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Specialty Screw Corporation had used Epicor ERP since 1997 in an on-premises environment to support their manufacturing and back-office operations. But by March 2020, they had fallen approximately five years behind in ERP upgrades due to competing business priorities. This prevented them from taking advantage of new features for operations and compliance, as well as use Epicor provided product training for new hires. Specialty Screw Corporation also needed to make significant investments in the security infrastructure of their on-premises environment to ensure compliance with TS16949 mandate. In addition, the hardware refresh cycle was quickly approaching and in March 2021, they decided to put an end to their hardware and software upgrade cycles by upgrading to Epicor Kinetic deployed in the cloud. The move to Epicor Kinetic helped to ensure that they will automatically upgrade to new product releases when they come available, but also eliminates their need for future hardware refreshes, while significantly taking advantage of other operational benefits of moving to the cloud.

Challenges With Their On-Premises ERP Environment

Specialty Screw Corporation, based in Rockford, Illinois, is a global supplier of engineered fasteners and special cold headed parts. They manufacture special parts for automotive, lawn and garden, plumbing, residential window and door, firearms, hand tools, and a wide variety of other industry segments. Epicor is central to running their business operations smoothly.

The previous ERP system was run in an on-premises environment and had fallen five years behind on upgrades due to competing business priorities for limited budgets. As a result, they were not able to take advantage of the new capabilities available in the latest Epicor ERP releases.

Since the system was running in their data center, their IT organization of two people was also responsible for all operational changes to the environment - applying any patches on the Epicor test environment, testing the system, and then rolling them out on the live environment, as well as maintaining the servers the software ran on, the server logs, SQL server, security, backup, and virtualization software.

Falling so far behind in upgrades created another challenge for them - with two ten-hour shifts six days a week, the upgrade windows were very narrow to apply cumulative upgrades and move to the latest version.

In addition, many customers were requiring Specialty Screw Corporation to comply with the TS16949 regulation, which required their small IT organization to invest in security expertise and software to protect their on-premises deployment from ransomware attacks and ensure business continuity for their customers.

Moving to the cloud would enable Specialty Screw Corporation to automatically upgrade to the latest version of software and not have to allocate any of their time and resources to managing hardware, software and other operations related to Epicor Kinetic, while enjoying the benefit of security investments from Epicor. In March 2021 they decided to move to Epicor Kinetic and implemented it in June 2021.

Benefits of Moving to Epicor Kinetic

By moving to Epicor Kinetic, Specialty Screw Corporation ensures their ERP system will always be up to date on the latest upgrade. Staying updated allows them to easily add new modules to their deployment, as well as take advantage of the new capabilities introduced in the current modules. Since Epicor Kinetic runs on the Azure cloud, managed by Epicor, there is no need for their IT organization to plan/budget for five-year ERP related hardware upgrades.

By moving to the cloud, we decreased time and expenses in the back-end of our IT department. We can now spend our time more efficiently in front-end activities like designing Reports, BAQs, Dashboards, and training users. It’s like adding a third IT person to work off-hours and weekends, doing constant upgrading to keep us current.

In addition, the cloud adds new hardware automatically when the system senses a need for higher performance due to peak loads from promotions or seasonality, giving them instant scalability.

When the performance needs drop, the additional hardware resources are automatically taken out from the configuration. Essentially, Specialty Screw Corporation only pays for cloud resources they consume, unlike in the past they would have had to budget for and purchase additional hardware to accommodate peak loads. Finally, by moving to the cloud, their IT department doesn’t need to invest their time anymore on backend issues such as managing systems, upgrading hardware and software, or ensuring the ERP environment is secure. Instead, they can now be focused on front end activities such as designing reports, BAQs, dashboards and training users. It was like adding another IT person to work in the off hours and weekends and complete the constant upgrading to keep them current and remove single point of failure that existed on their on-premises server.

By being current on latest Epicor Kinetic versions, Specialty Screw can stay in sync with the newest training options, allowing them in helping to ensure all employees, old and new, are well trained for when business changes and new capabilities are implemented. It also helped to ensure its employees can fully leverage the ERP system and get the most value from their investment.

The scale of its cloud ERP enables Epicor to cost effectively deliver the security requirements that Specialty Screw Corporation’s customers need for automotive governance like TS16949 helping to ensure business continuity, specifically in today’s environment of ransomware threats. Compliance with these requirements, are important for Specialty Screw in helping to ensure they continue to be a strategic supplier to their customers. It would have been difficult and expensive for a small company, such as Specialty Screw Corporation, to replicate those capabilities within their on-premises environment.

Specialty Screw Corporation’s upgrade to Epicor Kinetic went splendidly and was implemented within just six months with the help of Epicor partner, Total Solutions Group. With the upgrade behind them, Specialty Screw Corporation is now ready to implement the new Epicor Kinetic user experience and take advantage of its intuitive and configurable capabilities.

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Company Facts

  • Location: Rockford, Illinois
  • Specialist Industry: Fabricated Metals Manufacturing
  • Website: www.specialtyscrew.com

Challenges

  • Unable to benefit from new functionality due to falling 5 years behind on software updates
  • Significant investment in security, hardware and infrastructure to support an on-premise solution
  • Workload overheads for internal staff to manage servers and backups
  • Investment to comply with TS16949 regulations to protect on-premise solution from ransomware threats

Benefits

  • Automatic upgrades on cloud, saving significant resource time and effort
  • IT staff time to focus on dashboards, designing reports and user training
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