Enterprise Resource Planning for Supply Chain Resource Management

Abstract

The functionality of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system largely determines the performance of the organization. The following report evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of six leading software systems in the market in order to determine the most suitable option for our electronics manufacturing company. Based on the analysis, we conclude that Microsoft Dynamics is a recommended system due to the wide selection of components, relative ease of use, strong user support, and flexible pricing strategy.

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Introduction

Effective enterprise resource planning is essential for the organization’s performance. The emergence of software solutions has greatly simplified the process. However, the products that currently populate the market vary greatly in terms of functionality, cost, and usability. The current report provides recommendations on the most suitable of the six available MRP, CRP, and ERP solutions.

Main body

The first candidate is Syspro, a resource planning suite used by organizations in the fields of medicine, manufacturing, and finance. In its current form, the software incorporates a list of features corresponding to modern workflow process requirements (Schroeder, Goldstein, & Rungtusanatham, 2013). First, Syspro offers convenient inventory management functionality such as assigning inventory elements to different groups and families in order to unify the sales units for marketing purposes. In addition, it provides real-time data on aspects such as inventory turnover, which allows forecasting of output costs. The current cost of the suite is $175 per month.

However, it is important to point out two significant drawbacks. First, some of the suite’s features are clearly oriented at small and medium wholesalers and manufacturers, which makes it less adaptable for the purposes of our company. Second, the multitude of features available in the latest version contributes to the cluttering of the interface, which decreases the accessibility of the product. While the majority of the issues can be resolved by contacting support, it slows down the process considerably.

The second candidate is Oracle ERP (enterprise planning software). The majority of Oracle’s clients consider cost-effectiveness the main advantage of this software solution. The software is delivered in the form of modules, with each module targeting a specific area, such as procurement, finances, risk management, portfolio management, and manufacturing, among others (Oracle, n.d.). Such an approach allows for a flexible selection of options depending on the organization’s set of needs.

The pricing is formed based on the selected modules and ranges from $15 to $400 thousand, which is a restrictive cost even at the low end of the spectrum. The latest version of the software is based on an updated version of the interface which mitigates the issues of complexity and diversity of features. Finally, some of the user’s voices concerns with the responsiveness of the support team, which can be an issue considering the comprehensive nature of the functions provided by the software. Overall, Oracle ERP is the most encompassing option on the list.

The third candidate is SAP Business One developed by Sapphire Systems. The solution can be provided in several formats including desktop terminals, native Android and iOS apps, and a cloud-based Web platform. This aspect of the software greatly increases its compatibility with current systems and workflow processes. The software system offers a range of pricing options including a personal license, subscription cost, and a starter pack for small enterprises.

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In addition, a number of complementary services are offered by the company including installation and maintenance. According to the feedback provided by some of the users, these additional services can contribute to unforeseen expenses since in some instances certain functions fail to work as intended. In addition, the available information suggests that not all units are equally approachable in terms of ease of use and require additional training (Finances Online, n.d.). While the company offers training sessions and seminars, these also add to the total cost of the product. To sum up, SAP Business One excels at basic functions but performs less predictably at complex tasks.

The fourth option is Microsoft Dynamics. The selection of options and functions offered by this suite is close to that of Oracle and can be delivered in a selected form by excluding the unnecessary ones. In its current form, the interface allows for a seamless and streamlined experience and provides easy access to both the basic and the advanced features. The software is reported to be user-friendly and accessible (OntargIT, n.d.).

In addition, the problems can be addressed by contacting the support team. However, the diversity of functions may prevent the operators from utilizing their full potential and may require hiring a professional consultant. The product is also associated with a rather complex pricing policy which, depending on the choice of options, results in a price range of $120 to $4200 per device (OntargIT, n.d.). Finally, it integrates with the majority of Microsoft products as well as the most popular software systems. However, it is only available for Windows platforms and as a cloud platform, which undermines its compatibility with current systems.

The fifth option is E2 Shop System, a software solution for manufacturing, floor control, inventory management, and sales management. This option is somewhat limited in comparison to the others since it lacks several important features such as enterprise asset management, distribution management, and HR management, among others (Capterra, n.d.). The main advantage of the software is its ease of use.

The available features are easy to utilize, and the suite offers an exhaustive range of data analysis and reporting tools. In its basic form, the software provides the essential functions out-of-the-box without the need for tuning. However, in some cases, this may be considered a disadvantage since it does not always contain the necessary setting and its default option may not be suitable for our needs. The support is comprehensive and responsive. The price of the system’s implementation ranges from $5 to $200 thousand depending on the organization and the choice of options, which is only marginally smaller than the cost of its more advanced rivals. The software is available for installation on Windows and Mac desktops and as a cloud service.

The sixth option is Fishbowl Manufacturing. This software system offers a relatively modest selection of functions, including manufacturing, forecasting, transportation tracking, labor costs, merchant costs, and the support of several accounting standards. However, it lacks several important options, with process manufacturing and document management being the most notable ones (Fishbowl Inventory, 2016).

This factor severely limits its functionality. Fishbowl is also notable for its straightforward pricing policy consisting of a single lifetime license purchased for $4,395. The system has native support for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS and utilizes cloud functionality, which makes it compatible with all modern systems. Similar to E2 Shop System, it is highly accessible and user-friendly and offers an essential set of analytics sufficient for small and medium enterprises. The company offers training options and webinars and maintains a high quality of support service. However, it should be noted that the software is clearly oriented at accounting whereas the majority of functions are basic.

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Conclusion

Based on the information above, we suggest Microsoft Dynamics as a preferred option. This suite offers one of the best collections of components that can be selected in accordance with the needs of the organization. The software is also sufficiently accessible to eliminate drawbacks on a daily basis. Finally, and, perhaps, most importantly, it offers a flexible pricing policy that would minimize the initial expenses, which is especially relevant for our company.

References

Capterra. (n.d.). E2 Shop System. Web.

Finances Online. (n.d.). SAP Business One review. Web.

Fishbowl Inventory. (2016). Fishbowl Manufacturing feature sheet. Web.

OntargIT. (n.d.). How much will a typical Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation cost? Web.

Oracle. (n.d.). ERP products. Web.

Schroeder, R. G., Goldstein, S. M., & Rungtusanatham, M. J. (2013). Operations management in the supply chain (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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