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 example, one may choose to use the HRMS from one vendor, and the financials systems from another, and perform the integration between the systems themselves.
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 specialized 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
- Costing, Billing, Time and Expense, Activity Management
- Human Resources
- Human Resources, Payroll, Training, Time & Attendance, Rostering, Benefits
- Customer Relationship Management
- Sales and Marketing, Commissions, Service, Customer Contact and Call Center support
- Data Warehouse
- 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 a 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.
ERP systems saw a large boost in sales in the 1990s as companies faced the Y2K problem in their legacy systems. Many companies took this opportunity to replace their legacy information systems with ERP systems. This rapid growth in sales was followed by a slump in 1999, at which time most companies had already implemented their Y2K solution.
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.
Prior to the concept of ERP systems, departments within an organization (for example, the human resources (HR)) department, the payroll department, and the financial 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 payroll department would typically calculate and store paycheck information. The financial 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 payroll system, an employee number would need to be assigned and remain static between the two systems to accurately identify an employee. The financial system was not interested in the employee-level data, but only in the payouts made by the payroll 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.
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 specialties required within larger organizations.