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Escalle, Cotteleer & Austin (1999) explains that the idea of the enterprise resource planning stems back to early 1990s when Gartner Group for the first time coined the acronym Enterprise Resource Planning as the extension for the MRP(material requirements planning) that was later on elevated to manufacturing resource planning and lastly to the computer-integrated manufacturing. Enterprise Resource planning Supplemented (ERP), these encompassed a broader picture which reflects the evolution of the applications which are integrated beyond the manufacturing processes, not all the ERP packages were developed basing on manufacturing alone, the initial applications were based on accounting, maintenance, and the human resources. A few years later, in 1990s the Enterprise Resource Planning systems included all the core functions as required to run the enterprises.
Background Microsoft Dynamics ERP Products
Historically, the Enterprise Resource Planning was regarded as one of the most complicated and high-cost technologies which tended to frustrate the early adopters. In its efforts to address this issue, Microsoft extended its positive user experience basing on its business software to Enterprise Resource Planning by offering simplicity through the user interface, the value of the software, and its innovation. The mechanics and the philosophy of the Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning are based on the approach of development and the implementation of the products for automating the Enterprise Resource Planning from the customers' point of view. The Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning has gained a lot of good experience for the product development based on the performance of its product line. This is very important because the typical ERP users in most cases are not the engineers. (Escalle, Cotteleer & Austin, 1999)
Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning has established its Uniqueness in the market place. The Innovation and the value of the Enterprise Resource Planning products enable the users to customize it, improve on its flexibility, and continuously enhance its efficiency to counter the competition from other established software.
The customers (both current and prospective) help Microsoft Dynamics ERP to identify the types of problems in the field and the means for solving. The most significant problems that Microsoft Dynamics help its customers to solve is its ability to allow them to standardize the operations across the large organizations by implementing Enterprise Resource Planning.
The future of the Enterprise Resource Planning is highly dependent on the Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Dynamics aims at staying ahead of the market by continuously leading the best practices in the Enterprise Resource Planning market. In order to be competitive, Microsoft Dynamics intends to embrace several major trends which will benefit its customers, this include;
i. Simplified, and role-based User Interfaces which does not burden the users with the unnecessary information in performing their jobs.
ii. Mobile architectures that evolves mainly for the Enterprise Resource Planning applications.
iii. The increased social networking aspects of the Enterprise Resource Planning for the greater levels of collaboration.
iv. The use of the Artificial intelligence to aid Enterprise Resource Planning users.
In its basic form, the Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning integrates the internal and the external management information across the entire organization, embracing finance/accounting applications, manufacturing processes, sales programs and the support. The Microsoft Enterprise Resource Planning system automates all the activities within the single integrated software. The main purpose of the Enterprise Resource Planning to facilitate the flow of information between all the business departments within the boundaries of the organization and manages the connections to the outside parties. The Microsoft Enterprise resource planning can perform the following tasks in an organization;
According to Davenport, (2000) The Microsoft Enterprise Resource Planning system connects to the real-time data and the transaction data in a variety of applications. These involve the following;
Direct integration- The Microsoft Dynamic ERP systems connectivity is part of the system product applications enables communications within the plant floor equipment. Microsoft Dynamic offers support to the plant floor equipments that their customers operate. Database integration-The Microsoft Enterprise Resource planning system enable the connection to the plant floor data sources by staging the tables in a database. All the Plant floor systems processes have provisions to feed the necessary information into the entire database. The Enterprise Resource Planning system reads the information in the tables.
The Enterprise appliance transaction modules -these are the advanced devices which communicate directly with the plant floor equipments and with the Enterprise Resource Planning system basing on the methods which are supported by the Enterprise Resource Planning of the staging table, the Web Services, or the system's specific program interfaces. The goodness systems Enterprise Appliance Transaction Modules are designed in such a way as to make use of the Enterprise Appliance Transaction Module is that it is the off-the-shelf technology.
The custom integration-as the system integrators Microsoft Dynamic provides the custom solutions. Although the systems tend to have the highest level of the initial integration costs, they generally have higher long term maintenance and the reliability costs.The Standard protocols-Microsoft Dynamic provides the Communication drivers for the plant floor equipments which separate the products ability to log the data to the staging tables. The Standards have been set within the industry in order to enhance the operation between the software products.
The advantage of Microsoft Dynamic Enterprise Resource Planning is its ability to integrate a varied of the processes in a business to save time and the expenses. Decision making process is quicker and with reduced errors. The visibility of Data across the organization is improved by the use of the ERPs.
The most functional areas of the Microsoft Enterprise Resource Planning system directly relates to the manufacturing specifically the designing, engineering, the bill of materials, the work orders, scheduling process, document/file management, the workflow management, quality control, the cost management, the manufacturing process flow, costing calculations basing on the activity, the product lifecycle management, and the management of the supply chain. The Enterprise Resource Management is important especially to the design, engineering, and the manufacturing communities. A critical analysis shows that the ERPs are suitable to the medium and even small sized manufacturing businesses especially to control and strategize for the future.
However, the ERPs in general have the shortfalls which include; the problems arising from the Customization, the process of Re-structuring of the business processes in order to fit the Enterprise Resource Planning system negatively impacts on the competitiveness by diverting the attention given to the critical activities, ERP implementation has high costs compared to the less integrated traditional systems, It is impossible to overcoming the resistance to share the sensitive information between departments thereby forming the challenges, the Integration of the independent businesses creates the unnecessary dependencies. The implementation of the ERPs requires an Extensive training which can easily divert the available resources from the daily operations.