Enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are considered the backbone of manufacturing enterprises. These applications integrate different functions of a business and the successful adoption of ERP has brought many other software applications into existence. ERP is directly or indirectly responsible for the emergence of warehouse managing systems, business application management systems (BAM) and cloud ERPs. ERP, as the backbone software of a company, integrates with all of these applications.
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)
Managing goods in a warehouse is a complex act that involves the warehouse personnel, the suppliers to the warehouse, the receiver (eventually of goods), and other interested parties such as accounting, tax officials, compliance organizations, etc. Warehouse management systems (WMS) software has grown with the mass adoption of ERP. A WMS offers a company the opportunity to know what is in the warehouse, when it arrived, when it is expected to leave, its nature (material, part, product, manufacturer, etc.), and its cost. It allows the company to direct actions involving these stored materials as electronic requests (orders) come in and have to be fulfilled.
Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and Logistics Management Systems (LMS)
The process of governing the transit of goods involves a lot more than trucks, railroads, and sea-lanes. It is compliance, taxation, customs, security, insurance, language, timing, spacing, and a host of other factors. Transportation management software (TMS) and logistics management software have evolved as a result. These types of software may be an extension of a large-scale set of enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, or a system of its own that is useful for third-party logistics providers that want to computerize their business.
Business Activity Management (BAM)
Applications from big ERP providers often spread out into many territories of application. One offshoot of ERP is business activity management (BAM) which is coming to logistics and the supply chain as well. BAM is a software application that helps monitor business activity and processing using electronic information to analyze key events or results that are summarized, and to provide alerts concerning alarm situations, such as a drop off in sales or a delay in delivery. There is clearly a growing executive requirement for speed in timely management as to where materials are and where they’re going. This has spurred the growth of a whole new set of applications. It is the latest electronic method of keeping close tabs on your business and everything that goes into running it. BAM was developed to provide senior executives a dashboard review on a single computer screen of what a company looks like in its processes.
The increasingly popular cloud ERP brings down the costs involved in the implementation of traditional ERP and also offers flexible pricing. These applications are also faster to implement and configure and have started becoming the supply chain ERP systems of choice for businesses. Cloud ERP applications can also be easily integrated with mobile supply chain applications and help businesses gain an advantage by getting access to real-time information and timely updates on the smartphones of its business users. With the combination of flexible pricing and faster implementation, cloud ERPs have disrupted supply chains across enterprises and have transformed businesses that have adopted them.
The emergence of applications that can manage even small-scale, day-to-day operations more efficiently and economically has begun to revolutionize the industry. With many vendors focusing on the demand to increase the speed, accuracy, and access to information that is presented to decision makers through these applications, ERP has catalyzed multiple technologies into delivering value.