What’s an ERP?
An Enterprise Resource Planning system attempts to integrate all departments and functions across a company into a single computer system that serves all departments. It replaces previous systems that might have had one computer program and database for HR, another for Finance, another for accounting, another for inventory, etc.
The key is the shared database. Now all company data is available to all departments.
ERP Companies –
SAP R/3 refers to a “three-tier” approach to the computer system.
· Application Layer
At the bottom is a database containing all the information for the company. Given access authority, all data is technically available anywhere in the company. Data in the database is intended to be “real-time,” meaning that it is constantly being updated. So as an order is typed in by one salesperson, the people in production or inventory or accounting can instantly see this order and respond to it. No paper moves between departments, no delays.
The application layer is a series of programs that get information from the database or put it in. We will use the HR applications, the customer apps, production and inventory apps.
The user-interface is what the user sees. It sits on the desktop computer and generates screens. Interfaces are all moving to the web interface since that is the interface users are most familiar with.
Increased responsibility at a time of reduced supervision
Greater costs from errors
Changes in work processes for the least skilled (e.g. shipping)
Phased by Department
Phased by region
Assume you are CEO of apparel maker Oshkosh BGosh. An order for 15 dozen bib overalls (style #43, size 6) arrives from Kohl’s Department Store.