Best ERP Features

By Kevin Stewart
Updated: August 18, 2011

The best features of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are those features that promote integrated management and use of critical information across the enterprise. Following is a list of features that make ERP systems a valuable addition to your organization.

System Integration

This is what ERP is all about. The core benefit of ERP is integration of systems and data to make business operations more manageable. Instead of having each business unit in a large organization manage its own human resources, financial, and manufacturing systems, ERP uses a single integrated system and database to maintain all of the management information for the organization. So for each of the following features, you can look at it as an "integrated" feature under ERP.

Human Resources Management

For most business operations, the most expensive resources are employees and other human resources (HR). Managing the information connected with these resources is a huge task, and no two systems are alike in the way they handle HR data. Standardizing HR data is a big benefit of ERP, and a key feature to look for in any ERP package is its HR module. Managing information regarding HR events such as hiring, training, promotions, benefits, and terminations are all critical to your operations.

Finance and Accounting

ERP systems can integrate your financial and accounting systems and provide organization-wide views into your business that might not otherwise be possible. ERP also facilitates drilling down to a detail level to analyze financial data for services, products, customers, and markets. Using ERP to manage finance and accounting can help you put in place standardized long range planning and make that planning a part of your core business. For some organizations, finance and accounting is the most important ERP module.

Supply Chain Management

Before there was ERP there was MRP, manufacturing resource planning. Keeping inventories low and using just-in-time production techniques requires precise planning and execution on the supply side of a manufacturing business. Supply chain management in ERP automates many of the tasks involved in ordering supply and maintaining inventories. For today's manufacturing business, supply chain management is a critical ERP feature.

When considering an ERP package, it is important to focus on the features that are most important for your organization. Make a detailed list of your requirements and compare that list to what your vendor can provide. Keeping in mind that each feature contributes to an overall integrated system, you can maximize the benefit of your ERP purchase.

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