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10 minutes | 5 months ago
Podcast Episode: Optimized Product Configuration, Industry 4.0 and a Better Buying Experience
About the Podcast Hosted by Ultra’s Strategic Alliances Director Michael Chesin, the Industry Insights Podcast puts the focus on common challenges facing industries within manufacturing and distribution. Each episode features a guest interview with an industry expert from a leading ERP Vendor. Episode 15: (10:12) Industry 4.0 has brought significant change in the way industrial manufacturers interact with their customers and prospects. Increased demand for personalized products has made the need for flexibility and highly tailored digital transactions greater than ever. What’s more, in these times of economic uncertainty it is especially critical for companies to get products included in more opportunities, quickly deliver complete and accurate quotes, and rapidly fulfill orders – or risk losing deals to competitors. Michael Chesin sits down with Nick Castellina, Director of Industry and Solution Strategy at Infor, to discuss redefining the customer experience in manufacturing, and how optimized product configuration can help manufacturers and their customers thrive in Industry 4.0 Key Takeaways Learn the impact of Industry 4.0 on the customer experience within manufacturing Understand why optimized product configuration is so important to customer satisfaction Key components to a successful product configuration The role of data in an optimized product configuration strategy About Infor Infor is a global leader in business cloud software products for companies in industry specific markets. Infor builds complete industry suites in the cloud and efficiently deploys technology that puts the user experience first, leverages data science, and integrates easily into existing systems. Learn more at infor.com. Looking at ERP? Contact Ultra for the best way to get started.
11 minutes | 8 months ago
Podcast Episode: Hidden Manufacturing Capacity and Smart Technologies
About the Podcast Hosted by Ultra’s Strategic Alliances Director Michael Chesin, the Industry Insights Podcast puts the focus on common challenges facing industries within manufacturing and distribution. Each episode features a guest interview with an industry expert from a leading ERP Vendor. Episode 14: (13:56) Michael Chesin sits down with Andrew Robling, Principal Product Manager at Epicor Software, to discuss “hidden” manufacturing capacity and how Industry 4.0 technologies can ensure manufacturers are as fully productive as possible. Key Takeaways The role of Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing Defining the “hidden factory” Calculating the unused capacity Financial impact of boosting production efficiency How smart technologies prevent problems and maintain capacity About Epicor Epicor Software Corporation is a global business software company based in Austin, Texas. Its products are aimed at the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries. Epicor provides enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) software to business customers in both software-as-a-service (SaaS) and on-premises deployment models. Learn more at epicor.com. Looking at ERP? Contact Ultra for the best way to get started. [wsm-cta-box image=”/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/banner-cat.jpg” title=” Want to learn more about Hidden Factories?” text=” Register for June 30th Showcase Webinar: Unleash Your Hidden Capacity with Smart Technology.” link=” https://ultraconsultants.com/event/33213/” link_target=”_self” button=” Register here”]
11 minutes | 9 months ago
Podcast Episode: Industry Insights on Leveraging Artificial Intelligence
About the Podcast Hosted by Ultra’s Strategic Alliances Director Michael Chesin, the Industry Insights Podcast puts the focus on common challenges facing industries within manufacturing and distribution. Each episode features a guest interview with an industry expert from a leading ERP Vendor. Episode 13: (11:24) Michael Chesin sits down with Tim Harris, Vice President of Strategy and Solutions with Arbela Technologies to share expert insights on leveraging artificial intelligence within industrial equipment manufacturing. Michael and Tim discuss the importance of internal and external data and how they impact the overall forecasting accuracy. Tim shares some recent examples of organizations that have utilized AI to layer on additional data elements like market and virus information during the COVID-19 crisis to adjust forecasts. Key Takeaways Common challenges facing industrial manufacturing today The importance of including external data factors to improve forecast accuracy Real-world examples of leveraging AI and external data to adjust to the COVID-19 crises Identify how you can adjust quickly to challenging times – collect key information and adjust your forecasts accurately About Arbela Arbela Technologies is a global consulting firm and top-rated Dynamics 365 gold certified partner that empowers organizations around the world to digitally transform and grow their businesses. Learn more here https://www.arbelatech.com More Resources to Evaluate the Short List of Vendors Efforts to evaluate the short list of vendors can be a challenge for the ERP project team. For a deeper look at ERP evaluation, download the paper “A Strategic Approach to Setting ERP Strategic Decision Drivers.” Looking at ERP? Contact Ultra for the best way to get started. [wsm-cta-box image=”/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/banner-cat.jpg” title=” Considering AI?” text=” Register for March 28th Showcase Webinar Race to Recovery: Leverage AI for Smarter Forecasting.” link=” https://ultraconsultants.com/event/leverage-artificial-intelligence-to-improve-forecasting-for-industrial-manufacturing/” link_target=”_self” button=” Register here”]
12 minutes | 2 years ago
Podcast Episode: More Tips to Evaluate the Short List of Vendors
Episode 12: (11:43) Selecting enterprise software is a complex process and deserves careful planning and attention, especially when beginning efforts to evaluate the short list of vendors. This podcast episode is part two of a series offered by Ultra’s Founder and CEO Jeff Carr. The first part of this series looked at the short list evaluation process and was shared by Jeff in a podcast all about moving to the short list of ERP vendors. As Jeff describes in this episode, it is confusing to engage ERP vendors when looking to replace your old legacy system. As an independent ERP consulting firm, the topic of paring down ERP vendors comes up often as project teams look to Ultra to understand the best way to work through enterprise system selection. Listen and Learn This episode takes a deeper look at what it takes to evaluate the short list of vendors. After you have analyzed your current state and defined your future state through our comprehensive ERP readiness assessment, your team will be poised with the confidence you’ll need to objectively evaluate software options and navigate the competitive vendor landscape, which will ultimately lead to the best enterprise software selection decision for your company. During the process of moving from the long list to the short list of vendors, listen as Jeff discussed the importance of assessing the short list of vendors by: Features & Functionality Does the software meet the future state industry and process needs of your business? Will your users find the software intuitive and easy-to-use? Does the software have advanced industry functionality to support your dynamic business needs? Any technology evaluation when looking at short list of vendors must assess: Database structure Operating software Integration tools Development tools Reporting And Business Intelligence Vendor Synergy Does the vendor understand your business? Will they stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends in the industry? Do they have the necessary experience in your industry? Do they listen to your questions and concerns? Do you matter to them? Do you like them both on a personal and professional level? Implementation Considerations In this podcast episode, Jeff also addresses the importance of assessing the short list of vendors in terms of their implementation offerings. Are there robust project management and change management processes and resources available? More Resources to Evaluate the Short List of Vendors Efforts to evaluate the short list of vendors can be a challenge for the ERP project team. For a deeper look at ERP evaluation, download the paper “A Strategic Approach to Setting ERP Strategic Decision Drivers.” Looking at ERP? Contact Ultra for the best way to get started.
11 minutes | 2 years ago
Podcast Episode: Moving to the Short List of ERP Vendors
Episode 11: (10:49) Ultra’s Founder and CEO Jeff Carr hosts another edition of the ERP Insights Podcast with useful information about moving to the short list of ERP vendors. As Jeff describes, it can be confusing to engage ERP vendors when you enter into a project to replace your old legacy system. A major part of Ultra’s value add is providing information on the vendors to shortcut the difficult process of identifying the right vendors and the right partners to evaluate. Without guidance we find ERP selection teams often identifying as many as 12 to 15 vendors. Having too many vendors in the list results in a lot of wasted time. In every vertical market the educated buyer need only put 5 to 8 vendors on their long list which reduces your efforts by 50%. Listen and Learn As an independent ERP consulting firm, the topic of whittling down ERP vendors comes up often as project teams look to Ultra to understand the best way to work through enterprise system selection. The key question is the vendor short list. How to get to it and how big should it be? Listen as Jeff outlines the best approach to the ongoing process of vendor evaluation. The podcast helps illustrate that the role of an ERP consultant in driving effective ERP system evaluation and selection. A Common Challenge Whittling down to the short list of ERP vendors is a common challenged faced by the ERP project team, and one that is an important phase to manage. We’ve seen this phase take up more time than it should, because of lack of planning in advance. Hear Jeff describe these experiences and how to improve the process. The Short List of ERP Vendors – Learn More For a deeper look at the ROI delivered by modern ERP functionality, download the paper “A Strategic Approach to Setting ERP Strategic Decision Drivers.” Looking at ERP? Contact Ultra for the best way to get started.
9 minutes | 2 years ago
Podcast Episode: The ERP Vendor Long List
Episode 10 (8:54) Listen as Jeff Carr, Ultra Consultants Founder and CEO, reviews the steps to identify and manage the ERP vendor long list with an eye toward setting the short list. The Podcast helps you understand how to identify the vendors that fit your business. As your team researches ERP vendors to replace your old legacy system, you are going to find a lot of choices and a lot of confusion. We guide manufacturing and distribution project teams to shortcut the difficult process of identifying the right vendors and the right partners to evaluate. Why Move from the ERP Vendor Long List to the Short List? Without guidance, we find ERP selection teams often identifying as many as 12 to 15 vendors. Having too many vendors in the list results in a lot of wasted time. In every vertical market the educated buyer need only put about 3 vendors on their long list which reduces your efforts significantly. Listen as Jeff shares the steps to get to the short list. How to get to it and how big should it be? It’s Wise to Avoid the RFP In the podcast, hear why Jeff warns teams against taking time to move through the traditional Request for Proposal or RFP process. A speedier and more effective selection process follows when there is an understanding of how the software performs necessary activities that meet well-analyzed future state requirements – a critical understanding not addressed by a traditional RFP. Instead, he walks through the value of the “Request for Information” which involves: Thorough vendor interviews and research Setting strategic decision drivers. By setting this decision driver, the project team could then analyze any required customizations or integrations needed to meet this specific requirement. The team is then better able to evaluate the software against future state business process models – enabling the team to make the best decision to support long-term needs. Move from the Long List to the Short List – A Fast Listen The Ultra independent ERP consultant team places a high priority on providing education. Take a few moments to hear Jeff Carr share his expertise as to how to move from the long list to short list of ERP vendors. Considering an enterprise technology project? Contact Ultra to speak to an expert ready to help.
12 minutes | 3 years ago
Podcast Episode: How to Identify ERP Vendors
Episode 9 (12:23) The decision to upgrade or implement a new ERP system is likely one of the most complex and resource-intensive initiatives a company will face. A typical question we hear from teams is how to identify ERP vendors. Most project teams from mid-market manufacturing and distribution organizatons are challenged by an ERP selection project. This is because an ERP project cuts across each area of the business, impacting functional areas from finance, accounting and supply chain, to shop floor, production, inventory, quality management, shipping and more. Manufacturing project teams looking to head into an ERP project are often tempted to jump right to dialogues with ERP vendors for demos of their systems, assessing features and functionality. In this podcast episode, host Jeff Carr takes a more thoughtful approach, walking a project team through the key considerations to note before any engagement with a software vendor Manufacturing Specialization Jeff begins the podcast by making the case that a key differentiation of ERP solutions is those that serve either the Process or Discrete manufacturing industry. When considering how to identify ERP vendors during a selection process, assess the landscape of vendors specific to the type of manufacturing process. Manufacturing Methods Jeff then addresses the variations of ERP solutions that best serve the variety of manufacturing methods in these general categories: Make to Stock – For make to stock manufacturers, it’s critical to locate ERP systems that offer robust inventory management, demand planning and other functionality. Make to Order – Make to order manufacturers look for systems that help them with building prototypes, generating quoting and estimating, streamlining reordering of products and other key areas. For instance, in automotive manufacturing, companies must be effective at processing reruns of production orders, yet as model years change, suppliers must tailor production runs to the customer. Which ERP vendors offer the systems to best facilitate these areas? Engineer to Order – Here again, for those teams considering how to identify ERP vendors, ETO companies must look for solutions that help with custom builds, project management and other functionality. Vertical Industries The final section of the podcast outlines the special requirements companies have in differing vertical industries such as those noted below. Aerospace Automotive Apparel Consumer Goods Food and Beverage Med Devices Pharma Chemical Industrial Parts Plastics Electronics Distribution How to Identify ERP Vendors – A Fast Listen The Ultra independent ERP consultant team places a high priority on providing education. Take a few moments to hear Jeff Carr share his expertise as to how to answer the essential question “How to Identify ERP Vendors.”
10 minutes | 3 years ago
Podcast Episode: The Evolution of Core ERP Applications
Episode 8: (9:55) How have core ERP applications evolved over the last decade or so? That’s the topic of Ultra’s latest ERP podcast. In the past years, typically organizations use ERP to track back office functions based on a “transactional” basis. Today, the role of ERP has expanded beyond the traditional back end applications to provide advanced features to employees and partners (such as suppliers and customers). Core ERP applications have expanded to enable collaborative initiatives such as supply chain management, customer relationship management, business intelligence, eCommerce and much more. Listen as host Jeff Carr describes how the core ERP applications have evolved to today’s modern ERP project. The podcast episode provides an ERP project team a fast listen into the foundation of ERP – how have features extended to track the value streams of today’s manufacturing enterprise? Core ERP Applications by Value Stream Marketing to Automation – from social media, Customer Relationship Management (ERP) to eCommerce, Product Information Manufacturing, core ERP applications have extended to marketing to automation. Product Lifecycle Management – Jeff describes this important area of enterprise systems which tracks information from product data management, document control, CAD storage and other areas, to work instructions, engineering change orders and more. Customer Service – From web portals, quoting and estimating capabilities, along with collaboration with customers, ERP features now collaborate and integrate customer service. Supply Chain Management – Supply chain management is a cross-functional approach that includes managing materials into finished goods, and the movement of finished goods out of the organization and toward the end consumer. It’s an area of enterprise technology that streamlines the activities for effectively ordering, supplier communications, inventory, and communications with the extended enterprise. Production – This is core functionality concerned with capacity scheduling, finite scheduling, multi-facility management and optimizing production in a multi-plant environment. Shop floor – Shop floor control helps track data collection and data integration to the machine-level. In this era of the Industrial Internet of Things and industrial automation, the connected factory is critical to success. Jeff talks about the expansion from the shop floor to connecting machinery. Quality – A critical set of functionalities in core ERP applications provides a centralized means of managing and tracking Features offer workflow-based and provide intelligent routing to move quality-related events through the different areas of the business to ensure quality assurance. Common features involve document control, audit management, nonconformance tracking, corrective action and more. Warehouse – Another set of core ERP application, this area of functionality helps manage warehouse operations from the time goods or materials enter a warehouse until they move out. Inventory management, picking and auditing are involved in this area. Human Resources – When it comes to core ERP applications, most mid-market companies use features from the payroll provider for what is termed “Human Capital Management.” In terms of core ERP applications, the idea of connecting time tracking, scheduling and other HR areas need integration into ERP Financial Management – Core ERP applications typically offer budgeting, consolidation, forecasting and expanded business intelligence and reporting. Many organizations now appreciate today’s advanced Dashboard permissions, customized view of information and permission-level access. Core ERP Applications – A Fast Listen The Ultra independent ERP consultant team places a high priority on providing education. Take a few moments to hear Jeff Carr share his expertise as to the evolution of core ERP applications. Seeking your own evolution? Contact Ultra to speak to an expert ready to help.
8 minutes | 3 years ago
Podcast Episode: How to Define ERP Project Scope
Episode 7: (8:05) Why does ERP project scope matter to today’s manufacturing and distribution organization? And what needs to be considered when it comes time to define ERP project scope? In this episode of Ultra’s ERP podcast, host Jeff Carr breaks down the key areas to focus on when it comes to defining the ERP project. As Jeff so clearly articulates, defining the ERP project is key before any efforts to identify vendors. His guidance covers the specific “value streams” so important to today’s streamlined operations. ERP Value – Four Critical Value Streams To get teams aligned to define ERP project scope, Jeff kicks off the ERP podcast with a look at the critical value streams within a manufacturing or distribution organization. They include: Order to Cash flow of processes – covering quotations, RFPs, purchase orders, work orders that get pushed to the shop floor, as well as production, quality, shipping, invoicing Procure to Pay flow of processes – management of forecasting, material requirements, purchase reqs, receiving, Accounts Payment, inventory management Design to Deploy – centered around engineering and product development. Information is tracked in a stage-gate development process. Hire to Retire – the human resources value stream that works through recruiting, hiring, performance management, self-service HR systems and processes like payroll, time tracking, benefits. When looking to define ERP project scope, what are the manufacturing technology solutions that need to be considered? Listen as Jeff breaks down the process to define an ERP project scope in terms of the following systems. Financial, General Ledger, Costing Human Resources Marketing – Customer Relationship Management Plant maintenance, equipment asset tracking As Jeff notes in the podcast, each of the categories is critical to examine for a project to generate the most value. Listen and Learn to Define ERP Project Scope As an ERP project gets underway, management must clearly define ERP project scope so that they understand the ROI of improved business processes throughout the organization. As Jeff notes in this episode of the ERP podcast, defining scope must come before evaluation, vendor demos and other areas of an ERP project, to help the organization get the finish line for the best chance for success during implementation. Learn More on Defining ERP Project Scope Business Improvement Consultants ERP Methodology Our in-depth white papers
9 minutes | 3 years ago
Podcast Episode: In Search of ERP Value
Episode 6: (8:50) An ERP project must add value to the bottom line of the organization. That’s what the Ultra team has seen time and again in the decades of service we’ve provided to manufacturing and distribution companies. In this episode of Ultra’s ERP Insights podcast, host Jeff Carr, founder and CEO of Ultra Consultants, breaks down the three areas to focus on when it comes to deriving ROI from an ERP project. ERP Value – Three Critical Areas Most sources define ROI as a performance ratio that measures the efficiency of an investment. Listen as Jeff looks at ERP value as the direct and indirect costs and benefits of a new ERP system. Listen and learn as Jeff breaks down ERP value in three distinct categories – answering these compelling questions: Productivity – how can the entire team become more efficient? Improving employee productivity is key to performance improvement. What is the value in improved productivity driven by investments in enterprise technology? Information – access to KPI’s and information about how the enterprise works is vital for success. Does the ERP system provide ready access to data in meaningful formats? Management of Assets – revenue, customer satisfaction, inventory, equipment, human resources and other assets are better managed with modern enterprise systems. What are the key considerations? As Jeff shares in the podcast, each of the categories is critical to examine for a project to generate the most value. Shared Understanding of ERP Value As an ERP project gets underway, management must clearly understand the needs, the alternate solutions, the cost, the benefits of the solutions, and the return on investment. Management needs to be educated so that it understands the ROI of improved business processes throughout the organization. In terms of ERP value in the distinct areas of productivity, teams must consider business process improvements including a more streamlined ordering process, reduction of physical inventory counts, improved production quality, better scheduling and more. In terms of information, the value should come from access to real-time information for more accurate materials planning, integrated databases, streamlined information reporting, dashboard reporting and other uses of real-time data. We also suggest manufacturers assess the economic impact of a return achieved from customer satisfaction, enhanced supply chain communication, improved decision-making quality, delivery performance, and more. Keep it Relevant As Jeff concludes in this episode of ERP Insights podcast, the most effective project teams assess how a new system saves time, effort, and improves business processes. Learn more from Ultra on Assessing ERP Value: Business Improvement Consultants ERP Methodology Our in-depth white papers
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