RheinBrücke FAQs

Why Epicor ERP?

  • Epicor ERP has been built from the ground up to comprehensively respond to these needs and provide the support organizations require to thrive in today’s competitive global business landscape.
  • Epicor ERP streamlines the use of ERP across multiple devices while providing greater deployment choices, reduced complexity, and remarkable ease-of-use.
  • Built on agile technology to provide rich, global functionality the solution not only unleashes the full potential of ERP, but also changes its role from necessary infrastructure to active facilitator of business growth and sustainability.
  • Epicor ERP is built on a server architecture fully optimized for Microsoft® Windows® Server and Microsoft SQL Server®. This helps make it simple to manage and very hardware efficient.

Epicor ERP provides today’s organization with the core technological foundation to meet the difficult and rapidly evolving challenges of today’s global competition. The five principles of Epicor ERP support this:

  • Collaboration - Epicor ERP supports accessibility, knowledge retention, traceability, deep domain expertise by enabling communication without latency, and providing easy access and leverage via means that users want to use.
  • Choice - Designed for rapid, flexible deployment—on premise or via the cloud—the solution gives organizations the ability to adapt with easy configuration, current technology and scalability without taxing IT demands or frustrating delays.
  • Responsiveness - Epicor ERP is designed to deliver rich, global functionality that organizations can use, in an instant, for strategic response and competitive advantage.
  • Simplicity - By simplifying deployment, management, and usage—and by providing accurate, up-to-date information that enables a single version of the truth across multi-faceted supply and demand networks—Epicor ERP reduces complexity and makes it simpler to make the right decisions for sustained success.
  • Mobility - Epicor ERP is designed to deliver flexibility with 24/7 access to the information wherever and on whatever device.

Built on an unparalleled technology foundation—Epicor ICE 3, a 100% Microsoft stack, and global functionality that includes embedded capabilities, easily configurable engines, real time BI and analytics, as well as industry-specific business layers and support—Epicor ERP delivers performance from day one, from the ground up.

Why Epicor on the Cloud?

  • In a recently published Gartner Report, “2019 Critical Capabilities for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Midsize Enterprises” Epicor has earned a reputation for being a flexible and highly capable product for small and midsize manufacturing companies. Epicor ERP scored highest in the ERP functionality for Midsize Enterprises Use Case (3.77 out of 5)
  • The Critical Capabilities report is aligned with the “2018 Magic Quadrant for Product-Centric Cloud ERP for Midsize Enterprises,” where Epicor ERP has been positioned in the “Visionary” quadrant.

Some of the capabilities found in the Epicor Cloud ERP solution for Manufacturers include:

  • Centralized customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Cost-based estimating
  • Efficient sales and service management
  • Comprehensive production management and data collection
  • Quality and compliance management
  • Extensive product data management including product revision control
  • Embedded resource and equipment scheduling
  • Extensive materials management including cradle-to-grave serial and lot control
  • Support for lean initiatives
  • Comprehensive supply chain management
  • Embedded maintenance management
  • End-to-end management of complex multi-phase projects
  • Tap into modern technologies as they become mainstream
  • Improve real-time collaboration across your enterprise
  • Accelerate insight-driven innovation with scalable analytics
  • Increase the strategic value of your IT organization by offloading upgrades and administrative tasks to Epicor
  • Drive improved customer experience and accelerate your digital transformation
  • Go live faster with simpler implementation

Frequently asked questions on ERP implementation methodologies.

  • All ERP implementations confirm to a framework – RheinBrücke’s own eFusion Implementation is inspired from the Epicor’s signature methodology. It prescribes a blend of waterfall and agile techniques to provide the assurance of governance yet the flexibility to deliver ERP Implementations efficiently and quickly
  • It is a broad 5 stage waterfall implementation plan with the sub stages following agile techniques and inducting lean 6 sigma practices
  • All project members are required to be certified in the methodology that in turn ensures consistency in execution

Process Alignment

  • Adapt to Epicor standard practices
  • Avoid customizations unless it is business critical
  • Knowledgeable participation from core team
  • Ability to visualize change

Systematic Execution

  • Stick to the implementation methodology – NO DEVIATIONS
  • Ensure data is prepared On –Time
  • Risk Management – List, prioritize and timely decision making
  • Demand a clear 4 week forward plan from the Project Managers

Training Management

  • Proper Training Management is Crucial
  • Core team must own training content, understand clearly
  • Training effectiveness to be measured throughout
  • Create repeatable training content for reference and new employees

Change Management

  • Timely periodic communication – project status to all stakeholders
  • Assess readiness for change – preparedness of users, capability to adapt and accept change
  • Planning for transition in advance – end user support, training etc.
  • Build In-house competence and ownership – process and systems

The Project Management Tools – PSA Platform and Financial Reporting Templates help the customer and project team deliver ERP projects and manage fiscal health using earned value management techniques.

Change Management in a broader term as ‘Organization Change Management’ has three fronts :

  • Training Management
  • Communications Management
  • Readiness Assessments

All three are accommodated in the ERP Implementation methodology. Change Management is also embedded into risk management where any of the tree fronts do not see satisfactory results. Each of the fronts have their own cadence, plan and deliverables included in the Master implementation plan, prescribed by the ERP implementation methodology.

Managing Training is part of the overall Change Management effort in an ERP project and needs the desired attention. Lack of sufficient training / irrelevant training can cause substantial delays in project closure and prolonged settling down time. Best practices are as follows:

  • Embrace Training as part of the OCM Efforts. Follow guidelines below:
    • Ensure the Training Management plan is covered as part of the ERP Project Management plan and is signed off by the Steering Committee
    • Ensure the Change Network accepts the Training Management plan and carefully assesses the competence and capability of the trainers identified
    • Training Management plan must make sure that identified trainers are equipped adequately with business process knowledge, training materials and a communication plan exists that communicates the training methodology to all users in the company
    • Assess the training effectiveness very frankly and acknowledge capability / collateral gaps where it exists
    • Business users identified as trainers, may not be expert trainers; Ensure they are adequately equipped
  • Adapt a Train the Trainer concept; This is a key criteria in the selection of the ERP Core Team and the key users
  • Adapt a Learning Management Platform (LMS) for consistent training and ensure its accessibility to all users
  • Ensure ERP Training documentation is kept abreast and updated throughout the life cycle. It will be a huge challenge to upkeep training content if scope is not well controlled; Ensure scope changes are tightly controlled and only MUST HAVE exceptions are accommodated beyond the design phase
  • Hold Key Users accountable and responsible to create end user training content and be the trainers and responsible for training effectiveness to end users
  • Repeat End User Training every 2 – 3 weeks after Go-Live for around 3 months to ensure that all users have successfully adapted to the new ERP environment

Duration of an ERP implementation may be broadly attributed to the following factors:

  • Resource Commitments – Abilities of all parties to stick to the plan and follow methodology
  • Ability to adapt to best practices and risk management techniques thereby minimize change management effort
  • Data readiness – prepare to deliver data as per the data migration plan
  • Size of the business (No. Users matrixed to business complexity)

Notwithstanding the above factors and assuming readiness / commitment of all parties; > 75% of all ERP projects last between 4 – 8 months; time frames varies on readiness for the ERP project on factors described above.

While it is not a one size fits all, the time also varies based on nature of processes being implemented. Indicative ERP implementation durations are below:

  • Finance and Supply Chain / Distribution business –> 3 – 6 months; Depending on size / No. Locations and factors above
  • Finance, Supply Chain, Manufacturing -> 4 – 8 months; depending on size, No. plants and factors above
  • Finance, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Projects -> 6 – 12 months; depending on size, plants, locations and factors above

Both the Customer and the ERP Implementation partner need to staff the project suited to the different roles each party has to play for a successful ERP Project outcome, viz., Governance, Management and Control and the Core Team. Guidelines for roles of members is below:

  • Executive Sponsor -> Support building project objective; Sign off Business Needs scope; Sign-off executive mandate; Enforce executive mandate; Leader of Steering Committee
  • Steering Committee - Own project Risks, Review risks and take decisions for risk management, Sign off on scope and schedule, Sign off Scope and schedule changes, Sign Off Stage Completions and exceptions, Approve Go / NO-GO Decision
  • Governance and Change Management - Sign-Off / Own processes and Solution; Own Project Plans; Day-Day decision making on processes, and schedules; Lead project review meetings; Key Members – Project Managers, Process Owners (customer) and Solution Owners – 50% dedicated
  • Core Team - One representative per domain to review To Be Processes, prepare SIPOC, Review gaps and sign off workarounds, customization and integration specifications; Sign off Proof of Concept outputs; Own data migration; Validate Designed System; ‘Trainer to End Users’; Super user Post Go-Live – 100% dedicated

RPA and other similar automation needs are largely driven by customer needs and based on the industry. Standard introductory RPA processes are included into the standard Out of the Box implementation and supported by the implementation methodology

The following are a few examples where Epicor ERP framework components are used to deliver RPA objectives:

  • Epicor information worker – seamless information transfer between Microsoft Office tools enhancing efficiencies
  • BOT queries leveraging the service connect platform – for instance Customer Statement on Demand, Stock Status on Demand etc.
  • Epicor ATE (Automated Transaction Environment) to automate repeatable processes
  • Epicor ATE tool for performance measurements and optimizations

While Signature Methodology exists for several decades, it needed alignment to current realities and trends. Signature is a KISS approach (Keep it simple and stupid) providing a repository of templates and an implementation structure. It assumes there would be no ‘Development’ which is healthy but not practical.

The major drawbacks of the Signature approach are:

  • Does not address complexities of Data Management and Migration
  • No guidelines in Change Management
  • It propagates a DIY to customers, whereas customers need help
  • Does not consider offshoring, near shore sourcing and shared services models
  • Prepare phase in Signature is ‘Pre-Contract’ which is seldom realized and unrealizable due to conflicts of interest
  • Waste’s a lot of time in ‘Analysis’ instead of prescribing a ‘Epicor Industry Best practices’ approach
  • Does not support RIC’s unique delivery model of Solution Architects, On-site business analysis and offshore consulting services

Signature provides no guidelines on Fiscal Management, whereas eFusion methodology stresses on Earned Value Management techniques throughout the life cycle with strict guidelines, fiscal reporting templates and measures

Process Models: Epicor Process Reviews and Risk Based Gap Assessments

  • Pre-Build Epicor Practice Review Process Maps – circulated upfront
  • Gap Review and Risk Based project scoping (Business Risk vis-à-vis Project Risk)
  • Maintained through project life cycle

PSA: Collaborative Project Management

  • On-line State of Art platform – all members are collaborate
  • Earned Value Management
  • Task Allocation, Risk and Issue Management
  • Documentation, Version Controls, Collaboration

LMS: Interactive Learning

  • Simulators and Interactive content based on designed processes
  • Delivers automated Design Acceptance scripts
  • Sustainable End User training on-line on demand
  • Skill evaluation and learning effectiveness measurements

Support Desk: Unified Support Desk

  • Support Desk available throughout project life cycle
  • State of the art infrastructure including Chat, Telephone and self-service portals and knowledge base

The PSA Platform facilitates risk management and is part and parcel of the implementation methodology. Risks are managed throughout the ERP project life cycle and reported at all project reviews and Steering Committee meetings with priority, ownership, business impact and risk management strategy agreed between the implementation and customer teams

An unstructured approach to data migration can be a major risk to a project causing significant delays and cost overruns and a negative impact on all other initiatives. It is absolutely imperative that a very structured approach be adapted for data migration and follow the implementation methodology – which pays very special attention to data migration and prescribes a very structured approach.

Refer to the Success factors. The foundation to a successful implementation is process alignment to Epicor recommended best practices, include only MUST HAVE modifications and phase optimizations to post go-live! Best practice guidelines below:

  • The methodology supports a ‘prescriptive model’ strongly recommending that inbuilt best practices be adapted out of the box.
  • Gap assessments are addressed through a business risk management model where business risk is matrixed against project risks and scored and addressed using the Risk Management framework
  • Use lean Six-Sigma tools to visualize the ‘To Be’ processes. Methodology support the SIPOC diagram for process visualization

While it is not a one size fits all, the time also varies based on nature of processes being implemented. Indicative ERP implementation durations are below:

  • Finance and Supply Chain / Distribution business –> 3 – 6 months; Depending on size / No. Locations and factors above
  • Finance, Supply Chain, Manufacturing -> 4 – 8 months; depending on size, No. plants and factors above
  • Finance, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Projects -> 6 – 12 months; depending on size, plants, locations and factors above

Following are characteristics that vary based on size (No. Users) / Business Volume / Locations / Plants

Small/Medium ERP Projects Larger ERP Projects
  • 50 ~ 100 users
  • Single Location; Additional sites with small user spread
  • Lighter on Project Management, OCM and Data management
  • Higher ability to adapt to standard practices
  • > 100 users
  • Multiple locations, Plants and Countries
  • Higher project management, OCM and data management effort
  • Higher process complexity
  • Ability to adapt to best practices show decreasing trend
  • A cloud implementation is characterized usually by the following traits :
    • Higher fitment / eagerness to stick to standard out of the box solution
    • Generally a much smaller size
    • Higher expectations of a faster roll-out
    • Little or non-existing IT support from customer
  • As a consequence, implementations are faster, more agile and out of the box aligned to best practices.To facilitate – variants of the implementation methodology are available which are suited for rapid executions out of box available from the cloud – RAPID DEPLOYMENT. A rapid deployment is achieved between 30 - 60 days.
  • At times for larger cloud deployments a hybrid model become necessary and prescribed in the methodology – FAST TRACK
  • In FAST TRACK – basic customizations, Data upload on Go-Live are allowed and go-live stage accomplished between 60 – 90 days