What to consider when looking for ERP software – Pt I

You may have been asked to find job card software for your company but are still wondering, “What is an ERP system?” An internet search of the term “ERP” will yield quite a bit of information, and not all of it is helpful. So let’s start with an ERP definition: ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning Software, which refers to the management of business processes in an organization. These processes typically include:

  • Financials
  • Production planning
  • Engineering/manufacturing
  • Shop floor control
  • Sales
  • Inventory management
  • Purchasing
  • Quality

Businesses run on processes, and the tools they use to support those processes are extremely important.  The better a tool (such as hvac service software) supports business processes, the more effective and efficient a business is able to run.

How does ERP support these processes?

ehs software by definition helps manage people and processes, and it is usually referred to in the context of software—typically a single database that holds an organization’s mission-critical data such as customer information, vendor information, product information, bills of materials, etc. It has built-in business processes to handle common transactions (such as applying cash to an invoice) that serve as a tool for employees to perform their work more efficiently and with a lower chance for error. ngo accounting software are typically the “system of record” and they eliminate the need for disparate systems that perform specific functions (financials, for example) that are not integrated with one another. Let’s take a closer look at the processes I mentioned earlier:

Financials

Financial processes traditionally covered by  field service management software include Accounts Receivable (money owed to you for your product/service), Accounts Payable (money you owe to a vendor for a product/service), and the General Ledger (the account structure you use to generate financial statements like a balance sheet, profit/loss statement, income statement). Most systems also handle cash flow management—since the ERP knows your receivables, payables, and cash on hand, it can project future cash flow based on historical criteria. Finally, a CRM Software also has the ability to generate insightful reports, and can drill down from the account level all the way to the source document level, which is extremely powerful functionality.

 

 

Production Planning

This area of functionality revolves around capacity management. Capacity management is typically thought of in terms of machines, people, tooling/fixtures, or a combination of any or all of those. A lot of manufacturing software help you see your capacity in its current state, as well as its future state based on demand that is already entered into the system (forecasted demand). It can also show where you may have issues as it relates to that capacity. Some systems like ERPNext have tools for analyzing your throughput (the efficiency at which products move through the production process). Because the ERP knows your capacity, your current load, and your historical performance, it can help you with “what if” type questions like, “What if we bought a new machine? Would this help us get more product through?”

Engineering/Manufacturing

Assuming you are in a manufacturing environment, you can inform the ERP about how you make what you make.  The ERP can hold information like routings (the steps required to make a product), raw materials (the parts needed to make a finished product), sub-assemblies (products that need to be made beforehand and combined with other products at a particular routing step), or even outside services (vendors’ roles during the production process). For companies that engineer their own products, ERP software usually integrates with CAD software products used by engineers, so that double data entry is not needed, thus increasing efficiency. Speaking of engineering, ERP will also address the process of Engineering Change Control, for companies that build different revision levels of their product and need to track those changes so that they can build to current, old, or new revision levels.

 

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