All About Enterprise Resource Planning Software and Its Features

Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP software) is an integrated system that combines and binds a company’s various functions including human resources, financials, customer relations, production etc. While this is its main function, it also helps in linking the organisation to its various customers and vendors.

An ERP software can help an organisation synchronise and streamline its different departments into one single and easy-to-handle software system. Nowadays, there are many enterprise resource planning software packages available. Some of these packages are Adempiere, BlueErp, Compiere, Fedena, JFire, OpenERP, Tryton, Postbooks, WebERP etc.

The configuration of ERP software begins by deciding which modules the company wishes to install. Most of the systems, today, are modular since they provide the flexibility in implementing certain functions. The modules installed vary from company to company. There are certain common modules such as finance that are adopted by almost all companies. On the other hand, a module of human resource would not be required by certain companies. It is said that the amalgamation benefits increase with a greater number of modules. But cost is an issue that needs to be kept in mind.

After the modules have been adopted, the system then needs to be adjusted according configuration tables. A configuration table helps to customise a particular function of the system so that it has the freedom of doing business. Using configuration tables enables a company to use the best possible way that is beneficial for a company’s processes.

Enterprise resource planning software package, generally, has the following characteristics:

  • All its applications have access to a single database in order to avoid invalid data and multiple data definitions
  • All its modules have a kind of uniformity
  • Once developed, the users can have an easy access to any information without the help of any integration work
  • It provides a business with a range of functionalities that are supported by features like flexibility, openness and global focus

Before the ERP model was developed, organisations used to have a separate software system for each department. This lead to a lack of synchronisation between the different departments and hence, there was a loss of productivity. The speed of the work done also suffered and hence, the overall performance of the organisation used to take a back seat. Having comprehensive enterprise resource planning software helps to increase productivity, enhance the speed of the work, promote smooth information exchange and lastly, leads to an increase in overall performance.

Stress and the Domino Effect

Living a human existence can be stressful. No matter where in the world you life today, rich and poor alike and all of us in-between feel the shattering effects of stress. At this moment in history, in the United States, many sit on the edge of panic, struggling with a financial crisis that few saw coming.

Some years ago, two psychiatrists at the University of Washington Medical School devised a scale of stressful life events, some good, some bad, all stressful. They called it the “Social Readjustment Rating Scale” with the number one stressor, the death of a spouse, rated at 100 units. Even vacations and Christmas make the list as number 41 and 42 with stress racking up 13 and 12 units each.

It was interesting to note that in the list of 43 items, over one third were related to work, job, business, finance, “boss” or money. The research found that of those whose “Life Change Units: were more than 300 units within a year, 80% would get sick in the near future. the fewer stressful life situations, the less illness!

Let’s just say we begin with a healthy body but watch the dominoes tumble anyway…

  1. First stress enters into the picture, unending, unremitting – job related, financial, family injury– all of the above.
  2. And the body reacts: the adrenals are triggered to dump acidic battery-acid-like cortisol producing the powerful “fight or flight” response which continues to trigger as long as there is stress.
  3. Then acidic cytokine hormones are released systemically and because there is no specific point of injury (a broken bone, a poisonous bite) never turn “off” the stream of acid it’s dumping.
  4. The body pH, normally slightly alkaline, now is acidic causing an acidic mouth (canker sores, cavities), hyper-acidic stomach (indigestion, acid reflux), acidic small intestines (poor assimilation, mal-nutrition) and poor elimination due to lack of peristaltic action.
  5. Toxins from acidic fecal matter back up into the blood stream forcing the body to steal sodium from the stomach lining (leading to more digestive problems) and then calcium from the bones (osteoporosis) to buffer the blood back to slightly alkaline (7.2 to 7.4) – any slight deviation could mean death.
  6. The bod’ys acid terrain is now the perfect breeding ground for disease-causing microbes to proliferate as well as parasites, yeast and fungus.
  7. Unending fatigue sets in somewhere along the line with aches and pains as the body tries to deal with acid causing inflammation.
  8. When the vital signs are affected (heart beat/pulse, respiration, blood pressure and core temperature) we know we’re in trouble!
  9. Invading forces, in response to the acidic system are ready to finish the fob of breaking down the cellular structure so it can return to “dust”.

Because of “disease care” training, the typical allopathic remedy is a drug for each symptom. The health-care practitioner offers herbs and supplement, again treatment for the symptoms. no one is looking for the root cause of the acid flood. And the people continue to perish as they pop sometimes dozens of pills a day or, as in my own case, 90 herbs put up daily in three snack baggies.

Here is a two-step plan to reverse the domino effect:

  1. Pinpoint stress factors in your life and find workable ways to resolve them.
  2. Consider adding “stress relievers” to your daily routine:

  • Early morning walks – take your mate, your friend, your dog
  • Exercise groups – yoga, tai chi, aerobics, the gym, tennis, golf – get moving!
  • Relaxation techniques – meditation, biofeedback, massage, a warm bath…
  • Practice positive thinking – more helpful than you’d ever imagine!
  • Read a good book
  • TURN OF THE TV
  • Find someone you can share with/talk to
  • Simplify your life – slow down
  • Help someone worse off than you – pay it forward!
  • Laugh more
  • Eat better
  • Get to bed earlier – sufficient sleep is a healer

Stress is a killer that, once recognized, and with a simple plan in place, is 100% reversible. You’ve heard it all before – NOW DO IT!

When Evaluating Performance Consider The Intangibles

Decision making can take many forms depending upon the specific aspects of performance being identified and addressed. When leaders are making performance-based decisions regarding their organizational units, the decisions are typically based upon individual performance of the leaders, managers and employees under their direction.

Although performance can be documented in tangible and measurable terms, it invariably points to the performance or lack thereof of the individual(s) accountable for specific results. However, because decisions concerning these individuals are never made in a void, a number of more subjective factors must be considered.

This is important for leaders to appreciate because the performance evaluation program in an empowered organization incorporates all pertinent factors and contexts in order to yield more informed decisions regarding individual and corporate performance.

Since performance decisions revolve around the individual employees within an organization, the following less tangible factors need consideration. Often leaders are subconsciously aware of these aspects when making decisions, but they require more deliberate and formal weighing.

However, where possible even subjective factors should be linked to something tangible. In some cases overall employee performance and behaviors can be benchmarked, giving leaders a tangible backdrop against which to evaluate an employee when a decision is needed.

Cooperation

Certain employees will cooperate to the extent they are compelled to do so, while others will cooperate and offer their services beyond what is expected. In a union environment, some employees will hide behind negotiated rules to mask their lack of willingness to cooperate.

Undoubtedly when performance decisions must be made concerning individual employees, the level of cooperation among them becomes an important factor to consider. Within the empowered organization, cooperation tends to increase as more decisions are driven down to frontline employees.

Enthusiasm

As companies face continual change and evolve into empowered organizations, individual employees may become fearful or resistant to adjustments being made. With little other choice they may accept them, but not be enthusiastic. Leaders should watch for these tendencies as they can produce a drag on individual performance and even spread to others, further affecting motivation and morale.

Motivation

Personal levels of cooperation and enthusiasm are indicators of the individual employee’s motivation. As a leader transitions his or her employees into a cohesive organizational unit, employee motivation should shift from, “What’s in it for me?” thinking to a more group-oriented outlook.

As organizations transition from the traditional centralized and polarized bureaucracy to an empowered organization, employees also undergo a transition. Some will undoubtedly progress faster than others, but there comes a time when all should be motivated at least more by the group than the self. Thus an employee’s perspective must be considered in making performance decisions. If one or more employees have problems in this area, the leader must address them lest they fester and impact the progress of the organization.

Feedback and Insight

Employees that have worked in a job for a long period of time develop what is known as “native knowledge.” As this is developed, these employees begin to know all the “tricks of the trade” enabling them to be more efficient in their jobs. This is the information that leaders must tap into and share with the rest of their employees.

However, many longtime employees are reluctant to share this information since it provides them with “insurance” and a sense of job security. They are fearful that once they have shared this information, lower-paid employees may replace them.

As leaders evaluate their organizational performance, the feedback and insights shared by individual employees must be considered. Leaders should know the level of contribution an employee is capable of providing through daily interaction with them. They should be aware of those employees who are sharing their expertise and those who are not, and this is then factored into decisions made regarding performance.

Teamwork

The role of the leader is to lead and form the employees under them into a team focused on mutual goals and objectives. The more cohesive the organizational unit, the more productive and efficient it becomes. Thus as decisions are made about performance, the level of teamwork becomes an increasingly important consideration.

As decisions are made over time, the levels of teamwork should rise accordingly. Undoubtedly, if problems are identified with one or more employees, factors of cooperation, enthusiasm, motivation and performance also become issues with these employees. All of these factors are interlinked when making decisions regarding performance.

Performance

As all evaluative decision making factors are interlinked, deficiencies in one or more of these areas will contribute to personal performance problems. Conversely, strong indications in all of these decision making categories will contribute to enhanced performance.

Most performance decisions are based upon end results alone. However, when the sum total of these factors is evaluated, the problems behind the lack of performance are highlighted, making the leader’s decisions more meaningful.

When the root causes behind a problem are identified, it is easy for leaders to take the specific actions required to solve the problem.

Uncontrollable Circumstances

The final factor that must be considered in making performance decisions is the impact of uncontrollable events upon individual performance. Obviously factors of global competition, economic downturns and situations such as a shipping strike, internal production issues, and even weather can impact individual results. These realities and circumstances must be given appropriate consideration in making equitable performance decisions.

Excerpt: Strengthening Leadership Performance (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011)