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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Enterprise Resource Planning systems originate from several sources including Open Source (read free initially), propriety products with a selection of about 75 supplied by approximately 35 providers. Arguably the greatest number or variety of ERP solutions is home grown—with its own set of problems. Most software vendor solutions are sold as licensed for use in-house with an upfront capital investment. Some vendors offer a Software-as-a-Service or a cloud computing service for a monthly expense fee. Solutions require support from professional services provider—either from the software vendor or an approved third party company. Long term the SaaS solution will likely be less cost effective due to amortizing investment costs over a typical minimum 2-year contract period.

OLTP Database

Relational Database supporting organization

From the schematic above the heart of the system is generally an OLTP (Online Transactional Processing) database. Much like your banking system, when you draw or deposit money your balance is updated on-line in real-time mode. Many systems keep operational data current. Sometimes non-time critical planning data is updated nightly because of heavy processing requirement. Segmented around the database you see key functional groups represented in most companies. It is not appropriate here to dive into a discourse of how to manage multi-site or global enterprises.

Executive Management

  • Sales & Operations Planning
  • Business Intelligence/OLAP
  • Digital Dashboards
  • Decision Support Systems

Marketing & Sales Management

  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Demand Planning & Forecasting
  • Field Sales Collaboration
  • Vendor Managed Inventory
  • Order Entry
  • Merchandizing
  • Assortment Planning

Finance & Accounting

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • General Ledger
  • Fixed Asset Register
  • Costing
  • Sarbanes-Oxley

Human Resources

  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Time & Attendance

Operations, Distribution, Materials & Engineering Management

  • Master Production Scheduling
  • Distribution Resource Planning
  • Material Requirements Planning
  • Supplier/Vendor Relationship Management
  • Purchasing
  • Capacity Requirements Planning
  • Rough-Cut Planning
  • Bill of Materials
  • Engineering Change Process
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Product Configurators
  • Routings & Work Center Planning
  • Advanced Planning & Scheduling
  • Work Order Processing
  • Shop Floor Control
  • Inventory Control
  • Warehouse Management
  • Quality Assurance/Control

Within each management group you see some information of potential applications addressing functional requirements. A few of the more challenging applications are detailed in the following web pages.