MRP vs. MRP II: What’s the Difference?

For small organizations trying to navigate the complex world of manufacturing software, there can be a lot of confusing acronyms.

If you’re in the market for a MRP system, it’s important to distinguish between Material Requirements Planning (sometimes referred to as MRP I) and Manufacturing Resource Planning (known as MRP II).

Here’s what you need to know: MRP I was the predecessor to MRP II. All the features you would find in basic MRP I software can also be found in today’s more robust MRP II systems.

Let’s get into the details!

Where Did MRP II Come From?

MRP I was some of the first business software to be widely adopted during the 1970s. Manufacturers sought these systems in order to improve efficiency and accuracy when it came to basic processes such as production scheduling and inventory management.

By the 1980s, manufacturers realized they needed software that could also tie into their accounting systems and forecast inventory requirements.

Enter MRP II, which included this functionality in addition to all the capabilities offered by MRP I. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software features—which we’ll cover later on—are included in the following table for comparison.

Functional Areas for MRP I, MRP II and ERP Software

(For more information on MRP II software, check out our Buyer’s Guide.)

Can I Still Buy MRP I Software?

These days, you would be hard-pressed to find manufacturing software that’s strictly limited to basic material requirements planning.

Most manufacturing software vendors offer a much greater depth of functionality, often tailored for specific industry niches such as food manufacturing or chemical processing.

Some smaller manufacturers might still rely on legacy MRP I software, or use a homegrown system that covers basic MRP I functionality.

For all intents and purposes, though, MRP II has effectively replaced MRP I software. Indeed, most manufacturers can benefit tremendously from the added functionality MRP II systems offer.

Do I Need ERP Software?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are regarded as the successors to MRP II software. ERP suites include applications that are well outside the scope of manufacturing.

These can include everything from human resources and customer relationship management to enterprise asset management.

For some smaller manufacturers, a heavy-duty ERP system might be overkill—but for larger manufacturers, an ERP suite is absolutely essential.

Larger manufacturers typically have a lot of moving parts within their organizations. Thus, they can greatly benefit from a fully integrated system that not only provides deep visibility into manufacturing processes, but also supports important aspects of running a business.

For example, Fishbowl Manufacturing is well suited for smaller manufacturers that are not ready to upgrade to a heavy-duty ERP suite.

It comes with standard MRP modules, and supports accounting functionality through QuickBooks integration.

Manufacture order in Fishbowl Manufacturing

Conversely, a larger manufacturer would be much better served by an advanced ERP suite. Many of these manufacturers rely on systems provided by mega-vendors such as SAP, Epicor and Sage.

SAP, for instance, offers advanced scheduling and production capabilities with its system.

These are essential for large manufacturers that produce a wide variety of items and have to coordinate with many suppliers and distributors.

SAP Production Scheduler module

Next Steps

Still not sure what type of software you need for your manufacturing firm? Call our Software Advisors at (855) 998-8505 for a free, 15-minute consultation. They can provide you with a short list of vendors that can meet your needs.

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