ERP systems should largely represent all business processes. A thorough integration and a move away from insolutions lead to a holistic ERP system in which resources can be managed throughout the company. ERP systems also improve the flow of communications within the company and, in the sense of E-Collaboration, can make the collaboration in the company more efficient.
Typical functional areas of an ERP software are
- Materials management (procurement, storage, disposition),
- Production or production planning and control,
- Determination of needs,
- Finance and accounting,
- Human Resources,
- Research and Development,
- Sales and marketing,
- Master data management,
- Parts list,
- Product data management,
- Document management
The size of the enterprise often determines the requirements for the above mentioned functional areas as well as the available investment volumes for hardware, licenses and implementation. SMEs often do not need integrated controlling and accounting modules, for example. In addition, different branches of the industry are subject to very different requirements for an ERP system. Thus, most large vendors offer industry solutions whose sub-packages are specifically tailored to specific industries. Alternatively, the solutions of the more than 100 smaller ERP / PPS providers in the German-speaking countries are available, which are often not completely integrative, but are usually much lower in price. In addition, there are currently also an increasing number of free ERP systems, which are particularly suitable for smaller companies and new entrants with certain restrictions. If the term “ERP” was initially used primarily for PPS, it is now also used synonymously for merchandise management systems or project management software which, in addition to their actual functions, also include financial accounting or CRM.
As an important criterion in the area of production and sales, the question of mastering the product variants has emerged in recent years, for which special ERP modules with specific methods and procedures must be available in the various functional areas of the ERP system. The products are less and less produced for an anonymous market, but more and more are manufactured according to actual customer orders. In the automotive sector, a customer can configure his vehicle himself. The variety of variants requires special processes for the production program and special methods in product data management (see Configurator) in the automotive industry, as well as in the parts list display, which in turn has an impact on the determination of the requirements and the delivery of the vendors’ vendors.