TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD

Many distributors have already undergone several ERP system upgrades or are currently in the midst of one. In Industrial Distribution’s 2017 Survey of Distributor Operations, 14 percent of distributor respondents whose company didn’t have an ERP system planned to install one within the next two years. Given the array of productivity benefits that ERP enable, it’s no wonder distributors of all types are adding or upgrading ERP every month. Download this iReport to learn more.

Epicor
Epicor
BROUGHT TO YOU BY: THE BENEFITS & EFFICIENCIES DISTRIBUTORS CAN GAIN FROM CLOUD-BASED ERP TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD 2 TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD Originally focusing on automating back-office functionality that didn’t involve customers, ERP soon evolved to include several phases of a business’ transactional operations. ERP’s key development through the 1990s and first decade of the 2000’s was the rise of its collaboration between transactional data and management areas such as customer relationship, supply chain, inventory, human capital and beyond. Many distributors have already undergone several ERP system upgrades or are currently in the midst of one. In Industrial Distribution’s 2017 Survey of Distributor Operations, 14 percent of distributor respondents whose company didn’t have an ERP system planned to install one within the next two years. Given the array of productivity benefits that ERP enable, it’s no wonder distributors of all types are adding or upgrading ERP every month. Now in the age of Industry 4.0, ERP is making its next and perhaps biggest evolution yet — to the cloud. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has come a long way in less than 20 years. WHAT IS CLOUD ERP? The difference between a traditional, on- site ERP system and cloud ERP system is simple: On-premises ERP software is installed on a company’s local hardware and servers and is managed by its in-house staff. Cloud ERP, on the other hand, is a vendor-provided software-as-a-service (SaaS) that is managed by that vendor via the Internet in a system the customer accesses through a web browser. ADVANTAGES OF CLOUD ERP On-site ERP can be upgraded time-and- time again, but the potential is limited, and the challenges traditional ERP systems face are where Cloud ERP excels: Integration Traditional ERP integration into a business’ other operating software can cause numerous headaches. Cloud-based ERP helps break down technology silos within a business, like the management for orders 3 TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD — Mark Jensen, Director of Product Management –Distribution Epicor Software Corporation And to the millennials, it looks modern and fresh.” “You don’t have to re-train. placed over-the-phone, via e-commerce and those orders placed via mobile device. “The biggest thing is it gets distributors outside of their four walls. They’re not constrained within them,” says Mark Jensen, Director of Product Management – Distribution at Epicor Software Corporation. “In order to compete today, you have to figure out the web and mobile, and the cloud allows you to get there faster.” Mobility On-premises ERP is often limited to an individual facility, whereas cloud- based ERP is seamlessly connected across a company’s entire network as everyone has the same accessibility from their web browser. Adaptability One of the limits of traditional ERP is its limited upward mobility. As distributors grow, they often add more technology or dive deeper into e-commerce functions that are beyond their existing ERP’s capabilities, requiring upgrades. Cloud- based ERP is ready for these factors, and can adjust to a company’s specific business and technology needs. “You have to have a system that allows you to take advantage of those newer technologies as their price point gets more attractive, and that’s going to happen very fast,” Jensen says. “You have to look at your system and see if it lets you apply something like artificial intelligence to pricing.” Manpower With the cloud-based ERP vendor handling management of the system, companies don’t need a dedicated IT staff for it. Alternatively, this allows that IT staff to focus on other strategic areas. This is especially appealing for those small and mid-sized distributors that don’t have the budget for such employees or simply aren’t tech-savvy themselves. Lower Operating Cost: A cloud-based ERP has the potential to eliminate the need for distributors to purchase server, network and storage hardware necessary to maintain the platform on site. Instead of capital expenditures, distributors can focus on operational expenditures. CHOOSING A PROVIDER There are a number of cloud ERP providers today, as the rise in the newer technology has drawn new vendors to the industry. But whereas many of those vendors focus solely on their ‘cloud ERP-only’ capabilities, it certainly helps to have the expertise of a provider that also has expertise in the on-premises format. In that regard, Epicor Software Corporation differentiates itself in the market with its wealth of knowledge. Epicor’s history includes more than 30 years of business software innovation for distributors. And that amount of ERP knowledge makes the company an expert resource to help distributors of all sizes determine exactly what type of ERP is right for them, be it on-premises or cloud-based. 4 TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD The latest chapter in Epicor’s legacy came out of the company’s recent 2017 Insights Customer Conference in May, where it unveiled the latest cloud-version of its popular Prophet 21 ERP Solution. Epicor cloud-based ERP allows Epicor on-premises ERP customers to move to the cloud without seeing any disruption with their business. With helping them become more mobile and taking advantage of new software technology, Epicor Prophet 21 customers can see all the benefits of a cloud-based solution without the headaches of a traditional ERP upgrade or installation process. They won’t lose any of the customization they’ve built or functionality currently being used. This is a big issue in today’s workforce that sees many baby boomer generation staff retiring and the onboarding of younger distribution salespeople and managers. “The generational shift was one of the drivers of our cloud strategy,” Jensen says. “It allows our customers to have an application that’s not radically different. You don’t have to re-train. And to the millennials, it looks modern and fresh.” What about distributors who currently aren’t Epicor customers? Other cloud- ERP providers offer their solution through collaborating with a third-party which actually handles the functionality. Epicor’s solution is handled all by Epicor. It’s just one reason distributors should consider Prophet 21. Epicor Software Corporation (epicor.com) provides industry-specific business software designed around the needs of manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations. Epicor’s more than 40 years of experience with its customers’ unique business processes and operational requirements is built into every solution — in the cloud, hosted or on premises. The information in this report was researched and produced by Industrial Distribution in conjunction with Epicor. Statistical data was researched and compiled by Advantage Business Media in May 2017. ABOUT THIS REPORT ABOUT EPICOR “ With Epicor, you’re getting deep functionality on the cloud and it’s all from us,” Jensen says.