Epicor says use of modern ERP important for driving customer experience

Epicor_logoEpicor Software Corporation, a leading provider of business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations, has announced that  a new IDC Manufacturing Insights White Paper sponsored by Epicor titled, “Get Customers Inspired – A Call to Action for High-Tech Manufacturers,” reveals barriers between high-tech manufacturing companies not utilizing modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to full capacity and the driving factors to implement a customer experience strategy.

The high-tech manufacturing industry is a consumer-driven, fast paced sector where success is fully influenced by meeting those consumer expectations at the end of the value chain. Survey results from the report, uncovered the majority of high-tech manufacturers are limited in utilizing their modern ERP solutions and understanding how technology innovation can drive greater customer experience.

According to 45% of survey respondents, the main barrier to creating customer experience is related to lack of back-office/front-office integration in the organization. With the inability to quickly adapt business processes and limitations to access and utilize the data—these factors all point to ineffective or rigid IT systems identified as both critical barriers to creating a greater customer experience.

“Keeping up with the required pace of innovation is by far the main business challenge for high-tech manufacturers today along with rapid changes in market demand and aggressive competitors,” said Pierfrancesco Manenti, head of IDC Manufacturing Insights research practice in Europe, Middle East & Africa. “More frugal consumer behaviors in developed countries and demand from unstable emerging economies are pushing high-tech manufacturers to launch initiatives aimed at achieving superior customer loyalty through technology innovation.”

With the increased volatile consumer demand, manufacturers along the high-tech value chain need to gain better visibility with uncertainty in their markets, according to the survey results. “To prevent volatility and improve customer fulfillment, manufacturers need to find new ways of understanding future demand and utilize modern ERP platforms to its full capacity that can integrate business processes throughout the value chain,” added Manenti.

“We believe it is imperative for high-tech manufacturers to create an agile and flexible supply chain by investing in technologies that enable faster decision making, collaboration across the organization and with business partners resulting in superior customer experience,” said John Hiraoka, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Epicor. “Improving real-time access to data and sharing information with modern ERP solutions leveraging mobile, social and cloud concepts will bring greater competitive advantage and growth.”

Key points from the survey:

  1. Nearly 35% of high tech manufacturers believe their ERP is vital as the platform for customer experience that connects back-office and front-office; specifically 80% of large high-tech organizations with 5,000 employees or more indicated that their ERP is a vital platform
  2. The main barrier of nearly 45% high-tech manufacturers to creating greater customer experience is essentially related to lack of back-office/front-office integration
  3. High-tech manufacturers will prioritize investments focused on adapting IT to react and serve customers better (35.9%)
  4. Approximately 28% are dependent on ERP for everyday support of business operations, yet the impact on customer experience is still limited
  5. About 26% of survey respondents already state that the single most critical factor driving new product purchases is how value-added services are delivered and supported, including custom repackaging and relabeling, logistics, repair and overhaul, and environmentally compliant recycling
  6. Over the next three years, high-tech manufacturers will be looking for a flexible ERP system that includes or easily integrates more customer-facing functions in order to provide more timely information and ability to collaborate more within the organization.