Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013’s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.

Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013

Nominee: EC Solutions INC. from Laval, Quebec

Describe the solution or service provided
EC Solutions provides result-oriented implementation services for the next-generation Epicor® enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution – business software designed to maximize productivity in every area in an organization, and help companies achieve significant return on investment (ROI).

What makes this solution original and innovative?
The tools that people use to conduct business today have changed. Business is everywhere, business is real-time, and business is always online. The Internet and ubiquitous mobility play an essential part in the daily lives of the information-hungry global economy. The world has changed and with Epicor, ERP has too. The Epicor global ERP system platform and enterprise applications give businesses of all sizes the flexibility needed to compete in today’s global marketplace. Epicor ERP raises technology to a level that delivers unprecedented business management and supports continuous performance improvement through real-time, in-context business insight. At the core of Epicor is an adaptable and collaborative business architecture that satisfies the needs of any enterprise – regardless of country, industry or device – to enable business anywhere. Built on the Epicor True SOA™ architecture, the software is designed to offer extensive flexibility, usability and agility in support of application-to-application integration and business-to-business collaboration, key to enabling the delivery of information throughout the enterprise. Available in more than 70 countries, customers from across the manufacturing, distribution, financial services and retail sectors around the globe have put the power of the next-generation Epicor ERP platform to work to support business innovation, process improvements, and a truly integrated view of the business and value chain. Epicor ERP represents a game changing opportunity for business. Epicor is designed for the way people work today, yet is ready for how people will work tomorrow. Epicor delivers business without barriers. Gone are the technology barriers, integration barriers, and accessibility barriers that stifle productivity. In their place is a newfound level of collaboration, visibility and results.

What were the benefits to the customer’s sales, revenues, and/or efficiency? Provide measurable evidence.
One client is a leading manufacturer and integrator of structures made using advanced composite and thermoplastic technologies. The company’s mastery of materials and processes serves some of the largest manufacturers in the aerospace, ground transportation and specialized industries. New functionalities were introduced with Epicor ERP: Functionalities introduced immediately at “Go-Live” – Material Requirements Planning (MRP) – Purchase suggestions – Inspection processing for purchased parts – Inventory transaction integration with General Ledger (with a few exceptions) – Forecasting Additional functionalities introduced following “Go-Live” – Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for shop employees (labor entry) – Make-to-order process – Vendor returns (integration with discrepant material report (DMR)) – Scheduling – Sub-contracting functions – Returned Material Authorization (RMA) Disposition – Non-conformance – Correctives actions II. Productivity Achievements with Epicor ERP MRP and Scheduling – Fine-tuned production planning, plant by plant – On-time and complete delivery for the first plant, which went from 75% to close to 98% – Currently fine tuning the second plant, results are already promising – Planning function went from three people down to two people Purchasing Suggestions and Management Company shifting of staff focus on strategic initiatives Vendor on-time delivery went from 78% up to 90% MES for shop employees (labor entry) – Entered directly by shop employee in Epicor ERP – Eliminated one person on manual timecard entry – Provided better visibility on productivity – Gross profit went from single digit to double digits – Reduction of variance – Sales/Employee up 33% Make-to-order Process – Introduced to monitor customer one-time development project – Removed the use of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to capture all costs – Full integration between – Order entry – Engineering function – Job entry – Procurement – Accounting Quality – Non Conformance  -Now monitoring: Vendor, Production, Customers – Now fully integrated – no external access database and associated management – Focused on key elements – Recently introduced new measures and indicators Corrective Actions – External database eliminated – Fully integrated to Epicor ERP – One-stop shop for any part related issues for quality department – Linked to either a customer complaint or production issue identified at inspection processing – No more Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or Microsoft Access for data collections – No more re-transcription of small cards on Microsoft Access Sub-contracting Functions – Integrated with MRP – Provides vendors with visibility as to upcoming workload Accounting – Sales up 40% over a two-year period, still running with two people – Month-end close completed a day and a half after month-end – New functions described before integration with accounting as deployed.

How did your organization achieve customer satisfaction and how was this demonstrated by the customer?
Often times in the ERP industry, customers will have to get their support from the software authors rather than from the reseller who actually did the implementation. EC Solutions has a full-time, multilingual support staff to provide direct support for their issues, at no extra charge from the regular maintenance agreement from the vendor. Our core philosophy (printed on our business cards) is: “Beyond implementation, Results!” We strive to help our customers achieve the best possible results by leveraging the Epicor ERP tools and functionalities. Our customer satisfaction is also independently measured through surveys taken directly by Epicor and the results are part of our evaluation as a reseller. We are proud to have achieved “Platinum” partner status within the Epicor Inspired Partner Network, placing EC Solutions in the top 2% of all Epicor resellers in the Americas.

Describe the benefits of this solution to your organization in terms of new skills, certifications, products, and services.
As ERP solutions have become more comprehensive and more sophisticated, so too must our company have highly-trained professionals that hone their skills on an ongoing basis. To that end, EC Solutions consultants follow regular training sessions and have to be certified on each aspect of the software. This need to be constantly up-to-date, to follow changes in technology and to maintain actual knowledge of business best practices has helped us grow as a company and make sure that we continue to provide a high level of expertise to our customers. As we look forward to this ever more demanding economy, EC Solutions knows that the tools and knowledge we are sharing with our customers will also help us to continuously improve our own company.

How did the solution improve your customer’s ability to serve its internal and external clients?
Our customer was able to achieve significant gains in efficiency, both internally and in customer-facing activities, which in turn resulted in improved customer satisfaction, improved sales and improved margins.  On-time and complete delivery went from 75% to close to 98%; Gross profit went from single digit to double digits; Sales/Employee up 33%.

How does the solution or service go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
According to 2013 studies about ERP success rates, here are some of the industry norms: Over 50 percent of projects experienced costs overruns; Over 60 percent of projects experienced schedule overruns; Full 60 percent of respondents received under half the expected benefits. Our customer’s project was completed on budget, on time and delivered more benefits than their original expectations. Further, the customer feels that there are still more benefits to be had by exploiting other aspects of the software solution. Here is a summary of the customer’s conclusion in their own words: Highly focused on improving customer service (on-time delivery); Significant growth, but reduced office staff; New functionalities and features introduced over a period of time; Significant opportunities still exist to grow our business without significantly adding staff.

How does the solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
By improving their manufacturing efficiency and reducing their non-conformities and scrap, they now produce less waste and optimized their energy consumption.

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