Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has evolved with multiple benefits for different types of business organizations enhancing their production, efficiency and margins. ERP system seamlessly integrates the various functional units of an enterprise providing real time visibility through fast data migration and improved communication. ERP implementation is expensive and time consuming, but its benefits outweigh the negative factors.
ERP which evolved as the advanced form of MRP (Material Resource Planning) still has maximum application in manufacturing industries compared to others. The basic features of ERP comprise of financial management, human resource management, customer relationship management, supply chain management, Business Intelligence or the reporting tool and third-party integration. Selection of ERP software must be based on the requirements and capability of the organization and that rests entirely on the management.
A brief synopsis of the ERP features:
Financial management (FM): This is one of the significant features of the ERP and is a widely used module in enterprise resource planning. Financial management module comes in a number of features, allowing the organizations to check and select according to their requirements. This is perhaps the basic module of ERP, and organizations have a keen look before selecting the particular enterprise resource planning vendor. The module enables real time visibility of the expenses and cash flow, facilitating better financial reporting. Most of the modules are equipped with features like account receivables and payables, general ledger, management of cash and expenses, fixed asset management and risk management.
Human Resource Management (HRM): Efficient management of the work force in an organization is possible with the HRM module of the ERP. The features of HRM are not restricted in maintaining payrolls, tax statements, increments and incentives, employee administration or reporting. On the other hand, this module aids in talent management, tracking employee performance and proper deployment of workforce. This resulted in better work efficiency, reflected in improved production and profitability of the organization.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): No business can thrive without proper customer relationship management. Therefore, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module forms an integral part of ERP system. The module provides various tools and features to maintain the database of customers, track customer requirements, take up their grievances, maintain a good communication between customers and adopt feasible marketing strategies.
Supply Chain Management (SCM): SCM module is another key feature of ERP system that enables smooth and quick operations in an organization aiding it to maintain a firm competitive edge in the market. In the current scenario, this module monitors all day to day activities encompassing production sites, storage, distributors, suppliers, procurement, inventory and finally shipment of the goods. SCM updates the current status regularly providing an all round visibility of all activities within the organization. It helps in prompt rectifications, better collaboration and minimizes delays. Business can be seriously affected due to slowdown in production, delay in shipments or errors in distribution.
Business Intelligence Tool (BI): It is one of the latest features incorporated in most ERP systems that provide a complete picture of the activities and performance of an organization through generation of reports. The tool retrieves data from the central repository and various input units; auto analyzes and generates reports about the performance. This helps the management to take timely decisions in streamlining the business operations.
ERP should be scalable: The existing ERP system cannot work for long and it requires regular updating as the business and requirements expand. It may require additional features to meet some vital requirements, absent in the existing ERP. Therefore, the ERP should be scalable enough to accommodate the growing needs without going for new installation or integration.