Our company is an engineering design firm that supplies large, custom equipment. Each project takes 8 months to 2 years to complete. We use Epicor to handle all the project management, purchasing, shipping and accounting needs. At the risk of sounding like an Epicor ad, here is the good stuff: Before we had Epicor we did all our accounting in Quickbooks and used spreadsheets to handle our project planning. It was a huge challenge to keep track of costs associated with the projects. Now, we have a well defined process where all costs are accounted for. We try to manage our finances on a monthly basis, and before it would take 2-3 months after the month was completed to know how we did on that given month. Now, with Epicor ERP, all of our project managers can see live accounting information for their projects and make more informed decisions. Our project managers can do their monthly finance close-out in just a couple of hours. where before it would take days of work for each project manager and lots of waiting for communication between them and the accounting and purchasing departments.
- Epicor has a pretty good project management module. We are able to set up projects with multiple phases as needed and track costs at both a phase level and top project level. You can use the system to assign tasks to employees working on the project and track assignments that way. Under each phase we create an Epicor "job" that can store all the parts that we need to purchase or fabricate for a project. Then we can track what parts have been purchased, received, and shipped for the project.
- Epicor is set up to have a lot of features that most users probably aren't going to use, but it is convenient to have most of what you need available. Then, you can hide parts of the program you won't need.
- Possibly the best thing about Epicor is that it has a lot of customization tools, and the system allows you to customize it in a lot of ways so you can make it look and behave how your organization needs. One very strong area of the customization is the ability to create information dashboards where you can show any type of data that you like to see. A great example of this is a Project Management Dashboard we built that allows all our employees to see how the projects are doing and what their assigned tasks are.
- Expandability. This is another great way that Epicor is customizable. As an ERP system Epicor is primarily a bunch of tables. And thankfully, Epicor allows you to add new fields to the tables, so when we want to show what kind of paint goes on our parts, or if a part is purchased or fabricated, we can add fields for those items to the part table, and use it as if those were built in fields. You can add new tables, so we have a place to store lists of all the paint choices (or anything else you want to keep track up).
- Maybe this was really smooth, but it seemed like implementation was a lot of work. As part of a 4 person implementation team, it took us a month or so of going through tutorials, the help files, and meeting with Epicor consultants to learn how we wanted to use Epicor (that month was pretty light, maybe 5-6 hours per week for each of us). Then it took about 3 months setting up Epicor to meet our needs. (The 4 of us each worked 25-30 hours a week during those 3 months on the implementation since we still had production work to do)
- Epicor can be overwhelming for new users. Our normal users have a hard time at first getting used to it because there is so much to see, learn and do in it, epecially for people with less technical expertise.
- As the person on the implementation team in charge of customizations, my biggest complaint is the lack of documentation on programming in Epicor. While they do have great documentation on how to use many of their built in customization tools, they give you the ability to write code in C# that should allow you to do anything. But, there is very little to no documentation on the API (Application Programming Interface). Most other programs will have a large help file where users can see the thousands of functions available to program within the system with info on what the functions do, how they are accessed and what inputs they need and sample code for each function. With Epicor.. nope, nothing. Maybe if you buy their SDK for another $24,000 they will have a help file included with that. I don't know.
Epicor could be a good fit for companies that have grown out Quickbooks and need something with more accounting functions and ways to integrate project management, purchasing and accounting into one place. Small companies that can make do without it could save a lot of money by not having everything as organized as it will be in an ERP system though.