Clients First USA
Clients First knows their software, but they are also astute business people, and they really understand manufacturing and distribution in particular.
Jimmy Witcher, COO, Merrick
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Epicor ERP 10 (and 9) Product Configurator

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Configure to Order and Engineer to Order Solutions with Epicor

Epicor stands with very small company in its ability to allow a customized series of questions to be asked of a user in various places of the system and based on those answers, to be able to automatically build a bill of materials, a routing (known as a Method of Manufacturing in Epicor) along with costing, selling price and even the creation of new ‘smart part’ numbers and item records.


To take it to the next level, Epicor is unique without moving up to ‘tier 1’ ERP systems like SAP or Oracle in its ability to allow the same configurator to be exposed in its integrated ecommerce shopping cart to prospects and customers as well.  Customers can configure a product on the web and then an Epicor user can look at and even make changes to that configuration in the office.  Those changes are reflected back on the ecommerce site in real time since it’s the same configuration engine for both.


Epicor Consulting

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Epicor 9 Consulting, Upgrades & Services

Epicor Consulting Services by Clients First Business Solutions
Clients First knows that selecting and implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is a major project for a company.  Whether its a replacement for an existing solution or a first time implementation.  Reasons for change can run the gamut and often include supply chain management, sales, customer relationship management issues, support, manufacturing or inventory management.  Companies are looking for increased productivity by having ‘one version of the truth’ throughout the organization.  Disparate systems are the cause of many inefficiencies and customer service failures.  Everybody in the organization should be on the same page.
Our Epicor consultants are highly skilled professionals that are more than just ‘wrench turners’.  Most have been in the very positions they are consulting on from running a manufacturing floor, a sales team or being a CFO and Controller.    To be truly successful in our business, you need to be a business analyst first, and technical consultant second. By utilizing this ‘in the field’ experience we can offering continuous improvement in your business processes by our partnership with your organization. We are one of the first Epicor Authorized Partners to be involved with the Epicor Cloud and SaaS deployment options including Epicor Express and Epicor Cloud.  Along with our EverSafe! Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery solution, we can ensure that whether you run Epicor locally or in the Cloud, you will never have to deal with business crippling downtime.
We offer access to a broad group of resources located throughout the United States.  A team of over 40 seasoned professionals allows us to address almost every type of company and industry. 
Clients First Business Solutions is perennially in the Top 20 VAR’s (Value Added Resellers) in Accounting Technology’s and Bob Scott’s annual roundup and for good reason.  With 9 physical offices and a leading Epicor Consulting provider, our growth continues by producing results via our exclusive implementation methodology that results in on time & on budget projects.

Key Skills include but not limited to:

  • Manufacture to Order
  • Job Shops
  • Engineer to Order
  • Distribution Industry
  • Wholesale Distribution including both Durable & Non-Durable such as Food Distribution
  • Customer Relationship Managment (CRM)
  • Make to Order & Make to Stock scenarios
  • Configure to Order
  • Inventory & Production Forecasting
  • Costing
  • Production Planning, Scheduling & MRP (Material Requirements Planning)
  • Case Management & Help Desk
  • Quote & Order Management
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Shipping & Receiving including real time integration to both parcel and common carriers
  • EDI
  • Accounts Receivable & Accounts Payable (AR & AP)
  • General Ledger including Financial Reporting Solutions such as XLConnect
  • Service Connect and Business Process Management (BPM) customizations
  • Crystal Reports and Microsoft SQL Reporting Services
  • Dashboard Design and Creation
  • Business Intelligence including EPM and QlikView for Epicor (our exclusive product)
Come see our skills on display at our free demonstration & training video website at

Epicor Implementation

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Epicor Consulting – Tips for Successful Implementation Strategies for Epicor 9


1. Epicor Implementation Team

Think about who you want on the implementation team. The quality of your team members is important to the success of the implementation. Each team member needs to have detailed knowledge of the current procedures. The Implementation team needs to understand and incorporate upper management’s vision of the future into the implementation.

2. Epicor Consulting

If there is nobody on the Implementation team that has experience with Epicor Software and/or a project manager, it is important to find an Epicor consultant to fill in the voids. The Epicor consultant can be from Epicor or one of the Epicor partners. Make sure they are experienced with Epicor implementations (not Oracle or SAP). Epicor also has a Consultant Certification program in which the consultants take dozens of tests to prove the consultants understanding of the Epicor Software product. Selecting an Epicor Certified Consultant can help ensure a successful implementation.  Many find partners to be advantageous over Epicor directly due to the close lines of communication to people who have a real stakeholder interest in your outcome.

3. Epicor Hardware Requirements

Understand the recommended Epicor “Hardware Requirements” to properly run the Epicor system. This includes servers and the client computers. Too many companies believe they can reduce cost on the recommended hardware. Epicor has a Hardware Requirement Sizing worksheet. This is the minimum recommendations. Any extra money spent on Hardware will be money well spent.

4. Get a head start on the Epicor Implementation

  • Getting a head start can help keep the implementation on-time and can help you keep your sanity. It can be tough at times to complete your tasks for the Epicor Implementation and get your normal job duties completed. It is much easier and faster to perform the following tasks as you are performing your standard routine than it is to set down and document over a couple days from memory. Meet with key personnel and have them start collecting the following information:
  • Collect sample documents given to you that you use to make decisions? Just a page or two highlight important fields and make a note of how the data is used. This includes legacy reports, Access databases, Excel Spreadsheets, Word Documents, anything else not listed.
    • Daily reports
    • Weekly reports
    • Monthly reports
    • Yearly reports
    • Other on-demand reports
    • Phone Calls
    • Emails
    • Faxes
    • Handwritten notes, Post-its, Napkins……
  • Collect sample documents that you create so you and others can make decisions? Just a page or two highlight important fields and make a note of how the data is used. This includes legacy reports, Access databases, Excel Spreadsheets, Word Documents, anything else not listed.
    • Daily reports
    • Weekly reports
    • Monthly reports
    • Yearly reports
    • Other on-demand reports
    • Phone Calls
    • Emails
    • Faxes
    • Handwritten notes, Post-its, Napkins……
  • Document reports that you get and have no value.
  • What information is missing that you need to make better decisions?
  • Approximately how much time each week are you spending doing certain functions?
  • Track it several weeks daily to get real numbers. Be brutally honest.
    • 10% Planning
    • 20 % Paperwork
    • 10 % Deleting SPAM emails
    • 60 % Firefighting
  • What Software Products do you currently use?
    • Spreadsheets Microsoft Excel Other ______________
    • Word Processor Microsoft Word Other _____________
    • Email Microsoft Outlook Other ______________
    • Contact Management Microsoft Outlook Other ______________
    • Project Management Microsoft Project Other ______________
    • Database Software Microsoft Access Other ______________
    • Flowcharting Microsoft Visio Other ______________
    • CAD Software Name : ________________
    • ERP Software Name : ________________
    • Other software not mentioned : ________________________________
  • What items are on your wish list or goals for the Epicor implementation? List them and rank them by priority.
  • Document your process flow. For example:
    • Receive email from customer with PO info.
    • Email Sales Manager to get approval of pricing
    • Email Finance Credit Manager to get Credit approval
    • After everything is approved Enter Sales Order into current software
    • Print Sales Order (4 copies)
      • Copy 1 – Email to Customer
      • Copy 2 – Take to Purchasing
      • Copy 3 – Take to Manufacturing
      • Copy 4 – Take to Finance
  • What are the challenges and problems that keep repeating?  List them and rank them by priority.
  • Begin clearing your plate of any ‘procrastinated’ projects so that when the ERP implementation begins you have as free a schedule as possible.
  • If an option, ask key implementation team members to take vacations before the project starts to minimize project delays.

Performing the above steps over a several months will give you a head start on the implementation. This is more important if you have certain monthly/quarterly/yearly documents that you may not remember.

5. Epicor 9 Software Installation Checklist

One of the most important steps of the Epicor Signature Implementation Project plan is to get the Epicor software installed and tested. The install process is complex and needs to be verified before the Epicor installation consultant leaves. Once the Epicor install consultant leaves it could be weeks before rescheduling.

Before the Epicor consultant is scheduled to arrive and install the software verify the following:

  • Verify Epicor has sent registration key codes to all Epicor modules purchased. If you are missing registration key codes, contact your Epicor Salesman immediately to get all of the codes. When you receive the fixed registration key codes, verify them again.
  • Verify Epicor has sent the correct DVD’s to all Epicor modules purchased. . If you are missing DVD’s, contact your Epicor Salesman immediately to get all of the DVD’s. When you receive the replacement DVD’s, verify them again.
  • Once you have all of the hardware, software and registration codes have arrived you can schedule the Epicor Install consultant.
  • Before the Epicor software installation is checked off as complete. Be sure to verify the following:
  • Verify database software is installed and tested. Download and install any outstanding patches.
  • Verify Epicor modules purchased are installed on server. Third party modules will probably be installed later. Download and install any outstanding patches.
  • Verify Epicor help is installed and working.
  • If embedded education was purchased, make sure the icon exists and verify education is installed and working.
  • Verify the client software is installed on several client computers and is working.
  • Verify someone at your site is trained on installing the Epicor client software.
  • Verify Crystal Reports developer is installed and document which computer it is installed on.
  • Perform prints and print previews on Crystal Reports and Progress reports from a client.
  • Verify Backups routines are created, tested and scheduled to run nightly.
  • Reboot the Epicor servers and make sure Epicor restarts automatically.
  • Get all Epicor Software media together and store somewhere safe and where it can be found.

You do not want to get everyone excited about Epicor and they can not log in to do the training because an installation step was missed.

6. Training. Training, Training

Training is one of the most important processes in the correct Implementation of Epicor 9. Over time, people come and go and are moved to new responsibilities. Training needs to be performed for each event. Not just the software training but the business processes that lead and follow that persons responsible process. It is important that the person understands the data being supplied to them and the data they are supplying to the next person. Epicor “Embedded Education” is extremely important to the success of the implementation. This is not the spot to save on the costs.

  1. Implementation Team needs this education to best merge current business processes with Epicor functionality. Do not force current business processes into Epicor. Business processes after Epicor should be much simpler.
  2. Users will then need the “embedded education” to use Epicor to the fullest extent. Education courses should be reviewed after the implementation to pick up features that overlooked during implementation.
  3. Future New/transferred employees are often just thrown into the position with no or little training. Have them go thru the “Embedded Education” for their position.

Go to the Clients First Epicor 9 Product Demos and training Video site

Sign up and watch all of the videos that pertain to your position.

7. Data Conversion

Be realistic about converting legacy data. You should not convert the entire legacy database.

  • Convert only the Master Tables. Beyond that consider converting master records used recently. For example, only suppliers used in the last two years or parts used in the five years.
  • Transactional data (Purchase Orders, Sales Orders, Inventory Transactions, etc.) should not be converted. This data can be exported to excel spreadsheets or printed to PDF for easy inquiry.
  • Be sure to understand the Epicor fields when mapping the legacy fields to the Epicor fields. For example, is the legacy field a character fields and the Epicor field is a number only or is the legacy fields 50 characters long and the Epicor fields is 30 characters.
  • Clean up the legacy data during the conversion. Most conversions use CSV formatted files. Export the CSV file, then load it into excel. It is normally easier to clean up the data in excel. Some examples of data that need converted are:
  • Fix part descriptions that are spelled wrong, incorrect abbreviations, or formatted incorrectly.
  • Delete duplicate parts or suppliers
  • Add columns for fields that Epicor needs and your legacy system does not have.
  • Enter the needed data in the new column.


8. Testing, Testing, Testing

During implementation be sure to test.

  • Each ERP system will have several different ways to do something. Test each one to see which one is correct for you company. Document your findings from the tests. I have seen on several occasions the same testing performed two or more times because the people forgot the findings.
  • Test each product line from Quote to Cash until needed
  • Test any unique internal company requirements. First decide if this is truly an unique internal requirement? After discussions you may find that it is the way it has always been done and nobody knows why. If this is the case get rid of the requirement. Document the findings and how it was handled.
  • Test any unique Customer or Supplier Requirements. Make sure it is still a requirement. Document the findings and how it was handled.
  • Test Security settings. Document the findings. Fix the finding and test again.

9. Change Management

Implementing Epicor will change the entire company. Procedures will change, peoples work and responsibilities will change. The sooner everyone understands this, the quicker people quit fighting the implementation. On the rare occasion it is required to remove a implementation saboteur.

  • Determine how Epicor will affect current procedures and job positions
  • Document and communicate what changes are taking place.
  • Someone in each organization needs to take ownership of each Epicor module
  • Document and communicate the change management heroes.

If everyone is expecting everything will be handle the same then the company is wasting time and money.

–“A successful implementation should convert the company from a reactive to a proactive organization.”

10. Implementation Scope

Plan the implementation in phases. If your company is using a smaller ERP package, don’t purchase and plan to implement all of the extra packages during phase one. For example, you eventually want to use EDI but there is not an immediate need. Purchase EDI late and implement during phase 2. Doing too much during implementation can overwhelm the implementation team and the company.

Contact us in the chat box below or call us at 866.677.6290

Epicor Insights 2012 Recap Highlights

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Clients First Business Solutions Attends the 2012 Epicor Insights Customer and Partner Conference

Epicor Insights 2012 concluded Wednesday, May 9 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This was the first joint conference with customers from both heritage Epicor and heritage Activant. It was announced there was over 4000 people in attendance. Overall the conference was a success. It was announced the next conference will also be a combined conference and will be in Nashville. At that point Epicor will decide to split the conference or keep it combined in the future. The statements below were announced at the conference.

1. Epicor ERP 9.05.700 GA announced.

  • Epicor said they put 50 man years into this release. Prior releases had around 13 man years.
  • Epicor ERP 9.05.700 is faster than prior releases. Epicor understands the product still needs to be faster. This will be a goal of future releases. New standards have been implemented that in the future software will not be release that is slower than the current version.
  • Epicor ERP 9.05.700 is much more stable than prior releases. Epicor understand the product still needs to be better. This will be a goal of future releases. New standards have been implemented that in the future software will not be released with any known problems.
  • Six customers have already implemented Epicor 9.05.700 and in interviews are very happy with the 700 release.
  • New Replenishment Workbench functionality designed to meet the needs of the supply chain and distribution.
  • The ability to support co-products and bi-products when completing a job and properly handling costing.  This is important for a variety of industries.  For example, if you are stamping metal from a mold and get a left and a right side part, the 2 co-products can properly be accounted for.

2. Future Epicor ICE 3.0 will support the Microsoft Window Azure and SQL Azure.

The Azure platform offers the following benefits:

  • Open and flexible cloud platform
  • Applications can be built quickly
  • Applications can be delivered virtually any place on any device.
  • Applications can be scaled to any capacity.  Microsoft has built some of the largest data centers on earth.  Rivaling even Google’s centers.
  • The Epicor ICE platform will be integrated to some of the other Epicor products

3. Epicor Social is nearing release

Epicor will soon be releasing a new module that will eventually be available for most of their products with initial release targeted at the Flagship Epicor 9 solution.  We are huge proponents of using Social concepts, like those you may be used to with Facebook, in a business environment.  We have been using solutions like Socialcast ( to build communities among VAR’s and partners.

Epicor is bringing this ability WITHIN the ERP system.  This means you can ‘follow’ a customer as a salesperson.  You then would see a Twitter like stream of activity that happens to that customer such as new orders placed, credit holds, shipments, CRM calls etc.  You then could comment on any of this, including referencing other employees and have collaborative conversations around the customer, a particular order, quote etc.  All avoiding the email mess we all see today where all the information is locked away in individual’s inboxes.

4. Epicor has implemented a Six-Sigma continuous improvement program.

  • Epicor has started a continuous improvement program to improve the company processes.

From our observations and talking with executive management, we feel that this is a new Epicor.  Epicor had always been a leader in the industry with the latest technology but had been lacking in product quality discipline and a strong productive corporate culture.  The new merged organizations is a place that strives to be a “Best Workplace” and they know that quality of the solution is critical to long term success.  The 700 release looks to prove this out very well and we know will be a welcome change to existing and prospective customers of Epicor 9 and beyond.

Epicor 9 –Setup Windows Active Directory Security on the Epicor Data/Reports/Username directories.

Friday, May 4th, 2012

How to make sure your underlying data directories are Secure in Epicor 9.

In Epicor 9, all XML files and reports are generated in each usernames directory. In the example below, there is only one username called epicor. You can see the XML’s and TXT files along with the dates created. Epicor uses a file naming standard that a person can easily figure out what report each file belongs to. For example-AP Invoice Edit List, AR Invoice, Journal Listing, Petty Cash report, SO Pick list and so on.


In an Epicor production system, every Epicor user will have a directory in this reports directory. Even if you did a perfect job locking down the Epicor Menu security, you have to secure these directories. When the CFO or payroll person prints, all the files are placed in the username directory. If you do not secure these directories then corporate financials or payroll information is available thru window explorer.

Also remember to secure these directories also when new employees are hired. When a person leaves the company, someone needs to review the contents and delete every file not needed. All files that need to be kept should be copied to another directory. Then delete the ex-employees directory from the reports directory.

If there is a need to keep special, weekly, monthly, or yearly reports for a long period, these reports need to be moved somewhere else on the server. Some companies have written windows Command routines to purge all files from these directories on a periodic basis.