Manufacturing companies have long used ERP systems to streamline operations, address customization requirements and manage complicated supply chains in order to build profitable, sustainable businesses. ERP software provides integration of every aspect of procurement, production and delivery for manufacturers regardless of whether they are a make-to-stock, make-to-order or engineer-to-order manufacturer. While there are stand-alone manufacturing software packages available in the market, the best manufacturing solutions are tightly integrated into a centralized ERP system.
Most ERP and manufacturing solutions are placed into the categories of process manufacturing software, discrete manufacturing software or mixed-mode manufacturing software. These different manufacturing categories directly relate to the production environment and whether this environment can be classified as continuous process, contract manufacturing, job shop, batch processing, repair and maintenance, repetitive or work order based.
Within the manufacturing industry, contract manufacturing companies need software flexible enough to manufacture a variety of product types and efficient enough to produce low cost, high quality goods in a lean and highly automated environment. Contract manufacturers need to manage multiple customer requirements simultaneously while meeting delivery deadlines, quality specifications and product design requirements. Strong contract manufacturing software will offer detailed costing information, robust demand planning and production control, integrated financial management, and a strong inventory control for raw materials and finished good inventories.