Year-end is a perfect time for distributors to review their current Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software utilization. Here are some suggestions to get started.
First, make sure to stay current on the software build, confirming that you can indeed update. (Some blocks could be custom software and the like.) Many of the new features that come in with each Epicor Prophet 21 software build often go unnoticed. Make a list of each new feature with each build that you have missed by not staying current. Work through this list as to what is important, and what can save you time.
Then review your day-to-day processes. Ask questions such as, “Can we design the order entry screen with the new Epicor DynaChange features, adding new fields, moving fields with Field Chooser, creating a faster way to add carriers’ order types, and so on?”
Even more important is Demand Replenishment Planning—purchasing options for long lead times. Many times, buyers may be “tagging” items to be handled differently for long lead times, and then they extract data and manage it in Microsoft Excel. But these long lead time items can actually be managed directly in Prophet 21.
Smaller options such as item class and customer class will enhance reporting for items that need deeper review than just product groups. What about territories on customers? Did you know you can actually print invoices and sales history reports by territories?
Discount groups are available for possible use in sales pricing, as well as supplier price libraries. Are you using the “next break” option in purchase requirements generation, where the system can tell the buyer if buying up to the next break in quantity is a good investment or not? And are you combining customer libraries into your customer contracts?
What about “Go-Together” items? This feature is a great way to have the system add items that have previously been sold together, such as batteries with flashlights, so inside sales can recommend additional purchases. Of course, the sales staff knows to do this, but having the items pop up so they do not need to type them in is a big timesaver.
Image: As a customer order is placed for a Face Mask, Prophet 21 suggests that it “goes together” with Gloves.
How many of you use the available CRM (Customer Relationship Management) options: entering opportunities, seeing these opportunities in order entry, and tracking lost opportunities to competitors?
Looking at warehouse options, you can always rank your inventory by how many times you pick the items, making sure these items are stored close to the shipping area of the warehouse.
There are many options in accounting, as well, such as controlling customers’ credit, tracking ARO days, and ranking customers by sales and/or profits.
Implementing these options does not have to be an overwhelming task. With the help of a Business Process Consultant from Epicor, you can design an internal continuing education class for your users, focusing on shortcuts and new features.
Posted by Neil VanWalbeck, Senior Professional Services Consultant at Epicor Software Corporation