An integrated software solution can help your manufacturing firm enhance efficiency, reduce operational costs, and increase profit margins. More than that, the right solution enables you to make informed, accurate, and strategic decisions.
What kind of software can do all this (and more)? Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for the manufacturing industry. An ERP system can streamline your manufacturing and production-planning activities, helping you avoid bottlenecks such as delayed production, insufficient inventory, and labor inefficiencies.
Figuring out exactly which software features or modules you need to build an ERP system that meets your needs, however, can be difficult. Don't worry; we're here to help with this list of the best tools within commonly used ERP modules for manufacturing businesses like yours.
Why do we call them “best”? All of these tools are included in GetApp’s Category Leaders (an annual ranking of top software tools) for manufacturing and engineering, inventory management, and human resources (HR). Each tool has a user rating of 4+ (out of 5) and more than ten user reviews on GetApp. You can read our full selection methodology at the bottom of this page.
Wondering why we're focusing on these three categories rather than recommending ERPs as a whole? To give you some background, postmodern ERP solutions are made up of different software modules, such as manufacturing, inventory management, HR, accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), etc. As their names suggest, each module focuses on a specific business area.
Manufacturing, inventory management, and HR functions are core to almost every manufacturing business. This article can help you select a tool from each of these three categories, and either integrate it with your existing ERP or form a foundation to build an ERP from scratch. Each tool could also be used as standalone software to serve a specific business function, if you find that that works better for your business.
Manufacturing and engineering software tools can support your manufacturing business in many ways, such as product designing, production scheduling, and supply chain management. These tools automate and streamline the entire production process, from production planning to execution.
Here's how you can best use manufacturing and engineering tools:
Automate all your production activities, such as materials planning and resource scheduling.
Maintain optimum inventory levels in your warehouse to reduce any stockouts.
Track the rate of your resource utilization and the status of your work orders in real time.
Here are the best three manufacturing and engineering software options to consider for your ERP (listed alphabetically; selection methodology at the bottom of this page):
User ratings: 4.8/5
Number of reviews: 83+
Katana MRP is a cloud-based manufacturing ERP system that automates your sales and purchase management and inventory tracking processes. It allows you to track customer and supplier orders, create bills and invoices, and schedule production activities. You can also monitor your business performance and generate reports.
Pricing info: The tool’s paid plan starts at $99 per user, per month (billed monthly). A 14-day free trial is available.
User ratings: 5/5
Number of reviews: 62+
ProShop is a manufacturing process management ERP tool that offers prebuilt templates to create time and cost estimates for manufacturing activities. It helps users monitor inventory levels, create customer quotes, schedule production tasks, manage the shipping of finished goods, and assess product quality. The tool can be deployed via the cloud or on-premise.
Pricing info: ProShop’s paid subscription plan starts at $500 per month for seven to eight employees (billed annually). Users can also purchase a one-time software license.
User ratings: 4.6/5
Number of reviews: 184+
ShopVOX is a cloud-based manufacturing ERP solution that helps automate manufacturing processes such as job scheduling and resource planning. Its vendor management module allows you to create purchase orders, track the price of materials, and assess supplier performance based on criteria such as order turnaround time and discounts offered.
Pricing info: ShopVOX’s paid plan starts at $10 per user, per month (billed monthly). A 15-day free trial is available.
Inventory management software can help your manufacturing business estimate how much raw material you’ll need for production, track the status of items already in production, and monitor stock levels to ensure optimum usage.
Here's how you can best use inventory management software for your manufacturing business:
Establish a minimum stock level for different items, and receive alerts when your inventory falls below the defined level. You can also set up automatic reordering.
Track your stock levels in real time to know how much inventory you have on hand.
Analyze all inventory data to identify your most used or bestselling products.
Here are the best three inventory management software options to consider for your ERP (listed alphabetically; selection methodology at the bottom of this page):
User rating: 4.5/5
Number of reviews: 221+
ERPAG is a cloud-based manufacturing ERP system that supports inventory management. Its inventory management features include sales order management, barcode scanning, shipping management, and point of sale (POS) management.
This tool allows users to easily import and export all inventory details in a spreadsheet and helps manage multiple warehouses that have items with different prices, currencies, or tax considerations.
Pricing info: ERPAG’s Basic plan costs $49 per month for two user accounts (billed monthly). A 15-day trial plan, with limited features and storage, is also available.
User rating: 4.8/5
Number of reviews: 99+
Skubana is a cloud-based ERP and inventory management software tool that helps manage multiple warehouses and track customer orders and shipments.
Its key features include order fulfillment, purchase order management, inventory control and optimization, analytics, and business intelligence. This tool integrates with your sales channels to ensure real-time inventory updates.
Pricing info: Skubana’s paid plan starts at $999 for up to 1,000 orders per month (billed monthly). A 14-day trial is available.
User rating: 4.5/5
Number of reviews: 322+
Zoho Inventory is a cloud-based inventory management software solution with key features including warehouse management, inventory optimization, lot traceability, and reporting.
The solution can be integrated with online sales channels as well as other Zoho apps—such as Zoho Books and Zoho CRM—to automatically update inventory quantities for your manufacturing business. It also offers built-in shipment estimating, item tracking, and delivery confirmation features.
Pricing info: The tool’s Basic plan costs $49 per organization, per month (billed monthly) and supports 1,500 online orders and 150 shipments. A 14-day trial is available.
HR software helps you recruit, hire, manage, and develop your workforce. You can run payroll, track time and attendance, administer benefits, and monitor work performance. These tools also let users customize salary structures, leave policies, and more.
Here's how you can best use HR software for your manufacturing business:
Recruit and hire candidates with the right manufacturing skills and capabilities.
Create individualized career paths and development plans for your workforce.
Comply with state and federal laws related to workforce compensation, benefits, and workplace safety.
Here are the best three HR software options to consider for your ERP (listed alphabetically; selection methodology at the bottom of this page):
User ratings: 4.5/5
Number of reviews: 1,186+
BambooHR is an HR software solution that helps manage job applications, employee onboarding, administer payroll and benefits, and review performance. The tool allows you to monitor your employees’ work hours, project profitability, individual performance, etc, and generate reports. The software can be deployed via the cloud or on-premise.
Pricing info: The tool’s paid plan starts at $99 per user, per month (billed monthly). A seven-day free trial is available.
User ratings: 4.7/5
Number of reviews: 2,684+
Gusto is a cloud-based HR software platform that allows you to hire, pay, insure, and engage your workforce. You can onboard new hires, run payroll, view timesheets, maintain tax documents, and approve leave and time off requests. This tool integrates with third-party accounting platforms, such as Xero and QuickBooks.
Pricing info: Gusto’s Basic plan starts at $25 per month (base price of $19 plus $6 per user, per month).
User ratings: 4.9/5
Number of reviews: 765+
Rippling is an HR solution that lets you manage onboarding and offboarding, run payroll, administer benefits, and approve leave and time off requests. It also lets you manage the apps (Google Workspace, Slack, etc.) and devices your employees use. This tool can be deployed via the cloud or on-premise.
Pricing info: Rippling’s paid plan starts at $8 per user, per month (billed monthly).
Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting the right tools to build an ERP for your manufacturing business:
Complete a demo: Schedule a product demo before purchasing any tool. It’ll help you get an up-close view of software features, and you can also ask the vendor questions. Prepare for the demo by researching the tool and jotting down your questions in advance.
To identify the products listed in this article, we leveraged the GetApp 2020 Category Leaders reports for ERP and three related categories (manufacturing and engineering, inventory management, and HR). For each category, we eliminated products that did not have at least half of the below-mentioned features:
For manufacturing and engineering: Purchase order management, purchasing management, work order management, activity management, quote management, production tracking, procurement management, bills of material, and inventory management.
For inventory management: Barcode printing, barcode scanning, barcode support, inventory optimization, inventory tracking, inventory replenishment, invoice management, order management, and warehouse management.
For HR: Talent management, talent acquisition, absence management, employee self-service, employee database, employee management, employee onboarding, 360-degree feedback, benefits management, payroll management, and compliance management.
From each list, we selected the top three products in each category with the highest ratings and most product reviews as of December 31, 2020. Additionally, each product has a minimum user rating of 4 (out of 5) and at least ten user reviews on GetApp. Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.