Epicor brings cloud hosting to CNRG retailers
Dublin, Calif.-based Epicor Software Corp. announced the company’s first major implementation of Epicor Eagle delivered in a software as a service (SaaS) hosted environment. Home Hardware Center, the first retailer of Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) to undergo the hosted solution conversion, successfully completed integration in early February 2013.
CNRG, founded in Mississippi in 2011, operates 41 home center and hardware stores in seven Southern states — 38 of those currently operate using Epicor solutions.
CNRG CEO Boyden Moore said the retail group challenged Epicor to come up with a solution to fit CNRG’s business.
“We feel strongly that a cloud-based or hosted solution provides a better infrastructure for the speed and flexibility our company needs,” Moore said. “Epicor was able to fulfill that requirement by offering us the Epicor Eagle hosting service for our 21 Home Hardware Center stores. The transition from our server to the hosted server was extremely smooth.”
The company’s critical business data is located in an Epicor Tier-4 datacenter that provides significant redundancy and fault-tolerance in regards to power, network circuits, backups, security and server hardware.
Hosted solutions can provide significant time savings over on-premise environments, which allows for more time to focus on driving business initiatives and serving customers,” said Craig McCollum, executive VP and general manager, retail distribution solutions for Epicor.
“In today’s businesses, every resource must be weighed in order to operate at maximum efficiency with cost effectiveness at the top-of-mind,” he said.
Employers prepare to add Roth features to 401(k) plans
An increasing number of U.S. employers are planning to add Roth options to their 401(k), 403(b) or other defined contribution plans in 2013, a January 2013 survey by consultancy Aon Hewitt reveals. This comes on the heels of legislation that makes it easier for defined contribution investors to convert balances within their savings plan into Roth accounts.
Unlike traditional 401(k) plans, where employees make pretax contributions and, after retirement, pay income taxes on all distributions, Roth 401(k) contributions are made with after-tax dollars. Funds in the plan grow tax-free, and on retirement no taxes are owed on any distributions.
Previously, converting funds from a pretax to a Roth 401(k) account was limited to money that was already “distributable” without penalty from the pretax plan — typically when an employee reached age 59½ or terminated employment, unless the plan otherwise allowed in-service distributions.
The American Tax Payer Relief Act — the “fiscal cliff” deal enacted in January 2013 — includes a provision that “opens the door for employers to allow expanded in-plan conversions, but it’s not a requirement,” said Patti Balthazor Bjork, retirement research director at Aon Hewitt, in a media release. “However, it makes the Roth conversions more attractive for employees, so there will likely be increased interest and incentive for employers to offer them.”
The consultancy’s survey of large U.S. employers (those with more than 1,000 employees) revealed that:
• While almost half (49%) of respondents currently offer no Roth option, 29% of those that don’t offer a Roth said they were very or somewhat likely to add this feature in the next 12 months. Of those new adopters, more than three-quarters (76%) will add both Roth contribution and in-plan conversion features.
• Employers that already have a Roth option are likely to allow employees to make in-plan conversions to Roth accounts. Of those respondents that currently allow Roth contributions but do not offer in-plan conversions, more than half (53%) are very or somewhat likely to add this feature in the next 12 months.
• For companies that already allow Roth contributions and in-plan conversions for amounts not subject to early-withdrawal penalties, more than three-quarters (79%) are very or somewhat likely to expand the eligibility for in-plan conversions, allowing them for previously nondistributable amounts.
“While employers have steadily been adopting Roth features in recent years, the new law, along with a better understanding of Roth by both participants and companies, will encourage more plan sponsors to add these options in the near-term,” Bjork said.
©2013 SHRM. All rights reserved.
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Electric blower vacuums recalled
Two Chinese-made blower vacuums, one sold at Home Depot and the other sold at Walmart, were recalled because they pose laceration hazards.
Homelite Consumer Products and the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission announced the recall of certain Homelite electric blower vacuums.
The products, sold exclusively at Home Depot, posed a laceration hazard, according to the announcement. No injuries were reported, but objects that are drawn into the unit during vacuum mode can break through the plastic housing, posing a laceration hazard.
Homelite is offering consumers a free replacement blower vacuum. About 241,000 products are in the United States and 13,600 in Canada. The made-in-China products were sold exclusively at Home Depot stores nationwide and online at homedepot.com from February 2012 through December 2012 for about $40.
The Manufacturer is Changzhou Globe Tools Co. of China. The company also manufactured a similar product — also recalled — sold exclusively at Walmart stores. The Expert Gardener electric blower vacuums also posed a laceration hazard. It was recalled by OWT Industries.