The manufacturing industry is going through a significant transformation with the adoption of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. It’s changing how products are designed, manufactured, operated, and sold. 

In today’s digital world, manufacturers need specialized software systems to manage and integrate all aspects of the manufacturing world. That’s where manufacturing ERP comes in. Manufacturing ERP software can manage every part of facility operations and processes, from payroll to production. 

ERP software is designed to deliver comprehensive visibility, management, and integration across complex manufacturing processes, resulting in greater operational efficiency. It can give manufacturing companies a competitive edge in this increasingly competitive market. 

This article takes a closer look at manufacturing ERP software and how it helps manufacturers transform their businesses. We’ll cover the features, capabilities, and benefits of adopting an ERP system as you evaluate the right solution for your company.

What is Manufacturing ERP? 

Manufacturing ERP is a type of enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed specifically for the manufacturing industry. It helps control every aspect of manufacturing operations, from the shop floor to the top floor, creating a complete business management platform.  

Manufacturers have highly specialized demands, including planning, management, procurement, and more, and manufacturing ERP systems are created to meet those requirements. By focusing on streamlining operations and automating many of the manufacturing processes, a manufacturing ERP system allows companies to be more efficient.

Why Manufacturers Need Specialized ERP Software 

Standard ERP software systems are made up of modules that focus on comprehensive business processes, including accounting, finance, human resources (HR), customer relationship management, and more. While these functions overlap across most businesses, manufacturing companies require software that addresses more specific needs, like operations and product management, inventory management, and supply chain management.  

To address this problem, an industry-specific ERP system was built. Manufacturing ERP contains all the essential modules of a standard ERP, plus the modules required for manufacturing. This eliminates the need for manufacturers to stitch together multiple point solutions to address this wide range of business needs. With a manufacturing ERP system, manufacturers can streamline operations with a single data source to manage all the functions of the manufacturing business.

Difference between ERP and Manufacturing ERP 

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between ERP and manufacturing ERP. Standard ERP software is built as a one size fits all solution. It lacks the critical functionality of a manufacturing business. This means that data has to be pulled from a variety of tools to get a comprehensive view of the business. 

Manufacturing ERP systems are designed with advanced functionality and modules for manufacturers. Manufacturing management software integrates all the core business functions of an ERP system, along with the manufacturing processes, allowing complete visibility and control. 

You can dive deeper into the differences and benefits of these systems by reading our previous article, ERP vs. MRP: Differences and Benefits of Each System.

Features of Manufacturing ERP 

It’s vital to have complete control over your manufacturing operations with today’s volatile supply chain. That’s why you need an ERP system designed for manufacturing companies. As you explore the solution for your company, here are some of the major functions of a manufacturing ERP system you should look for. 

Inventory Management

Managing inventory effectively can make or break a business. When inventory management is done well, it can increase profits, improve customer satisfaction, and make it easier to run the business. 

Your ERP system acts as a centralized resource for real-time inventory tracking, data analysis, and replenishment. It can track stock levels, product status, raw material management, purchase order tracking, and more. Modern ERP software also includes material requirements planning (MRP) to streamline inventory across the business.

Financial Management 

A centralized ERP software solution gives you access to every financial management activity and documentation. Financial forecasting is continuously adjusted to provide you with real-time information and enhanced shop floor control. The financial management module gives you access to various reports and business intelligence tools to help you make informed business decisions and plan for future strategies.

Supply Chain Management 

We’ve seen a very volatile supply chain in recent years, which is why it’s critical for a manufacturing company to have control and visibility of its overall supply chain. Manufacturing ERP software gives you real-time data from internal and external sources to drive efficient SCM and planning.

Quality Management 

Quality control involves the process of ensuring that every product you manufacture meets the quality standards defined by the company. If you don’t guarantee quality control, you could put your customers and your reputation at risk. 

Manufacturing ERP software tracks and monitors the process of quality control at every stage. It helps you define and maintain your inspection plans, collect inspection results, and report on non-conformance. Enterprise resource planning tools give you a bird’s eye view of business operations.

Order Management

As the supply chain becomes more complex, it’s vital to deliver the perfect order to stay competitive. Manufacturing ERP software allows you to automate fulfillment processes, eliminating the manual work of data entry. Manage all of your orders in a single ERP platform with integrated order-to-cash processes.

Project Management 

Manufacturing ERP can be your go-to resource for efficient project management. Enterprise resource planning tools make it easier for managers to have visibility over the entire project management lifecycle. The benefits of better project management are reduced risk of error, improved communication across departments, and time and cost savings for manufacturing companies.

Benefits of Manufacturing ERP 

Now that you know what to look for in ERP systems let’s get to the good stuff—the benefits. 

Increased visibility

Manufacturing ERP systems act as the centralized platform for all your data giving you a single source of truth for business information. With access to information across departments, you can increase communication, collaboration, and coordination of core business processes. 

Improved customer satisfaction

With access to real-time data on customers, orders, and deliveries, you can improve the customer experience and increase satisfaction. This information can also help your support teams deliver better customer support.

Enhanced data management and analysis 

ERP systems take a data-focused approach to manufacturing operations management and deliver on the benefits the information provides. For example, business intelligence and reporting help you make more informed decisions about maintenance, operations, supply chain, procurement, and business processes.

Simplify IT with cloud-based ERP

ERPs can be implemented on-premises, cloud-based, or a hybrid of both. Cloud ERP offers many benefits, including lower upfront costs, faster implementation time, and increased security. Cloud ERP can simplify IT by taking upgrades and maintenance off your IT staff. Cloud ERP also offers scalability for a manufacturing company.

Strengthen the supply chain

Manufacturing ERP software can improve the supply chain in many ways. It integrates business processes, improves collaboration with suppliers and supply chain partners, and can lead to substantial cost reductions.

Getting Started With Manufacturing ERP Software Solutions

The manufacturing process is complex. Manufacturers must adhere to industry-specific requirements, regulations, and standards, and most software solutions aren’t built to manage core business functions of manufacturing businesses.

Manufacturing ERP solutions can help manufacturers be agile, efficient, and innovative. Implementing the right manufacturing software can also drive business growth while meeting customer demand.

How Surety System Experts Can Help

Whether you’re dealing with issues with your existing ERP solution or want to implement a new ERP tool, Surety Systems can help. We’ll start by helping you evaluate the best manufacturing software for your company. Our team will partner with you on the entire ERP journey from evaluation to go-live and post-support.

We’ve partnered with many companies just like yours on their ERP implementations. Let us take that expertise to help you deliver a seamless implementation.

Our senior-level consultants have experience with the latest software, including JD Edwards, SAP, Infor CloudSuite, Workday, Microsoft Dynamics, and other software systems.

Contact us today to learn about our broad range of services and how our industry experts can improve your business with the right tools.