Business’s potential with ERP Software

New Era Solutions discusses how to unlock your business’s potential with ERP software in this month’s issue of Wood & Timber Southern Africa.

It goes without saying, manufacturing in South Africa has become very competitive on both a local and global scale. Old antiquated systems cannot provide businesses with a complete picture and control of how the business is performing at any given point. This is where software comes in.

For more information download the document and find out how ERP Systems can help your business.

Find this month’s issue of Wood & Timber Southern Africa Here

Analysing stock to increase profit

In part one of a three part series on profitability, Pieter Lotz, solutions director for New ERA Solutions, will look at the challenges around managing stock to ensure that it has a positive effect on a company’s bottom line.

We specifically look at:
* Challenges that effect profitability;
* Why dead stock does not provide a return on investment;
* How money invested in excess stock is not available for other opportunities to earn profits;
* Why stock shortages result in a loss of productivity and potential loss of customers; and
* And how inefficient warehouse operations result in excessive labour and equipment usage.

Without a proven enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in place with comprehensive management capabilities, it’s virtually impossible to streamline processes and effectively manage inventory to maximise profits. Problems such as dead stock, incorrect calculation of pricing and inaccurate stock control, are detrimental to your bottom line and devastating to customer relationships

Is inventory (stock) an asset or a liability?

Inventory, or stock, is defined as the raw materials, work-in-process goods and completely finished goods that are considered to be the portion of a business’ assets that are ready or will be ready for sale. Inventory represents one of the most important assets that most businesses possess, because the turnover of inventory represents one of the primary sources of revenue generation and subsequent earnings for the company.

On a company’s balance sheet inventory is classified as an asset, however, there are instances when inventory can become more of a liability. If inventory is not properly managed, although you have the physical asset, that asset might be costing you money rather than generating it. Here are three simple but important facts about inventory:

* As a distributor, the process of making money on goods does not begin when goods enter your warehouse; it only generates income when it leaves;
* While stock is waiting to be sold, it costs money to store it; and
* The longer it stays in a warehouse, the less likely it is that it will be sold.

What is dead stock?
Dead stock is inventory that has not been sold within a reasonable amount of time, normally 12 months. At the point where stock becomes dead it is no longer considered an asset.

To calculate the impact of dead stock on profitability you must look at gross margin return on investment (GMROI) which is calculated by dividing the company’s annual gross profit by its average inventory investment.

Here is an example: If the gross profit of a customer over the last 12 months is R50-million and the average stockholding is R40-million, their GMROI is 1.25.

Let’s say that 12% of the stock holding did not have any movement in the last 12 months so it was classified as dead stock. Then their GMROI would have been R1.42. This means that there would have been a 13.6% increase in the return on investment. This is a dramatic improvement on profitability and therefore proves it is worthwhile for companies to focus on eliminating dead stock.

Based on studies conducted, the inventory carrying costs of a typical company is estimated to be approximately 25% per year as a percentage of their average inventory. This means that the average cost of keeping dead stock is quite significant.

Most companies deal with dead stock once it is part of their inventory; however, this can be avoided. The only way to do this is to implement a warehouse management system to manage your warehouse, ensure accurate ordering, reduce wastage and streamline processes.

What causes dead stock?

Special orders
Buying stock specifically for a customer often results in leftovers that the customer may not buy, thereby reducing profitability and potentially becoming dead stock. This is made worse if the salesperson has been paid a commission on the gross margin and if it excludes the cost of warehousing, transport and the man hours wasted counting it during stock take.

The solution to this is to accurately calculate the customers’ needs to ensure that they purchase the entire quantity of stock ordered. The sale price to the customer has to be based on the complete cost of material and other services such as transport so that the total cost of the non-stock product purchased is charged against the sales person’s commission.

Avoid customer specific inventory

If you need to keep specific inventory to supply a handful of customers it is important that you keep tabs on their purchasing habits. Have you ever found when a customer has stopped buying a product from you, you did not realise until someone asked you, “When was the last time customer X bought some of this? We have a lot on the shelf?”

It is critical to review the status of stock for customer-specific inventory at least once a month to prevent stock silently dying on the shelf or not being able to meet customer demands if you run out of stock.

Obsolete products
Bringing new products into stock is important, but it often means that other stock will become obsolete. So plans need to be in place to move obsolete stock so that it doesn’t stand still. This could be done, for example, through special pricing or discounts on old stock to move it before the new stock arrives.

New products can also become obsolete quickly if the market uptake is not as expected. You need to plan in advance and implement procedures for introducing new products, which should include feasibility studies, and liquidating obsolete stock when introducing new products.

The longer obsolete stock remains in your inventory, the less likely you are to sell it.

How to avoid dead stock?
The only way to avoid dead stock is to have strict control over the ordering process. For example, basing careful inventory planning on monitoring customer and market trends. A proven ERP system with warehouse management capabilities is critical to this process.

This makes it possible to manage stock and generate detailed reports in real time to assist with planning and to ensure that you can meet the exact customer’s needs on time. This helps to reduce the amount of dead stock directly impacting on profitability.

One of South Africa’s leading suppliers of quality, value-for-money branded welding products recently discovered that special orders were causing a significant amount of dead stock that was negatively affecting their bottom line.

After the successful implementation of a world class ERP system, they noted a significant decline in dead stock. They are now able to accurately manage and streamline stock control with an end-to-end solution that gives them visibility through detailed reporting to facilitate forecasting and bolster their bottom line.


Understanding the ERP Landscape in South Africa


This white paper is based on a recent survey conducted amongst IT professionals across South Africa. The main objective of the survey was to understand the enterprise resource planning (ERP) landscape in South Africa in the context of global trends.

An  ERP system represents a significant investment of time and money for any organisation and making the right choice of software can lead to a number of benefits, from gaining a comprehensive view of all business activities to being able to access real-time data that can support instant decision making and share up-to-date information with outside stakeholders such as customers, partners, and suppliers. South African manufacturers and distributors face the same challenges as their international counterparts. Finding ways to streamline processes by implementing lean principles is essential to cutting costs and improving profitability. Never before has it been more important to leverage technology to achieve this. And not just in certain areas but across the  organisation.

By using business software as a thread to connect every area of your business you can gain insight into each part of it. Critical real-time data is the ultimate management tool to achieve speed, agility, reinvention, and innovation. The hunger for easy access to data that can support decision making and help managers understand operational activities is setting significant trends for business technology.

African businesses have a wide variety of choices from global ERP players but often there is a shortage of skills when it comes to the implementation and maintenance of systems. This may explain why organisations reported the reliability on vendors

to make changes as a real challenge in our survey.

According to a recent IDC survey, the majority of African CIOs (57%) believe that staffing issues (i.e., the recruitment, retention, and development of IT staff) will be the number one IT challenge for African businesses in the years ahead. African

CIOs believe that IT staffing shortages will result in an increased dependency on IT service companies (60%), delays to projects (48%), and decreased adoption of new and innovative technologies (42%).1 But the results also show that South African companies want to take more responsibility and ownership when it comes to implementing an ERP system. They don’t want to face added costs or costly delays when accessing data or changing things within the system. Business agility should be put in the hands of the user.

This highlights the necessity for ERP vendors to provide solutions that not only meet business needs and match today’s technology requirements, but are also easy to use and adopt throughout the organisation. In particular, companies are looking for usable tools that will help them to access and interpret the underlying data to support effective decision making.

This ultimately gives the organisation the ability to be agile in its approach to market changes and responsive to customer demand, as they are not weighed down by a rigid proprietary architecture that only a few limited resources have the skill to update or change. Being agile means that an organisation can expand or change its product lines or service offerings in line with market demand within weeks or  even days rather than months. It also means that they are able to better fulfill orders, take on more business, and tailor their product ranges to suit customer requirements. In essence, being agile means being able to meet market demands faster without being held back by systems and processes.



Mobile ERP Solutions

Based on the ERP 2015 survey we ran on IT WEB, we found that the number one function missing from current ERP systems is extending ERP systems to mobile. We live in a mobile world, so it makes sense to have an ERP system that provides a mobile solution for companies.





Mobile Enterprise Solutions

Epicor mobile solutions help enterprises support customers, transactions, and products, and maintain a wider range of business partner relationships. Our mobile solutions securely and cost-effectively distribute and automate subsets of existing enterprise business systems outside of the company network to most industry-standard devices.

Epicor customers can enjoy a rapid return on investment by increasing customer service, lowering inventory cost, and transact business where and when it happens. Epicor tools enable companies to easily deploy and manage mobile services to many users.

Mobile Application Benefits

  • Manage and enhance business performance and productivity. Experience a significant reduction and increased accuracy in data entry. Reduce the time that your field teams spend on administrative tasks.
  • Empower people, processes, and infrastructure to drive and sustain business growth. Speed up sales cycles, service delivery and revenue generation by streamlining customer interactions. Enable the sales team to secure customer commitments quickly and spend more time selling and less time waiting for information.
  • Increase profits and improve supply chain management. Software specifically designed to streamline your inventory management capabilities and enhance your service levels helps you reduce stockouts and backorders, which also improves customer satisfaction.
  • Integrate the supply chain and increase the value of relationships. Optimize your warehouse management system with powerful supply chain software, and enhance customer interactions and service levels with real-time access to inventory levels, discounts, and special pricing.
  • Improve compliance. Comply more easily with legislation that requires companies in some industries to provide an auditable process route of their products, ingredients, packaging materials, and calibration and cleanliness of equipment.
  • Device flexibility. Each of the applications can be deployed on Windows mobile devices, Apple iOS devices or Google Android devices, providing flexibility to fit your environment or BYOD policy.

Turnkey Solutions

  • Hardware. Rugged mobile computers and accessories.
  • Software. Epicor Mobile software securely, seamlessly, and cost-effectively extends existing business software to mobile and remote users.
  • Global, world-class service and support. IT staff and mobile workers alike appreciate the Epicor global service network for complete service and support.
  • Device management. Epicor Mobile solutions make it easy to manage your devices and support your users no matter where they are. Your IT staff will have complete visibility and control of mobile devices and applications.

Epicor Mobile Applications

  • Epicor Mobile Field Service*
  • Epicor Mobile Sales Assistant*
  • Epicor Mobile Timesheet
  • Epicor Mobile Expense
  • Epicor Mobile Clinical Care*
  • Epicor Mobile Community Care*
  • Epicor Mobile Route & Delivery*

*Requires Installation by Epicor Professional Services


Let’s schedule a meeting and discuss how our ERP service can provide a solution for your mobile needs.

Outservice Your Competition!

Outservice Competition ERP Johannesburg

In the world of independent retailers, personalized and superior customer service is a major differentiator, and the key to outservicing the competition. What exactly do I mean by outservicing the competition? By providing customers with the best shopping experience possible. And every retailer knows that in order to get customers coming back they need to have the right prices, products, and experiences available.

Superb customer service is the biggest intangible asset to the independent business. People like to shop where they feel comfortable and where they feel the owner truly cares about their wants and needs.”* Successful retailers tend to downplay what they do best, providing personalized knowledgeable service to customers. Here are a few tips to help inspire outservicing through excellent service:
  • Technology empowers retailers with tools to promote profitability, accurate inventory control and access required to make the right decisions for their business, lending to unrivaled customer service. Mobile technology is a way to entice the self-starting customer and promotes employee assistance right from the store aisles—providing store employees access to extensive product, pricing and inventory information, and better customer service.
  • Customer knowledge enables retailers to serve customer needs before the customer even enters the store. Equipped with better information, employees can approach customers with more understanding of the products they need, available inventory, and the most competitive pricing possible.
  • Rewarding with loyalty is the best way to establish repeat customers. Make your loyalty program better than the competition’s and top it off with excellent customer experience.
  • Speed matters to the majority of consumers. An easy-to-use point of sale (POS) system, and accessible customer and product information will drive your business. These features help save time and hassle for customers, driving you to outperform competitors in the industry.
Developing creative ways to outservice your competition can be a challenge. However with the right resources, business partners, technology tools, and research of your competitors, you can better connect with customers—creating a more memorable experience which keeps them coming back for years to come.
Article by Epicor Team original article here

The Need for Adaptive ERP

From their inception, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have been deployed with an overarching purpose: reduce costs by managing processes and materials. Until the middle 1980s, enterprise systems were built for narrowly defined business needs such as order management, account payables, and inventory control. The first real ERP systems integrated the data and processes once handled by individual programs into a single system capable of managing almost every aspect of running a sizable business. They transformed how modern businesses work.
The principal benefit of a consolidated ERP strategy was ensuring that data wasn’t duplicated across departments, eliminating “islands of information.” Processes once separated could now be linked, enabling enterprise-wide planning and optimization. For years, the focus of ERP was top-down implementation of this strategy: the imposition of processes and measurements from an executive perspective. As the marketplace has evolved into a global competition, where facilities, suppliers, and partners are dispersed geographically and supply and demand signals occur over increasingly complex and nuanced value networks, the top-down orientation of traditional ERP is proving to be less than adequate on its own.
In this new business environment, change and innovation are accelerating; risk and opportunity are dynamic elements across networks, and business practices and processes are evolving at a pace heretofore unimagined. Response to this changed competitive landscape demands that ERP not only support the executive agenda but also the needs of individuals, regardless of where they are in an organization’s value network. Only then can companies mobilize quickly and respond effectively to events as they occur at breakneck speed, whether in Singapore, Stuttgart, or the Silicon Valley. So ERP has had to evolve into adaptive ERP.
Why Adaptive ERP Is Important
In a global marketplace where speed, change, and the demand for innovation are accelerating challenges, the expectations of ERP have changed. ERP is no longer simply about cutting costs, but rather about enabling businesses to grow and take advantage of new opportunities (and avoid unexpected risks) as they emerge. Competition may come from anywhere, often from unfamiliar players; disruptive technologies (e.g., additive manufacturing, social networks) may also change the game radically in a short time. Companies now need ERP systems that can adapt to unique and dynamic business environments, drive growth, and control costs.
A large part of business innovation is trying new things with less risk, modeling ideas and outcomes, or simply changing how people work with information. Today, ERP systems have to be approachable by all employees, changeable to waste less time, and readily integrated with other systems. To put it bluntly, ERP needs to adapt at the same speed as business—or get out of the way.
Epicor ERP version 10: Designed to Support Adaptive ERP
A principal way Epicor ERP version 10 helps meet these challenges is through flexibility. Processes can be defined and changed easily, and the system can be deployed as a single instance or in loosely coupled peer instances, on-premises or in the cloud. The solution has been designed with the knowledge that a company’s ability to innovate is at least partly coupled to business process strategy; specifically, agility is realized when processes are easily and inexpensively changed.
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team original article here

Epicor Presents 2014 Global Channel Partner Award Winners

Epicor Recognizes Global Partners for Extraordinary Performance Delivering Industry-Specific Epicor Solutions, Support and Services to Customers Worldwide

AUSTIN, TX–(Marketwired – Oct 29, 2014) – Epicor Software Corporation, a global leader in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations, today announced the winners of the 2014 Epicor Global Channel Partner Awards. Recipients were selected by Epicor based on exceptional performance in customer growth, satisfaction, overall dedication, total sales and commitment to Epicor solutions.

“Epicor values the unwavering commitment of our global partners to consistently deliver excellence and quality to our customers while producing strong business results,” said Joe Cowan, president and chief executive officer of Epicor. “We’re proud to honor the 2014 award recipients for their exceptional work and we thank all of our talented partners for their dedication to Epicor solutions and customer satisfaction. As Epicor continues to achieve global success with Epicor ERP version 10 it’s extremely important to have a network of partners around the world who can offer the product and vertical industry expertise to help new and existing customers realize the benefits of a more responsive ERP solution that’s been designed for mobility, deployment choice and social collaboration.”

Top honoree, Perth-based Precise Business Solutions, received the Global Partner of the Year award as the “Top Revenue Producer” worldwide for the second consecutive year. Precise has been an Epicor reseller for more than 18 years helping to implement over 170 clients and has been responsible for some of the largest and most complex Epicor projects across multiple industries. A market leader in business software solutions implementation, support and services, Precise helps customers achieve the full potential of their Epicor solutions, assisting them to maximize the productivity, business innovation, competitive advantage and profitability that enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions bring. The following is a complete list of award recipients by region:

Americas “Partner of the Year” awards were presented to Six S Partners for “Top Reseller Partner” and “Most New Business Transactions;” Quartz Group, Inc. for “Top Solutions Partner;” Encompass Solutions, Inc. for “Largest ERP Transaction;” and Savire Tecnología y Procesos for “Rookie of the Year.”

Asia Pacific (APAC) “Partner of the Year” award was presented to Precise Business Solutions for “Top Revenue Producer.”

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) “Partner of the Year” award was presented to New Era Solutions for “Top Revenue Producer.”

In addition, Premium Tier Performance Awards were presented to Epicor reseller and solutions partners for the Americas based on four performance categories: sales performance, delivery performance, partner proficiency and partner commitment. The following is a complete list of partners that achieved premium status in the Epicor Inspired Partner Network:

Americas Platinum Partner status was presented to:

  • Auros
  • ComTec Solutions
  • Cre8tive Technology & Design
  • EC Solutions, Inc.
  • Encompass Solutions, Inc.
  • Sage Clarity LLC
  • Six S Partners

Americas Gold Partner status was presented to:

  • Apptec
  • Concerti
  • Datix, Inc.
  • HRMS Solutions, Inc.
  • Marshall & Poe
  • MIS Consulting & Sales, Inc.
  • Quartz Group, Inc.
  • Retail Distribution and Manufacturing Systems SA de CV
  • Second Foundation Consulting, Inc.

The 2014 Epicor Global Channel Partner Awards were presented at a special luncheon for partners at the annual Epicor Ignite sales conference held in Orlando, Florida.

Epicor Inspired Partner Network The Epicor Inspired Partner Network provides a solid foundation for partners committed to excellence and customer satisfaction. Epicor provides a comprehensive sales, marketing and support program that offers channel partners significant opportunities to grow their businesses in key industries –manufacturing, distribution, retail, hospitality and services — backed by award-winning Epicor solutions, support and professional services. More than 400 resellers, solutions, and services partners participate in the Epicor Inspired Partner Network worldwide. For more information on this program and the three-tiered partner incentive program, send email to

About Epicor Software Corporation Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering inspired business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries. With over 40 years of experience serving small, midmarket and larger enterprises, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP), retail management software, supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional and global businesses demand. The Company’s headquarters are located in Austin, Texas, with offices and affiliates worldwide. For more information, visit

Follow Epicor news on Twitter @Epicor, @Epicor_Retail, @Epicor_DIST, @Epicor_MFG, @EpicorEMEA, @EpicorUK, @EpicorAPAC, @EpicorLAC and @EpicorRU.

Epicor and the Epicor logo are trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. Other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners. The product and service offerings depicted in this document are produced by Epicor Software Corporation.

Contact Information

  • Contact: Lisa Preuss Senior Director, Corporation Communications Epicor Software Corporation +1 949 585 4235 Jessica Riggs Senior Specialist, Public Relations Epicor Software Corporation +1 949 585 4160


Leading Office Furniture Manufacturer Selects Epicor

Corporate Furniture Innovators and Manufacturers to Use  Epicor ERP to Enhance Production and Greener Manufacturing Processes

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, October 9, 2014 — Epicor Software Corporation, a global leader in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations, today announced that Ergoform, one of South Africa’s leading office furniture innovators and manufacturers will deploy the Epicor next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to manage its state-of-the-art manufacturing operations. The implementation will be carried out by New Era Solutions, member of the Epicor Inspired Partner Network and an Epicor value-added reseller for over ten years.

Founded over 20 years ago, Ergoform has become synonymous with cutting edge office furniture design and manufacturing using the very latest equipment and software technology. Ergoform was voted the top South African company for Innovation and Technology in 2011 and in September 2014 was named the winner for the Western Cape in the prestigious Productivity SA award for emerging companies. Ergoform’s philosophy is that since people spend so much time in the office, it makes sense to have nothing less than a comfortable chair, ergonomically designed desk and neat storage arrangement to set the stage for a productive work day.

“Our world class product offering combined with business system excellence guarantees our clients the latest designs, product consistency and excellent service,” said Leon Roodt, CEO of Ergoform. “We also continuously strive to make our manufacturing processes greener. This starts with designing products using less material volume and eliminating materials that are potentially harmful to people and the environment. Then we source raw materials from certified ‘green’ suppliers. Our biggest challenge is implementing environmentally responsible practices without increasing costs.”

“Epicor offers the ultimate combination of functionality and usability, which were both key requirements for Ergoform,” said Johani Marais, channel manager for Epicor in Africa. “This is backed up with New Era Solution’s expertise and sterling track record. Built on the principles of collaboration, choice, responsiveness, simplicity and mobility, Epicor ERP inspires manufacturers worldwide to become more agile and gain a competitive edge.”

New Era Solutions specializes in integrated and customizable IT solutions in partnership with global specialists in ERP, warehouse management systems (WMS), customer relationship management (CRM) and mobility, offering a single-source solution.

“Epicor ERP helps businesses to adapt quickly to change, manage processes and reduce costs in order to meet demanding market challenges,” said Stuart Scanlon, sales and marketing director for New Era Solutions. “It is also very scalable and flexible which means that it grows with your business and its expanding needs.”

 About Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering inspired business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries. With over 40 years of experience serving small, midmarket and larger enterprises, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP), retail management software, supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional and global businesses demand. The Company’s headquarters are located in Austin, Texas, with offices and affiliates worldwide. For more information, visit

Follow Epicor news on Twitter @Epicor, @Epicor_Retail, @Epicor_DIST, @Epicor_MFG, @EpicorEMEA, @EpicorUK, @EpicorAPAC, @EpicorLAC and @EpicorRU.

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Epicor and the Epicor logo are trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. Other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners. The product and service offerings depicted in this document are produced by Epicor Software Corporation.

Contact:      Melissa Combrinck

Daheim Communication

(on behalf of Epicor in South Africa)

+27 83 226 2433