What features should ERP include?
In truth, every ERP system is different and many specialise in certain industries or sectors. Central ERP® for example, is focused on manufacturing, engineering and construction industries.
However, the general concept is that all elements of the business should be included in the system and, crucially, should be able to report financial transactions back into a central ledger. Most manufacturing Enterprise Resource Planning systems will include:
Rather than a separate ‘bolt-on’ package, ERP accounts should be fully integrated and able to record all income and expenditure, as well as all operating costs, stock transactions, employee costs and any other relevant transactions. Integrating with a 3rd party accounting system will rarely provide the level of reporting that is required for truly detailed analysis of performance.
Material Requirements Planning (MRP).
Material Requirements Planning, or MPR for short, allows you to forecast your future stock and raw material requirements against sales demand, or expected demand. A properly implemented MRP system can reduce customer lead times, increase On Time In Full (OTIF) performance and lead to a leaner, more efficient supply chain.
As a true ERP system has full visibility of all resources and demand, scheduling is easier and more intuitive. Central ERP® for example, includes an on-screen Gantt chart schedule that displays all outstanding works orders, which when combined with our Shop Floor Data Capture (SFDC) feature, allows an instant picture of past, present and future production.
Stock Control & Warehousing.
Rather than just “goods in” and “goods out”, an ERP system can offer complete visibility of individual items or batches. This is particularly important for ‘mission critical’ processes such as ISO 9001 and GFSI / BRC requirements for food safety. Stock control can also be applied support to multiple stock locations and Vendor managed Inventory (VMI) and should also be integrated with accounts to provide a true reflection of stock valuation and reduce the time taken to achieve accurate month end reporting.
Labour costs are often the most important part of a business and a true Enterprise Resource Planning system should be able to process and report on payroll costs. Many systems rely on monthly journal entries, but this often misses the detail required to thoroughly analyse performance of individual jobs, contracts, projects or employees.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Sales start at the enquiry stage and an integrated CRM system can provide a wealth of information that can lead to increased customer satisfaction. Rather than a sales enquiry diary, an integrated CRM system can track whether quality control issues are having an impact on sales, or whether complaints are increasing for a particular item, customer or as a direct result of a particular supplier, or item.
Sales Order Processing (SOP) & Purchase Order Processing (POP).
The backbone of any accounting system, SOP and POP can be extended within an ERP system to link with even more information. Does the sales order fall under a project? Have you made money on the project? Is there a retention rate that is linked to a customer contract? Do you need to get a purchase order verified before it can be placed? These are all examples of questions that are difficult to answer when using a separate accounts package.
Reporting & Analytics.
Having access to a wider range of information in one database opens up a wider range of insights. In Central ERP®, users are able to report performance across departments for a wide range of criteria. This improved viability enables more effective decision making and increases efficiency, ensuring that you can remain competitive in a rapidly changing global marketplace.