What is ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the category of business software that provides integrated end to end solutions for all functions of a business.
Typically, small organizations have a combination of off the shelf solutions that help the business organize itself and analyze its information. These solutions are discrete, meaning they don’t connect to other products, and provide a solution for a particular issue.
As an organization grows, the following shortcomings become increasingly difficult for the organization:
- Reporting on various business functions has to be generated through many disparate systems and then manually combined for overall metrics.
- Accountability is difficult because of differences in how systems report on their own data, and it’s difficult for the user to know exactly what is being reported.
- Auditing is very difficult, and in some cases an organization can be ‘unauditable’ meaning there is no way to reconcile the various systems. This makes borrowing money quite difficult and if an organization is preparing for sale, much more difficult to properly position.
- Management and careful measurement of key performance indicators (KPI’s) is difficult at best. The organization spends an inordinate amount of time trying to gather data, and has little faith in that data when it is finally compiled.
With an ERP system, all other business software is abandoned, and the ERP system follows transactions all the way through the business. This provides ‘one single version of the truth’ for the organization, allows real time reporting, and the business can respond to requests for information with full confidence that the information is accurate.
ERP systems are inherently complicated, with their own internal ‘checks and balances’ to ensure the proper treatment of information and process flows. Typically ‘off the shelf’ ERP packages can be somewhat modified to allow business policies to be enforced within the processes. The degree to which these ‘customizations’ can be made is a distinguishing factor among ERP systems. A company looking at ERP systems should first document their current state, and identify the key processes that need to exist in the ERP. Once the initial ‘fit’ is identified, the ability to be flexible and adapt the ERP to future needs is critical, along with the ability to provide for industry specific and regulatory requirements.
EpiCenter exclusively represents Epicor ERP, which is an industry leading ERP package for manufacturing companies that are ‘engineer to order’ and mixed mode (some standard products as well as various custom or ‘one off’ products).
Epicor is a very mature product, with many areas of very deep expertise including: