While formal ERP is big company stuff, a small business should take note.
It's principles can be applied in a more informal way by a small business.
ERP's predecessor was MRP (Material Requirement Planning) which tied manufacturing floor control, inventory, materials and purchasing into a unified structure with order entry as the master control point.
ERP takes this unification process farther and integrates operations functions with back office functions like payroll, human resources, and accounting, as well as with front office functions of marketing and strategic planning. Of course your SFA (Sales Force Automation) system will also be involved.
The buzzword ERP was developed to assist the marketing efforts of SAP, People Soft, Baan and other major ERP integration providers. These companies were major Wall Street darlings until the Y2K effort, since which ERP business has been in a bit of a slump.
Retrofitting ERP onto the existing systems of a diversified organization is a horrendously difficult task, costs a huge amount of money, and carries a high risk of at least partial failure.
©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access
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