More Data Means Better DecisionsFri, 09/01/2017 - 13:17
Q: How has Epicor aligned its technology development process to the emerging automation and Industry 4.0 trends in the automotive industry?
A: Industry 4.0 has become a priority in our innovation process. Keyboards are no longer the only data sources for ERPs as new sensors and interfaces become vital for collecting data from manufacturing processes. Manufacturers are now including data transmission components in their equipment so we must be able to connect with them.
Pirelli is a perfect example of how companies are changing their products to receive more information. The company is now adding a chip to its tires, which feeds information to the manufacturer regarding wear, use and even how fuel consumption relates to the tire. All this data is collected by the ERP, helping Pirelli make decisions regarding its portfolio. Systems are becoming much more customized as new variables are analyzed according to the company’s needs and the way clients use a certain product. We are opening our channels of communication and through the Cloud we receive all the information we need directly from our clients’ facilities.
Q: How is data collection impacting your clients’ operations and what challenges is Epicor facing to ensure sufficient connectivity and data management?
A: Processes are becoming technology-driven, impacting not only manufacturing activities. In marketing applications, for example, we have created a social ERP whose functioning resembles Twitter’s. The first phase of this project is to create an interdepartmental communication in our client’s operations. After that, we want to establish direct communication between the company and its clients through social media. The company will be able to monitor how clients interact on social media regarding its products. All this information will strengthen the ERP and it will help the company attack new market segments effectively.
Managing the quantity of information needed to offer strong results to our clients is one of our main challenges. Our priority is to offer a stable platform and the best way to do this is through Cloud-based applications. This type of platform is flexible enough for clients to receive the information they need, while we manage all necessary updates and transformations.
Q: How are Epicor’s hybrid Cloud applications evolving to reflect industry trends?
A: There are companies that are still reluctant to adopt fully Cloud-based systems. In response, Epicor worked on developing a hybrid Cloud application so certain processes and bits of information can be kept onsite. New external challenges arise continuously for our clients that require information to be available onsite.
The evolution of Cloud applications will depend on how ready our clients are to administer this change. Technology integration is always a difficult process but we are trying to market this as a way for companies to invest in their employees. Training people in new ERP implementation and process digitalization is valuable for their career development and by taking this approach, the company ensures enough motivation during a difficult transformation process. We also have to take into account how ready the company’s technology is to adopt innovations. Some clients are willing to implement advanced ERP systems but after doing an extensive analysis of their operations, we find out that their equipment cannot support these improvements.
Q: What level of standardization can Epicor implement in its solutions and how does that affect the client?
A: Epicor’s solutions are known for their adaptability but radical changes to the platform are not recommended. Epicor has implemented best practices in several ERP processes and the client can choose what to implement and what to maintain from its previous process. We understand that we cannot be experts in everything and that companies know which practices provide an added value. We negotiate the level of standardization to implement and the best results come from creating hybrids of Epicor’s knowledge and the clients’ best practices.