Five ERP features you didn't know you needed

Lots of different industries use an ERP system at work. Every one of those ERPs is made up of some features that are relevant to some people, and some that are relevant to others.

Yet one thing is certain: there are features that you aren’t making the most of. Let’s take a look at a few that you might not think of in your ERP and what they offer.

1. Scheduling

This isn’t just for manufacturers.

We all have projects and due dates, no matter what kind of work our organization does. ERP scheduling can help. Schedules include milestones, and no matter what those are called in your world, they are somewhat similar to operations required to manufacture a product. Schedules also allocate resources over time and manufacturing jobs do this too.

Are you looking for a non-production schedule tool? It might be there already in your ERP and it is already paid for.

2. Validation

Validation is a feature built into every ERP.  Validation is important because it protects your data and helps prevent errors or erroneous data from corrupting your ERP. Say your customer wants his order shipped on March 4th. Does your company use a format 3/4/YY?  Or another format such as 4th March YYYY? Both are valid, but setting a date field to accept only the format you prefer makes it difficult to inadvertently enter a date that might be misread as April 3.

Use this guide to 70 key ERP features to find out what your company might be missing out on

3. User and employee level security

Every ERP includes security features too. Security begins when you start your ERP with a unique user ID and a password that is yours only.  After you log on, your access to modules within your ERP is probably limited to transactions and screen related to your work.

One person is charged with creating purchase orders and has full access to the necessary work screens.   Different person writes the checks to pay for those orders and uses another set of screen. Within production, a person might be authorized to log on a job and performs some type of operation. They have training or certifications recorded within the ERP to give that authorization. Another person will use the same screen to log on a job but cannot enter time against that operation because they do not have the necessary training.

4. Master data

Master data is another ERP feature.  We all use it daily but might have never entered that data or even considered it.  A customer name and address are master data.  A part number is also master data.  Within that part number, we can see if the part is normally purchased or manufactured.  We can know if transactions for that part require a serial number.  Will the value of that part in inventory be tracked by a standard cost or by average cost?  Master data limits our ERP to only valid data and sets the rules for how ERP processes and manages that data.

5. Inventory optimization

Remember Goldilocks?  Is the porridge too hot, or too cold, or just right? Inventory is the same, we can have too little, too much, or just right. We can define “Just right” in any way that makes sense for our business. Then set transaction rules that help the people buying, selling, and managing inventory to make decisions that lead to keeping that optimized level.

Think about your ERP. Do you know and understand all of its features? Do you use them to help your business meet its goals?

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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