Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs) integrate (or attempt to integrate) all data and processes of an organization into a unified system. A typical ERP system will use multiple components of computer software and hardware to achieve the integration. A key ingredient of most ERP systems is the use of a unified database to store data for the various system modules.
Origion of Term:
The term ERP originally implied systems designed to plan the use of enterprise-wide resources. Although the initialisation ERP originated in the manufacturing environment, today's use of the term ERP systems has much broader scope. ERP systems typically attempt to cover all basic functions of an organization, regardless of the organization's business or charter. Business, non-profit organizations, nongovernmental organizations, governments, and other large entities utilize ERP systems.
Additionally, it may be noted that to be considered an ERP system, a software package generally would only need to provide functionality in a single package that would normally be covered by two or more systems. Technically, a software package that provides both payroll and accounting functions would be considered an ERP software package.
However, the term is typically reserved for larger, more broadly based applications. The introduction of an ERP system to replace two or more independent applications eliminates the need for external interfaces previously required between systems, and provides additional benefits that range from standardization and lower maintenance (one system instead of two or more) to easier and/or greater reporting capabilities (as all data is typically kept in one database).
Examples of modules in an ERP which formerly would have been stand-alone applications include: Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Financials, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resources, Warehouse Management and Decision Support System.
Some organizations - typically those with sufficient in-house IT skills to integrate multiple software products - choose to implement only portions of an ERP system and develop an external interface to other ERP or stand-alone systems for their other application needs. For instance, the PeopleSoft HRMS and Financials systems may be perceived to be better than SAP's HRMS solution. And likewise, some may perceive SAP's manufacturing and CRM systems as better than PeopleSoft's equivalents. In this case these organizations may justify the purchase of an ERP system, but choose to purchase the PeopleSoft HRMS and Financials modules from Oracle, and their remaining applications from SAP.
This is very common in the retail sector, where even a mid-sized retailer will have a discrete Point-of-Sale (POS) product and financials application, then a series of specialised applications to handle business requirements such as warehouse management, staff rostering, merchandising and logistics.
Ideally, ERP delivers a single database that contains all data for the software modules, which would include:
Engineering, Bills of Material, Scheduling, Capacity, Workflow Management, Quality Control, Cost Management, Manufacturing Process, Manufacturing Projects, Manufacturing Flow
Supply Chain Management
Inventory, Order Entry, Purchasing, Product Configurator, Supply Chain Planning, Supplier Scheduling, Inspection of goods, Claim Processing, Commission Calculation
General Ledger, Cash Management, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Fixed Assets Projects
Costing, Billing, Time and Expense, Activity Management
Human Resources, Payroll, Training, Time & Attendance, Benefits
Customer Relationship Management
Sales and Marketing, Commissions, Service, Customer Contact and Call Center support
and various Self-Service interfaces for Customers, Suppliers, and Employees
Enterprise Resource Planning is a term originally derived from manufacturing resource planning (MRP II) that followed material requirements planning (MRP). MRP evolved into ERP when "routings" became major part of the software architecture and a company's capacity planning activity also became a part of the standard software activity. ERP systems typically handle the manufacturing, logistics, distribution, inventory, shipping, invoicing, and accounting for a company. Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software can aid in the control of many business activities, like sales, marketing, delivery, billing, production, inventory management, quality management, and human resource management.
ERPs are often incorrectly called back office systems indicating that customers and the general public are not directly involved. This is contrasted with front office systems like customer relationship management (CRM) systems that deal directly with the customers, or the eBusiness systems such as eCommerce, eGovernment, eTelecom, and eFinance, or supplier relationship management (SRM) systems.
ERPs are cross-functional and enterprise wide. All functional departments that are involved in operations or production are integrated in one system. In addition to manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and Information Technology, this would include accounting, human resources, marketing, and strategic management.
ERP II means open ERP architecture of components. The older, monolithic ERP systems became component oriented.
EAS - Enterprise Application Suite is a new name for formerly developed ERP systems which include (almost) all segments of business, using ordinary Internet browsers as thin clients.
Before Prior to the concept of ERP systems, departments within an organization (for example, the Human Resources (HR) department, the Payroll (PR) department, and the Financials department) would have their own computer systems. The HR computer system (Often called HRMS or HRIS) would typically contain information on the department, reporting structure, and personal details of employees. The PR department would typically calculate and store paycheck information. The Financials department would typically store financial transactions for the organization. Each system would have to rely on a set of common data to communicate with each other. For the HRIS to send salary information to the PR system, an employee number would need to be assigned and remain static between the two systems to accurately identify an employee. The Financials system was not interested in the employee level data, but only the payouts made by the PR systems, such as the Tax payments to various authorities, payments for employee benefits to providers, and so on. This provided complications. For instance, a person could not be paid in the Payroll system without an employee number.
After ERP software, among other things, combined the data of formerly separate applications. This made the worry of keeping numbers in synchronization across multiple systems disappear. It standardised and reduced the number of software specialities required within larger organizations.
Read More about implementation and integration: [ERP Implementation] (http://www.gleez.us/erp)
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