What is an ERP Platform?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) refers to the set of tools, techniques, and processes by which business resources are managed. ERP platforms build on earlier MRP and MRP II methodologies, giving you access to material and manufacturing resources as well as knowledge from different business areas such as sales, human resources, and supply chain management. These powerful insights enable you and your team to adapt, refine, and improve your company’s production processes, driving cost savings, delivery timelines, and your company’s bottom line.

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ERP Incorporates Multiple Platforms

Enterprise resource planning represents an expansion of two earlier platforms:

  • Material Resource Planning (MRP). The processes (and associated solutions) that manufacturers use to monitor levels and anticipate future requirements for material resources. Businesses first deployed MRP systems in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Manufacturing Requirements Planning (MRP II). An expansion of MRP, MRP II systems track and measure materials as well as human and financial resources, enabling engineers and project managers to more accurately assess material needs and create master production schedules.

Just as MRP II systems incorporated the methodology and tools of earlier MRP software, ERP implementations share many similarities with MRP II solutions, while expanding on this functionality with views and access to business areas beyond material and manufacturing resources.

What Are the Features Offered by ERPs?

ERPs provide a broad view of all enterprise business resources, including:

  • Inventory and order management. ERP platforms incorporate MRP II and MRP functionality, providing a view of material inventories and current orders.
  • Accounting. Information about the company’s financial resources, including accounts’ payable and receivable data, can be used to direct production and procurement processes.
  • Human resources. A register of employees’ skills, rates, and availability can lead to more efficient utilization of human resources.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM). Data on customer experiences provides valuable insight that may impact sales, production, and quality assurance activities on the shop floor.

Depending on business needs, more comprehensive ERP platforms may also provide insight into additional business activity areas such as supply chain management, project management, sales, procurement, and corporate governance.

What Are the Key Benefits of Using an ERP?

Since their introduction in the 2000’s, ERPs have been widely adopted in the manufacturing industry, as well as other business sectors such as finance, government, and commerce. These platforms provide many benefits over more limited or ad hoc solutions, including:

  • Improved analytic insights. Because ERPs collect information from so many different business areas, analytic insights can be much deeper than those gleaned from systems that only cover materials or manufacturing units.
  • Synchronized reporting and automation. Electronic and cloud-based ERP systems can make reporting easier, faster, and in many cases partially or completely automated.
  • Standardization across business areas. Actionable insights are much more common when different business areas can communicate using the same language and tools.
  • Accessibility from a variety of devices. A robust ERP platform should include mobile integration, which allows employees and managers to access portals from smartphones and tablets. This is especially useful for production functions such as approvals and sign-offs that can take place on the factory floor without additional overhead.

The business case for implementing an ERP is strong, and these solutions can provide numerous benefits not only to enterprise business, but also to small- and medium-sized companies. Within manufacturing organizations, executive, managerial, and supervisor roles will yield benefits.

MasterControl Offers a Solution for You

MasterControl’s Manufacturing Excellence solution suite provides critical enterprise resource planning functionality for companies who are pursuing smart manufacturing and digital transformation initiatives. Best of all, it integrates with and augments your existing ERP, MES, or MOM platform.

  • Streamline systems. ERP systems are an essential tool for centralizing information and insight that can improve the production process; however, in many companies the power of ERPs is limited by their reliance on time-consuming manual entry or subsidiary software tools with arcane, dated, and inconsistent interfaces. Our solution can augment these by replacing some or all of these systems with a single, easy-to-use system that’s electronic and cloud-based.

  • Generate Batch Reports. Manufacturers typically use ERP platforms to compile or generate batch reports—for example, device history records (DHRs) in the medical device industry or electronic batch records (EBRs) in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Often, production engineers and managers find that their ERP is not ideal for this purpose, limiting efficiency and attenuating adoption. We provide modern, dedicated batch record generation capabilities that can augment, rather than limit, your digital transformation and automation potential.

  • Improve compliance with regulations and cGxP. By improving visibility within the production process and across multiple business areas, you can improve your ability to comply with government regulations and good practices.

  • Automate key aspects of production and verification. Compared to workflows that rely on manual entry or inaccessible systems, our solutions make it easy to streamline and even automate commonly-repeated production steps.

  • Mobile- and cloud-enabled functionality. Our solutions are designed to be adaptive, meaning that your team can access the user interface from desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets on the factory floor, opening up multiple avenues of improved functionality and cost savings.

To find out more about MasterControl Manufacturing Excellence and how it enhances the functionality of ERP platforms, please contact a MasterControl representative.