ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. The term evolved from earlier terms such as Material Requirements Planning (MRP, sometimes referred to as little MRP to distinguish it from Manufacturing Resource Planning) and Manufacturing Resource Planning (sometimes referred to as big MRP or more generally MRPII). Material Requirements Planning focused on time phased planning of materials required in support of manufactured items (based on a Bill of Material). These could be finished products or components. It ensures the right materials are at the right place at the right time in the appropriate quantity. The techniques associated with MRP became feasible during the 1960's as computers became more available to businesses. This approach enabled reductions in inventory while at the same time improving customer service, which had been thought unlikely with older inventory control theories. Manufacturing Resource Planning, the next evoloution of MRP, kept Materials Requirements Planning and added to it, by including financials and marketing. MRPII provided the coordination between production, finance, and marketing. The idea was to create a closed loop system between these three key areas of a manufacturing enterprise. With ERP the definition was further expanded to include additional business domains and also to support businesses/enterprises beyond just manufacturing companies. MRP, MRPII, and ERP are a combination of both business process theory and the software application suites that enable these processes. Today’s major ERP packages generally support finance, human resources, procurement, product development, sales and marketing, manufacturing and supply chain management. This is not all inclusive as vendors have tended to extend their footprint to all areas of the enterprise. Generally, application vendors aim to create integrated applications across these domains and provide a single database for one version of the truth, so to speak. The other thing that is generally claimed is that the applications contain best practices which will help drive operational improvements as a result of implementing.
Intel started its ERP implementation effort over a decade ago. As most large corporations, Intel has implemented elements of ERP throughout the company across this timeframe. We did not implement all elements at once or at all our business groups. Programs/projects were planned and launched based on business need, ROI, and business readiness. Being an engineering and manufacturing company Intel has been able to leverage the original concepts of MRP/MRPII and the newer elements of ERP. Moving forward I plan to relate some of my experiences and general thoughts on the ERP efforts I have been involved with here at Intel.