The history of ERP goes back to 1970s however; it was not until 1980smwhen the computers were introduced in the planning process that organizations showed their interest in Material Resource Planning (MRP) programmes. MRP went on to become the basis of the system which evolved into ERP system. Through the years, the choice and implementation of technologies to support Material Requirements Planning (MRP) and Master Production Schedule (MPS) led to the development of a newer version of MRP (MRP II) in 1990s. By 1990s, a new system had been developed by software vendors which was able to handle the requirements of all business functions and provided a single platform for handling all information related queries to businesses.
Later systems were further enhanced to enable them to manage finance, production, business processes as well as human resource. This evolution of the ERP systems led organizations to see ERP as a way to better manage their resources (Kuei and Madu 2005).
Before the existence of ERP, an organization with multiple departments used to have different software of each of its department. This not only resulted in fragmentation of information. As all information was stored on different systems in business unit, which were sometime in a different country (Kale et al. 2008). With ERP, it was impossible to get information on time. Implementing an ERP permitted organization to discard their standalone computer system in their departments by replacing them with a single solution that provides an individual module for each of the departments. The integration of all business processes in one umbrella allows department to gain access to data from other department, something which was not possible in standalone systems (Gupta 2000).
The use of ERP offers several advantages to a business. The most prominent advantage of using an ERP system is lowering the costs of information process and saving of valuable time that could have been wasted in procedural manoeuvres and unwanted delays. The maintenance of separate information systems for each functional area was a very cumbersome practice, as this set up lacked coordination between different software systems; hence the concurrency between common information between different information systems had to be maintained manually (Leon 2007).
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