Epicor 10 Configurator
There has been a lot of inquiries and questions directed at us lately from our clients and potential clients in regards to Epicor 10 Configurator. Product Configurator (PC in short) is a powerful tool in Epicor ERP which allows users to customize parts based on the demand from the customer, which can be inserted directly into the system. It is a tool that gives freedom and flexibility because it offers configuration for on-the-fly parts with lots of optional choices using a simple and straight-forward question and answer evaluation. The answers are used to automatically build a bill of materials, a routing(Method of Manufacturing in Epicor) along with costing, selling price, and even the creation of new smart part numbers and item records. Configurators are not logical for every company to use. Companies that are Engineer-to-order and don’t carry their own set of products would not benefit from using this, as they are creating products from an engineered drawing instead of offering a set product line. If your business has 100’s of different options and products, then the Configurator would make sense for you.
Here are some benefits to using Product Configurator:
- Flexibility. When properly built, product configurator can give so many options depending on the demand within the possible limitation of what the seller can make. As product customization happens, the information is entered into the system and translated directly to the production through Bill of Material.
- Efficiency. Product Configurator gives accurate options for both seller and customer in both pricing and customization, preventing the choosing of non-compatible options. By the time the order has been made, production staff will know exactly what needs to be planned based on the Bill of Material made by the Configurator and they can schedule the job asap.
Configurator 10 uses Microsoft C#(Sharp) language, which is a change from Progress ABL that was used in Vantage 8 and Epicor 9. C# is a programming language that is designed for building a variety of applications that run on the .NET Framework. C# is simple, powerful, type-safe, and object-oriented and more widely used than Progress ABL is. The change in programming language is one of the roadblocks organizations are facing when using Configurator 10. You must re-train your technical staff(typically sales engineers, not IT) on this new language as it greatly varies from what they were using in the previous versions of Epicor. C# is much more technical in nature in its programming, but it is more widely used and offers more features and functions. You have to learn a whole new tool set and you have to have this expertise in-house to be successful.
There are 2 main points to emphasize in regards to using the Product Configurator in Epicor 10:
- If you have recently just installed Epicor for the first time or are upgrading to a newer version of the software, make sure you get comfortable using the new system before you try to dive into the Configurator. The Configurator on it’s own is a large undertaking, so attempting to tackle it while also doing an implementation is going to become a disaster for everyone involved. Stay focused on learning the new system and once you become an expert, then you should consider beginning the Configurator project.
- To be successful at using the Configurator, you need to have your internal team trained on how to use it and how to make changes to it. Sure, you can pay a 3rd party to do your programming for you, but keep in mind that anytime a change is needed, you have to involve this 3rd party. The best bang for your buck is to let a 3rd party work with you on setting up the Configurator and have them train your team to make the simple changes needed and only bring them back in for larger changes or issues. You need to have a technical “super” user that can do the care, feeding and maintenance needed on the Configurator. Once your product starts changing faster than you can make changes, the system doesn’t work for you anymore.
The best thing we can do for you as our client or potential client is to EMPOWER YOU. We want to teach you how to use the tools at your disposal and continue to do so moving forward. 2W Tech is happy to answer any questions you have in regards to your Epicor system, whether related to the Configurator or something else. We are a Certified Epicor Partner and have experience helping clients in both building their Configurator and also in training them how to do so themselves.