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ERP using FileMaker


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Hi All,

Just a simple question:

Does anybody have implement the full ERP project by utilizing FileMaker? If so, what function it is and how is the degree of complexity?

I really appreciate for your feedback.


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What type of business are you in? ERP is such a wide open term that it could cover a dentist's operations or that of an automobile manufacturer. Obviously a dentist and a car builder have widely different needs.

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My background is in manufacturing so I know these terms from that perspective but some of them apply to other industries as well.

Here is the lot of three letter acronyms:

ERP (Enterprise Requirements Planning)

The is the generic name for core information system that a business runs on. Covers finance, procurement, sales, service, planning, etc. It is supposed to cover the entire "enterprise" but often lacks payroll, HR, pre-sales effort, etc. Like a lake it tends to have deeper functionality in the middle and is shallower at the edges.

MRP (Manufacturing Resources Planning)

It is really the same thing as ERP. The term MRP has been around longer and apparently someone gave a new name to the same-old-pig so the term "ERP" largely replaced MRP but I haven't found and discernable differences myself.

mrp (lowercase) = Material Requirements Planning

This is a software module within an ERP or MRP system. Little mrp or lowercase mrp plans materials. To me this is the real workhorse for a manufacturing company. It tells the buyers what to buy and when and tells the planners what to build and when. This module is essential for manufacturing companies that build complicated assembled products especially those that are seasonal or prone to forecast fluctuations. A company that manufactures potato chips probably has little need for mrp because planning is relatively easy whereas an automobile manufacturer depends on mrp every day to ensure that thousands of individual parts all come together at the right times to build a car.

CRM (Customer Relationship Planning)

Doesn't have the scope of ERP. Instead it specializes in the management of the sales and service operations or any points of contact between the company and the company's customer.

SFA = Sales force Automation

Much like CRM but generally does not encompass the service (post sale) activity and may provide more depth in pre-sale information gathering and management.

BRM (Business Relationship Management)

I have seen this term used a few times and I expect that it will replace ERP as the acronym du-jour for a business' core information system at some future time but right now the term isn't in wide use.

There was even an acronym for the largest software companies serving the ERP market:

JBOPS (pronounced: Jay-bops)

JD Edwards





The ERP software market is notorious for companies gobbling each other up in merger and acquisition activity. Given this fact and all the software re-branding it is very tough to keep on top of the industry. I would guess that well over 50% of the ERP software vendors that were around in the late 1990's are either gone now or are known by some other name.

I believe that SAP has the largest market share in the business. I would also guess that the Fortune 100 all run one or more of the top five packages. For a larger manufacturer the software and implementation costs can runs in the the tens of millions of dollars and can take years to implement.

As you can imagine there are probably thousands of man-years sunk into developing these big software packages. They are humungous and with packages of this size, change comes slowly. You would expect that if you lay out ten million dollars for a new software system it would have all the nice features that you see in Filemaker for instance. Nope. These big ERP systems mostly look like dinosaurs from the 1980s. They are big and cumbersome and most users that I speak with generally don't care for their ERP systems. Most executives do. I think this stems from that fact the the guy driving the monster "dump truck" gets tired by the end of the day but the executive is delighted by the amount of "stuff" that was moved and also has comfort in knowing that he is running his business on the same package that the "big boys" run.

Well, I guess I went off on a tangent but so far as I can tell, ERP is a arbitrary term. I would say that if a system is handling the core aspects of the business it could be labeled ERP. CRM on the other hand generally only covers the touch points between a company and its customers.

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