Key ERP Modules – Types, Features & Functions

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have been playing a crucial role for business processes for many years. An ERP system provides the automation of difficult business processes. It also shared a database among all financial and operational information in companies. As it is suggested by the name, the ERP Modules is helpful in the management of several resources of the enterprise. ERP system tracks and manages everything including from the salary of employees to entry of a tiny screw into the company.

An ERP solution allows the access to all employees of a company related to any information and planning. By which, they are able to answer any questions and future planning related to the current performance of their enterprise. The guidance can also be
provided about the target areas that need specific improvements in future. As a single source, ERP is able to manage data accuracy as well as offer equal numbers of data to everyone without considering their roles. An ERP system also provides quality in decision making to make the processes more efficient and cost savings. Moreover, ERP is able to automate several tasks including reducing error as a result, employees feel free to focus on other strategic work.

Common ERP module supporting both back and front office activities such as customer relationship management (CRM) accounting, procurement and supply chain management. Other functions such as manufacturing, inventory management, order management, and warehouse management are also provided by the ERP module. Apart from these, professional services automation (service resource management), marketing automation, human Resource Management and eCommerce are also offered by ERP.

What is the meaning of the ERP system modules?

Every ERP module is designed for special business activities, maintains the data and manages the processes. These functions will be beneficial for employees to do their work with more efficiency. Each module attached with the ERP system, by this system is able to offer a single source of exact data. It is not affected even by the adding of new modules in business. If we assume the ERP system as a tool box, then the modules are considered to be screwdrivers, hammers and other tools that have their different uses.

How Are ERP Modules Helpful For Businesses?

Due to the modular design of this software, it offers all the requirements of a business and this is the reason that it becomes universal. Before purchasing modules for any organisation, the requirements like enterprise model, operations and key challenges must be considered. After that, ERP modules are able to recognise new requirements or challenges, which are often faced by the organisation.

The excellence of modular ERP software lies in the situation, that an organisation can join the functionality, even without replacing the place of any foundation. After changing the place of an organisation, there is no need for the implementation of a new ERP systems. With the changes in requirements, the existing ERP systems can be adjoined with a wide range of modules.

What process of charge is used by the ERP vendors for each module?

There are a variety of options to realise what comes under an ERP purchase and for which module ERP vendor charges some extra cost. Usually, the basic financial functions are existing in the base package. Meanwhile, the CRM and human resources management features come under the list of extra charges. Even some combo offers are provided by the industry, for instance, a manufacturer can purchase a package with supply chain management. While a retailer would be able to purchase a package with commerce included. On-premises ERP vendors take the charges on the basis of per-user licence. On the other hand, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors take their charges on the basis of per user, per month or per year. The charges are also applicable on the basis of transaction but only in a few cases.

Main ERP Modules with Their Features

Finance modules

The finance and accounting modules is known as one of the most prominent ERP modules. It provides the facility for businesses to recognise their present financial status and future outlook. Tracking accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) are some
of the main characteristics of these modules, and it is also manageable for the general edger. The important financial documents including balance sheets, tax statements and cash receipts are also created and stored by this ERP module.

The several tasks like billing, vendor payments and account reconciliation can be automated by the finance module. It can also be helpful for the accounting department to close their ledger books in a specific time and recognise the present revenue standards. It is recommended for the financial planning and analysis employees that they must have to prepare key reports like profit and loss statements and reports related to boards.

Procurement modules

The procurement modules is recognised as a purchasing module. This module is beneficial to provide security to the materials that are products of any organisation which are needed for manufacturers to make or sell goods. This can be used to maintain a list of vendors which got approval in this module and manage these suppliers to specific items. The module can automate proposals for a quote, after that it will be able to track and analyse the quotes that come in.

The procurement module provides the guidelines to the purchasing departments to prepare and send out the orders, just after the acceptance of a quote by the company. The process of shipment that is starting from the purchase order to the sale order, from the shipment to the arrival of order, all can be tracked by this module.

Manufacturing modules

The older version of ERP, material requirements planning (MRP) systems was made with some limitations, because it was only used by the manufacturers. Nowadays, production management and manufacturing execution systems exist in ERP systems. To
provide the surety about planned production runs, the manufacturing modules come as a helping hand. It helps to inform the manufacturers about the capacity of raw materials and machinery. The manufacturing modules can be helpful to update the companies about the status of goods that are already in progress. And, also beneficial to track the actual output against forecasted production. In order to plan adequate production, the manufacturing module can calculate the average production time to produce any item. After that, the comparison of supply with forecasting demand is also considered by this.

Inventory Management modules

The inventory management modules activates the inventory control. The quantity of items and location down to individual SKUs is trackable by inventory management module. The detailed picture of present as well as incoming inventory is offered by the inventory management module. It can be created by an integration with the help of a procurement tool. This software has advantages for businesses to manage their inventory costs and also provides the exact data about the sufficient stock, through which they are able to track the amount of remaining stock. An inventory management application plays a significant role to
compare the sales trends with available products. It provides the help to the companies for making the informed decisions by which they can increase the margins and inventory turns. For better customer service, it is beneficial to escape from the stockouts and delays.

The inventory management application is also used by the businesses which are already using other supply chain management modules. By this application, they can manage purchase orders, sales orders and shipping services. Larger businesses will require a version of this software that is able to track the inventory over several locations.

Order Management modules

The orders from receipt to delivery are trackable by an order management modules. All orders to the warehouse, distribution centre or retail store are offered through this module of ERP system. Everything is controlled by the order management module from the placement of order by customer, then tracking of status to the shipment. An order management module is used for the satisfaction of customers, by providing their orders on exact delivery time. It prevents orders from being lost and also decreases the extra cost for expedited shipping. The advanced version of order management application is helpful for a company to offer the
most cost-effective option.

Warehouse Management module

A warehouse management modules is available to deliver fast return on investment, specially for those organisations who have their own warehouses. This application is designed for the guidance of employees of warehouses, about all warehouse processes
including from picking to packing and shipments. It can also be beneficial for companies to plan labour depending on the estimated order quantity. The warehouse management module can boost the various picking strategies including batch, wave and zone picking. Some modules are able to show the accomplished pick path to employees, which depends on the
efficiency of picking strategy for a given organisation.

When the integration of the warehouse management module is completed with inventory management and order management applications, the workers are able to find the required items within seconds. By this, shipments are quickly reached at the doorstep which leads to the more satisfaction of customers.

Supply Chain Management

The supply chain management modules is helpful to track every step in details, related to movement of supplies and goods. The process is continuing in chains, from sub-suppliers to suppliers and manufacturers to distributors and to retailers or customers. The processes related to products which are returned, in order to get refund or replacement, all are manageable by the supply chain management module.

The modules such as inventory and order management, manufacturing, procurement and warehouse management can be included in the supply chain management module. The functionality of this module is more than the capability of those modules.

CRM modules

The customer relationship management (CRM module) collects the information related to prospects and all customers. That covers the communication history of a company, including calls and emails with the complete details of the date and time. As the employees are capable of providing complete information to the customers. Thus, the customer relationship management module is responsible for improving the customer services.

On the other hand, the organisations of numerous businesses are using customer relationship management(CRM) modules to manage sales modules. By tracking the communication with prospects through the CRM module, companies can detect the customers who will be helpful to gain the promotions as well as cross-sell opportunities.

Professional Services Automation (Service Resource Management) module

A professional service automation (PSA) modules, is also known as service resource management module. It can help a company to plan and manage a large variety of projects. This module is mostly used by the services-based organisations. The application is capable of tracking the status of projects and also allows managers for the approval of cost and timesheets. It provides all required documents in a shared place among the teams as a collaboration facility. Moreover, the process of preparing and sending bills to the customers, is also automatically provided by the PSA module.

Work force Management or WM module

There is a similarity between a workforce management module and human resource management module. But the workforce management module is specially made for businesses with more hourly than salaried workers. The attendance of workers and working hours including productivity of employees, all can be measured by the workforce management module.

Payroll could also be considered as part of the workforce management module. It can automatically provide the paychecks to workers on a specific schedule. A payroll sub-module is also able to offer reports about overtime hours and payroll expenses.

HRM modules

Human Resource Management (HRM) or Human Capital Management at (HCM) can provide all the facilities of workforce management application. This famous module has the capability to record details about all employees and documents including job descriptions, reviews of performance and offer letters. It not only stores the information about work hours but also tracks the sick leaves and benefits information.

HRM module can eliminate the duplicate and inaccurate data and records various ranges of information of each worker.

E-Commerce modules

E-Commerce modules are specially designed for those businesses who want to sell their
products in online mode. Business to business or business to customer e-commerce
websites are easier to launch with the help of an e-commerce module. In order to make the
e-Commerce applications more user-friendly for the customers by adding new products and
product descriptions, images, specifics etc. It is also capable of changing the look and feel of
any e-commerce website.

When the integration of ERP applications with e-commerce applications is completed. After
that, all inventory information including payment, order are transferred from the e-Commerce
module to the shared database. It can record all transactions and remove the out of stock
products from the website and also make sure that the shipment will be completed on given

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation module is designed to manage several marketing campaigns. The campaigns can be organised through digital channels such as social media, SMS, web and email. It sends the emails about the rules of a campaign to customers, in a manner of relevant information.

Marketing automation software can provide this specific information to the campaigns, by which they can measure the performance and future marketing plans with expenses. These applications are beneficial to increase sales, overtime and customer loyalty.

What is the right ERP module for your business?

Before investing in the ERP modules, the businesses must have to measure some features like business type, industry, current issues and other factors. While few modules out of many are designed for most industries. Every industry required a finance and accounting module to manage its financial health. It would be difficult to manage a business without implementing any software, because it can offer financial information and accounting tasks.

Although finance and accounting is made for all industries, CRM is another module that has more advantages for most industries. The workforce management and HRM module is also beneficial for industries by which they can manage the performance of companies with few employees. To make sure that employees can get their payments on time and employers can track their information through a single platform.

Supply chain management module is an advantage for a company which includes the categories related to manufacturer, distributors and retailers. Most organisations can manage their manufacturing, warehouse and procurement and other daily operations by this module.

A project management module is related to services businesses such as consultancies, maintenance and repair companies. Companies can get a fast return on investment with the help of this module. It also automates the billing processes on time and simplifies the decisions for better planning of projects.

While the commerce and marketing automation modules cannot be ignored to attract the customers. It offers a more effective integration that increases the learning and adoption among employees.