Epicor has updated its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for manufacturers, Kinetic, with a Cloud Enterprise Services package, new e-commerce features, and a set of tools for improving productivity and user experience.
The company, which traditionally targets the market for small and medium businesses, has released this update with a focus on large manufacturers. An update to its ERP package for distributors, Prohet 21, offers similar enhancements.
Cloud features aim at global operations
The new Cloud Enterprise Services package aims to meet industry-specific bill of materials (BOMs) and material resource planning (MRP) requirements, and offers a customisable cloud infrastructure designed to support a global manufacturing operation and related processes.
The new package is designed to give manufacturers flexibility in managing and scaling multiple plants and facilities around the world.
The update to Kinetic ERP also includes a list of enhanced productivity features and modules. One of the integrations in the suite is the addition of Epicor CPQ, earlier known as KBMax. Configure, price, and quote (CPQ) tools typically aim to help sales teams provide different product options to customers.
The new CPQ tool uses visualisation techniques to allow customers to more easily handle complex product rules, sync BOMs, and accelerate time to quote.
CPQ tools are in demand as manufacturers are making the switch to direct selling, said Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. “Manufacturers are seeking the ability to go direct to consumer. Commerce, CPQ, and offerings like KBMax are allowing new digital monetisation models," he said.
The updated CPQ application allows sales representatives to guide customers through product configuration, pricing and quote generation, explained Jordan Jewell, research director of digital commerce and enterprise applications at IDC.
“Increasingly, CPQ applications are being used in a customer-facing fashion, where business customers can go through these steps in a self-service fashion and even place the order themselves. The order would then go directly into the ERP to be shipped or manufactured,” he said.
In addition, Kinetic now also connects to SecturaSOFT's quoting tool for metal fabrication manufacturers, known as SecturaFAB. The update will allow customers to accelerate the quote generation process, thereby saving runtime and other operation costs, according to the company.
Epicor also introduced Epicor EDI, a B2B integration module that allows enterprises to connect to e-commerce sites such as Amazon and eBay directly from the Kinetic ERP suite. According to Epicor, this will allow users to more easily enter large numbers of orders and automate order entry processing, allowing real-time inventory visibility and expedited fulfilment.
The EDI update is likely to be used more in the future, according to Jewell. “Currently, a lot of manufacturers who sell direct to consumer manage inventory levels and orders manually or with spreadsheets between systems. The EDI connector should make this more automated so that inventory on marketplaces is more accurate and orders can be fulfilled sooner,” he explained.
Epicor has upgraded Kinetic ERP’s user experience by including new enhancements to its low-code and no-code platform along with 56 hands-on training modules to enable enterprise users to adopt newly released tools and features faster.
Prophet 21 updated for large distributors
In addition, the company has updated its cloud ERP suite for distributors, called Prophet 21. The coronavirus pandemic caused supply chain disruptions globally, and the need for flexible, cloud-based productivity platforms is greater than ever, Epicor said in its announcement of the update.
Like the Kinetic ERP update, this update includes a Cloud Enterprise Services package for large companies. It features isolated cloud infrastructure for greater autonomy, a customisable upgrade schedule, additional processing capacity, more database access, and dedicated premium support expertise.
While the services package bakes in more cloud capabilities, allowing more autonomy in cloud infrastructure, its modular design allows enterprises to enable components to be installed and scaled independently, Epicor said.