Unearthing 120% revenue growth with Epicor

Unearthing 120% revenue growth with Epicor

Miller UK is a leading supplier of buckets and couplers for earthmoving manufacturers. It enables its customers to easily change their machinery accessories to maximise production hours and increase yields. Like most companies, it has seen a number of challenges during the last few years. It chose Epicor Kinetic as its ERP solution, as it offered the integrated accounting, production and purchasing features that the business was looking for. Epicor Kinetic helped Miller to streamline its IT infrastructure and reduce the number of legacy systems in its environment. Iain Lytollis, IT Manager, Miller UK, spoke to Intelligent SME.tech about the partnership.

Miller UK supplies trusted products to a wide range of leading earthmoving manufacturers across the globe, including the likes of CAT, Hitachi, Volvo and JCB, to an established, independent global distributor network and to end-users worldwide. Miller prides itself on constantly pushing technology boundaries and delivering exceptional service. Miller’s extensive range of couplers and buckets enables its customers to easily change their machinery accessories to maximise production hours and increase yields. The business serves customers in over 40 countries including the USA, Europe, India, Middle East and Australia, with 189 employees worldwide and a joint venture plant in Northern China.

Navigating outdated tools, a global pandemic and geopolitical risk

Back in 2016, Miller was expanding internationally with a new joint business venture, multiple warehouse sites and new ranges of earthmoving products. The company had outgrown its single site enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which lacked the integrated accounting features Miller needed to get an accurate understanding of costs, margin and profitability. This outdated solution didn’t provide the required visibility on stock in transit, supply chain or production efficiency and it was also missing a key configurator for customers to easily locate the correct product.

Miller faced a new set of significant logistical challenges in 2020 with the onset of the COVID pandemic. National social distancing measures meant only a small number of people were able to work on-site at the same time, and Miller had to develop a new remote working strategy so the company could continue operating profitably and serving its global customer base.

From early 2022, the post-pandemic economy was impacted by a combination of disruptive geopolitical events, which further disrupted global supply chains and dramatically increased the price of goods and raw materials. This prompted new challenges for Miller, including a surge in customer demand, triggered by the economic recovery, an inflation of steel prices, rapidly rising global shipping container costs and on-going labour shortages.

Selecting Epicor Kinetic

In 2016, Miller evaluated several vendors and chose Epicor Kinetic as its ERP solution, as it offered the integrated accounting, production, purchasing and multi-currency/multi-site/multi-warehouse features that the business was looking for. Miller invested in Epicor Kinetic as a long-term solution, encompassing future needs from an ERP tool and found that it was not only easy to operate but highly customisable.

“We have rapid growth plans for new products, services and markets and Epicor Kinetic provides us a strong foundation to help us get there,” said Iain Lytollis, IT Manager at Miller UK.

Epicor Kinetic helps Miller achieve 120% business growth

Epicor Kinetic helped Miller to streamline its IT infrastructure and reduce the number of legacy systems in its environment. The system went live almost immediately due to its rapid deployment design, and it continues to supply more accurate business information on products, costs and profit margins, allowing Miller to make more informed decisions on everything from sourcing and production to distribution.

Since Epicor Kinetic was implemented, Miller has leveraged the system to make more accurate decisions, improve production efficiencies and enhance its customer experience.

One big advantage over other ERP systems is the flexibility, integration and customisation capabilities that can be easily scaled up or down as required in response to demand. These attributes allowed Miller to break down business data silos and automate key processes such as electronic stock picking and line-side replenishing to avoid any periods of zero stock availability. If components are not replenished on a timely basis, the production line can be delayed or even shut down. Automating the line-side replenishment process to keep exactly the right amount of material on hand ensures the operation never runs out.

In 2020, COVID exposed vulnerabilities in businesses across the world. Social distancing meant only a handful of people were able to work on-site in rotating shifts but with Epicor Kinetic, Miller was able to establish a secure VPN connection directly to the factory floor so workers could remotely manage key areas of the production line from the safety and comfort of their homes. This hybrid working strategy greatly strengthened Miller’s agility and resilience, and the business was able to maintain critical continuity during a global crisis.

Between 2020 and 2022, Miller responded to unforeseen geopolitical and economic challenges by identifying new opportunities for profitability and improving in-house machine capabilities to reduce the number of materials and products being purchased. The company diversified its supply chain by manufacturing new component parts (pins and bosses) instead of purchasing from suppliers and expanding its range of couplers. Miller leveraged the Epicor Product Configurator in Epicor Kinetic to select the correct fittings for each product and the company was able to launch a new range of GT Series couplers in 2022, which helped to increase revenue growth by 120%.

Ambitious targets for 2023 and beyond

Epicor Kinetic helped Miller to exceed its growth expectations for 2022 and the company has ambitious targets for 2023 and beyond. Miller is now looking to sharpen its competitive edge by integrating innovative warehousing solutions into Kinetic, such as Epicor Mobile Warehouse with portable handheld devices. Epicor Mobile Warehouse optimises stock movement and material handling workflows by removing the need for manual picklists, so more orders can be processed each day.

Lytollis said: “We have progressed along our digitalisation roadmap by streamlining our ERP technology and reducing manual processes. We had previously expected to double our business by the end of 2020, as we had the right systems in place to support this growth. We are very proud that we have now surpassed this target by achieving 120% revenue growth at the end of 2022 and Epicor Kinetic has been a vital tool for our success on this journey.

“We have experienced a prosperous period of growth since 2016 in the UK, and we are now reaching new markets abroad such as Australia and New Zealand. We expect to build on this great success in the future, with an ambitious growth target to surpass £50 million revenue over the next five years, and we believe Epicor Kinetic will help us to achieve our goal.”

Lytollis answered the following questions:

How did Epicor Kinetic help you break down business data silos?

Epicor Kinetic’s capability and extensibility has made it the standard business tool across all departments; integrations tools, customisation and API have allowed other systems to be absorbed or accessed into Epicor, ensuring the data within benefits all areas.

One of the biggest advantages of Epicor Kinetic mentioned is customisation – how has it enabled the company to customise processes?

We have made extensive use of Epicor’s customisation capabilities to add bespoke business functionality that all runs on a single platform and integrates natively with the core capabilities of ERP.

Why are you targeting Australia and New Zealand next?

It’s a key market where we have had an established presence for a while but now are looking to grow further and see the benefit of that investment.

Andy Coussins, Executive Vice President, International, Epicor, also took the time to tell us more about the partnership:

Were there any lessons learned from working with Miller UK that you can apply going forward?

We understand that buying and implementing an ERP system is a long-term partnership between the customer and the vendor, and because ERP touches every part of the business, it’s transformational. With this in mind, every business and project is slightly different, so it is important that our team learn the Miller business inside out so we can add real value and become a trusted partner into the future.

What are the advantages of Epicor Kinetic compared to other ERP systems?

Shaped by more than 50 years of experience, Epicor is a partner who best understands the world’s makers, movers and sellers. We know our industries better than anyone else, and our innovative industry solution sets are carefully built to fit a business’ unique needs and respond flexibly to fast-changing reality. We accelerate ambitions, whether a business wants to grow and transform, or simply become more productive and effective. That’s what makes Epicor the essential partner to the world’s most essential businesses.

What are the benefits of Epicor Mobile Warehouse?

Epicor Mobile Warehouse is a new generation handheld application that offers a modern and intuitive user interface for warehouse and distribution functions. It provides workflow optimisation for fast and accurate scanning, which reduces time to process transactions such as stock movements and material handling workflows. Accuracy is improved, and errors are reduced by removing the need for manual picklists, so more orders can be processed each day, facilitating improved revenue and margins.

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