ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is a term that evolved from MRP or Manufacturing Resource Planning or even Materials Requirements Planning going back to the 1960’s and 1970’s, IBM Mainframes and the Mapics software package. Early MRP was used by manufacturers with bill of material explosion requirements when the very process of recording a product structure on the computer was done with antecedents of the Hollerith card and a heavy reliance on batch processing.
Early versions of Mapics utilized low level codes to allow bill of material traversals of an entire companies product line. The Materials requirements planning process generally included a Master Production Schedule whereby customer orders were combined with a sales forecast or presidential edict and pushed down the product structure or bill of material while multiplying by the number of component peices per parent to achieve an new demand called the dependent demand, now stored at the next level down.
Before the advent of Winchester disk drives, this dependent demand was punched to a new Hollerith card for the next round of batch processing. Wow, what a trip!
These days we will look back upon some day the schism between ERP software and the CRM or Customer Relationship Management aspects. Really advanced CRM functions may integrate with phone systems and trouble ticket systems as well as billing,service configuration and automated on-line customer service functions. As the older customers in a customer service client base still rely on phone calls to customer representatives, the younger patrons are more likely to interact with company product and service schedules and capabilities through a web portal.
ERP on the other hand is primarily an in-house set of functions and procedures, best described perhaps as accounting software on steroids. While an accounting system must keep track of all transactions affecting the bank account, and usually accounts receivable, ERP widens the grasp to areas such as purchase orders, independent demand orders or sales orders, product structure, shop schedules, scheduling of presses and work centers, warehouse inventory management, and sometimes even payroll.
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