For manufacturing businesses, there are four "mandates" that an enterprise software suite must provide, according to James Norwood, senior vice president for product marketing with Epicor Software Corp.: saving IT costs, saving overall costs through IT, overall responsiveness by the business enterprise, and business productivity. Since the start of 2009, these mandates now include providing businesses with an ability to grow toward recovery and growth.
Norwood says this reemphasis applies across the manufacturing supply chain — manufacturing machinery, fabricated metals, aerospace and defense, medical devices, instruments and controls, and electronics; as well as in other economic sectors where Epicor's ERP suite is deployed, in distribution (pharmaceutical, automotive, beverages, 3PL) and services (construction, engineering/consulting, professional services, financial services.)
As the outlook for capital spending across these sectors increases, the Epicor 9.05 improves business's abilities to focus on cost reduction, process improvement and customer responsiveness—stated top priorities toward achieving business recovery and growth.
Epicor cites a recent research report by Forrester Research Inc., based on survey respondents in North American and European small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), the top business goals for these organizations are cost reduction and recovery from the downturn.
Epicor 9.05 reportedly delivers functional improvements, enhancements, and new modules across every suite within the solution, including Epicor ICE business architecture. Every new capability has been considered in terms of specific industries' needs for managing expenses and improving customer responsiveness and service.
The latest release builds upon Epicor 9, is live with over 140 customers and over 35,000 user seats worldwide. Manufacturers, distributors, financial institutions, service firms and retailers globally use to adapt to business and industry-specific requirements, scale as an organization expands or changes, and ultimately grows.
"As we begin to emerge from the economic challenges of the past two years, we're seeing a conservative ‘maximize efficiencies, minimize expenses' philosophy in the markets we serve," said Norwood, senior vice president, worldwide product marketing for Epicor. "Our new release is designed to enable customers to target these often competing mandates allowing them to focus on areas of opportunity, helping them to quickly realize tangible and sustainable results in their business on the road to recovery. Quite simply, we believe it is the right release for the right time in the market."
Epicor extended the industry-specific capabilities for companies in manufacturing, financial services, construction and engineering, and project-based organizations within the new release. It says, for instance, that manufacturers and distributors will benefit from new lean performance metrics, enhanced quality assurance, and a focus on inbound enterprise asset management and outbound aftermarket mobile service management are just a few areas that have been introduced.
Business with a high volume of government contracts will benefit from a broader reach into the services sector, strong new capabilities in the areas of project management, and accounting are expected to significantly assist businesses involved in government contracting work, and related professional services. Epicor said all the industry enhancements in Epicor 9.05 are designed to help companies focus on the customer and manage day-to-day costs.
Building on its already comprehensive Financial Management and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) capabilities, Epicor has expanded functionality for measuring key performance indicators across all operational aspects, helping organizations gain visibility of costs and further their financial goals. New advanced financial reporting capabilities, an embedded configurable asset management engine, and a sophisticated advanced allocations module will help finance departments streamline business processes, reduce closing cycles and be integral to tracking financial performance across the enterprise, providing new levels of efficiency, audit-ability and control.
Agile business architecture
The developer said the new Epicor's True SOA™ (service-oriented architecture) delivers "a powerful, visionary foundation" that companies will need to gain better access and derive more benefits from ERP at a business level — which employ enterprise 2.0 technologies to improve usability, productivity, collaboration and business performance.
Expanding on modern consumer Web concepts introduced in Epicor 9, the developers now say the new release offers Epicor Mobile Access. This allows business users to define and deploy mobile applications quickly and easily, for conducting business on devices like BlackBerry®, Windows® Phone, and the Apple iPhone™ in a matter of minutes. Also, Epicor Enterprise Search has been expanded to allow it to be invoked from almost anywhere, such as within Microsoft® Outlook®, PowerPoint® or Excel® as well as from a Browser or within the application, delivering essential real-time information when it's needed and where it's needed.
One notable testimonial comes from JV Precision Machine Co., a Connecticut CNC shop that serves a range of industries with a business driven by Epicor 9. "As a participant in the beta program for this newest release from Epicor, we are looking forward to leveraging enhanced capabilities around cost reduction, process improvement and customer service," stated v.p. Josef Visinski. "In particular, expanded functionality for measuring performance across all operational aspects, the advanced financial reporting capabilities, and ability to gain even greater visibility of costs will be very beneficial."