Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software supports an organization’s entire business process. Typically, ERP software consists of modules for marketing and sales, field service, production, inventory control, procurement, distribution, human resources (HR), and other business-specific processes. ERP software may include manufacturing support software such as lean manufacturing software or lean process manufacturing software, as well as process manufacturing software and process improvement software. ERP software may also encompass value stream mapping software, value stream analysis software, and/or integrated value stream mapping and value stream analysis applications.
ERP software and systems typically handle the manufacturing, logistics, distribution, inventory, shipping, invoicing, and accounting for a company. Unlike front office systems such as customer relationship management programs that manage customers and customer-related issues, ERP systems perform back office functions that are transparent to customers. ERP software works to integrate all functional departments of an organization under one system.
ERP systems cater to all kinds of industries, including software development, healthcare, manufacturing, business and government. Because of the large scope of these software packages, companies using ERP applications usually rely on in-house analysts, programmers, and developers to manage the system. Some web-based ERP systems enable companies to share resources with vendors, suppliers, and business partners.
ERP manufacturing software typically involves programming to enhance or integrate supply chain management, accounting, inventory control, and other manufacturing practices into one package. These ERP applications can automate many processes and over time can offer many returns on the initial investment. The benefits of well-integrated ERP applications include better customer relations and service, more reliable business processes, and better control over budgets and production schedules. Because ERP systems are large and complex, many organizations use systems that can be customized to meet their specific needs. This is accomplished by using ERP modules that provide specific functionality for the different operational components, such as accounting or supply chain management. Accounting modules can include general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, and tracking programs for employee time and attendance. Supply chain management modules include customer order entry, purchasing, and inventory.