The latest release of Epicor Kinetic includes new features to improve insight and productivity, an enhanced user experience and expanded cloud options for large manufacturers, according to Epicor officials. The release includes an array of newly integrated, industry-focused modules and upgrades to provide for greater digital capability for quoting, estimating and ecommerce. New features include SecturaSoft, where Epicor Kinetic connects to the SecturaFab estimating and quoting tool for metal fabricators, delivering graphical representation and nesting logic designed to speed the quote-generation process. Stated benefits include optimized runtimes, and the ability to determine costs for welding, complex cutting operations and more.
Another new feature, integration of Epicor CPQ (configure, price, quote), reportedly delivers an impactful, visual buying experience on the web that easily handles complex product rules, automatically syncs bill of operations and materials, and speeds time to quote through to production. Other features, such as Amazon and eBay connections, aid users who enter large numbers of orders to automate order-entry processing while providing real-time inventory visibility and expedited fulfillment.
Kinetic’s Epicor Cloud Enterprise Services package offers features for large manufacturers that contend with uniquely complex bills of materials and material resource planning (MRP) requirements, reportedly enabling greater control and flexibility to manage multiple plants and facilities worldwide on a scalable, secure cloud platform. It also offers boosted computing power, customizable cloud infrastructure and access to premium support expertise.
Kinetic also includes a variety of user-experience upgrades, including personalization across the platform, designed to improve engagement and productivity. From customizations to enhanced low/no-code configurations within the Epicor Application Studio tool, each upgrade can be adopted at a manufacturer’s own pace to minimize business disruption. This upgrade is complemented with 50-plus new hands-on training videos and tutorials integrated into the platform. Dalsin Industries is benefitting greatly from the user-experience and training features in the Kinetic release, according to Dalsin, who expects the ERP software to smooth operations between the company’s two locations.
“Operations between Lakeville and Bloomington will be facilitated by the ERP software in starting jobs at one plant and finishing at the other,” he says. “We will be able to track job costs and work in process as materials and parts shift between plants.”
Automatic Document Classification a Time Saver
With Kinetic, Dalsin Industries also has purchased Epicor ECM (enterprise content management), which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically classify documents and submit them to the correct process, which creates automated worklows for accounts payable/receivable, human resources, sales and more. In eliminating manual data entry, the platform can reduce the risk of errors while electronically routing documents for approval.
“ECM pulls out data from purchase orders that we receive by email, regular mail and fax, and creates the internal sales order,” Dalsin explains. “We don’t have to enter the data manually, meaning greater accuracy because we aren’t retyping information, which also saves time. The parts, pricing and other information are entered automatically and an order number created. With the order ready for processing, we roll it into a job through the MRP function.”
Another advantage for Dalsin Industries provided by the ERP upgrade: data discovery.
“It allows creation of dashboards with real-time data,” Dalsin explains. “We can track the amount of sales dollars entered each week, the number of orders shipped each week or month, how many orders, etc., and set dashboards up by department to allow everyone in a particular department to see the same information on their screens and work toward the same goals. We can tell the system how often to update the numbers, and select dashboard information to appear on dashboards in other departments, providing information at a glance.”
Dalsin Industries currently is in the process of implementing these dashboards, and parsing needed information throughout the company to, as Dalsin says, “have everyone company-wide working toward the same goals. Displaying this information in real time beats just finding out at the end of the month. We can track in real time how we are doing, see if we’re falling behind, and strive to hit the budgeted goals. We’re exciting about this capability. We wanted it in earlier ERP software versions but waited until we had Kinetic running and its new user interface.”
Dalsin describes Kinetic as having “a whole different user interface, with so much effort made to make it as user-friendly as possible. Users can turn display items on and off, rearrange columns, change column sizes to fit more information onscreen…it’s looking really good.”
While the company had for a long time a great appreciation of ERP capabilities, the COVID-19 pandemic brought home to Dalsin just how helpful an effective ERP setup can be.
“During the pandemic, many of our people used the VPN to continue doing their jobs just as if they were onsite,” Dalsin says. “To support fluctuating prices, the Data Management Tool (DMT) in the ERP system allows us to adjust costs. We would export our purchased items into an Excel spreadsheet and send that to our purchasing agent to input price adjustments, then the DMT updated the pricing in system. Sometimes every other week, sometimes once per month, sometimes every single week…DMT has allowed us to stay up to date with volatile pricing. We are in the process of setting up to do the same with lead times.”
Integrated Training Aids
While Dalsin Industries has years of Epicor ERP experience under its belt, the company makes use of new training features in Kinetic to enable management and employees to get the most out of the software. These include step-by-step videos and function instructions integrated directly into the software for simple access as needed, or as part of a training program.
“This comes in handy,” Dalsin says, “and we use this training quite a bit. Many of our people are familiar with how Epicor ERP software works but this helps them adjust more quickly to the Kinetic version. We can assign employees to watch certain training videos and track their training progress—it tells us if they’ve watched the videos or not.” MF
See also: Epicor Software Corp.