Top 10 Manufacturing ERP Systems

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: September 23, 2020

When you’re at the point of upgrading or switching to a new ERP system for your organization, it’s important to be aware of the many options available at your fingertips. Depending on the nature of your organization and general operations, some of the leading ERP systems may end up inhibiting you from fully optimizing your integration.

We’ve reviewed various ERP systems specific to the manufacturing industry based on our experience and research. We considered scalability, maturity, the total cost of ownership, and the ability to handle complex supply chain functions and shop floor automation. Not only have we had hands-on experience with each of these solutions as we helped integrate them for our clients, but we have also helped clients evaluate these solutions in comparison to one another through independent, agnostic research, and have utilized an exclusive database that helps us identify values and properties of each solution, helping us to compare and contrast software thoroughly and efficiently.

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After a deep dive...

Here are the top 10 ERP systems for the manufacturing sector.

10. Plex Systems

Plex was one of them in the race to Cloud ERP solutions. They helped pioneer the process and for that reason, they tend to be one of the more mature cloud ERP systems out there. Plex is also focused primarily on the sub-verticals within manufacturing which makes them a daily niche and specific product. They fit the need for manufacturing organizations rather than trying to appeal to all industries and organizations.

9. Microsoft Dynamics 365

This software offers a lot of capabilities, both within and outside of the manufacturing space, and they continue to evolve and improve as they build upon manufacturer functionalities. Since it has more functionality across various operations beyond just manufacturing, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is often a good fit for larger, more diverse companies due to the flexibility provided.

8. Deacom

This company is focused primarily on manufacturing ERP systems, which shows their dedication to their space. Deacom is fully integrated, meaning they provide a single solution with all the capabilities needed for manufacturing operations. This software is appealing to smaller companies, and they offer fixed bid implementation. This can be very effective for those concerned about sticking to a budget.

7. Infor Cloudsuite

Infor Cloudsuite has historically focused heavily in the manufacturing space. Their dedication to the space has landed them a spot at number 7 on our list, as we have seen very successful implementations of the software for our clients. As they transition to cloud solutions, however, there have been some growing pains with the solutions not matching the same caliber of functionality in their legacy products. With that said, it’s still a great product and we expect to see them continue to grow on our top ten list in the coming years.

7. SAP/S4 HANA

Yes - we have a tie. SAP has very comparable results to Infor Cloudsuite because it’s tailored to larger organizations with its broad capabilities. Although SAP is applicable to various industries, they have well developed and focused manufacturing capabilities as well. It’s also clear that they are evolving and deepening their functionalities within the manufacturing space to fill specific needs within the industry.

6. Epicor

Along with many others, Epicor is making its transition to the cloud space. They bring a new sense of transparency and seamlessness into manufacturing operations that have benefited many of our clients. I suspect Epicor will continue to move up in this list in the coming years

5. Oracle ERP Cloud

Oracle has traditionally been used by upper market organizations, and their legacy products have done great in manufacturing. They are now focused on moving their functionalities from their legacy software to the cloud, and just like other software vendors doing the same, they are experiencing minor growing pains through the migration. Regardless, Oracle ERP Cloud still offers great solutions and functionality across the board.

4. Acumatica

This is a newer product that has been around for just over 10 years, but it’s one of the fastest-growing ERP systems on the market. It is focused exclusively on manufacturing, and they provide ample flexibility, whether you want to deploy the software via cloud or through an integration process. We’ve found Acumatica fits small to mid-size organizations very well in terms of ease of use and adaptability. Now, if you’re a larger organization, you may feel a bit limited. There may be other ERP systems that aid larger, more complex operations that could be a better fit for you.

3. IQMS

This product has been around for a long time and has been dedicated to the manufacturing space since the beginning. IQMS is suitable for small to mid-sized companies, and their biggest strength is the breadth of functionality within the manufacturing space. Those with complex operations in the supply chain have seen many benefits from the functionalities of the software. It’s also very simple to make small tweaks to fit your needs without having to code full customizations. The one shortfall of this system is its overall ecosystem. There aren’t as many cross-functional systems with IQMS, so finding implementation support, customer support, etc. can be a challenge.

2. QAD

QAD is a well-known manufacturing ERP solution across large, high functioning manufacturing organizations, from automobiles to chemical manufacturers. They are one of the best-known products and have been in the cloud for over ten years now, making their cloud functionality fairly mature. Configuring flexibility is the most appealing element of many companies. QAD makes it easy to customize and recode the modules within the software, giving an extra sense of customization that appeals to many.

1. IFS

IFS is a company based out of Europe, but they have become more well-known across the globe in recent years. IFS is a manufacturing-focused product and it's a great fit for organizations with heavy project management - so if your company has field service crews or something alike as a part of your operations, IFS helps balance everything. It is cloud-based and easy to use with a maturity that keeps it stable and functional for many of our clients.

We look forward to seeing how each of this software evolve and adapt as the years go on. There is a lot of opportunity within this list, and I’m sure we’ll see some other companies inch toward number 1 as they develop and mature their functionalities.

Summary

One thing to keep in mind is to find the product that fits who you are and what your company needs. Are you a large organization that values broad capabilities, or are you a small organization that values ease of implementation and lower costs? These self-guiding principles will help you as you make a decision. It’s also important to review the general ecosystem for the systems you are considering to make sure there is enough support as you venture into a digital transformation.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to brainstorm how your digital transformation might best be defined for your organization. My team and I are happy to be an informal sounding board for you as you continue your transformation journey!

FAQ about Top 10 Manufacturing ERP Systems

What is an ERP system in manufacturing?

Today’s ERP systems have become extremely flexible and capable of supporting a wide range of businesses. They can be customized to support any kind of business process, creating a comprehensive business management platform for a company. The same can be used for manufacturing businesses where an ERP system plans, manages, and delivers specific functionalities to support manufacturers and manufacturing business operations. An ERP for manufacturing reduces redundancies, maximizes manufacturing operations, improves supply chain, warehouse, inventory, and transportation management, provides better customer services and much more. By bringing a gamut of processes under one platform, it also makes communication more effective and enables real-time reporting of operations so that businesses can keep a close tab on the proceedings.

How does ERP work in manufacturing?

ERP for manufacturing is a customized system that enhances organizational efficiency by managing and bettering the way company resources are utilized. By reducing the number of resources required for a certain number of tasks, it reduces the cost while increasing efficiency. ERP for manufacturing is specifically designed to fulfil manufacturing-specific needs. It integrates the core business processes with manufacturing processes and provides complete control over the manufacturing business.

What is the best ERP system for manufacturing?

Today, a number of ERP systems are available with different deployment options. Which ERP you should choose for your manufacturing business would depend on the size, function, and needs of your manufacturing unit. The best ERP system is one that is highly adaptive and can change its functionality as the business expands without disrupting the competitive advantage. Of all the options available, you can either go for an on-premise ERP system that offers control, support and ownership of the entire system. Alternatively, you can choose a cloud-based ERP system that provides flexible support along with continual updates, training, and customization options. Hybrid ERP systems are also available that provide a combination of on-premise and cloud-based systems.

Author:
Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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