Enterprise resource planning, ERP, is a term derived from material resource planning. ERP systems typically handle the manufacturing, logistics, distribution, inventory, shipping, invoicing, and accounting for a company. ERP software can aid in the control of many business activities, like sales, delivery, billing, production, inventory management, and human resources management. This automated service makes it very simple to do such business, especially for a larger scale business as they become overwhelmed.
ERPs are often called back office systems indicating that customers and the general public are not directly involved. This is contrasted with front office systems like customer relationship management (CRM) systems that deal directly with the customers, or the eBusiness systems such as eCommerce, eGoverment, eTelecom, and eFinance, or supplier relationship management (SRM) systems that deal with the suppliers.
ERPs are cross-functional and enterprise wide. All functional departments that are involved in operations or production are integrated into one system. In addition to manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping, this would also include accounting, human resources, marketing, and strategic management.