ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is all about handling multitudes of data that ensures a company works smoothly. While the basics of ERP often revolve around finance, human resources and other company assets, there are several processes for building relevant features in an ERP package specific to a company’s requirement. Of these processes - managing the data involved is also very important.
ERP packages contain several modules like finance, sales, distribution, materials, production control, human resources etc. One of the critical requirements for an ERP system is that all the modules involved work in unison. For this to happen efficiently, the backend data should be managed properly with a well-defined table structure. Since the data that is fed into the system is done in real time or close to real time and often doesn’t depend on periodic updates, all data incorporated should also be accurate, complete, timely and consistent.
Classifying the master data into broad categories helps in collection and arrangement of data in a structured manner. Following are some of the broad categories under which data usually gets classified before getting structured.
Employee database – This is information related to employee names, unique identification numbers, service centres, service points, skill sets, experience, work history, hourly wages, overtime wages etc. This database is very critical for the human resources department and gets updated in real time to track employee work hours every day.
Master finance database – The name says it all. This database is linked to financial management system to track and store ledger accounts, accounts payable and receivable, cash management, budgeting etc. Basic finance parameters for parent organization and all other group companies are also linked clearly to ensure effective integration.
Product database – This involves all data related to product(s) that are manufactured in the organization as a whole. Some of the key data that gets stored are product categorization, ordering systems, costing data, inventory collection, product price and relevant offers, logistics etc.
Vendor database – This contains information related to suppliers, type of raw material items supplied by each of them, payment terms, prices, discounts, method of invoicing, country location, currency, contact details etc. As like other databases, this database is not updated in real-time, but happens either monthly or quarterly depending on the nature of the organization.
This list is a general one and is often the basis across ERP systems in most organizations. However, the kind of organization will determine what changes need to be incorporated and the kind of processes and terminology that is required to create the database.
Irrespective, handling ERP data is a continuous affair. Discipline, sense of ownership, process reiterations in data governance are crucial factors for sustainability of the system.