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With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

4.2 (1535 reviews)

81 recommendations


Fishbowl is the #1 manufacturing and warehouse inventory management software! Its powerful inventory control system gives your small or midsize business the exact tools needed to transform your inventory management and scale your ...Read more about Fishbowl

4.2 (895 reviews)

72 recommendations

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 about Global Shop Solutions

4.1 (70 reviews)

25 recommendations


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 about QT9 ERP

4.9 (14 reviews)

22 recommendations

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Propel Software helps product companies grow revenue and increase business value with PLM, QMS, PIM, and supplier management on a single cloud platform. Our product value management solution connects commercial and product teams t...Read more about Propel

4.1 (16 reviews)

16 recommendations

R4 Enterprise

Royal 4 Enterprise is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution with built-in modules for distribution, manufacturing, planning, inventory management, reporting and company financials. It serves midsize to large en...Read more about R4 Enterprise

4.5 (4 reviews)

16 recommendations

Rootstock Manufacturing ERP

Rootstock Software is a global provider of manufacturing cloud ERP on the next-generation Salesforce Platform. It is purpose-built for mid-size discrete manufacturers, with powerful MRP, who are looking to digitally transform on a...Read more about Rootstock Manufacturing ERP

4.6 (11 reviews)

15 recommendations

Deskera MRP

Deskera enables fast growing businesses to operate more efficiently by providing them with an integrated platform that connects manufacturing, accounting, erp, inventory and warehouse management, order fulfillment, procurement, sa...Read more about Deskera MRP

3.7 (3 reviews)

10 recommendations


ProfitKey is an on-premise manufacturing management solution for small and midsize manufacturers and job shops. It caters to various manufacturing industries including aerospace, defence, automotive, capital equipment, electronics...Read more about ProfitKey

4.3 (13 reviews)

7 recommendations

Aquilon ERP

Aquilon Software offers a combined supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, and financial management system that is deployable either on the cloud or on-premise. All modules integrate with each other, allowing users to gain full...Read more about Aquilon ERP

4.6 (51 reviews)

6 recommendations

Datacor ERP

Datacor ERP (formerly Chempax) is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application designed specifically for chemical process manufacturers and distributors. The solution can ...Read more about Datacor ERP

4.2 (57 reviews)

5 recommendations


Mar-Kov provides the best manufacturing software for batch and process manufacturers in the market. Companies turn to Mar-Kov when: • Their business outgrows excel sheets and are looking to manage their growing production. • T...Read more about Mar-Kov

5.0 (6 reviews)

5 recommendations


ION by First Resonance accelerates manufacturing for companies building mission-critical applications in hardware. ION reliably move parts, workflows, and data through manufacturing while ensuring accurate data capture at each jun...Read more about ION

4.0 (28 reviews)

4 recommendations


Online Computing designs and develops a proprietary ERP software called MasterTools. MasterTools combines all aspects of production planning, project management, shop floor control, inventory control, e-commerce, and financial ana...Read more about MasterTools

No reviews yet

4 recommendations

Deltek Costpoint

Deltek Costpoint is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) and management solution designed to meet the requirements of midsize and large enterprise businesses. The solution primarily assists government contractors, professional se...Read more about Deltek Costpoint

4.0 (208 reviews)

3 recommendations

BatchMaster ERP

BatchMaster Software offers process manufacturing software solutions for the food, chemical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Users can run the manufacturing application with QuickBooks, Sage 100&300, Microsoft Dynamic...Read more about BatchMaster ERP

4.7 (6 reviews)

3 recommendations

Acumatica Cloud ERP

Acumatica Cloud ERP provides the best business management solution for transforming your company to thrive in the new digital economy. Through leading-edge technology, best-in-class business functionality, and customer-friendly ...Read more about Acumatica Cloud ERP

4.3 (125 reviews)

2 recommendations

Cetec ERP

Cetec ERP is a manufacturing enterprise resource planning software built for small and medium sized businesses. Cetec ERP's cloud-based software is designed to help these companies efficiently manage all aspects of their manufactu...Read more about Cetec ERP

4.5 (43 reviews)

2 recommendations


Sync is a cloud-based integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) solution that caters to the apparel and footwear industry. The solution includes various integrated modules that help busin...Read more about Sync

4.9 (19 reviews)

2 recommendations

Automation Intellect

Automation Intellect's IIoT platform empowers manufacturing teams to utilize real-time, actionable data to extract exceptional value from their existing equipment investments. Our platform offers a transformative solution that pro...Read more about Automation Intellect

4.5 (2 reviews)

2 recommendations

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

A wide variety of businesses must grapple with capacity management. Leaders can't simply drop a massive workload on employees and expect to meet a deadline without considering dozens of factors.

In manufacturing production, labor hours, raw materials, tools and equipment, storage and other resources must be carefully assessed before work even begins. All of these moving parts make up capacity—a critical element for production efficiency.

Software can assist companies in applying the complex algorithms to disparate aspects of production operations to meet demand seamlessly. This buyer's guide is designed to help you learn more about the capabilities of capacity planning systems.

We'll cover:

What Is Capacity Planning and Management Software?

Common Functionality of Capacity Planning and Management Software

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Benefits of Capacity Planning and Management Software

What Is Capacity Planning and Management Software?

In the most basic terms, capacity planning systems help companies compare production loads with available capacity within a specific time frame. The process of planning for capacity helps avoid bottlenecks in production, which can impact the entire supply chain.

With data about required materials, equipment availability and man hours and costs, the software is able to spread out production needs across available machine capacity in order to meet demand, on time.


Capacity planning in Infor Visual ERP

There are some important terms related to capacity planning:

  • Infinite vs. finite capacity planning. These are the foundational concepts of capacity planning—infinite capacity assumes no limits on resources needed to produce enough units to meet demand. However, finite capacity factors in the constraints involved in real-world production situations.

    For example, planners may know that a particular machine on a production line is only available for a maximum of, say, 10 hours during a normal shift. This is one kind of limitation that impacts capacity planning.

    Thus, capacity planning software helps by scheduling around real-time constraints and other conditions that can impact production, instead of simply planning based on a baseline capacity level.

  • Production load leveling. Demand isn't always constant for manufacturers. In the case of fluctuating demand, it's necessary to maintain a smooth production workflow, which may include shifting capacity to "level" production across a few days instead of packing it all into one, or by expanding capacity by adding extra shifts or utilizing external capacity to meet demand (by using another manufacturing plant, for example).

Common Functionality of Capacity Planning and Management Software

These systems only have a few individual components, but each one provides useful insights about how to arrange your available capacity to meet production goals. These features often include:

Calendar production view

As orders come in, the system can place work into a schedule, and planners can view and edit schedules by dragging and dropping items on a calendar-style workflow chart. Users can also set priority levels for work orders and assign the total capacity available each day.

Finite capacity management

As mentioned above, this functionality allows the system to factor in other planned work schedules, inventory, man hours, material levels and other factors to optimize production plans.

Real-time capacity planning

Users can make on-the-fly changes to work order schedules or priorities if problems occur during production, instead of resetting the entire plan.

Scenario testing and modeling

Capacity planning tools can help users test unfavorable supply chain scenarios by entering various values to optimize contingency plans.


As a system is used over time, it collects loads of valuable data. Reporting tools can arrange and visualize that data so managers can identify trends in production and address issues.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Any software purchase comes with several considerations and questions to ask. Identifying the type of buyer you are helps answer many of those. Below are some of the most common buyer types:

ERP suite buyer. Enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) are complex platforms to assist manufacturers (and a wide variety of other types of businesses) by integrating data from all departments to gain a holistic view of operations. This software takes into account the many seemingly unrelated factors that can impact production schedules.

Many modern ERP systems offer capacity planning functionality, and use the wealth of collected data to predict potential issues in production that could impact capacity decisions.

MES buyer. Similarly, stand-alone manufacturing execution systems (MESs) typically offer a capacity planning component. Where an ERP gathers and analyzes information about an entire organization, an MES is hyper specific to that company's manufacturing process—maintaining production assets, dispatching production plans and improving quality of the finished product.

Since this type of software is so particular to the manufacturing type, it's often purchased by itself to integrate with an existing ERP. If you're buying an MES, you likely have the capacity planning functionality you need.

Make-to-order manufacturer. These types of companies begin production only after receiving a work order, so capacity planning is more crucial for these organizations than for those that continuously produce units.

In these situations, manufacturers have a short window to plan for capacity, but software can assist with leveling the load and factoring in other available resources necessary to meet production deadlines.

Benefits of Capacity Planning and Management Software

We've talked about the key benefit of automating the complex issue of capacity planning, but the software also offers some complementary benefits:

  • Optimize the use of assets. Especially for manufacturing plants with a variety of asset types, or different versions of the same type of asset, a capacity planning system can help prioritize jobs. This can lower production costs by shifting jobs to equipment that is less expensive to operate depending on the type and time frame of manufacturing.

  • Spot production bottlenecks. During capacity planning, the software can help identify specific assets or processes causing slowdowns or inefficiencies. The system's recommendations for prioritizing or spreading out work may reveal these bottlenecks.

  • Boost the useful life of assets. Because capacity planning helps level the workload, the tasks aren't placed solely on one or two machines, so assets and equipment are likely to operate a good condition for longer.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.