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What maketh an ERP software?

What maketh an ERP software system? An innocent question like this could subject you to a lot of harassment (sarcasm overfloweth here) – the magnitude and kind of undue attention would vary depending on the source of the attention. For example, an ERP salesman could subject you to a 3 hour presentation (If you’re like me and lose your mind after the first 15 minutes) and I shudder to think that it might happen not less than a week from today.
This site here lists some of the more common ERP modules that are available from ERP vendors:

  • SALES ORDER PROCESSING (SOP) and DEMAND FORECASTING
  • PRODUCTION PLANNING and MASTER PRODUCTION SCHEDULING (MPS)
  • ROUGH CUT RESOURCE PLANNING (RCRP / RCCP)
  • CUSTOMISATION PLANNING and ENGINEERING CHANGE CONTROL
  • BOM PROCESSING and DATABASE MAINTENANCE
  • PLANNING OF MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS (MRP)
  • PURCHASING (POP / Purchase Order Processing)
  • DETAILED CAPACITY PLANNING and SHOP LOADING and SCHEDULING
  • INVENTORY CONTROL (Stock Management)
  • SHOP FLOOR MONITORING and CONTROL (SFC / SFDC)

So I asked myself that if ERP were to be redone, who might the logical candidate be? I drifted towards an OpenSource implementation of ERP software. That led me straight to Compiere. A brief scanning of Compeire ERP’s architecture, features and processes led me to think that the seed has not fallen too far from the tree. Compiere is directed at SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) and that’s probably a smart move if you wanted to grow big.
The second stop was at OpenMFG which I found to be a lot more upfront about what it is they intend to achieve, what they offer and how they price it – i.e. a fresh breeze flowing from a vendor. OpenMFG has a lot of features as well which they have summarized smartly in their brochure.
The third (and final) stop was at ERP5. It seemed a lot more comprehensive in scale and scope than the previous two open source ERP offerings. The other thing that stood out was the ease with which ERP5 professed to carry out the installation and the availability of source code for the tool as well. I’ve found what I was looking for now. I’ll be exploring more features of the ERP5 tool now in order to study it in a little more depth and detail.

Several more Open source ERP software providers are listed here. I will take a brief jaunt through them as well in order to see what’s happening there.

As I was surfing the field of open source ERP providers, I came up with the idea of drawing up a list of ideas that would form the core of an ERP tool offering. If any of you reading this have any insight into ERP tools, have used them and would suggest your ideas, they would be more than welcome. My ideas in the next post.
Witnessing, a brief spurt in the offerings of entirely new ERP tools in an arena where the elephants of ERP (SAP and Oracle) reside and trample about leads me to think that the time is right to fell the elephants.

Categorized as: ERP_, Tools_, Supply Chain Management_
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Category: ERP, Tools

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