ERP system usage is shaped by several design factors related to the user interface, system functionality, and customization tools. For example, consistency and symmetry in the user interface and functionality make an ERP system easier to learn and use. The design factors shaping usage of Microsoft Navision are covered throughout this book and summarized in the concluding chapter. However, three design factors require up-front attention.
One design factor involves the terminology used to describe system usage. The functions, window titles, and field labels within Microsoft Navision have been used as much as possible to explain system functionality. However, alternative phrasing or generally accepted synonyms are sometimes used to clarify understanding. The Appendix contains illustrations of Microsoft Navision terminology and synonyms. It also defines the significance of several key termssuch as posting, journals, and ledger entriesthat are essential for explaining system functionality.
A second key design factor involves the primary engine for coordinating supply chain activities. The primary engine is termed planning calculations . Using information about demands, this program calculates material and capacity requirements and generates suggested schedules for purchasing, manufacturing, and distribution. It communicates needed synchronization efforts via suggested action messages displayed on a worksheet. Planning calculations reflect the shop calendar of working days assigned to each location, customer, and vendor, as well as the shop calendar of working hours assigned to work centers.
A third design factor involves standardized functionality versus customizations. A focus on out-of-the-box or standardized functionality provides a baseline for learning how the system manages supply chain activities in different environments. But Navision is also highly customizable, with perhaps the best mix of ease-of-customization and power-of-customization available anywhere . Independent software vendors have also developed significant extensions. The general idea is that standard functionality meets 80 to 90 percent of a firms requirements while customizations and independently developed extensions meet the remaining needs. Customizations can be used to tailor functionality to each firms unique requirements, with the most frequently customized applications ranging from sales order processing, commissions, and sales analysis reports to document formats and production order travelers.