Will the Real ERP Please Stand Up?

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Scroll to bottom for contest details!

Sometimes the software selection process reminds me of that children’s game, you know, the one where you blindfold the kiddies and they take turns stabbing you the donkey with rusty tacks.

Oh, sorry, wait, no, that’s the software demo process. More on that in a future blog post.

Software selection, now, that reminds me of that other children’s game, the one where you play “who am I?” until your son punches you in the face.

Speaking of prizes, stay tuned for the contest at the bottom of this post! But first:

What the heck is an ERP system?

Apparently there’s no real consensus. Depending on who you ask, it’s…

* Note: this last definition is rendered a little suspect by a reference to “links with the spiritual world.” Not that I’m, um, against that. If you have first-hand knowledge of out-of-the-box faith management solutions (or would they be “best of creed” haha), please let me know.

Naturally, I like TEC’s definition best of all, partly because TEC has a large say in what I’ll be eating next month, but also because I think it covers the bases:
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software helps integrate management, staff, and equipment, combining all aspects of the business into one system in order to facilitate every element of the manufacturing process. ERP groups traditional company and management functions (such as accounting, human resources [HR], manufacturing management, and customer relationship management [CRM]) into a coherent whole. Manufacturing management also includes inventory, purchasing, and quality and sales management.

My point: how you define “ERP” is actually a critical component of your software selection process. After all, to select a system that meets your needs, you must first define those needs (more here).

Now for the contest portion of this post.

I want to know what you think ERP is.

Here are the rules: Define ERP in the comment field below. Maximum: 65 words. That is all. Oh, and references to existing software vendor products will be summarily deleted.

We’ll judge the entries based on originality, clarity, comprehensiveness, and possibly ingenuity.

The winner will receive a $100 rebate on the purchase of any RFP template of your choice, and I’ll publish the winning entry in an upcoming blog post, complete with glowing praise.

Contest ends November 3, 2008.
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