Epicor's Insights Conference 2022: Efficiency & Procurement

Epicor's recent 'Insights 2022 Conference reveals tech and tools to boost efficiencies and draws attention to economy and ecology: Clues for procurement

Earlier this week, Epicor, the software and industry solutions giant invited LBM (Lumber/Building Material) Journal, to its Insights 2022 Building Supply User Conference.

But what does software have to do with building materials? 

With a reported 21,000 customers globally (10,000 of which are on the Cloud) Epicor presented solutions to help the LBM industry face the growing concerns of rising inflation and interest rates; a deceleration in housing starts, and persistent labor shortages.

It's on page one, of economics 101 that the number of housing starts during a particular period, in a particular area, is used as an indicator of economic health, and inflation and interest rates can be found on page two. 

According to LBM Journal: "Efficiency seemed to be a running theme throughout the conference. From ERP systems to fleet management to its new CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) module, attendees were presented with a wide array of technology options designed to help them run more smoothly while increasing the bottom line."

Epicor’s president, Lisa Pope, said: “The first thing for us when we look at this industry is that we have a lot of family-run businesses who may have not kept up with the software, maybe didn’t go through all the upgrades.

“One of the first things we recommend is to uplift everything into the cloud, and what that does is allow that company to focus back on customers, on their business, and not be worried so much about hardware, IT support, and security security concerns.

Pope went onto say: "We found that once the customers are up on the cloud, it frees up their resources to do the more important things that help them gain efficiency and productivity.”

So the question then, as earlier stated, is not in fact: "What does software have to do with building materials?", but: "What does software have to do with any industry?"

As can be garnered through the common theme of the conference, data is about efficiency - and therefore about eliminating wastage in all of its forms.

From concerns about rising inflation and interest rates, a deceleration in housing starts and persistent labor shortages - through to wider issues such as ESG considerations - software is absolutely key.

And software, means data.

Beyond simple economics

The value of data in Procurement and Supply chain should not be underestimated, as it has significant consequences for every aspect of the industry and beyond.

And 'efficiency' is no longer about simply maximising profits.

Those days are gone.

Efficiency entails productivity - in-line with sustainability - and not merely the sustaining of profits.

Triple-bottom lines are in full-swing, and ESG and D&I considerations now fall within the corporate purview of what efficiency actually entails - and are the metrics by which we now measure 'performance'.

To the point, Balfour Beatty recently released a survey that found that in the construction/infrastructure industry, "although the sector understands the scale of the challenge, and is investing in new products and solutions to help deliver Net Zero by 2050, achieving this goal "is not a foregone conclusion."

Although 70% of businesses do in fact have a net zero or sustainability plan in place to help decarbonise by 2050, 68% say the sector is not well enough prepared to meet the Government’s 2050 net zero targets.

Many of these inefficiencies, it has been said time and time again, can be solved with robust data systems, and digitisation is key.

There are many reasons to digitise, and those who fail to do - as has been reiterated time and again - will fail in the long run. 

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