperledger Fabric give us a strong foundation to build on.

However, this impressive technology is involved and, depending on the use case, could be a perfect fit or overkill. FIDO devices that are being adopted for user authentication can also be used to digitally sign business transactions, providing a low-cost and easy-to-deploy alternative. Let’s explore in more detail how such solutions might look.

Business View

Let’s consider a large company that’s conducting business electronically with a smaller vendor. The company, let’s call it ABC, is designated as a “holder of records” for mutually signed digital transactions. Based on the nature of the business, the risk of company ABC deleting the records and claiming that no agreement was ever reached is considered immaterial, but both companies want to ensure that the details of the agreed-upon transactions cannot be disputed.

Technical View

First, a quick background on FIDO. The goal of FIDO is to eliminate passwords by introducing new authentication technology based on biometrics and/or special hardware tokens. It may come as a surprise that most of us already have FIDO-enabled devices. Every Android 7.0+ or iOS 13.3 phone, Windows 10 or Mac OS computer is a FIDO-enabled device. Most FIDO hardware tokens cost less than $50. The Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari browsers already have built-in support for FIDO through WebAuthn standard. As such, it’s easy for software vendors to add support for FIDO devices, and it’s a low-cost option for organizations to enable their users to use FIDO devices.

While there is a lot of information online about FIDO as an authentication technology, we are going to focus on a less-known capability of FIDO devices to digitally sign any information we want — in our case, business transactions.
FIDO devices can generate a virtually unlimited number of private/public key pairs that can be used for various purposes. Private keys never leave the FIDO device, and public keys are shared with the target application (e.g., an ERP system). A typical authentication use case involves an application sending a user browser a random string (challenge), asking a user to sign it using the private key within a FIDO device. The application can then verify the signature by using the public key stored for that user. If the signature is valid, it proves that a user is in a possession of the originally registered FIDO device and, in the case of biometric-based devices, the FIDO device successfully verified biometrics (e.g., fingerprints on a phone).

However, we can easily modify the above flow and replace a random challenge with the data we want to digitally sign from our business transaction. More specifically, we can follow the same overall approach as used in blockchain ledgers: Combine all the business data we need to sign using JSON, XML or any other format. Generate a hash of that business data, and then send that hash to a FIDO device to be digitally signed. We can then store our business data along with a hash and its digital signature, thus creating our own digital ledger.

Almost done, but it’s important not to lose track of our final objective: creating trust by making transactions legally enforceable. We can now verify that the transaction was signed by a user with a given FIDO device, but if the dispute goes to court, then we need to undeniably tie it to the organization that a user belongs to (i.e., prove that the company agreed to both this user and this particular FIDO device being used for signing transactions on behalf of the company).

This can be done by creating a file with a user public key and a statement authorizing the user to use it on behalf of his company. After being signed with a corporate certificate the file can be uploaded into an ERP system to prove that a public key is tied to the user’s company. This is a one-time registration process that each user has to go through.

Let’s review how the process would look from an end-user perspective:

One-Time Registration

• A user representing a vendor is set up in company ABC’s ERP system with FIDO authentication. To make it more specific, let’s say a user is using a Windows 10 laptop with facial recognition.

• The system generates a file (could be a PDF, CSR, etc.) that includes the user’s public key.

• A user signs the file with their company (vendor) certificate. This can be done in more than one way. For example, a user may already have a company-issued certificate and use Adobe UI to sign a PDF file. Alternatively, a user may forward the file to the legal or the IT team for a signature.

• A user uploads a signed file into the ERP.

Day-To-Day Use

• A user logs in into the ERP, picks a transaction and clicks on the “sign” or “approve” button.

• Windows 10 confirms the user’s identity through facial recognition and digitally signs a transaction.

• Company ABC’s ERP stores a transaction with a digital signature.

Dispute perspective

In case of a legal dispute, company ABC, as an agreed holder of records, has to produce a transaction along with both parties’ digital signatures. A transaction is digitally tied to a user with a given FIDO key, and that the FIDO key is digitally tied to the vendor’s corporate certificate, thus creating a digital chain directly from the business transaction to the vendor company.

Summary

We’ve already seen software vendors (Oracle and Amazon, for example) expand their solutions to offer new blockchain-like alternatives with the aim of building trust for stored data. However, any lightweight alternative to blockchain sacrifices on some aspects of trust. It’s important to fully understand the level of trust required in a given business scenario and then pick a technology that does it in the most economical way.

Source: Dmitri Tyles


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

blockchain and future ERP

Blockchain And The Future Of ERPs (Part 1)

Let’s start by asking ourselves a basic question: How has the ERP industry been making money since inception? The high-level answer is obvious: by selling solutions for automating business processes within an enterprise. The word “within” is critical. Whether it’s front- or back-office functions, it’s still all about internal business processes. However, most businesses operate within an ecosystem of partners and vendors. With the economy becoming more and more integrated, the need for cross-company collaboration only grows. But how many ERPs today offer a comprehensive set of “out of the box” solutions for automating external business processes? None.

How did we end up with a very mature industry for automating internal processes and a very immature industry for automating external business processes? Why is it that the capability to approve an invoice within the AP department was offered by most ERPs years ago, but if a vendor needs to approve your invoice, it’s likely done via a semi-manual process outside of an ERP even today? What is that invisible barrier that separates often rather similar business processes inside and outside of the enterprise?

It’s All About Trust

Let’s consider a scenario where an ERP used by company ABC offers secure screens specifically designed to make business arrangements with its vendors (deliver or buy goods, approve invoices, etc.). This is not an unrealistic scenario if company ABC is big and has a lot of pull over vendors in its ecosystem. Can’t we then automate business processes between company ABC and its vendors in the exact same manner as if we are dealing with internal automation? It’s not that simple.

Let’s say an agreement was reached through the above solution but later two companies are involved in a lawsuit. Can company ABC use records from its own ERP database to prove specifics of the contract? Probably not, as anybody knows that company ABC can easily manufacture any transactions in its own system (i.e., the above solution is not legally enforceable and has limited business value). The lack of trust between businesses is that barrier that was holding external automation back for so many years. To cross this barrier, we need to make records in an ERP legally enforceable for all collaborating parties.

What About Digital Signatures?

Digital signatures have been around for years and are accepted by courts in most countries. It seems like a great technology for creating legally enforceable transactions. However, it’s rare to see this capability built into an ERP. There are a few reasons for that.

The first challenge is the need to procure and store private/public keys (effectively SSL/TLS certificates) for each user. If a third-party vendor is used, then we run into the cost, privacy, usability and scalability concerns. Existing software used for digital signing is generally built around documents (i.e., real legal paperwork), but this paradigm doesn’t necessarily scale well or provide the necessary user experience if we need to sign transactions in an ERP.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I believe there is, and it comes from what, on the surface, looks like an unrelated technology — FIDO (fast ID online) or Web Authentication standard. While the primary purpose of FIDO is to solve the authentication scenario by digitally signing a random string sent by a server, FIDO devices can also be used to digitally sign any business transaction. Imagine a vendor digitally signing any cross-company ERP transaction using facial recognition or a fingerprint scanner on a phone without the complexity or inconvenience of a third-party solution.

Why Blockchain?

If digital signatures combined with FIDO authentication devices are so great, then why do we need to talk about blockchain? It all comes down to one simple scenario: While a digitally signed transaction can’t be altered without detection, it can still be deleted without a trace.

In other words, regardless of how unbreakable the digital signature is, if it’s only stored in one place that’s owned by an interested party, we still can’t achieve legally enforceable trust. This is exactly where blockchain comes in, since it is essentially a distributed digital signature. In case of enterprise blockchains, such as an open-source Hyperledger project, each participant in the blockchain has their own node and stores their own copy of all signed transactions, protecting themselves from a scenario in which company ABC may decide to delete its own entry.

Incorporating blockchain technology into ERP products while allowing partners in the business ecosystem to store their own copies of digitally signed transactions in an economical way would be a transformational step for the ERP industry. It would open the door for ERP systems to no longer be internally bound but instead focus on and automate the entire end-to-end business processes.

We see this trend starting already with large companies (e.g., in the supply chain sector) initiating projects to create blockchain-based solutions and include smaller companies within their ecosystems. However, few organizations can afford such projects. While major cloud providers are already offering blockchain as a service, it’s a PaaS-type offering. This means you get blockchain nodes deployed for you (which certainly helps), but all the business rules (smart contracts), flows and interactions need to be designed per the needs of a specific project. Not only that, but the company driving the project needs to get buy-in from its partners to participate in the blockchain and maybe pay for their nodes.

We can think back to the days when ERPs were not widely adopted and companies typically had their own homegrown solutions for HR, billing, payroll and other workplace functions. This is where the blockchain technology is today, with larger enterprises seeing so much value in automating external business processes that they are willing to invest in and create their own unique homegrown solutions. But what we really need is for ERP vendors to step up, think through most typical business flows and deliver those blockchain-based solutions as SaaS offerings with all the smart contracts and flows provided as part of an ERP.

Source: Dmitri Tyles


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

how to manage an ERP and keep it updated

How to manage an ERP and keep it up to date

ERP refers to a set of structures that ties together all the business processes of the agency and allows the flow of information among strategies and features.

It facilitates to standardize, streamline, and combine tactics across HR, finance, distribution, supply chain integrating a business enterprise’s various facets into one complete system so JDE managed services are best to maintain ERP. The underlying software uses an incorporated platform and commonplace records definitions.

Nowadays, ERP structures even offer commercial enterprise intelligence, income force automation, and advertising automation. In fact, maximum e-commerce web sites are now tightly connected to some form of ERP again-quit. An effective ERP implementation requires now not simply the right software program, however also thorough documentation, buy-in from key stakeholders, communiqué with companies, and worker schooling.

Also, ERP can provide the whole lot from expanded productiveness and information protection to scalability and cost financial savings, with the fundamental motives indicated underneath. Whilst commercial enterprise processes and records are computerized and centralized, employees will locate that they have got much less guide work, benefit easier reporting abilities, and may proactively control ordinary operations with a way fewer disruptions.

Upgrading Your System

Your carrier or maintenance plan allows you keep your software program walking easily through persevered get right of entry to enhancements, updates, service packs, tax and regulatory updates that can be essential, and extra all of which can be solely to be had to clients on an energetic plan and are not to be had for legacy structures.

Document business process

After you’ve decided to pursue ERP, the most essential task is making sure that your commercial enterprise techniques are well-documented and that it’s compiled in one place. This consists of the obvious main techniques like procure-to-pay and order-to-cash, but must also cover even the most granular ordinary sports such as employee onboarding or approval of time cards. You must try this before you’re taking other steps due to the fact every undocumented process turns into an assumption, and each assumption includes threats. Further, this documentation presents leadership with a clear view of the scope, complexity, and minimal requirements of the task.

Data Conversion

There’s a method that happens closer to the end of each ERP implementation referred to as information conversion that sounds tremendously straightforward and benign. additionally, it is an awful lot extra complicated than expected, even though, and it’s far a not unusual cause of delays and put up-launch troubles. Information conversion is essential to guide and tedious work, and it commonly requires work from practical sources, who’re most acquainted with the character of the records. Small errors can create massive problems, once facts are migrated, so it’s fine to ensure that you have a sturdy technique to high-quality warranty.

 

Source: Business Matters

 


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Electronic Data Interchange

Electronic Data Interchange – an Afterthought When Implementing ERP

Companies implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system will spend days, weeks or months testing the new system, having different departments enter data. While this is great in getting all departments familiar with the new system, but if your largest customers send their orders electronically, you need to spend as much if not more time testing all the electronic orders.

In the early stages of electronic data interchange (EDI) adoption, companies used the 80/20 rule. The rule was that 80% of their business was done with 20% of their largest customers. Whether companies implemented EDI with these customers as a competitive advantage or were mandated to do so, 80% of their business is done electronically. Yet in almost every ERP implementation, EDI was always an afterthought. Why? If 80% of a company’s business is done electronically, why don’t they see the value in EDI testing at the beginning of an ERP implementation? Most companies do not realize the importance of EDI in their business. Because of their information technology (IT) department manages EDI, it is thought of as an IT function only. They don’t stop to think that 80% of their orders come to them via EDI. Therefore, if EDI fails in the new ERP system, 80% of its business could be impacted.

Waiting until the end of the testing cycle to test EDI will guarantee an ERP implementation failure. Why? Let’s start at the beginning.

Your EDI customers are almost always your largest customers, therefore, their business is extremely valuable to your business. If your ERP implementation fails, their business may be in jeopardy. Most of your largest customers require not only sending their orders to you electronically but also require the corresponding documents to be sent and received electronically. This means that many if not all of the following documents must be able to loaded or be generated from/to the ERP system and sent/received. Purchase orders, purchase order acknowledgment, purchase order change, purchase order change acknowledgment, advanced ship notice, invoice, warehouse inventory and withdrawal, shipping and remittance advice are part of the main document of the electronic order-to-cash process. You need to know what documents your customers require and make sure they are included in your testing scripts and cycles.

When EDI is not the critical path in your ERP implementation, you will sink more time and money into the project that you planned. These “sinkholes” can be avoided if you plan for them early.

Sinkhole 1 – Wait to contact your customers

Most ERP implementation projects fail because customers are not contacted early in the implementation. Rather than working with their customers, companies believe it is better not to alert the customers of their ERP implementation, but instead, wait until they are absolutely sure they are ready to publicize their production date. Yet, every ERP implementation will have delays; production dates changes several times. Communication with your customers will always work in your favor, not against you.

Also, alert the customers of your plans early in the project. Especially your EDI customers. You need their cooperation, their testing requirements, their testing timeline, and most importantly, how much notice they need before you can begin to test with them. If you wait until you start testing to contact your customers, you may find out they are also implementing a large project and will not be able to test with you for months. Their requirements may dictate that they will not accept any production documents from your new system unless you do a full cycle test. Can you afford to delay your implementation for months for one or more of your customers?

If you want to minimize the testing time with your EDI customers, start to save production data from your current system. During your system integration testing (SIT) testing phases, you can use the saved data to test your new system. This can avoid delays in your project because you don’t have to wait for customers to send you data; you can be using “live data” early in your testing cycles.

Sinkhole 2 – Your customer will change their requirement to fit your schedule

You are now in your SIT2 testing and it is going well. You found several errors but were able to fix them and continue testing. Regression testing caught a few more problems, but your core team found ways to resolve them and continued to test. However, you have waited until almost the end of your SiT2 testing before starting to test with your EDI customers. One of your largest customers sends information on their order that requires your invoice. You did not account for this in the ERP system. What do you do now? Your ERP consultant tells you “that’s not standard in our ERP system; you need to get your customer to change their requirements.” What do you think the chances of that happening? This is one of your largest customers. They have been doing EDI for years with most if not all of their suppliers. All of their suppliers, including you, have accommodated these requirements to date. Do you think they will make changes only for you? They may agree to make the changes, but would not be able to do so for months, thus pushing your implementation date out months. Or, they may refuse to make the change because of the impact it would have on their system. If you don’t get their user acceptance, are you willing to lose their business? If you did your homework and document exceptions early in the process, you could have made the provision in the ERP system to handle this customer’s requirements. Now you run the risk of major delays because this change could have a snowball effect impacting many aspects of the ERP system.

Sinkhole 3 – Full cycle test incomplete

If your EDI customers send you electronic orders and require corresponding electronic documents sent to them, you must test the complete cycle. Don’t just test that the document was generated, but verify that it was generated correctly. Your customers may assess fees if your invoice is incorrect or the advanced ship notice (ASN) was not generated or late. If you saved off production EDI customer data, you can use this data to do a full cycle test. You can compare the production data to what was generated from your ERP tests. If they do not match, then the errors need to be resolved before you move on. If you have to make a major change to resolve the error, regression testing needs to occur. Don’t skip regression testing in order to stay on your project timeline; you will regret it. A successful implementation is more important than missing date on a project timeline.

In conclusion, avoid ERP sinkholes and do your homework. Start with your EDI customers. Most of your exceptions will be found here. Work with your customers early in your implementation project. Most importantly, set a reasonable timeline. Remember, if the timeline sounds too good to be true, it is.

Source: Karen Puchalsky


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. With our experience, the electronic data interchange can take place smoothly. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.