05 Jan Best ERP Software for the Manufacturing Industry (2021)
The manufacturing industry as of 2013 made up the largest portion of the United States GDP. With a gross output of $5.9 trillion (over a third of total GDP), the market share of manufacturing remains massive. The manufacturing industry also remains one of the most complicated. It is critical then to identify the best ERP software for the manufacturing industry.
There will always be similar constraints and obstacles related to business processes that manufacturing companies face. There are a set number of things that a manufacturer must do. Simply, they are to order something, produce something, sell something, and ship something. Identifying the best ERP software for the manufacturing industry based on these criteria would be overly simple. Nearly every solution on the market could cover those criteria. However, those are only the most simple and broad of issues, a more in-depth list could include:
- Product data management
- Planning and scheduling
- Automated data collection
- Compliance management (domestic/international)
- Quality management
- Recipe management
- Batch management
- And so many more
What you manufacture is specific, and your customers want specific solutions. Finding the best ERP software for the manufacturing industry is about outlining your own processes. The ideal solution will adapt to your needs.
The First Decision — On-Premise or Cloud Deployment?
The increasing adoption of cloud hosting for ERP solutions has made the option more affordable and effective (read our cloud-based ERP article for more information). The relatively quicker deployment times and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) can be a huge incentive. This is particularly true for emerging businesses.
However, on-premise deployments have a reputation of dependability. This may be a better option for a larger and established company. Scalability and expansion can become a financial burden with traditional deployments, but with proper planning, your growth plans should not be hindered.
What ERP Software Can Offer You as a Manufacturer
Understand that the needs of a process manufacturer can be very differentiated compared to the needs of a discrete manufacturer. Be aware that within the ERP landscape, some solutions are more suited to process manufacturing and vice versa. Here is a short list of capabilities of ERP software for the manufacturing industry:
- Quality ERP software can provide a business with comprehensive requirements for tracking production. This is a truly massive function, but it can provide the agility needed for the immense amount of variables involved in both discrete and process manufacturing.
- Track recipe adjustments and requirement differences for different consumer bases. Moving your old spreadsheets and databases into a comprehensive solution can bring massive efficiency increases and reduce overheads (as well as maintaining compliance).
- Quality control management can be executed from a centralized system. This is a huge improvement over traditional quality controls that can have gaps. Just one mistake can be incredibly costly, and adopting an ERP that can automate and centralize this process can reduce your risk immensely.
How To Choose The Best ERP Software for Manufacturing Industry
Any manufacturing business should take considerable time mapping out the processes and workflows most integral to their business. This will give you the power in choosing the best ERP software. If you are able to speak with a vendor knowledgeably, they will be able to guide you to the best solution. Be sure to know which software modules will be most crucial for your company.
There is a massive amount of customization available for most ERP solutions, but you should also be aware that the more third-party modules that are grafted on, the more costly and ineffective the system can become.
Examples of ERP Software for the Manufacturing Industry
There is an often overwhelming amount of choices for your ERP software. Considering the impact that this choice can have, the process can be daunting. We will go briefly over a few options for you to further research or to reach out to us for more information.
Sage X3 offers maybe the best out-of-the-box functionality for the manufacturing industry. For manufacturers in general, but particularly those specializing in discrete manufacturing, Sage X3 offers excellent modules. We particularly like their native options for advanced quality control and inventory management.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV (and AX) also offers a good range of native modules for manufacturers. Dynamics offers advanced production functionality including time and materials reporting, quality assurance, and warehouse management.
SAP B1 offers the least amount of native options. While they do have a great project management tool, we have found that SAP B1 requires a hefty amount of third-party modules to bring it up to speed. This does not mean it is a poor product, but there will be additional resources spent to get maximum functionality.
NetSuite provides a solid foundation for process manufacturing with its Advanced Manufacturing module. However, there are some more meta-issues with NetSuite. It only allows for cloud deployments and tends to be too pricy as it includes some unnecessary and bulky systems.
If you want to know more about the best ERP software for your manufacturing industry/company, be sure to contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.