SAP is the short form of Systems, Applications and Products. SAP is not only the name of world’s one of the largest software development company but also the name of the software product developed by this company. SAP AG, the authorized name of the company since it was formed in Germany, originally thought of providing customers with a tool with which they can interact with a sole master database for each and every application necessary across the organisation.
The idea of the tool became practical in the form of a financial accounting system named SAP R/1, the first version of SAP’s iconic enterprise software. The improved version of this application, SAP R/2, was launched towards the end of 1970s, which was mainframe based business application software. Later on, SAP AG launched a client-server version of the software called SAP R/3, after the advent of distributed client-server computing.
SAP R/3 Functionality:
SAP applications, built around their latest R/3 system enables R/3 to handle complete operation and management tasks throughout the organisation. That means, SAP R/3 provide the users with the tool to manage financial, asset, and cost accounting, production operations and materials, personnel, plants, and archived documents. It runs on Advance Business Application Programming (ABAP), which is a fourth generation programming language. The R/3 system is compatible with several platforms including Windows 2000 and uses the client/server model.
SAP R/3 Modules:
SAP R/3 is made up of several individual functional software modules. These modules combine to execute all the operational and management tasks of any organisation. Each individual functional module handles specific activities on its own, but is linked to the others where applicable. The most widely used modules are – Logistics, Accounting and Human Resources.
Logistics is the method of completing a process from start to finish on request e.g. delivering a product at its desired location, on request. Various tasks involved in this process are Sales and Distribution, Production Planning, Materials Management, Plant Maintenance and Quality Management etc among others, all of which are integrated by Logistic module. The various components of this module and example of their functions are:
Sales and Distribution module: Presales support, customer enquiry processing, quotation processing, sales order processing, delivery processing, billing and sales information system.
Material Management module: Purchasing operations, warehouse management, inventory, invoicing etc.
Production Planning module: Planning & organizing production process e.g. transport and storage of raw materials, by-products and waste etc.
Plant Maintenance module: Repair of buildings, maintenance of equipment used in the production process, information about machine usage and possible downtime etc.
Quality Management module: All processes related to the quality assurance of the product.