Enterprise Resource Planning: an Integrative Review


Running a business is a complex operation that requires owners and operators to keep many plates spinning all at once. In order for a business to meet with success, it’s vital for every aspect of the company to be working well together, communicating optimally, and doing what’s necessary to meet each other’s needs. Some of the most extreme problems in business that lead to devastating results come from a lack of organization, transparency, or open communication. Fortunately, these are all problems that can be resolved if you have the proper tools in your arsenal.

You will never be able to oversee your business with perfect efficiency by yourself. You can’t be in more than one place at a time, and there’s only so much data we’re able to hold on to as humans. We rely on digital solutions to help us store information and communicate it to those we work with. That’s where enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions come into play.

With ERP software at your disposal, the possibilities for your business increase exponentially. You’ll find yourself capable of things you hadn’t imagined as the processes that once took up huge amounts of time and energy become easy and efficient. Read on to learn more about ERP solutions and how you can put them to work for your business.

What is ERP?

ERP refers to the management of all the central processes of your business in a tightly integrated way that eliminates the common problem of information silos developing. Most often, this is managed by software. This kind of business management software doesn’t just store data that’s been input by its users—it’s also a great resource for data collection and even analysis. It can track your resources, including inventory and finances, and keep you apprised of your business commitments so you don’t miss deadlines or neglect a client or customer. ERP also shares the data it collects across all departments of your business and updates in real time, so each team will be able to refer to the actions of the others without having to wait for a report, seek out an update from a colleague, or interrupt the workday in some other way.

The connectivity and open communication provided by ERP systems is a huge factor in the way users do business. Businesses of all types, in all industries, can benefit from this software, but as an example we’ll take a closer look at just a few.

Energy Industry

The energy industry has been making use of ERP solutions for decades now, with very positive results. One of the primary problems faced by businesses in this field is that of communicating with distant job sites, where oil or gas is being produced. It’s important that these sites be able to communicate their needs and their progress, both between each other and back to the corporate office, so they aren’t stuck waiting. A delay in this industry can prove to be very costly and potentially dangerous.

ERP solutions provide the perfect answer. They track exactly what is going on on every job site on a day to day basis and arrange the information into an easy to process format so that everyone is up to date. Supervisors don’t have to depend on reports from busy and distracted on site workers—their ERP provides them the data they need.

Another area the energy industry benefits? Compliance requirements. A good ERP can ensure that the protocols are being adhered to, so everyone is working safely and efficiently.

Manufacturing Industry

Having an ERP system in place can make all the difference in the world when it comes to streamlining manufacturing processes. Manufacturing ERP software tracks the company’s inventory and reports on the number of each component in stock. This is a game changing asset to any company for obvious reasons—it gives you an awareness of when it’s time to reorder the component, so you never find yourself either without or with a surplus you don’t need. ERP software also manages supply chains and ensures that the entire process is fully transparent. Manufacturing companies can track the flow of goods and services with an efficiency never before seen after implementing ERP software.

What’s more, processes like quality control inspection can be automated thanks to the highly technical capabilities of an ERP system. That allows you to repurpose your human resources and get more out of your people.

Field Service Industry

A major difficulty faced by those in the field service industry has to do with communication. Much like distant job sites in the energy industry, the field service industry is full of technicians who work away from a central office. It’s important for those in the office to know what they are doing and how their work is going, and it’s important for the techs to be able to report quickly on any needs they might have. That’s where ERP systems come into play. Having all the information available in one convenient and easy to access database is the best possible solution for both business owners and operators and the field techs themselves.

This is also beneficial to your customers. By and large, they will only interact directly with field service agents, but it’s important that corporate have the ability to monitor that process to ensure their satisfaction. ERP users can organize the dispatching of their agents to ensure that no customer is kept waiting and no tech ends up lost on the road. Users can also use the system to maintain contact with customers, hear their feedback on the job, and make sure they are satisfied. It’s the best way to guarantee you see their business again.

There can be no doubt that enterprise resource planning software is a game changer when it comes to business operations. It’s a tool that will prove helpful no matter what industry you’re in. Improve communication, increase transparency, and organize the data your business uses every day by implementing ERP software. You’ll be amazed at the difference you’ll see.