To be able to recast their business in line with the above challenges, organisations are themselves getting redefined. Operations are becoming decentralised and multi-location. Risks are being spread over multiple products and various classes of manufacturing – discrete, process and make/engineer-to-order – are coexisting. Some end products are becoming raw materials for others and manufacturing is getting diffused with distribution across an extended supply chain.
The organisation boundaries themselves are getting diffused as more and more stakeholders are getting tied in to form a synergistic and harmonious business ecosystem, each entity delivering value to the other.
It is logical to assume from a systemic viewpoint that such a pseudopodia business landscape needs a very robust underlying infrastructure. An infrastructure that primarily endows flexibility and agility to respond and readjust to the three Cs on the one hand and on the other, ensures tight control, checks and balances across all the enterprise resources, functions and processes.
One of the key features of a true ERP system is that the data is captured at the point of origin and impacts all related subsystems, thereby making it available to every participant in the process. In view of the segregation of duties and role of a system user, it provides the facility of user defined screens.
It is meant to integrate the entire enterprise, starting from supplier/vendor to the customer covering not only financial, inbound and outbound logistics and human resources but also cross-functional supply chain optimisation and execution and business intelligence function sets. ERP vanquishes the old stand-alone computer systems in finance, HR, logistics, supply chain, etc. and replaces them with a single unified software programme divided into different software module. The various areas covered by ERP are: Financials: Financial Accounting, Treasury Management, Enterprise Controlling, Asset Management. Logistics:Production Planning, Materials Management, Plant Maintenance, Quality Management, Project Systems, Sales and Distribution. Human Resources:Personnel Management, Training and Development, Skills and Management. Supply Chain: Planner and Optimizer, E-commerce/Business-to-business Commerce, Sales Force Automation and Business Warehouse. Enablers: Business Workflow, Executive Information Systems, Early Warning Systems.