Issue: Sep 2006


Epicor for Automotive Offers New Capabilities Including Advanced EDI, Demand Management and Purchase



by John Larkin

Epicor Software Corporation a leading provider of enterprise business software solutions for the midmarket and divisions of the Global 1000, today introduced new features and functionality to address specific requirements for automotive manufacturers in the latest release of Epicor Vantage, its 100-percent service-oriented architecture (SOA) end-to-end global manufacturing solution (See: Epicor Delivers Far Reaching New Functionality to Vantage).

The new offering, Epicor for Automotive, is a real-time enterprise solution designed to support paperless manufacturing. The new functionality is aimed at addressing the needs of Epicor's more than 240 automotive manufacturing customers as well as future prospects. Information technology spending in the automotive industry is on the rise; industry analyst firm Gartner Inc. estimates IT investments will total $1.6 billion this year alone.

Seal & Design, Inc., an O-Rings and Gaskets manufacturer based in upstate New York, implemented Vantage in 2005. "In a highly competitive industry such as automotive, customers are demanding faster production times, more flexibility and premium quality," said Adam Mikols, controller of Seal & Design. "We rely on Epicor Vantage to enable us to meet the challenge and better adapt to the needs of our customers."

Epicor for Automotive is ideal for the automotive manufacturers that characteristically operate in a complex engineering and make-to-order environment. The solution offers embedded Customer Relationship Management, Advanced Planning and Scheduling and Manufacturing Execution Systems functionality, along with out-of-the-box connectivity for streamlined supplier and customer collaboration. Additionally, Epicor for Automotive offers real-time dashboards and over 250 analytics as standard.

New Capabilities -- Advanced EDI, Demand Management and Purchase Contracts -- Support Lean Production

Along with new enhanced supply chain management capabilities and robust business process management (BPM) functionality, Epicor for Automotive offers new capabilities to support the unique business requirements of automotive manufacturers.

Vantage puts robust BPM functionality in the hands of the business user, providing powerful capabilities to modify business processes as needed to increase business agility and responsiveness. Using a wizard-driven interface, business users can assign business rules that define how the system handles transactions in response to various parameters and conditions, including advanced processes orchestrated with Epicor Service Connect for graphically mapping process flows and orchestrating transactions to eliminate non-value added steps and streamline virtually any process both within Epicor solutions as well as connectivity to external applications or processes.

The extended EDI functionality supports every automotive protocol and network, delivered through an alliance with TIE Commerce Software. Powerful XML, EDI, and Database translation engines coupled with flexible data integration functionality provide for greater collaboration between trading partners in the supply chain, increased efficiency, and reduced costs. The solution simplifies data sharing by removing the key restriction-allowing data exchange in any format with a fully automated and integrated system.

Tightly integrated with this EDI functionality, Epicor for Automotive offers new demand management functionality that enables manufacturers to easily plan and forecast demand and integrate the supply chain to satisfy this demand. This is ideal for managing long-term Just-in-Time (JIT) contracts. The system handles creation, analysis, manipulation and reconciliation of cumulative records for customer releases. These capabilities are tightly integrated with the solution's EDI functionality, to facilitate electronic communication of release and ASN information to and from customers. The system allows users to quickly and easily set forecasts, and un-firm and firm releases. Additionally, incoming EDI transactions can be reviewed and accepted/rejected to orders.

New capabilities automate processes associated with purchase contracts for businesses that purchase inventory items via delivery schedules that undergo regular revision and re-issue, and against which regular ongoing deliveries are made. With Epicor for Automotive, the entire process is automated, for cycle time savings and increased accuracy and efficiency. The system inputs requirements calculated by the "Generate Purchase Order Suggestions" task into delivery schedules, which then can be adjusted or tweaked to conform to specific requirements of suppliers, inventory control, production efficiency and business expedience.

Additionally Epicor for Automotive offers full support of barcode labeling and handheld transactions. Upon the completion of a pre-determined list of transactions, the system will automatically print user definable barcode labels. This new functionality supports enterprises that re-label product upon return or need to address industry-specific or customer-specific labeling requirements. Support for handheld transactions enables manufacturers to leverage RFID devices to quickly and efficiently enter transactional data into the Epicor system by scanning barcodes on the shop floor.

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