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abas ERP

Abas ERP is a solution geared towards small to midsize manufacturers and distributors. Abas has three main application offerings on the market today: Abas ERP, Abas Distribution and Abas eB, a line of e-business solutions that can... Read More
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Global Shop Solutions

Global Shop Solutions offers a One-System ERP software to serve clients across manufacturing industries of all sizes. The multi-modular application comprises of independent modules for customer relationship management, inventory management,... Read More
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Adjutant is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or business process management (BPM) solution from ABIS. Key features include approval tracking and processing, an automated alert system, a contract management system, project management,... Read More
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MRPEasy is a manufacturing software for small manufacturers. The software is a suite comprising production planning, CRM, procurement, supply chain management, and inventory control modules. The application features a drag-and-drop... Read More
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Statii software is a cloud-based system for small manufacturing companies. The solution is designed to facilitate communication between team members more effectively and manage activities involved in any manufacturing process. The... Read More
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Realtrac is an on-premise job management solution designed for job shop manufacturers and modular machine shops. It helps small and midsize manufacturers to schedule workflows, manage shop operations, track inventories, manage purchases... Read More
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S2K Manufacturing Management Software

S2K Enterprise Management Software by VAI is a fully integrated ERP system designed to manage mid-sized and enterprise businesses in the wholesale distribution, manufacturing and speciality retail industries, across many vertical markets... Read More
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JOBSCOPE Enterprise Edition

Jobscope performs extensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions for businesses involved in project-oriented manufacturing. Modules of the system include quoting, estimating, engineering, CRM, production BOM, scheduling, financial... Read More
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IFS Applications

Designed specifically for to-order manufacturers and asset-intensive companies around the globe, IFS Applications is relied upon by its large global customer base by supporting intricate order-driven and mixed-mode manufacturing requirements... Read More
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Decision Builder

Decision Builder ERP Software is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that serves companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and service fields. Throughout the North American continent, Decision Builder has been installed... Read More
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BatchMaster ERP

BatchMaster ERP is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small and midsize process manufacturing companies. AS an OEM SAP solution, it performs a wide range of business management functions including, business... Read More
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Geneva Business Management Systems (GBMS)

Geneva Business Managements Systems (GBMS) is a web-based ERP application with the best aspects of a desktop application giving small to medium-sized businesses the flexibility they need in order to succeed in today’s competitive... Read More
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NetSuite Manufacturing Edition offers an integrated inventory, warehouse management, accounting and financial management, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), and e-commerce platform. Offered as a cloud-based solution... Read More
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ECi M1

ECi M1 is a complete on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that automates financials, inventory, production, sales/quoting, and production planning. The software is designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize... Read More
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SCP 4.0

Over the past decade, companies have reported up to 65% inventory reduction and savings of over $2 million by adopting SCP 4.0 by Jada Management Systems. This vendor management inventory and demand planning system is ideal for businesses... Read More
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Axis ERP is built specifically for metals, wire and cable manufacturers as well as processors and service centers. Users can configure the solution to fit the business’s requirements. Axis ERP can be used by make-to-order, make-to-stock... Read More
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Oracle JD Edwards - Manufacturing

JD Edwards Financial Management is the accounting component of Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne product line. JD Edwards Financial Management can serve businesses of any size. The system is horizontal; it is designed to serve the... Read More
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SAP Business One

SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite designed primarily to serve small to midsize businesses. SAP Business One is used to address the needs of many industry verticals including manufacturing,... Read More
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ProcessPro Premier

ProcessPro believes in one basic rule: as soon as business owners start to get more from their information, they will start to get more out of their business as well. It’s that simple. Intelligent Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)... Read More
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JobBOSS is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) built for small and midsize manufacturers in North America. It allows key office and production staff to manage job information day-to-day to aid customer service and on-time deliveries.... Read More
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Fishbowl Manufacturing

Fishbowl Manufacturing is a business automation and inventory management platform for small to mid-sized. It integrates with QuickBooks accounting. Fishbowl offers inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) and job shop... Read More
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IQMS MES Software

IQMS’ flagship product, EnterpriseIQ 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... Read More
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Tensoft Fabless Semiconductor Management (FSM)

Tensoft Fabless Semiconductor Management (FSM) is a web-based product for technology companies with outsourced manufacturing operations.  It supports the unique manufacturing, supply chain and financial needs of semiconductor and... Read More
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Enterprise 21 ERP

Ideal for small and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies, Enterprise 21 ERP from TGI offers a fully integrated solution that facilitates industry best practices. This robust ERP system provides a single platform to streamline... Read More
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E2 Shop System

E2 by Shoptech Corporation brings all business operations into a single simple solution, from estimating to scheduling, purchasing, shipping and even customer management and accounting, with its easy-to-use solution. Designed specifically... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics GP

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a financial accounting system designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize businesses. Microsoft Dynamics GP was originally developed by North Dakota-based Great Plains Software and was acquired by... Read More
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Kenandy Cloud ERP

Kenandy cloud-based ERP is an enterprise resource planning solution built on Salesforce platform and created to help companies manage designing, manufacturing and product distribution workflows. It enables businesses to manage core... Read More
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bcFood by Beck Consulting is an enterprise resource planning system designed specifically to meet the needs of both small and large food manufacturers, processors, and distributors. bcFood is built on Microsoft Dynamics NAV and support... Read More
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Henning Visual EstiTrack ERP

Visual EstiTrack ERP is an on-premise solution for small to midsize shops that offers manufacturing execution management, light material requirements planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, customer management,... Read More
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HYDRA by MPDV USA is a fully integrated Manufacturing Execution System (MES) that helps organizations collect and analyze critical data related to production, HR, and supplier management. With HYDRA, manufacturers can gather real-time... Read More
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PolyPM by Polygon Software is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) solution developed specifically for apparel manufacturers. The solution includes capabilities unique to the small... Read More
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MIE Trak Pro is an ERP offering that is ideal for manufacturing businesses with modules designed to accommodate most production cycles and optimize the capabilities of repetitive, custom, quick-turn and mixed mode operations. MIE... Read More
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Datacor Chempax

Chempax by Datacor is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application designed specifically for chemical process manufacturers and distributors. The solution can be scaled to... Read More
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JustFoodERP offers Enterprise Resource Planning to food manufacturers and distributors. The software was designed from the ground up to address the unique challenges of organizations in the food and beverage industry, with a suite... Read More
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With 15 years of deep industry experience, GCS Software developed A2000, a market-leading manufacturing solution designed to meet the unique needs of apparel, footwear, accessories and home furnishing industries. In fact, A2000 was... Read More
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ICIM ERP and Accelerated ERP

ICIM ERP by Metasystems offers small and mid-sized discrete manufacturers a comprehensive ERP that brings together all business operations - order management, engineering, manufacturing, CRM, financials and warranty management. ICIM... Read More
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EIC Software

EIC has been supporting the needs of food distribution and processing companies for more than twenty years. The software was originally developed for a small food distributor out of Hawaii looking for a better way to manage their business,... Read More
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Cetec ERP

Cetec ERP is a manufacturing enterprise resource planning system for midsize to large organizations. Cetec ERP helps users to manage the manufacturing process, from inception of a job, to procurement, to shop floor management in a... Read More
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KeyedIn Manufacturing

KeyedIn Manufacturing is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution specifically designed for custom, make-to-order and mixed-mode manufacturers. The solution offers manufacturers a solution that can be customized to... Read More
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Ross ERP by Aptean is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed for the needs of process manufacturing companies in the food and beverage, chemicals, pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The solution is useful for... Read More
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Infor Process Manufacturing Essentials

Infor Process Manufacturing Essentials Software is an integrated system designed to specially address the management and automation needs of process manufacturers. Infor Process Essentials is a full software suite that includes functionality... Read More
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Infor Discrete Manufacturing Essentials

Infor Discrete Manufacturing Essentials is an ERP suite suitable for discrete manufacturers in most industries. The company was founded in 2002 under the brand Agilisys and adopted the name Infor when it acquired Infor Business Solutions... Read More
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SYSPRO offers Enterprise Resource Planning software to support the control, integration, and synchronization of the life of the manufacturing process for both short and long production runs. Implementing SYSPRO is made simple with... Read More
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EVO~ERP was first introduced to the market in 2004 as a fully integrated, real-world business solution, providing an organizational, financial management, and business intelligence platform from which companies can revolutionize their... Read More
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Infor SyteLine ERP

Infor SyteLine ERP is a mixed-mode application for engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, repetitive and service-based manufacturers. It’s suitable for companies in industries such as aerospace, metal fabrication, plastics and rubber... Read More
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Mar-Kov CMS

Mar-Kov CMS (Chemical Management System) was developed to meet the unique needs of process, batch, and formulation based manufacturers. By automating daily routine processes, companies are able to streamline their operations while... Read More
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WorkWise ERP

Historically, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has been designed using a modular structure. WorkWise, however, after developing and implementing ERP and CRM solutions for over fifteen years, recognized the need for an approach... Read More
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SAP Business All-in-One

SAP Business All-in-One is an integrated enterprise resource planning solution for midsize and large companies, serving clients across the North America. The solution offers construction accounting, customer management, and service... Read More
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ProfitKey ERP

With over 30 years of experience in the ERP and Manufacturing markets, ProfitKey International has developed Rapid Response Manufacturing (RRM) to provide a fully integrated ERP and MES solution for small to mid-size manufacturers.... Read More
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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 sourcing,... Read More
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Buyer's Guide

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

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