Project Management

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Project success is critical to bottom-line profitability, yet many businesses struggle with projects running behind schedule or over budget. Project scope needs to be managed constantly with variations identified immediately. Epicor Project Management is a comprehensive solution for project managers who plan and execute simple or complex projects that can require intricate multilevel phases as well as strict costing and complex billing. Embedded within the robust capabilities of Epicor, Project Management utilizes the detailed estimation, planning, scheduling, costing, and supply chain logistics of Epicor for complete control and analysis of any project. Resource Management provides a detailed representation of resource capabilities and availability. Time and Expense Management and Approval ensure projects accurately reflect true costs and the comprehensive Billing and Revenue Recognition functionality guarantee compliance with contract requirements and accounting standards. At all times, throughout the whole process, embedded Project Analysis and reporting combined with Business Process Management provides accurate and up-to-date status information and meaningful alerts. To be successful in a project environment, project management must permeate every aspect of your business solution. Companies that are able to efficiently meet the demands of managing their portfolio of projects have a distinct advantage over their competition; they have a better understanding of their costs so they can bid and win business with confidence.

Features

Project Planning and Analysis

Supporting the needs of industries with a project orientation, Epicor Project Planning provides flexible Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) capabilities including multilevel phases within a project. Fully embedded within Epicor, Project Management offers the robust Epicor scheduling engine for complete visibility and management of the project schedule. Additionally, the ability to accumulate and roll up costs for a WBS Phase to the main project, as well as supporting budgets, estimated completion values, and calculated, estimated and actual costs accumulated at the WBS Phase level or at the project level. The WBS can either become the basis for project invoicing, or a separate billing schedule can be created using Project Billing for complex contract management. For complete visibility of costs and cross analysis, all of the costs are rolled up through the project structure. Added analysis offers cross-project analysis of key elements such as a material class, burden or labor type. Bidirectional integration with Microsoft Office Project gives project managers an additional tool to use to easily manipulate the schedule and simplify the planning of any project.

Define all project components as part of a logical, cohesive plan. A project can be generated at anytime including at the quote, sales order, or after the contract has been signed with the customer. Define the default project approvals method and workflow group.

Define the work breakdown structure for the project. Automatically create jobs for the collection of costs and management of operations, define the hierarchy for phase cost accumulation. Define multiple operations, their sequence, defined resource roles and planned hours as required against each phase job. Optionally define workflow and approvals overrides at the phase level.

Epicor supports a bidirectional integration with Microsoft Office Project. Create new or import and update Epicor project phases and tasks from within Microsoft Office Project then upload them in Epicor. Tracking unique data or descriptions within your project, Project Management lets you upload them too. Optionally use template projects and project phases for faster project planning.

Create a library of template project WBS structures to represent the various methodologies or requirements of recurring projects. Project structure and contract details can be manipulated in duplicated projects to reflect any nuances on a particular engagement.

Define project milestones, either associated with particular jobs or WBS phases or defined dynamically (e.g., for example cumulative costs based on selective cost elements).

Define checklist tasks, assign due dates and associate with particular individuals. Associate multiple internal contacts with a project task to route e-mail alerts when important project events occur (e.g., when a particular project milestone is completed) in addition to identifying critical project personnel.

Calculate project start and due dates by project, by phase, by jobs within a phase or by job assembly, all the way down to individual job operations. A task bar on the scheduling screen displays the job operation’s current percent complete. Labor reported against the job operation incrementally increases the percent complete total and decreases the remaining total hours. Projects can be scheduled using either the Scheduling system or Microsoft Project.

Dynamically calculate quoted costs and current estimated costs based on the WBS as well as manually entered budgets and estimated completion values.

Assign specific inventory to a project through the projects unique inventory location.

Attach drawings, specifications and any other documents that are associated with the project to ensure all members of the project team have ready access to project documentation.

Supporting strict standards in process definition, Epicor Business Process Management (BPM) gives project managers a tool to define and automate their unique business processes for project definition, approvals, and project standards, through to delivery and finance.

Modify a project at any time, offering ultimate flexibility to the project manager. User-defined workflows and check off/approval requirements are standard. Throughout its lifetime, all aspects of the project are entirely transparent.

With predefined project cost analytics, plus user-defined analysis codes, consolidate and extract any project cost metric—including complete rollups of all cost transactions related to the project or project phase (e.g., job materials, job operations, burden elements, quote estimates, and sales order information).

Supporting the needs of many industries, Project Management offers robust data analysis and cost rollups as well as project analysis “snapshots“ for progress comparatives against historical.

Begin cost analysis with the quote. Quoting allows project analysis of potential projects in the design stage, before the project even begins. The project tracker displays real-time costs for all associated transactions, at the project or phase within the project. For tighter in process management of project costs, project managers can compare to manually entered budgets, maintain cost to complete metrics, and review system-generated cost to complete metrics.

Easily perform revenue analysis for progress or milestone billing. Epicor Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) streamlines the process with user-defined buckets for revenue analysis (e.g., quoted revenue, current revenue, quoted margin, and current margin).

Use the Revenue Recognition Workbench to automate revenue recognition and process the various milestones and contractually defined billing points on a project. You can generate journals for revenue recognition based on the costs produced from the Project Analysis during the life of the project. The journals can be reversed once the project is completed.

Project Management allows you to generate progress and milestone billing, so you can invoice your customer and optionally defer the revenue and cost of sale, recognizing them at various stages in the project. Invoices can be generated based on a fixed date, fixed amount, user-defined stage of project completion, or user-defined cost-to-date. More complex contract arrangements can be defined using the sophisticated options available in Epicor Project Billing.

Social Project Management gives the internal and external project community visibility into the events of the project, as they happen. This allows teams to achieve transparency as to project progress and status and enables smarter and more efficient collaboration.

Epicor Social Enterprise provides access to those involved with your projects to subscribe, follow and trend what matters most to the team.

Rather than relying on the team alone, why not leverage the full expertise of an organization or other social network. Project teams are social entities, embedded in multiple social networks internal and external to the organization. Each member of the team has unique social connections inside and outside the organization.

Epicor Social Enterprise allows the project team to tap into those social networks for expertise (and even resource time) to complete their goals. It allows a project manager to see the social network of their team and leverage those connections to better communicate with the greater project community.

Project Billing

The advanced invoicing methods available in Epicor Project Billing provide the capability required to handle the commercial terms negotiated during the project bid process. Project Billing can vary project by project, ranging from shipment-based billing to negotiated rates and the establishment of a billing structure that can be separate from the project WBS. This flexibility enables project managers to focus on managing project delivery in the most efficient way while also handling accurate billing in accordance with a customer defined schedule.

Maintain the contractual arrangements for a particular project. Record details of the customer together with key contract dates, values, currency definitions, project manager, and the appropriate revenue recognition method. Define source of costs rates to be applied to the project contract; hierarchical, project,
employee or role.

Configuration settings can be used to ensure that only resources with the specific role codes defined in the project contract are able to work and record time against a project. This can be extended to record the specific resources that are approved to work on a particular project contract.

Invoice ceilings can be established to limit the amount billed for a particular role code, resource or supplier. The contract defines the system behavior when such ceilings are met—either continue or cease invoicing for the defined resource. Epicor BPM can be used to monitor as ceilings are approached.

To cater for the needs of certain industries, notably contracts dealing with the U.S. Department of Defense, Burden Sets and the sequence in which they are applied may be maintained and defined against the project contract.

Record the details of contract and project variations. Optionally use Epicor BPM to define the workflow that needs to be associated with variations to ensure appropriate communication to protect revenue and manage costs.

Define the appropriate invoicing method negotiated for the project. One invoicing method can be defined for the entire project or each phase can have a unique method defined. Invoicing can be based directly on project activity (e.g., customer shipment, achievement of defined milestones, time and materials or cost plus). Alternatively, the contract may be defined as incurring a fixed fee, in which case invoicing is defined in accordance with a contract schedule.

The customer shipment invoicing method is the equivalent of invoicing against a sales order. As project deliveries are shipped, a customer invoice is raised in accordance with the appropriate price list.

Milestone billing enables invoices to be raised on the achievement of defined milestones. Invoice amounts are either based on costs to date, with a markup, or a fixed amount.

With Time and Materials billing, the project is periodically billed on the basis of the approved time and materials incurred during the invoice period. The project contract allows for the definition of the charge rates for project resource roles as well as the pricing arrangements for materials to ensure accurate billing. Project contract additionally allows for the appropriate derivation of rates, which can be hierarchical or specified in the project, resource, or resource role.

The cost plus invoicing method works on the normal cost rates for the labor and burdens which are then marked up by contract defined percentages to arrive at a total invoice amount. Each billing may also have a monthly fixed charge applied or a onetime management fee.

With a fixed-fee project, the contract value is billed in accordance with an agreed schedule, starting from the contract start date. Billing frequency determines how regularly bills are prepared for example monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Progress on a fixed-fee project is measured against items agreed to in the contract. Such measured work can either be linked directly to the project WBS or managed separately. During the life of the project progress claims (also known as applications for payment) are raised and processed in accordance with the fixed fee billing schedule.

Fixed-fee projects additionally allow for the definition of a Defect Liability Period and Retention percentages. Where retention has been defined, a percentage of each progress claim is held back until the end of the liability period.

The progress payment method of project invoicing provides the ability to raise periodic invoices against deliveries or against progress on a provisional contract. An agreed percentage of incurred costs may be invoiced periodically up to a nominated ceiling. BPM alerts can be used to monitor progress against the ceiling to provide early warning of a need to renegotiate.

When the contract has been finalized, a process releases invoices for any shipments made, consuming any progress payments made to date.

Resource Management

Epicor Resource Management provides the ability to define all resources available whether they are employees, contractors, equipment or machinery. Comprehensive calendars, resource capabilities, roles and capacities can be defined which are then referenced throughout Epicor. Resource management additionally provides the comprehensive costing and default burden and billing data used throughout the application from planning and scheduling to labor bookings. Contractual role requirements and a clear separation of direct and indirect labor are supported in accordance with the specifications of the most demanding contract.

Time Management

Time Management in Epicor provides a highly configurable environment for the recording and management of time across projects, jobs, service orders and internal codes. A range of entry options are available each reflecting the nature of a particular transaction. Time can be entered online, on the shop-floor, in the office or from a mobile device resulting in quick and accurate recording.

The reliability of time recording is reinforced through an array of task-centric entry options which focus on the critical data required in each context. Additional configuration options ensure that users only have access to authorized jobs and booking codes, with a clear separation between direct and indirect labor entry.

A flexible approvals process provides the security to ensure that transactions are properly authorized and backed up by a comprehensive audit trail.

When implemented alongside Expense Management, both Time and Expense Management are available from a single menu option.

A familiar calendar tool enables users to navigate to the appropriate period for time entry. Time sheet status by day is graphically displayed providing a clear view of missing entries, together with the submission and approval status of time. To create a new time entry, the user simply clicks on the appropriate start time to enter the required details.

Time records can be entered and submitted as the time recording period progresses, or submitted at the end of each time period. Reports and alerts can be configured to alert users of missing time records.

Quickly enter production information for jobs including quantities, clock in/out details and location information. Direct Labor entry defaults to the current date, but any other date can be selected using the Outlook-based style calendar widget.

Epicor Manufacturing Execution System includes a dedicated interface for shop-floor entry of job and Time Management information. Configurable controls allow such entries to route through the approvals process if required.

Daily Time Entry provides tailored entry depending on the labor type. Project, Indirect and Service each provide direct access to the appropriate details resulting in complete and accurate time submissions.

Timesheet List provides a spreadsheet entry format offering quick and reliable time entry, particularly where a task is worked across multiple days in the timesheet period. Entries can be copied from previous weeks or pasted in from a spreadsheet, if desired.

Indirect time can be entered using Epicor Time Management. Indirect codes are associated with General Ledger Controls to drive accurate financial time reporting.

Quick Codes are definable by each user to represent regular combinations used in time entry. Quick Codes reinforce accurate Time Management and minimize the effort required for data entry.

Multiple comments can be added during time entry to provide backup details behind each transaction. These are also available to communicate through the approvals process.

Configuration options provide the control to enforce the clear distinction between direct and indirect workers time recording. Role codes can be defined to further control time recording to approved resources.

The level of approval required for each time transaction is determined by the context of the record ensuring fast and efficient approvals. Time can be auto-approved, routed to the appropriate supervisor or routed to the project manager or other nominated individuals with control down to the project phase, if required.

Advanced approvals workflow options allow workflow groups to be established to route approvals through multiple levels in a hierarchy or routed to groups for approval.

Approvals views provide supervisors and managers with all the information required to ensure efficient approval of outstanding time records. If configured, the approvals queue can also incorporate records entered through MES labor bookings. Submitted records may be modified or rejected with a full
audit trail. The queue can be filtered and sorted as required, comments may be viewed and transactions valued to monitor the full impact at the time of approval.

Complementing the approvals process, Epicor Business Process Management may be configured to alert users and managers of missing time records and outstanding approvals as required, ensuring complete and accurate recording of time.

Timesheets are normally entered and approved by each user. In addition, nominated individuals can be defined to enter or approve time transactions on behalf of other users. A full audit trail is provided to identify such proxy transactions.

Full reporting and analysis of time records and approvals is provided through a variety of reports and trackers.

The date/time and user details of each time transaction is recorded to provide clear visibility of entry and approval, including proxy details as required ensuring compliance with internal procedures and external requirements such as the US Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) guidelines.

Mobile Time Management

Mobile Time Management allows you to easily take care of business while traveling by capturing your time while on the go. By reducing the need to remember and enter when you have access to Epicor ERP, you will have fewer errors and missed billable time. Mobile Time Management is built using process driven menus and utilizes standard consumer devices using Apple iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, and windows mobile devices. The application is cost effective to deploy and easy to use. Applications will also work in a disconnected state and allow the user to enter data and sync back when they have a connection.

Expense Management

Expense Management in Epicor helps eliminate administrative effort, increasing efficiency by providing a secure environment for the recording and management of multicurrency expenses across projects, jobs and service orders as well as purely internal expenses. Expenses can be entered online, in the office, or from a mobile device, resulting in quick and accurate recording of expenses.

A flexible approvals process provides the security to ensure expenses are properly authorized, backed up by a comprehensive audit trail.

Approved transactions flow directly into Accounts Payable for fast and efficient processing and reimbursement.

When implemented alongside Time Management, both Time and Expense Management are available from a single menu option.

A familiar calendar tool enables users to navigate to the appropriate day for expense entry. Expense status is graphically displayed providing a clear view of the submission and approval standing of Expenses. To create a new expense entry the user simply clicks on the appropriate day to enter the required details.

Expense records can be entered and submitted as the period progresses, submitted at the end of each period or associated with a specific expense claim reference for easy reconciliation with reimbursements. Reports and alerts can be configured to alert users of missing time records.

Detail Expense entry allows the user to enter full details for the expense including tax and currency information together with payment type.

Expense list provides a spreadsheet entry format offering quick and reliable expense entry. Entries can be copied from previous weeks or pasted in from a spreadsheet, if desired.

Internal expenses can be entered using Epicor Expense Management. Expense codes are associated with General Ledger Controls to drive accurate financial reporting.

Quick codes are definable by each user to represent regular combinations used in expense entry. Quick codes reinforce accurate Expense Management and minimize the time required for data entry.

Multiple comments can be added during expense entry to provide backup details behind each transaction. These are also available to communicate through the approvals process.

Regular and unit-based expense types can be established as well as multiple payment types to ensure compliance with contract provisions.

The level of approval required for each expense transaction is determined by the context of the record ensuring fast and efficient approvals. Expenses can be auto-approved, routed to the appropriate supervisor, or routed to the project manager with control down to the project phase, if required.

Advanced approvals workflow options allow workflow groups to be established to route approvals through multiple levels in a hierarchy or routed to groups of managers for approval.

Approvals views provide supervisors and managers with all the information required to ensure efficient approval of outstanding expense records. Submitted records may be modified or rejected with a full audit trail. The queue can be filtered and sorted as required and comments viewed at the time of approval.

Once fully approved, expense transactions, group by employee claim, are passed to Accounts Payable for final approval and reimbursement eliminating any requirement for transaction reentry.

Complementing the approvals process, Epicor Business Process Management may be configured to alert users and managers of outstanding approvals as required, ensuring complete and accurate recording of expenses.

Expenses are normally entered and approved by each user. In addition, nominated individuals can be defined to enter or approve expense transactions on behalf of other users. A full audit trail is provided to identify such proxy transactions.

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Full reporting and analysis of expense claims and approvals is provided through a variety of reports and trackers.

The date, time, and user details of each expense transaction are recorded to provide clear visibility of entry and approval, including proxy details.

Mobile Expense Management

Mobile Expense Management allows resources to enter expenses as they happen, reducing the need to remember and enter when they have access to ERP. Mobile Expense Management utilizes standard consumer devices on Apple iOS and Google Android, and is built using process driven menus. The application is cost effective to deploy and easy to use. Epicor expense management also utilizes the device camera, if one is available, allowing users to attach pictures of receipts at the time of entry. This speeds up the approval process. Applications will also work in a disconnected state and allow the user to still enter data and sync back when they have a connection.