Manufacturing ERP

What Is ERP Manufacturing?

What is Manufacturing ERP?

Manufacturing ERP Helps You:

  • Increase workflow visibility
  • Centralize data
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce human errors
  • Create better customer experiences

Increase workflow visibility

Manufacturing ERP can allow your employees to see how progress is occurring across the supply chain.

Most ERP systems contain a data visualization feature that allows staff to quickly take a peek at data points and gain actionable insights. For example, you might have a visualization that shows which materials are in transit to your distribution center.

Some systems also contain project management functionality, which enables users to see the tasks that employees are working on and to use this information to allocate labor resources as needed. Project status can be updated, and budget requirements can be altered based on current tasks that are in process and estimated cost and completion time. ERP manufacturing systems may include the following workflow visualizations:

  • Inventory levels
  • Project status
  • Employee schedules
  • Machine downtime
  • Customer conversion rates
  • Number of leads closed
  • Percentage of packages delivered on-time

Centralize data

Having data accessible in one location is a key benefit of ERP manufacturing. With centralized data, one can easily analyze information across departments and workflows to form a more holistic view of a company. For example, users with appropriate permission levels in the system could look at finances segmented by department and measure profitability, operating cost and how much of the team’s fiscal year budget has been spent.

Another key benefit of holding a centralized data repository is that it makes pulling reports easier and can help users gain statistical insights that may not have been possible in a siloed system. This alleviates the time spent searching for data and enables users to gain insights across the entirety of a business.

Improve productivity

ERP manufacturing often provides automation of specific tasks. This automation can streamline business processes by performing tasks such as the reordering of materials based on inventory levels. When you spend fewer human resources on tasks that have the potential to be automated, your employees get more time to spend on other business processes.

Other workflows that can be streamlined include employee payment, notification of delivery and email marketing. Automation technology enables companies to facilitate important processes more quickly and therefore increase organizational productivity.

Reduce human errors

Reduced human error is another benefit associated with manufacturing ERP automation. Unfortunately, human error is incredibly prevalent and can negatively impact businesses. By removing tasks such as manual data entry from the equation, you can ensure fewer internal mistakes and improve the likelihood that data integrity is high.

Some systems can also detect and clean duplicate data entries to help ensure that statistical insights are accurate. This can help alleviate the need to comb through data points to make sure that each one is correct before sending off an important report.

Create better customer experiences

Ultimately, ERP is meant to make business processes easier and faster so that you can retain and obtain customers. For example, you might see speedier shipping times with ERP manufacturing. Improved service leads to happier customers and can boost customer retention.

Many manufacturing ERP vendors either include CRM (customer relationship management) tools out of the box or through offered add-on functionality. This may include capabilities such as interaction tracking and purchase history so that sales collateral can be better targeted. Once your collateral is narrower in reach, sales personnel can provide users with a more personalized experience, therefore improving rates of customer retention. Some additional CRM functionality includes:

  • Database management
  • Contact management
  • Lead management
  • Marketing and sales management
  • Sales automation


What Is ERP?

When looking into ERP manufacturing, it’s important to discuss and define what enterprise resource planning software is as a whole. ERP solutions are a way to consolidate data and workflows into one unified system. Its main benefit is the desiloing of data. One of the benefits of this unified data hub is the generation of new insights through the interconnectivity of systems. For example, you might be able to track how shipping time affects a customer’s likelihood to purchase goods or services from your business on a repeat basis. This would be possible through the integration of CRM and distribution modules.

In addition to the centralization of data, ERP systems also assist in the automation of various business tasks. By connecting different departments and workflows, day-to-day tasks can be streamlined through elements such as automated file transfer and push notifications. The specific features that you connect and include in your ERP solution are personalizable and dependent on your business needs. This is especially beneficial because you don’t have to waste time or money on features that aren’t relevant to your business.

What Is ERP Manufacturing?

ERP got its start as manufacturing software and therefore contains a lot of modules that are relevant to the manufacturing and distribution industries. However, manufacturing ERP didn’t always function as it does today. Manufacturing ERP came into existence in the 1990s as an offshoot of MRP, or material requirements planning software. You might have heard of MRP while conducting your software research, as it remains an option in the software industry.

The big difference between ERP and MRP is scope. MRP is solely focused on manufacturing tools, whereas ERP is more widely applicable to business functions that aren’t related to the manufacturing or distribution process. For example, ERP software often contains tools for operations such as accounting, customer relationship management and project management. Manufacturing ERP modules are integrated with front-office tools to generate data and reflect information across workflows. For example, if you order two units of lumber, an integrated ERP might take that information and automatically record it in your accounting program. On the other hand, MRP software solely focuses on manufacturing processes and therefore is less integrated than an ERP suite.

What Are Some ERP Manufacturing Features?

Now that you are aware of some of the benefits associated with ERP manufacturing, we can examine some of the specific tools that are available. You should note that the availability of these functions varies from vendor to vendor, so make sure to write down any features that specifically stand out to you.

Demand Planning

A popular feature of ERP manufacturing is demand planning. This function uses internal and external data and events to create an efficient fulfillment schedule. The goal of a demand planning tool is to reduce the amount of excess stock on hand while also maintaining the ability to fulfill orders on time.

Warehouse Management

Warehouse management tools contain a variety of features. For example, if your product has an expiration date, the warehouse management system can keep track of when those dates are approaching so that you can discount that product accordingly in an attempt to generate revenue and reduce waste. This tool may also improve the traceability of products and reduce the likelihood of errors associated with shipping and handling.

Quality Management

If you get audited, you’ll be glad that you had quality management functionality on your side. This tool can keep track of audit trails, trace lot and serial numbers, and keep track of certificates of conformance among various other tasks. It also can help ensure that you meet regulatory standards pertaining to material use and item quality.

Inventory Control

Optimizing and keeping track of your product and material inventory is the meat and potatoes of your business. This tool may contain functions such as serialized inventory control, detailed transaction logs and cost standardization.

When coupled with automation, you can reorder materials instantly based on levels set by users while also predicting inventory needs based on historical demand. This helps reduce spoilage and optimizes your warehouse space by only holding items in inventory that are going to actually be sold or used in the development of a popular product.

Shipping and Distribution

This feature is incredibly important because it supports the stage in which customers become involved in the manufacturing process. For example, if you ship icing tips to a cake decorator a day later than projected, the customer may be unable to make that special princess birthday cake for his daughter’s birthday. This negatively impacts a customer’s perception of your business and may even lead to bad word of mouth. Shipping and distribution tools may also contain functions such as the ability to respond instantly to customer delivery status requests and the ability to track shipments in real time.


The labeling function can automatically print labels as products move across the supply chain. This feature may also support printing of tags that contain information such as special characters and barcodes while also making it easier for users to select different label sizes or layouts.

Labeling is especially important when it comes to RFID tracking, as these tools can help you visualize the geographic location of products and supplies in real time. With these tracking capabilities, you could trigger automatic notifications to customers when an item reaches its final shipping destination.

Factors to Consider Before Implementation

There are some aspects to keep in mind before taking the plunge on manufacturing ERP. Factors such as cost, deployment method and vendor experience should all be taken into consideration when selecting a vendor. Here are some of the elements that you will want to look at when you’re searching for the best ERP software for you.


Developing a software budget is essential to a successful implementation project. It’s no secret that ERP software can be expensive, so make sure you can afford a system that includes all of the components you need.

Deployment Method

Depending on the current software that you use, you might prefer either on-premise or cloud-based ERP software. There are pros and cons to each of these methods. For example, on-premise ERP software has a higher installation cost than cloud-based ERP. Many vendors are beginning to offer both deployment methods, but this element should still be a factor when you’re considering vendors.

Vendor Industry Experience

When looking at ERP manufacturing vendors, you should inquire about how much experience the vendor has in your specific industry. Because ERP has such a wide variety of functions available, you will likely prefer to go with a vendor that has dedicated experience in the manufacturing or distribution industry. If a software company does not have much experience in your industry, it might be best to move along to the next option.

Business Size

Manufacturing ERP vendors differ in terms of the company sizes that their solutions best cater to. In addition to asking vendors about industry experience, you should also inquire about how large the businesses that they typically work with are. ERP software for small companies wouldn’t work for an enterprise, for example. You should also note whether the scalability of manufacturing ERP aligns with your projected organizational growth.

Software Training

Another essential factor to consider is whether or not training is included with an ERP manufacturing system. Training is often a separate cost that you will need to account for in your software budget, but it’s important to note whether vendor staff conducts the training or if you will need to hire an independent ERP consultant.

IT Resource Allocation

Making sure that all of your employees are on-board with the new ERP system is integral to a successful implementation. This is especially true in regards to your IT department. Your IT staff will be a general point of contact for your employees in regards to implementation challenges and questions, so it’s crucial that they are knowledgeable about your new ERP product.

Additionally, you should make sure that there are IT resources available before, during and after implementation to improve the likelihood of a smooth transition. A 2018 study from Panorama Consulting found 66% of surveyed companies experienced operational disruption when implementing their ERP.

How Do I Know if It’s Time to Implement Manufacturing ERP?

ERP manufacturing is incredibly beneficial to businesses. However, it’s important to first determine whether this type of software applies to your specific company and if there’s potential for a high ROI. It might be time to implement manufacturing ERP if your business is growing steadily and you are noticing a slowdown due to a volume increase. Enterprise resource planning software might also be beneficial if you have noticed human error affecting the company.

If your company relies heavily on manufacturing and you haven’t automated any tasks yet, manufacturing ERP can free up employee time to work on other projects. You might wish to speak to employees in your manufacturing or distribution departments to learn how much of the day they spend on tasks that can be automated. If a large amount of time is spent on processes that could be streamlined through technology, then it’s likely your business would increase productivity through manufacturing ERP.

ERP software could also benefit your company if user error is prevalent in your manufacturing processes. As mentioned above, user-generated mistakes are a huge issue when it comes to productivity, so if you have noticed its existence in your business, it might be time to consider automating functions that have a high probability of human error.

How Do I Select an ERP Manufacturing System?

There are a few crucial factors to consider when selecting the manufacturing ERP system that’s right for your business. You should analyze elements such as deployment method, operational needs, your company’s budget, industry and size. These components can make or break manufacturing ERP vendors on your shortlist.

The process can be daunting, which is why at SelectHub we’ve created a user-friendly requirements checklist to help you find the vendor that checks off all of your manufacturing needs. We’ve got a range of resources to help you learn more about these software systems, no matter how far along in the decision-making process you are. Check out our Manufacturing ERP Requirements Checklist and our list of industries served by manufacturing ERP to get the information you need to make the best software selection possible.

Recent Articles

Confidence Comes from Data

Manufacturing ERP software selection is complex and beset with problems for both IT buyers and solution providers. We do three things to make it fast and simple:

FREE Software Selection Platform

Our platform provides best-practices, including requirements templates & vendor comparisons, to help you make the right decisions for your unique needs, in a fraction of the time. Try it FREE.

Aggregated Reviews

We have collected every software review available online, crunched every last word using our proprietary Sentiment Analysis algorithms, all so we can tell you how a software product is viewed in its marketplace, retrospectively.

Professional Analysis

We relentlessly collect and analyze data about software, then compile and share it so every company has the same access to the information. The information we gain is then used in our Software Selection platform to help you find the right software.

Your Guides

Our industry journalists proudly distill the helpful information you read on SelectHub, always on the mission to share what matters so you can make your best decisions independently.

Manufacturing ERP articles are written and edited by:

Zachary Totah

Content Manager

As SelectHub’s Content Manager, Zachary Totah leads a team of more than 35 writers and editors in their quest to provide content that helps software buyers find the right system for their company.

Show More

Hunter Lowe

Content Editor and Senior Market Analyst

Hunter Lowe is a Content Editor and Senior Market Analyst at SelectHub. He writes content for Construction, Inventory, Warehouse, and Supply Chain Management.

Show More

Khaleel Hayes

Market Analyst

Khaleel Hayes is a Market Analyst for SelectHub who crafts content for manufacturing, PLM, PSA, and Construction ERP.

Show More

What Is MRP? Ultimate Guide To Material Requirements Planning

No comments
November 17, 2023
Think of MRP as a giant filing cabinet that organizes your inventory and materials in one centralized place. MRP systems are manufacturing tools that help you manage and replenish items as needed to complete production jobs.

Not sure how to implement MRP for your manufacturing practices? We’ve got you covered. This article maps out everything MRP, from an overview and benefits to top features, best practices and software examples.

Khaleel HayesWhat Is MRP? Ultimate Guide To Material Requirements Planning
read more

What Is IoT For Manufacturing? A Comprehensive Guide

No comments
November 17, 2023
The internet of things (IoT) is shaking up the manufacturing industry in significant ways. IoT for manufacturing is the future and keeps you ahead of your competitors.

Think of this technology as another pair of eyes that monitors your machinery and ensures that everything on the production floor operates at total capacity. This article will cover the difference between IoT and IIoT, its benefits and challenges, and one real-world use case.

Khaleel HayesWhat Is IoT For Manufacturing? A Comprehensive Guide
read more

Top Discrete ERP Solutions You Should Know About

No comments
November 14, 2023

According to Statista, the ERP market is expected to reach almost $85 billion in 2021. As ERP software technology becomes more affordable and the manufacturing sector more competitive, manufacturers of all sizes are increasing their efforts to adopt enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology. For some manufacturers, this means adopting a discrete ERP. The main reasons for the high acceptance of ERP will be discussed further below.

Gabriel GheorghiuTop Discrete ERP Solutions You Should Know About
read more

The Best CAM Software: Top Solutions for Computer-Aided Manufacturing

Last Reviewed:
Are you shopping for new manufacturing software? CAM software might be an option.
We’ve compiled a list of the best computer-aided manufacturing software in the market.

We’ll discuss this list in more detail, then cover differences between CAM, CAD and CAM-CAD solutions, pricing considerations and how to choose the best system for your company’s needs.

Khaleel HayesThe Best CAM Software: Top Solutions for Computer-Aided Manufacturing
read more

EQMS: What is Enterprise Quality Management Software?

No comments
November 9, 2023
Customers deserve high-quality products from their favorite companies and businesses. Fortunately, in the age of technology, there’s no shortage of excellent software that can help to streamline your workflows. There are products designed to make complex tasks like accounting, auditing inventory or organizing files simple. Believe it or not, there’s even software that helps you make top-notch products all the time. This may sound like a bedtime story you tell your children or a precious treasure only Indiana Jones could excavate. But rest assured, it exists. It’s called enterprise quality management software (EQMS), a manufacturing ERP that ensures you always meet your top-tier product requirements.

Khaleel HayesEQMS: What is Enterprise Quality Management Software?
read more

Manufacturing Trends 2023: Maintaining a Competitive Edge

October 31, 2023
Whether you’re a mass clothing company crafting the latest fashions or a mid-sized facility baking and packing bread for local bakeries, manufacturing ERP software can streamline production, keep all eyes on your supply chain and provide compliance adherence. It’s also critical to invest in technology-based manufacturing trends to maintain your competitive edge and boost your KPIs.

Khaleel HayesManufacturing Trends 2023: Maintaining a Competitive Edge
read more

Best CAD-CAM Software Systems

Last Reviewed:
Finding the best manufacturing software to meet your CAD and CAM needs is similar to Goldilocks finding the suitable bowl of porridge. Your potential solutions either have too many or too few modules. CAD-CAM software may be just right for your company’s goals.

This article has the best CAD CAM software list with insights on top features, benefits and limitations. You can also review the benefits and the best approach to choosing the right CAD/CAM software for your business.

Khaleel HayesBest CAD-CAM Software Systems
read more

Best Cannabis Seed-to-Sale Tracking Software

No comments
October 17, 2023
Upkeeping your marijuana products is like a farmer tending their many crops. You want to produce high-quality plants to keep your clientele coming back for more. You’re probably wondering if there’s a solution to manage cannabis product cultivation and allocation. In a word: Yes. It’s seed-to-sale software, manufacturing ERP software that manages your cannabis from planting to distribution.

Khaleel HayesBest Cannabis Seed-to-Sale Tracking Software
read more

Unique Industries That ERP Solutions Serve

Last Reviewed:
ERP software is similar to an onion because of its many facets, layers and integrations. ERP can serve as a centralized hub for different departments and industries or as a one-sector solution. Getting your company’s ideal ERP industry solution is vital because not all ERPs serve every industry. You can also configure some systems with industry-specific modules and capabilities.

Khaleel HayesUnique Industries That ERP Solutions Serve
read more

What Is DDMRP (Demand Driven MRP)? A Comprehensive Guide

No comments
Last Reviewed:
A new approach is emerging in inventory management and production planning, known as Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP). Companies worldwide are uncovering the potential behind this highly efficient, responsive supply chain model.

The right manufacturing software, coupled with an overhaul of your planning strategies, can keep you competitive in an ever-changing manufacturing landscape. This article covers what DDMRP is, its driving features and benefits, how to choose a successful solution and some FAQs.

Hunter LoweWhat Is DDMRP (Demand Driven MRP)? A Comprehensive Guide
read more

What is Discrete Manufacturing?

No comments
October 9, 2023
Discrete manufacturing is a manufacturing practice that operates with bill of materials (BOM) to make individual parts of a product. The pieces are then merged together to form the final product at the end of production. Let’s learn more about discrete manufacturing such as its distinct qualities, trends, benefits and the discrete manufacturing software features that streamline its operations.

Khaleel HayesWhat is Discrete Manufacturing?
read more

The Best Production Scheduling Software for Manufacturing

October 4, 2023
Finding the perfect manufacturing ERP solution is like finding the lost city of Atlantis—you know it exists, but you’re just not sure how to go about searching for it. Plus, there are so many types of manufacturing ERP solutions to choose from that you don’t know where to start. We understand. To narrow down your search by a few pegs, have you ever considered investing in production scheduling software?

Khaleel HayesThe Best Production Scheduling Software for Manufacturing
read more

What is Process Manufacturing? The Ultimate Guide

No comments
October 2, 2023
Process manufacturing, in essence, deals with sequential steps that utilize raw materials to create products. Some industries that leverage this method include food and beverage, plastics, pharmaceuticals, metals and more. If you use this strategy regularly, you should consider investing in manufacturing software that supports it and understand how it can maximize your facility. In this article, we’ll define process manufacturing, and key benefits and top features associated with its solutions.

Khaleel HayesWhat is Process Manufacturing? The Ultimate Guide
read more

Manufacturing Technology: Key Changes and Current Examples

No comments
September 27, 2023

Many industries are beginning to adopt new and more advanced technologies and the manufacturing industry is no different. As the world of technology pushes new and innovative products, many businesses are opting to implement manufacturing software to help streamline their practices and get products to customers more efficiently. That’s why we highly recommend that you at least learn about some of these new forms of manufacturing technology so you can keep your customers happy.

Khaleel HayesManufacturing Technology: Key Changes and Current Examples
read more

Best Process Manufacturing ERP Software

September 21, 2023
Process manufacturing refers to the processing and combination of raw materials and ingredients to create finished products like food, beverages, plastics and more. These manufacturers typically use manufacturing software that aligns with process manufacturing operations. Process manufacturing software automates workflows to meet clients’ needs sooner.

Khaleel HayesBest Process Manufacturing ERP Software
read more

Best Manufacturing Software For Small Business

No comments
September 18, 2023
Manufacturing software can serve numerous business types and sectors — machine shops, food and beverage, seed to sale and more — to automate recurring tasks and boost workflows. You can even use manufacturing software for small business operations.

This article covers our analyst-picked list of the market’s best small business manufacturing software. We’ll also cover key features, benefits and pricing considerations for these types of solutions.

Khaleel HayesBest Manufacturing Software For Small Business
read more