What is JD Edwards software used for?
To answer that question, it helps to take a step back and understand the concept of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
In business, especially small- and medium-sized businesses, everything is interconnected. In manufacturing, for example, you need a system to procure raw materials and, it should interact with a system to manage the assembly of those materials into finished products, as well as one to manage the quality of the finished goods. And, you can’t distribute the finished goods without systems for inventory tracking, sales order management, and shipping.
All these systems (ideally) should talk to one another to keep everything on track. In addition, everything that happens has a financial impact, so everything related to accounting (accounts payable, accounts receivable, product costing, banking, fixed assets) is connected as well.
In the past, separate software systems (if they existed at all) supported each of these business processes. Then, in the late 1970s, Jack Thompson, Dan Gregory, and Ed McVaney (respectively, the “J,” “D,” and “Ed” in “JD Edwards”) thought there was a better way. Their first product, JD Edwards World, integrated these business processes into one comprehensive system. Such systems are now called ERP systems.
The JD Edwards ERP System
JD Edwards ERP software has grown and evolved over time. In the early years, the software ran on minicomputers such as the IBM AS/400, and users interacted with it through a text-only user interface on “dumb” green-screen terminals.
With advances in technology, the system architecture evolved, and recent versions are implemented with a web-based, thin-client model. The computational heavy lifting occurs on the server back-end, and the system supports almost any kind of database, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.
(Speaking of Oracle: In 2003, JD Edwards was acquired by PeopleSoft, which in turn was acquired by Oracle Corp. in 2005. After the PeopleSoft acquisition, the JD Edwards software was rebranded as JD Edwards EnterpriseOne software, and is now often referred to as “Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.”)
Because different businesses have different needs in ERP systems, the JD Edwards software suite is not one-size-fits-all. Businesses can choose from a wide range of application modules to support different processes, such as:
- Supply chain
- Warehouse management
- Financial management
- Human resources management
- Manufacturing resource planning
- Customer relationship management
- Fixed asset management
Today, JD Edwards ERP software continues to remain current by adding support for things like big data analytics and mobile applications.
What Companies Use JD Edwards?
Because of its modular architecture, JD Edwards ERP software has been deployed in a wide range of industries around the world. Manufacturing, software development, construction, staffing and recruiting, healthcare, food production, IT services, and government services are among the many sectors in which companies are taking advantage of Oracle’s JD Edwards to some degree.
Thousands of companies all over the world have asked, “What is JD Edwards used for?” and found that the software had the features and functionality to their needs. A sampling of these companies is listed here; not all of them are household names, which speaks to JD Edwards’ core customer base of midsize companies, but many large companies are using JD Edwards as well.
- J&J Snack Foods (food production)
- Miami Valley Gaming (arcade games)
- JAS Forwarding (logistics)
- Thermo Fisher Scientific (biotechnology)
- D.R. Horton (residential construction)
- Weichert (real estate)
- Acronic (aerospace and defense)
- Howard Hughes Corp. (commercial real estate development)
- Crown Castle International (telecommunications)
- Catalent (pharmaceuticals)
Implementing JD Edwards ERP Software
As you can imagine, an ERP system is a highly complex software, and JD Edwards is no exception. Deploying it requires a significant investment in time and resources to install it, configure it, populate the master data (such as customers, vendors, and materials), test it, and train the users.
In addition, almost every company has at least one quirky business process that they absolutely cannot live without; accommodating those processes will likely require some customization of the ERP software, which can add to the implementation complexity and effort.
Suffice it to say that even a “plain vanilla” implementation of JD Edwards is not a do-it-yourself project, unless you have a team of JD Edwards experts already on your staff. (Even in the unlikely event that you do have such expertise in-house, many of them have been through, at most, one implementation cycle. Thus can hardly be called JD Edwards implementation “experts”.)
Are You Struggling with JD Edwards?
A successful JD Edwards implementation depends on choosing a reliable outside partner—one that has been through many JD Edwards implementations (preferably in your industry). An experienced implementation partner knows how to:
- Prepare your existing data for import into JD Edwards
- Set up all modules into a single integrated system
- Ask the right questions to elicit any special requirements
- Encourage adoption of industry best practices already supported by the software, thereby minimizing customizations
- Configure the system for maximum performance
- Avoid common implementation problems
A good implementation partner will have experts in each business process, as well as experts in installation and configuration for your specific IT environment.
Biggest Problems with JD Edwards and How to Solve Them
Do a search for JD Edwards ERP reviews and you will find that, because of its inherent complexity, JD Edwards implementations sometimes have issues. Some of the most common complaints include:
- Steep learning curve for navigation and use: JD Edwards has a reputation for being difficult to learn. With the right training and documentation, however, users can get up to speed quickly.
- Poor system performance: JD Edwards is a complex system whose performance can be affected by a number of factors. Expertise in infrastructure, database optimization, and JD Edwards’ Configurable Network Computing architecture is required to properly tune your JDE implementation.
- Overwhelming user interface: JD Edwards transaction screens have many options, buttons, fields, and other features—most of which are used rarely or not at all. Customized “cheat sheets” that show your end users how to execute transactions for your business are the best way for users to focus on what’s needed and ignore the noise.
- Security permissions and roles setup: JDE security is quite powerful but requires some specialized knowledge and planning to use effectively.
- Difficulty in integrating with other systems: Integration isn’t easy for any system, and is often a project on its own. It requires careful planning and in-depth knowledge of the various integration methods available with JD Edwards.
These perceived shortcomings can be overcome by engaging with a competent implementation partner, who not only knows the nuts and bolts of a proper implementation but can also provide high-quality, comprehensive training for your users to maximize their productivity right out of the gate.
JD Edwards is highly complex, powerful, comprehensive ERP software that can bring increased productivity, efficiency, and visibility to your business. As an integrated system, it provides that all-important single source of the truth that eludes organizations with multiple siloed systems.
However, implementing JD Edwards (or any ERP system) is a complicated, high-risk project. You can minimize that risk by engaging with a strong, expert implementation partner who has seen it all and can overcome any problems encountered during and after implementation.