The business world at large is in a season of efficiency; and, that isn’t changing anytime soon. Customers and business owners alike want better, faster, cheaper and easier. This presents a challenge, at least theoretically, for some Epicor Eclipse users because the software originally was written in 1989. Yes, 1989 … when the first Bush president moved in to the White House and Milli Vanilli was all the rage. We know Eclipse isn’t considered “hip” or “hot”; but, that doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced or retired. Eclipse is a sound piece of software that serves hard goods distributors quite well.
In an article that we wrote last year about Epicor’s purchase of Eclipse, we said, “The Eclipse software has impressive capabilities perfectly suited for the wholesale distribution market. It is a program that can aptly serve the needs of distributors for a long time to come.”
In addition, implementing a new ERP can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in software, licensing and consulting, plus time lost due to training and ramp up time.
Instead of replacing Eclipse, we recommend you simply consider enhancing it … going more “electronic” so to speak. When the computer and software are doing work instead of people, and you’re eliminating paper, your business will become more streamlined. In some cases, we’ve seen automation turn a fifteen-person job into a one-person job. Electronic business operations also reduce errors and protect you in cases of fraud, or customer disputes. Yet, every day Zerion encounters Eclipse users who hardly touch the breadth of functionality that exists in the system or that easily can be added on.
For a relatively small investment of time and money, you can tap into these under-utilized features and make Eclipse seem new. Your software can function as if it had been created for today’s business needs!
Here are ten suggestions for going electronic:
- ACH – An Automated Clearing House (ACH) cuts down on stamps and paper going from one place to another. It also requires less involvement of personnel.
- Billing – You can use Eclipse functionality to eliminate paper tickets and create a more structured, automated and efficient billing process.
- Eclipse POD – Eclipse’s proof of delivery tool is still fairly new. We see some benefits for larger distributors who can use this real-time tool to improve customer service, profitability and efficiency.
- EDI – When you use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to send a PO to a vendor, the creation or submission of an order, invoice and payable have virtually no human involvement. It is a long-term commitment to move to EDI; but, this change can have huge returns by way of reduced errors and headcount.
- EFT – Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), such as wire transfers, direct deposit, direct debit and electronic checks, is now considered a business standard that is fairly easy to comply with.
- Electronic Signature Capture – Capturing signatures electronically reduces filing and paperwork; and, it also makes signatures easier to find when you need to supply proof of delivery.
- Emailed Invoices – Paper is still the most prominent way to send invoices, though some Eclipse users do it via fax or EDI. Emailing invoices straight from Eclipse can be a simple change that brings you savings and efficiency.
- FTP –File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Secure FTP are beneficial when a bank requires information on a customer’s check and bank, which they usually want encrypted. Typically, this is important when dealing with Canadian banks.
- PosPay – Positive Pay is used to ensure that checks cashed actually were written by your company. The process of sending your check register to your bank is completed daily and helps to eliminate fraud.
- RF – We’re passionate about Radio Frequency (RF) technology for streamlining warehouses; and, we are never shy about that! This is considered a more significant change; but, as we mention here it can increase your correct up-rate by 90%.
We also have developed reports, created processes for integrating with third-party vendors and written code and settings for other clients that may be useful to your business’ quest to automate operations. Here’s a link to an ever-expanding list of other ways our clients have gone electronic.
Implementing any, or all, of these changes will make your software appear newer without incurring a massive undertaking or expense. Eclipse users don’t take advantage of these opportunities because they’re unsure of how to approach them; or, they don’t have the knowledge to do it themselves. Most of the changes do indeed require a third party like Zerion, Epicor or someone else to set it up. They also may need some custom code, settings or training. But, consultants, programmers and trainers are easily attainable and not nearly as costly as new software. And, the expense is well worth it for a more up-to-date operation!
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help, contact us. We’re also in the process of reaching out to all Zerion customers to let them know about the latest ways we can help supply knowledge and deliver efficiency.