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Which Manufacturing ERP Software Is Best For Your Business Type?

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Which Manufacturing ERP Software Is Best For Your Business Type?

Dec 10, 2021

Andy Pickard
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The manufacturing industry is incredibly diverse. Manufacturers come in all shapes, sizes and styles: from family-run start-ups to global enterprises; batch manufacturers to JIT manufacturers; and broad-base manufacturers to niche industry specialists. How is it possible to find manufacturing ERP software that works for every type of business? And can everyone benefit from ERP technology?

To help your organization understand the benefits of enterprise resource planning and find the best-fit solution, we’ve taken a closer look at how businesses can benefit from manufacturing ERP software, alongside the in-built features you should look for when choosing manufacturing ERP—to reflect your operational infrastructure and your sub-industry.

Manufacturing ERP Software By Industry 

Although there are general manufacturing ERP solutions available on the market, these tend to be very generic in their functionality. Which means companies don’t always get the detailed functionality you need to drive operational improvement.

The businesses that benefit most from manufacturing ERP software investment are the ones who choose industry-specific solutions with features that deliver on your industry needs. For example:

1. Industrial Manufacturing ERP Software (also known as Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software)

The industrial manufacturing process involves complex assemblies and multiple components. Features exclusive to discrete manufacturing ERP software can help with shop floor management and make production flow easier. For example, industrial ERP technology includes tools for generating a bill of materials (BOM) when quotes are converted into jobs, to provide a complete list of parts required for every order.

BOM information can be integrated with a materials requirement planning module within discrete ERP, to help discrete manufacturers coordinate inventory and order management through a single database. Our complete guide to industrial manufacturing ERP contains more details on this.  

2. Process Manufacturing ERP Software

Process manufacturing ERP software offers dedicated features that support the highly precise batch production process, including recipe and formula management capabilities to calculate quantities and document versions/revisions. Inventory management tools also help to store ingredients appropriately and control their shelf life using lot traceability, minimizing wastage and enhancing quality control.

Our blog post on the difference between discrete and process manufacturing ERP systems offers further specifics on the benefits of choosing a process-specific solution for enterprise resource planning. 

3. Food Manufacturing ERP Software

With strict industry regulation and a need for high quality, food and beverage manufacturing ERP software is designed to help companies produce consumable goods to consistent standards. Integrated features include allergy management tools and lot profitability functionality, to realize detailed costs including labor, duty, haulage and rework.

For a deeper dive, read our ultimate guide to food ERP.

Manufacturing ERP Software By Sub-Sector

Even with an industry-designed ERP system, sometimes manufacturing organizations need niche functionality to drive your business development and optimize operational costs.

If this rings true for your company, it’s worth looking at whether there is manufacturing ERP software on the market that has been developed for your sub-sector. For example:

  • Fresh produce ERP software. When time is of the essence, speed of production is critical, without compromising quality control. Discover how Green Valley Pecan has used fresh produce manufacturing ERP software to set up QC checks at each step of the manufacturing process, from cracking through to packaging, tracking millions of products each year.

  • Fabricated metals ERP software. An industry-specific solution can help fabricated metal manufacturers increase accuracy and speed of production to manage critical sector issues such as shorter product lifecycles, quicker deliveries, and demand for customization. To find out more, read Aptean’s complete guide to fabricated metals ERP or take a look at how upgrading to a fabricated metals ERP solution enabled The Metalworking Group (TWG) achieve 86% on-time deliveries within a year of making the software switch. 

  • Nutraceutical ERP software. ERP technology automates many of the processes that enable functional food and supplements companies to stay compliant in the highly regulated nutraceuticals industry, such as product labelling and batch quality control, along with tools for formulation management. Plus, it provides a business intelligence feature to help nutraceutical manufacturers identify new business opportunities in this diverse, fast-growing sector. For further information read: Does Your ERP Solution Know Nutraceuticals?

Manufacturing ERP Software By Manufacturing Mode

In addition to finding manufacturing ERP software designed for your sector, it’s important to consider how your mode of production influences what you need from operational technology.

Consider the current manufacturing challenges you’re experiencing, and how they can be solved with the right-fit ERP solution:

  • Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing. While the JIT model allows manufacturers to run a lean operation, real time inventory management using a single database is critical to ensuring this production method runs smoothly. Look out for manufacturing ERP software that closely integrates order management with materials requirement planning and allows you to get an up-to-date view of current inventory levels at any point in time.

  • Batch manufacturing. Batch production is an efficient way of creating goods to a consistent standard, but one error can mean that whole group of products have been compromised. Investing in manufacturing ERP software that focuses on lot traceability, quality control and formula/recipe management will enable you to minimize the chances of mistakes and cross-contaminations, while allowing you to recall products quickly if a batch becomes compromised.

  • Make to order (MTO) manufacturing. Producing goods to meet specific customer requirements works well when there’s a relatively short production time, however this relies on speed and reliability in your manufacturing process. Choosing manufacturing ERP software with predictive machinery maintenance and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) capabilities will help you to manage production uptime effectively—maximizing the speed and quantity of your output.

  • Make to stock (MTS) manufacturing. Anticipating future demand enables your customers’ businesses to be ready when orders arrived, but it relies on highly accurate forecasting. Selecting manufacturing ERP software with sophisticated business intelligence and analytics capabilities will enable you to model future demand based on previous order history.

Manufacturing ERP Software By Operational Setup

We’ve looked at industry, sub-sector and production model…there’s just one element left to consider when analyzing what businesses can benefit from manufacturing ERP software. And that’s internal infrastructure.

Whether you’re running a single or multi-site business will have a major impact on your choice of ERP software, because the operational demands will be very different if your team members are split across multiple locations.

For multi-site manufacturers (including organizations where people work from home) it’s very important to choose cloud based manufacturing ERP software. This is so that colleagues can access system features easily and collaborate remotely—making decisions that drive business development, even when they’re not face-to-face.

The key differentiator with cloud based manufacturing software is that information is provided from a single database regardless of location, so you know that everyone is viewing and using the same data for complete consistency and alignment.

Even if you’re only running a single site today, you may want to choose cloud based manufacturing ERP software with a view to future expansion. Best-fit industry technology should grow with your business, rather than requiring you to replace it when your company moves to the next level.

How To Choose Manufacturing ERP Software That Delivers Business Benefits

Every type of business can benefit from manufacturing ERP software. But as this article demonstrates, there are many facets of your organization to consider before you invest in manufacturing ERP. And the options available to you can vary according to who your customers are, how quickly your business is maturing, and which operational model you prefer.

Working with an experienced technology vendor who has a strong track record in manufacturing can help your business to get ERP investment right first time.

An experienced manufacturing technology provider knows the industry inside-out, so can help you to choose ERP software that’s designed for your type of business, to drive rapid ROI and ensure your chosen technology is scalable with your company. They won’t try to convince you that a generic ERP system will meet your specific needs.

Aptean has created a range of manufacturing ERP solutions that are designed to offer high industry value, including industrial manufacturing ERP software, process manufacturing ERP software and food ERP software. We’ve also developed niche solutions including bakery ERP, cannabis ERP, fabricated metals ERP, fresh produce ERP, and nutraceutical ERP.

Before you worry about the best technology option for your business, get in touch with an Aptean ERP expert. We’ll listen to your needs and guide you to the best-choice manufacturing ERP software.

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