Finding software can be overwhelming. We help aerospace manufacturers choose the right manufacturing software to optimize production quality and manage resources.

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NetSuite

NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive rang... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 101 recommendations

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Fishbowl

Fishbowl is a hybrid manufacturing and warehouse management solution designed for small and midsize companies. Key features include inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP), job shop floor control, work order manage... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 99 recommendations

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E2 Shop System

E2 by Shoptech Corporation is a manufacturing solution that offers scheduling, purchasing, shipping, customer management and accounting. It’s designed specifically for job shops, contract and a variety of make-to-order manufacture... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 51 recommendations

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Striven

Striven is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution suitable for many industries and organizations of all sizes. It offers features for accounting, inventory management, human resources, customer relationship mana... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 48 recommendations

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JobBOSS

JobBOSS Shop Management Solutions, an ECi Software Solutions company, is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution built for small and midsize manufacturers in North America. It allows key office and production staff to manag... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 47 recommendations

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Global Shop Solutions

Global Shop Solutions offers ERP software to serve clients across manufacturing industries of all sizes. The multi-modular application is comprised of independent modules for customer relationship management, inventory management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 29 recommendations

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Visual EstiTrack

Henning Software has helped small to midsize manufacturers and job shops for 30 years. Visual EstiTrack ERP has complete material requirements planning, product lifecycle, supply chain, customer relationship, human resource and ma... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

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Acumatica Cloud ERP

Acumatica Construction Edition is true cloud construction and accounting software that provides office and field teams real-time data including job costing, change orders, project management, dashboards and more. With field and of... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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Intellect

Intellect eQMS is a configurable cloud-based enterprise quality management solution that helps organizations across various industries to manage the quality and compliance of critical business procedures. Features include document... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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Katana

Katana is a modern manufacturing & inventory management software for small and scaling businesses. Its visual interface and smart real-time master planning allow manufacturers to get an overview of the entire business from one cen... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

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M1 ERP

ECi M1 is a subscription-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, available on-premise or via the cloud, that automates financials, inventory, production, sales/quoting and production planning. The solution is suitable for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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QT9 ERP

QT9 ERP is a highly-scalable manufacturing platform for connecting and automating business data from multiple systems into one scalable and intuitive solution. QT9 ERP integrates inventory management, accounting management, sales ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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DELMIAworks

DELMIAworks (formerly IQMS) ERP is developed specifically for SMB and large discrete and batch process manufacturers in the aerospace, medical device, automotive, food and beverage, consumer products, plastics, packaging, and elec... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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Quickbase

Quick Base is a low-code application development platform that enables organizations to unite information, people, and workflows within distribution in a single, cloud-based platform. Unlike traditional software solutions, Quick B... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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OptiProERP with Sap Business One

OptiProERP with SAP Business One is a complete ERP solution for small and midsize manufacturers and distributors. SAP Business One is an ERP platform designed for small and midsize companies with over 70,000 customers. OptiProERP ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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Epicor ERP

Epicor ERP is a comprehensive on-prem and cloud-based ERP solution that provides manufacturers with robust capabilities for job costing, supply chain, inventory control, pre-production materials planning and manufacturing executio... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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MIE Trak Pro

One word sums up MIE Trak Pro: flexibility. You may be using tired old spreadsheets or an ERP system that can't scale with your manufacturing company. When your organization grows, MIE Trak Pro adapts to your needs, striking a bal... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Infor VISUAL

Infor VISUAL is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System with end-to-end functionality built for manufacturing organizations looking for a complete solution that supports the entire operational lifecycle, from planning to sour... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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COSS ERP

COSS ERP is a cloud-based integrated manufacturing and enterprise resource planning solution that caters to businesses of all sizes across various industries such as aerospace and defense, automotive, machine building, metal fabri... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Made2Manage ERP

Aptean Industrial Manufacturing is designed for manufacturers in job shops and dynamic "to-order" and mixed-mode environments. It's suitable for SMB manufacturers in industries like industrial equipment, electronics and fabricated... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 20, 2021

In this buyers guide, we'll cover:

What is aerospace manufacturing software?

Aerospace manufacturing software is a tool to help companies manage the entire production and supply chain process for commercial and non-commercial contracts, from sourcing and ordering parts and materials from suppliers, to designing, assembling and shipping finished products.

These specialized manufacturing systems and ERP suites are also designed to track and maintain the compliance, regulatory and licensing obligations for manufacturers bidding for aerospace and defense contracts (including ITAR, MMAS, and FedRAMP compliance).


Four types of customers comprise the market for aerospace manufacturers: defense, civilian aviation, government space technology and civilian space technology. Often used as the primary example of precision engineering, the industry is now under financial pressure. For a firm to assure continued success, it must focus on three things: shortening the time to move a product from development to production, increasing the efficiency of the supply chain and increasing efficiency of the production process.

A main area for concern is import/export restrictions. For example, some products from aerospace manufactures must conform with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). And items on the United States Munitions List (USML) require a Department of State export license—while products for the Department of Defense (DoD) must meet military specifications. Products destined for space must also be specially qualified. Aerospace manufacturers must comply with the EPA’s National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Facilities.

There are many critical components in an aerospace manufacturer’s software suite, such as: inventory, manufacturing planning and scheduling, order entry and fulfillment. Customer relationship management (CRM) is also key, specifically for those dealing with producing and shipping items that are restricted. Payroll and personnel modules have requirements to track which employees work on what products and help maintain current information on employees’ security clearances. Accounts payable and general ledger are standard. Many aerospace manufacturers, and in particular those that are units of larger firms, use enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. In this industry, cloud-based, software-as-a-service software systems are uncommon because of security concerns, but are increasingly common in smaller firms that do not manufacture restricted products.

Common features of aerospace manufacturing software

In evaluating software, aerospace manufacturers should consider the following functions to meet their unique requirements:

Supply chain management Aerospace manufacturers need transparency into suppliers’ systems. Order status, supplier inventory, current pricing, order entry and payment can all be integrated between supplier and manufacturer.
Integrated design and production Design systems should identify off-the-shelf parts and generate bills of materials once the design is complete. Advanced systems will introduce costing models into the design process so that revisions will automatically update projected cost of production.
ITAR compliance and USML The system should produce all reports required for ITAR compliance. Advanced systems will automatically notify if a customer attempts to order a restricted item. System should identify which products are subject to State Department registration fees.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) compliance The system should support the process for applying for FAA certification. It should also produce compliance reports for production runs as necessary.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) registration Any electronic device sold in the United States that emits radio frequency interference (RFI) must be registered with the FCC. The system should produce the information required to complete the registration process and provide updates if the design changes.
Scrap management There are two parts to scrap tracking. First is minimizing the amount of scrap by laying out job to make the most efficient use of material. The second is tracking recyclable scrap through to resale to the scrap yard.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance Aerospace manufacturers are specifically addressed by NESHAP. The system should prepare all EPA compliance reports.
Security If the manufacturer produces restricted items, information about the products, processing and materials should be restricted to authorized personnel. Information should be encrypted.
Personnel management The system should track which employees are eligible to work on which projects. It should also track current status for each employee, including security clearance and, if applicable, H1-B visa status.
Subcomponent management Teams or subcontractors making subcomponents may not know the nature of the final product. The system should enable authorized workers to access required information but nothing about other subcomponents or the final product. It must also support high-level managers in tracking overall progress on each project.
Materials tracking Department of Defense specifications require that all components for each product be documented throughout the entire lifecycle. The system should identify every item from inventory through assembly to final delivery.
Recall management The system should support product recalls by identifying which runs are affected and which customers received them.
Engineering change management The system should track engineering changes and their impact on manufacturing time and cost-per-unit. It should also be easy to enter the changes into the system so that the changes can flow to other products and the overall production schedule.