Enterprise resource planning has evolved itself from MRP i.e. material resource planning so the basic features of ERP even today are inclined towards manufacturing companies. ERP is software which integrates all the functions of a company either through single software or with few applications well integrated and communicating with each other in one network. It is built on centralized database and either runs on a centralized server or distributed on different hardware and software units connected on a LAN.
All the popular ERP applications have basic features like financial management, supply chain management, human resource management, reporting or BI and manufacturing. Financial management is the most frequently used module of the enterprise resource planning and most of the companies check the options available in the financial modules very keenly before choosing the ERP. General ledger, accounts receivables, accounts payables, fixed asset management, cash management, expense management, risk management are few common features available in the most of the ERP software's financial module.
Business intelligence is one of the latest tools available in the ERP which gives insight into company's working and performance. This tool contains latest methodologies and report generators to retrieve the data stored in the database and collected from each and every input point of the organization and present it in the user designed format or in the consolidated form to help management in making decisions. A variety of automated reporting and analysis tools provided in this feature of most of the ERP software also helps in streamlining the operations and gives better visibility of data across the organization.
Customer relationship management is another basic feature of ERP which provides necessary tools and facilities to maintain customer records, keep a track of customer demands and even helps in designing marketing campaigns to reach new customers. This tool is available on web which promotes better communication between companies, vendors and customers and saves lot of manpower and improves efficiency of the company immensely.
Human resource management was not given proper importance couple of decades back but with growing competition in the market and requirement of skilled and qualified professionals by the companies to improve their work efficiency has forced the companies to pay proper attention towards employee satisfaction and their needs. Thus human resource management has become a basic feature of ERP which not only provides details regarding salary, taxation, increments, deductions and payroll but also helps in establishing a direct communication with management of employees, planning and recruiting work force as per organization's needs.
As mentioned earlier ERP software has evolved itself from MRP, so manufacturing has been a basic feature of ERP always and even today this feature has been given utmost importance by all the popular ERP software. Facilities and tools provided in this feature differentiate ERP packages from one another, all the ERP vendors constantly thrive to make it robust and capable to fulfill the requirements of this industry. This feature provides BOM, material management, inventory control and job costing and tracking apart from other basic tools. ERP applications support lean manufacturing and discrete and process manufacturing either through one enterprise resource planning software or through different editions.