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Enterprise Application – Widening The Scope Of Your Business Process Exposure

Enterprise applications can be designed, developed and implemented within an organization. It may also be purchased from an independent software developer that often installs and maintains the software for their customers.

But what is an Enterprise Application?

It is a software that performs business functions such as Accounting, Production scheduling, Customer Information Management, Inventory Management and the likes.

A common concept of such an Enterprise application is the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. Major players in this field include SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft, JD Edwards and MFG Pro but there are thousands of competing vendors. These ERP packages are built on various platforms using different technologies, but they all perform more or less similar tasks in the manufacturing and logistics domain.

For instance, if you take any manufacturing organization, it would ideally have these major operations:

1) Sales – You have the sales orders generated

2) Production –The goods manufactured / produced based on the order

3) Warehouse – Where the goods are stored before dispatch

4) Distribution – Dispatch the product to the customer who has placed the order

5) Finance – Where all the accounting entries are registered

With application software, an organization can merge all these individual operations and create a workflow. This would give the baseline of how the information will be shared within a system. Any standard ERP can take care of these operations.

Additionally, there are a few more handy features which an Enterprise Application software should consist of:

*How is a Sales Order Generated?

It is based on a requirement given by the “Customer” – hence the software must take care of “Customer management”. All information related to a customer is stored in the system

A manufacturing company has its own set of vendors too– hence the application must have “Vendor management”. This includes accepting quotations from the vendor and feeding them in the system. A popular ERP has an in-built logic – which selects a preferred vendor based on the quotations received.

The Distribution channels could consist of own transport vehicles or the company ties up with a local forwarder. Here, the application should be able to expand its compatibility to outsourced partners. These forwarders are not part of the vendor list but a separate entity. The popular ERP’s have a feature where in they can have EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) transactions for all the goods dispatched to be interfaced with the forwarder’s system and in return capture the Airway bill number which is sent to the customer so that he can trace his goods.

So eventually the goods reach the customer and that closes the loop.

Actually, not yet – we forgot to bill the customer. That’s where the finance aspect appears. An invoice is generated once the order is placed in the system. This is sent to the customer along with the dispatched goods. This goes under the ‘Accounts Receivables’ group. A credit entry is created against the customer’s name. When the payment is eventually received, a debit entry is created against the same customer and that finally closes the loop of a single delivery.

An ERP is usually spoken about in terms of its modules – e.g. SD (Sales and Distribution), PP (Production Planning), and FI (Finance) – because each in itself would be a system big enough that needs a professional approach to be developed and implemented.

There is much more to it, but the important factor is, it manages end-to-end workflow of an organization within a computerized system, Thus, lessening paper work, and reducing the checklist that every department needs to maintain to ensure completeness.

Recently an end-to-end Solution provider company, V2Solutions acted as a consulting partner for a well-known Logistics Service Provider and provided them enterprise services for application built up on Oracle ApEx (Application Express) with Oracle Database. The Client was looking out for a partner, who brought in domain expertise, technical knowledge and support capabilities. This application has helped client save on more than 80-90% of the costs.

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Mark Anderson

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