If you have any working knowledge of a large company or corporation, you should have a good idea of how many processes are involved in the day to day running of such a company.
From the finance to the accounting departments to the production, sales and service sections (just to mention some), each section has various methods and procedures in position. But at the end of the day, in order for an organization or company to be successful, each of these separate departments/processes/procedures should integrate under one "global umbrella". It reminds me of the saying that the left hand must always know what the right hand does and vice versa.
Enterprise resource planning systems (or ERP systems as often referred to) is a program which basically integrates a company's external and internal management information. The main purpose behind ERP systems is to create a continuing flow of information between the different sections (or business functions if you wish) inside each organization.
Basically, if a procedure begins with in the production department and is completed in the sales section with a number of stops in-between, ERP systems enables you to facilitate a smooth process from start to finish.
Typically, this type of program will need various hardware and network configurations to function on, and all the different information from all the various management systems is kept in a database which can then be accessed by all the related people in the corporation or organization.
ERP systems operates in real time. Therefore if somebody in the accounting departments captures anything in the program, it would immediately be accessible by whoever has access to the system. The systems are generally set up with a similar feel and look throughout all the sections - uniformity is after all what these systems are all about. Without consistency, how is integration achievable?
Needless to say there are several types of ERP systems on the market and the complexity differs from supplier to supplier, but commonly such a system can be integrated without too much of an effort.
These systems go as far back from as early as 1990. That's right, as much as 2 decades ago business owners and administrators were faced with the same challenges and difficulties as experienced in present day organizations and even then a way to incorporate various processes was required. ERP systems can commonly be tailored to suit different client demands, but the overall aim of this kind of software programs are the same: To enable each business process to be performed in the most effective way possible.
If you're looking at obtaining an ERP system for your company, your first step would be a session with one of the software distributors. Thereafter the software will normally be tailor-made to meet your needs and requirements, where after it will be enforced. Most vend0rs will generally also provide a type of after-sales support and a bit of training if required.
With the amount of brilliant resources available, you have no excuse if your company is not operating like a well-oiled machine. perhaps an enterprise resource planning system is the answer to your prayers?