ERP, or enterprise resource planning software, is an integrated suite of business applications designed to automate the back office functions of your organization–including financials, sales, and operations.
ERP examples can be presented in three major categories:
A business will typically search for an ERP software based on one of these categories, and begin their search for the best ERP software once they’ve found the subclass their search should start in.
From there, you can look at a large variety of top ERP examples.
An industry-specific ERP software provides the same essential features for day to day operations as a generic ERP option (such as accounting, sales, and business management). However, these solutions often go the extra mile in providing capabilities tailored to a specific industry, or to unique operational needs that a generic system can not handle.
Many businesses would understandably prefer an ERP solution that was designed for their industry. The thought process being, these developers either understand the intricacies of their industry better, or have experience working the day to day operations of the industry. Therefore, they can better understand support issues or requests for improvement.
While generic, non-vertical-specific ERP solutions may be ready to go out-of-the-box and include a wide range of functionality, they likely include pieces of functionality a business won’t need. These nonessential features can bloat the cost of an already expensive software and complicate implementations, and/or possibly confuse your staff. This makes the idea of an industry-specific ERP system as being leaner and more efficient.
One example of the usefulness of industry-specific ERP is within the world of manufacturing. A manufacturing-focused ERP software (more commonly known as MRP software) can let a production planner utilize production scheduling–helping plan production on the shop floor by determining the need for materials and capacity in order to complete a manufacturing production order. A generic ERP software would likely require integration with a third-party software, or an expensive customization to be built by the software provider that could require extensive design and test time.
Here are examples of other industries and functionality that only an industry-specific option will include:
In short, an industry-specific ERP software will reduce costs, speed up implementation, and better serve customer requirements to serve the industry’s best practices.
Another example of how to view an ERP system is based on the size of the companies they target with their product. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) will have different needs than a small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) or large enterprise, and thus the systems targeting these sectors will differ in both functionality and price.
While in theory, a small business could succeed with an ERP software designed for a large enterprise, they would likely be receiving far too complex of a solution riddled with features they don’t use–as well as a price tag far too expensive for their usage. Likewise, a large enterprise may enjoy the cost savings provided from a small business ERP software, but will quickly find the system to be limiting based on the offered functionality and accessibility available to their large user base.
ERP solutions can be broken down into their method of deployment:
Furthermore, each of these deployment models carries a unique pricing model:
The following products were chosen as our Editor’s Picks, a collection of some of the top ERP software options on the market today.