What is ERP?
ERP is an initialism for “Enterprise Resource Planning”. ERP itself is a type of software, which you can operate on-premise or via the cloud. Apart from the usual computers, you can also install and run the best ERP software on mobile devices.
ERP software consists of powerful, strategy-based business process management tools. Its goal is to make information management efficient within companies and firms. It allows for a streamlined method to store, access, and modify data.
You can think of ERP as a gigantic storage system that organizes every bit of detail. It classifies information and then places it under subcategories for even greater accuracy. Most of all, it provides individuals across an organization with easy access to the data.
It’s because of all these functions that the ERP market in the US alone has become a $14.36 billion sector in 2018. Among its biggest users, however, are the manufacturing, distribution, industrial, and storage sectors.
After all, these organizations are home to a huge amount of products, materials, and yes, people. The average US warehouse, for instance, handled 13,985 stock keeping units (SKUs) in 2018. That’s a considerable jump of 855 SKUs from the previous year’s 13,130 SKU count.
If your firm still uses outdated management practices, it’s time to reassess them. The last thing you want is for the competition to leave you in the dust with their advanced ERP. With a professional Epicor ERP installation, you can be several steps ahead of the game.
Proper Epicor ERP Hardware Sizing: Key to Maximizing the ERP Software
ERP hardware consists of physical servers, computer processors, and storage media. It also includes the physical devices you use for product and material management. For starters, there are your barcode scanners, label printers, and other mobile scanners.
Hardware sizing, on the other hand, is the “measurement” of your hardware requirements. The amount of memory, disk space, CPU power, and network bandwidth are just to name a few.
That said, accurate hardware sizing is key to proper Epicor ERP implementation. If the hardware “size” is too large, you’ll end up wasting a lot of your resources. If it’s too small, it won’t be able to meet the computing and storage demands of your organization.
It’s also because of this that you need to factor in the number of ERP users in your firm. The more users you have, the more data load they place on your network. So, the more users you have, the bigger your hardware needs to be.
Also, note that sizing affects system response time.
It’s much like how the number of internet users influences the speed of the service itself. It’s also comparable to how opening 10 Internet browser tabs can consume up to 3 GB of RAM in a standard computer. The more RAM you consume, the slower a device’s response would be.
ERP Hardware Sizing by Quantifying Users
Whether you’ll use Epicor 10 from the very start or you’re upgrading from Epicor 9.0, you need to establish a user count. You have three options: user-based sizing, throughput-based sizing, or expert sizing. Do note, however, that smaller firms are often those who rely on the first two sizing methods.
Sizing Based on User Count
If you have a smaller firm, counting the users is quite easy, as you just have to do a headcount. This makes it the easiest way to size up your hardware needs.
However, it’s also the least accurate, as it doesn’t include user load figures. Besides, this method offers the least flexibility for upgrading ERP implementation. You’d likely end up having to buy entirely new hardware and software to meet your firm’s growth.
Sizing Based on Throughput
If you have more than 50 people, a headcount is no longer a viable sizing method. This is especially true if you also have part-timers.
In this case, throughput-based sizing may be a better sizing model. With this, you’ll base your hardware sizing on the actual or expected throughput. It’s more thorough and accurate than counting the number of users.
Still, it’s not 100% accurate as it relies on several business assumptions. For starters, there are the “expected” (but not yet fulfilled) order line items. Things may happen and you may not meet this expectation, so it’s still a form of inaccuracy.
Sizing Done By Epicor Experts
To ensure 100% hardware sizing accuracy, it’s best to carry out expert sizing. With this, highly-experienced Epicor ERP specialists will perform the hardware sizing for you. They will use all available data to pinpoint your exact hardware requirements.
From here, they will map out a customized plan to meet your firm’s ERP demands. These include the right size and type of physical servers, processors, RAM, and storage. Of course, they’ll recommend the best and longest-lasting types of hardware for you to invest in.
The Specific Types of Applications You Use Matter Too
One of the best features of Epicor ERP is its multi-faceted functionality. It’s an inventory, accounting, and customer relationship management platform in one. You can even use it for solid pre-production materials planning.
That’s why most Epicor users utilize a variety of Epicor modules and applications. There’s Epicor Mobile Warehouse, Epicor Web Access (EWA), and Enterprise Search (ES). Many others use Epicor Social Enterprise (ESE) along with these apps.
If you’re currently using all these and you wish to use, even more, you need to factor them in during hardware sizing. That’s because the more apps you use, the greater your physical storage and RAM needs are. Failure to consider these other apps can make your software and hardware inefficient.
That said, a small ERP’s standard load should ideally not go over 15 Office and data collection users. The system should also have a minimum of 32 GB of RAM. It must also have at least 2 HDDs worth 300 GB or 4 SDDs with 400 GB of space.
Moreover, there are special considerations for heavy processing and automation tasks. Especially if you process over 25,000 transactions in any given one-hour period of a business day.
As you can see, things can quickly get very confusing when it comes to hardware sizing. What’s more, the figures above are only for a small ERP user base. So, you can expect sizing to be even more complex for larger groups of ERP users.
Sizing Should Also Include Your System’s Future Growth
The size of the system that you’ll choose will determine its ability to grow alongside your firm. For instance, if you go with only the minimum size, it may not be able to accommodate new users in the future. In this case, you’d likely have to replace your entire ERP once your firm acquires more people.
That, in turn, would make your overhead expenses skyrocket. Also, that could mean a complete waste of money since you may no longer need the old system once you have the new one.
Going for the smallest hardware size may also limit your code customization options. That would mean missing out on a lot of customizable Epicor processes. You may not be able to take advantage of custom reports, forms, BAQs, BPMs, dashboards, or layouts.
In short, incorrect hardware sizing will prevent you from maximizing Epicor ERP. That’s why you also have to account for future business growth and not just current user count. This way, you can make sure that your hardware can keep up with your growing operations.
Make the Most Out of Epicor From the Start
There you have it, all the basics you need to know about proper Epicor ERP hardware sizing. It’s not only about the current user count — it’s also about the future growth of your business. By considering all these factors from the start, you can maximize your use of Epicor ERP from the get-go.
Ready to take your current ERP to the next level? If so, the Epicor ERP specialists here at Tomerlin-ERP are ready to help. Contact us now so we can size up, install, upgrade, or customize your Epicor systems and processes!