What is an ERP System?
Searching for “ERP” on the web will return an abundance of information—some helpful, some not. The immense volume of information available can quickly become overwhelming. It becomes apparent that almost every resource has a slightly different definition of what ERP is. These variances in the definition of ERP allude to the extensive flexibility that a robust ERP system can have in most any organization across a number of industries. Read More...
ERP is an acronym that stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. In the broadest sense, an ERP system or ERP software solution is a business management software platform that integrates a multitude of various disparate business functions and processes into one central shared system.
The boundary of where an ERP system ends and where add-ons and integrations begin often means different things to different to businesses. For example, some would say that an ERP system and a CRM system are two separate tools that merely integrate with one another, while others (like TGI) contend that CRM is simply one part of the overall, holistic, fully-integrated ERP system.
ERP systems are built around a central shared database. The central database acts as a repository to house data and information from multiple units or divisions across an organization. A central database which supports multiple business units, functions and processes ensures data integrity, data parity, and access to data for users across all areas of the organization.
Why is an ERP System (and selecting the right ERP system) So Important?
ERP software allows for a centralized reporting hub, accurate transfer, and sharing of data across business units. ERP software creates a more efficient workflow, eliminating the need to maintain individual spreadsheets and databases or merge reports from multiple, disconnected systems. With an ERP solution, data and information can seamlessly flow, for instance, from an eCommerce portal to a CRM platform to inventory management and fulfillment, and ultimately to financial management, planning and procurement systems.
The above scenario is merely a simple example of the nearly limitless capabilities of a modern and cutting-edge ERP system. ERP systems can range from pre-programmed configurations to completely customized bespoke solutions. ERP software with unique features and specialized capabilities have been developed for sectors such as government, education, healthcare, professional services, manufacturing and distribution. In TGI’s case, we’ve focused exclusively on developing, selling, implementing, and supporting ERP systems for small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution companies since 1990.
Cross-departmental data consistency, as well as increased visibility, control and access to data directly leads to enhanced operational performance and business intelligence insights. This is accomplished through an optimized workflow, automation, ease of collaboration, real-time reporting, and a consistent user interface across business units.
Given that an ERP system has the potential to touch nearly every facet of a business, selecting the right ERP solution and software vendor is paramount to an organization’s overall success both during and after ERP implementation. Too often, businesses tend to select an ERP solution based on name recognition or a fancy PowerPoint presentation without truly understanding a software product’s full capabilities. At TGI, we want our new business prospects to understand everything that our Enterprise 21 ERP system has to offer, as well as areas where it may fall short based on an organization’s requirements. As such, we provide free ERP selection tools to help businesses assess and select an ERP solution in a structured, quantitative manner.
A Brief History of ERP
Some underlying concepts of enterprise resource planning reach back to the beginning of the 20th century with Ford W. Harris’ EOQ (Economic Order Quantity) model. EOQ utilized a formula designed to minimize operating costs by optimizing material order quantity and interval.
These rudimentary concepts began to gain further traction in the mid 1960’s starting with Black & Decker’s use of Joseph Orlicky’s MRP framework. MRP stands for Material Requirement Planning and expanded upon concepts introduced in the EOQ model.
Ultimately though, modern ERP as we know it, as well as use of the ERP acronym, gained prominence and explosive growth in the 1990’s. The Gartner Group is credited with first using the ERP acronym.
Modern ERP & Beyond
With roots originally founded in inventory management, today’s ERP systems have evolved to play key roles in processes across nearly all aspects of an organization’s operations.
Various deployment options for modern ERP systems are available. Most notably, web-based ERP and cloud-based ERP have become widely adopted. The major differences in web-based ERP vs. cloud-based ERP revolve around the various subscription/licensing models as well as where database infrastructure is hosted. Hybrid deployment options have also been developed, utilizing elements of both web-based ERP and cloud-based ERP.
Traditionally, ERP systems and their early predecessors were used by large and complex enterprise organizations. In the 21st century, however, ERP systems have evolved to become an integral part of small and medium-sized businesses as well. TGI’s Enterprise 21 ERP system’s scalable design allows flexibility for a business to grow without the need to purchase additional software add-ons.
TGI offers a complete, end-to-end, web-based ERP software product. Enterprise 21 ERP delivers fully-integrated order management, procurement, inventory management, warehouse management, financial management, advanced planning, manufacturing, customer relationship management (CRM), and business intelligence (BI) functionality in a single, complete business software solution. Moreover, our flexible deployment options and web-based architecture provide for the ability to have the system installed on-premise or in the cloud of our customers’ choosing while still providing access to the complete system from anywhere in the world at any time on any device.
At TGI, we don’t view ourselves as a software vendor, but as a strategic partner. TGI’s skilled technical, business consulting, and project management staff partner and actively collaborate with TGI customers to deliver powerful solutions.
Find out how TGI’s Enterprise 21 ERP solution can streamline your business operations, increase bottom-line profitability, and gain a strategic competitive advantage. Explore TGI’s Software Selection Tool Kit or request an online demo to see if an ERP system is the right fit for your organization.