MRP Systems

MRP is a subset of enterprise resource planning (ERP). It covers the period of time from when a product is conceived, the raw materials are identified and procured, resources are identified, to when production steps are planned. At that point, manufacturing execution systems (MES) take over. ERP combines the tools of an MRP system and an MES system, and extends both. Whereas MRP and MES focus on planning for individual jobs, ERP is concerned with a manufacturer's entire chain from buying raw materials to delivery of finished goods to the customer, over the course of time. In other words, MRP software focuses on increasing efficiencies for the course of a job and ERP takes a wider and longer view, over all jobs from end to end.

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Recommendations: Sorts listings by the number of recommendations our advisors have made over the past 30 days. Our advisors assess buyers’ needs for free and only recommend products that meet buyers’ needs. Vendors pay Software Advice for these referrals.
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Showing 1 - 20 of 134 products
Showing 1 - 20 of 134 products

Fishbowl

FrontRunners 2022

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

4.17 (761 reviews)

77 recommendations

NetSuite

FrontRunners 2022

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

4.11 (830 reviews)

70 recommendations

JobBOSS²

FrontRunners 2022

ECI Shoptech brings together industry-leading solutions E2 SHOP and JobBOSS to create the next evolution in job shop business management: JobBOSS². Designed specifically for job shops and make-to-order manufacturers, JobBOSS² is a...Read more

4.24 (856 reviews)

32 recommendations

Prodsmart

FrontRunners 2022

Prodsmart is the SMB manufacturer’s gateway to digitization. It’s a complete, modular solution that gets any production environment ready for the future of manufacturing. Prodsmart empowers SMBs with data. By gathering insight o...Read more

4.71 (73 reviews)

27 recommendations

Global Shop Solutions

One-System ERP Solution is a full-featured ERP that is a great fit for businesses of all sizes. The software features the proprietary Global Application Builder (GAB) that allows for extensive customization and scalability....Read more

4.17 (67 reviews)

27 recommendations

Katana Manufacturing ERP

FrontRunners 2022

Katana Manufacturing ERP gives you a live look at all the moving parts of your business — sales, inventory, and beyond. Combining a visual interface and smart real-time master planner, Katana makes managing inventory and manufactu...Read more

4.74 (138 reviews)

21 recommendations

DELMIAworks

EnterpriseIQ by IQMS is a comprehensive ERP solution designed to meet the needs of discrete and repetitive manufacturers. Because it's fully scalable, it can grow with any company. ...Read more

4.06 (286 reviews)

18 recommendations

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

3.69 (67 reviews)

16 recommendations

REALTRAC

A great fit for job shop manufacturers, Realtrac is a fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution that offers complete real-time control of the shop floor. This powerful system is quick to deploy and easy to use....Read more

4.07 (68 reviews)

14 recommendations

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

4.65 (117 reviews)

11 recommendations

Software pricing tips

Read our MRP Software Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

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

4.41 (32 reviews)

10 recommendations

Mar-Kov Chemical Management System

Mar-Kov CMS (Chemical Management System) is a cloud-based process manufacturing solution for process, batch, and formulation based manufacturers. The solution can also be installed on-premise to automate daily routine processes of...Read more

5.00 (1 reviews)

9 recommendations

ERPAG

FrontRunners 2022

ERPAG is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. It is suitable for small and midsize businesses in various industries, including automobile, retail, education, information technology and more. Primary features ...Read more

4.56 (271 reviews)

6 recommendations

Fulcrum

Fulcrum is a cloud-based platform serving small/mid-sized manufacturers and job shops looking for a software platform that truly understands them and their unique, complicated processes. Humans weren’t meant to transcribe data fro...Read more

4.67 (3 reviews)

6 recommendations

Genius ERP

FrontRunners 2022

Genius Solutions is an on-premise ERP system designed for small to mid-sized companies in Canada. This software is suitable for make-to-order, engineer-to-order and lean manufacturing firms in most industries. ...Read more

4.17 (79 reviews)

4 recommendations

Sage X3

FrontRunners 2022

Sage X3 is a powerful ERP software solution designed for midsized national and global manufacturers, distributors, and after-sales providers and can establish a foundation for your digital transformation. Sage X3 comes with indust...Read more

4.29 (50 reviews)

4 recommendations

IFS Applications

IFS Applications is an extensive software system that serves the needs of large and medium-sized manufacturers with order-driven and mixed-mode management tools and full integration capabilities....Read more

3.76 (25 reviews)

3 recommendations

Total ETO

Total ETO is an ERP solution exclusively for small to medium engineer to order (ETO/custom design) manufacturers that covers everything from sales to shipping. Total ETO features a nested dynamic BOM by project\job that can b...Read more

4.58 (19 reviews)

2 recommendations

NutraSoft

NutraSoft Premium/Ultimate is a food & beverage manufacturing ERP for small to medium sized food & beverage businesses who are looking to manage and grow their operation, increase margins, analyze and improve their production proc...Read more

4.17 (12 reviews)

2 recommendations

Deacom ERP

Deacom, an ECI Software Solution, is a comprehensive ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platform with a rich set of capabilities and extensibility designed for growing manufacturing and distribution businesses. All functionality s...Read more

3.63 (8 reviews)

2 recommendations

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: June 30, 2022

Manufacturing resource planning software, sometimes called material requirements planning or as MRP II software, is the core technology that sets manufacturing applications apart from other types of business software. This added functionality also adds complexity, both in implementation and in operation. We wrote this buyer’s guide to help buyers navigate the maze of top MRP solutions.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Manufacturing Resource Planning Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape
Popular MRP Software Comparisons

What Is Manufacturing Resource Planning Software?

“If you fail to plan, then plan to fail” is equally true in sports and manufacturing. Manufacturing MRP software was the first attempt to bring software tools, such as a materials forecast, to formal manufacturing techniques. These systems answer the four basic questions: What do I make? What do I buy? When do I buy? When do I make? 

MRP is a subset of enterprise resource planning (ERP). It covers the period of time from when a product is conceived, the raw materials are identified and procured, resources are identified, to when production steps are planned. At that point, manufacturing execution systems (MES) take over.

ERP combines the tools of an MRP system and an MES system, and extends both. Whereas MRP and MES focus on planning for individual jobs, ERP is concerned with a manufacturer's entire chain from buying raw materials to delivery of finished goods to the customer, over the course of time. In other words, MRP software focuses on increasing efficiencies for the course of a job and ERP takes a wider and longer view, over all jobs from end to end.

Basic functions include:

  • Inventory control and procurement
  • Production forecasting
  • Materials costing
  • Procurement scheduling
  • Process scheduling applications

Materials costing is usually the core function. It determines what is made versus what is bought. Materials costing works with the inventory system to check quantities on hand and lead times for parts that must be ordered as well as production logs to determine lead times for any sub-assemblies that must be fabricated. 

Manufacturing dashboard in Fishbowl

Manufacturing dashboard in Fishbowl

MRP suites may also include a module for configure-price-quote (CPQ) functionality, typically used by sales teams to provide quick and accurate custom quotes for built-to-order operations.

Manufacturing resource planning systems are adaptable to many different philosophies but favor the lean manufacturing and just-in-time (JIT) system. It can support all modes including discrete, process, make to stock (MTS), assemble to stock (ATS), assemble to order (ATO), make to order (MTO) and engineer to order (ETO). However, planning and inventory control functions are generally more important to the “to order” modes due to the time constraints that these modes impose.

MRP ERP systems are generally run on premise. Small shops may have only a single-user system or a small network, while larger organizations may have networks with workstations throughout the facility. Manufacturers have been slower to adopt cloud-based materials requirements planning programs but there is an emerging group of vendors offering a cloud program.

 

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The first step in evaluating programs, is determining what type of buyer you are. Over 90 percent of buyers fall into one of these three groups:

Full-suite buyer. These buyers value the seamless integration of data and processes that comes from having one system for all functions. For example, they would prefer a full-suite system for estimating, work-in-progress management and accounting that can automatically turn an estimate into a budget for project management and then match invoices to project status and allocate job costs. These buyers favor complete suites like Oracle, SAP, Sage ERP or Microsoft Dynamics.

Departmental buyer. Specialists in one function, such as materials costing, may value the feature depth of best-of-breed solutions designed for their function. These buyers may need specific functionality, like the ability to interface with a specific departmental procurement system.

Small manufacturer. Small organizations often have limited budgets and fewer IT resources available. In many cases, they may be deciding between a new system and a new piece of equipment. These businesses need cost-effective small business MRP solutions that are easy to implement and use. Others may be interested in evaluating free MRP software, which is typically offered in an open source model. Some will prefer full-suite systems, while others may just want one application, such as resource planning or production inventory control. 

Benefits and Potential Issues

MRP systems, whether stand-alone or incorporated in an ERP system, offer distinct benefits over less formal production planning systems. These include:

Better planning and resource allocation. One of the greatest strengths of ERP MRP systems is better data and greater insight into the actual costs of inventory, people and equipment, and the actual time costs for each step of the planning and production process. 

Greener operations. Better planning and tracking leads to operations that generate less waste and less scrap, reducing environmental impact for those firms. Additionally, as more documentation is kept electronically, it reduces waste paper and cuts paper costs.

Integration with accounting systems. The basic purpose of an MRP ERP system is to decide what to buy and when. Integration with the general inventory makes it easier to track the inventory costs as well as determining lead times. The accounts receivables system handles ordering and payment.

Material requirements planning as a discipline, and the software in general, does have some limitations which can cause problems if not addressed. Planning is based on what should be possible; it ignores current limitations. The inventory and resource planning are based on the assumption that everything is idle. Care must be taken not to over-allocate resources.

Inventory levels are another area of concern. Inventory items tend to two extremes. Either too much is carried in inventory, tying up valuable capital and credit, or too little is carried in inventory, requiring stock to be acquired and delaying production. These systems are supposed to solve this particular problem, but if the model does not adapt to changes in the inventory supply chain, inventory levels on key items will tend to one of the two extremes.

There are also problems that develop over time. The bills of materials, work orders and schedules are based on the assumptions made when the program is first installed. If assumptions are not updated to reflect changes over time as costs fluctuate and productivity changes, the estimates from the MRP will increasingly diverge from the actual costs.

There is also a scope issue. MRP planning is based around particular jobs. While it can increase the efficiency for those jobs, it is possible that over the course of many jobs, the costs will add up. For example, if three jobs are costed that each use four pounds of salt, the system will miss the discount available if 12 pounds of salt are purchased all at once. Among other things, ERP systems expand the scope to solve this issue.

Market Trends to Understand

While you evaluate programs, make sure you consider these market trends:

Advanced planning techniques. As the cost of computing power and storage decreases, more powerful planning models are available which yield better results.

Harmonization. For many years, the goal for MRP and ERP was a single corporate-wide data store. However, that thinking is now evolving to strategically selected systems for specific purposes, sharing information as required.

Use of mobile devices. Until recently, most system designers assumed that the users would be working from a fixed location. Any information had to be entered, remembered or written down and brought to the computer. The new trend is have to mobile systems in the warehouse or shop floor. Operators enter pertinent information directly into mobile systems without having to go to a permanent workstation.

Vendor consolidation. Large vendors like Oracle and Microsoft are buying niche vendors to round out manufacturing application libraries. With so many vendors and products available, this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Intelligent inventory tagging. The use of one-dimensional bar coding for equipment and inventory tagging is well established in systems for manufacturers. Recent systems use radio frequency identification (RFID), which can be read remotely to check inventory levels and to confirm equipment availability. Other systems use two-dimensional bar codes which contain descriptive information in addition to an identifier like a part number.

Functional integration with ERP. While there are still numerous stand-alone systems, generally the functions are part of a larger ERP system that is broader in scope than just a facility.

The Vendor Landscape

The scale of solutions varies greatly; different buyer types need to “right size” and compare the vendors that can meet their needs.

This type of buyer... Should evaluate these systems
Enterprise resource planning suite buyer Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, SAP, Sage
Departmental buyer Microsoft Dynamics, Epicor, SYSPRO, Casco
Small manufacturer E-Z-MRP, ECi, Exact, Fishbowl

Popular MRP Software Comparisons