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Leading Manufacturing ERP Solutions for Small-Scale Producers in 2023

Leading Manufacturing ERP Solutions for Small-Scale Producers in 2023

Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP) is a system that manages production processes, including material scheduling, inventory control, and production planning, ensuring the timely availability of resources for efficient production. When it comes to opting for an MRP solution, enterprises are putting their resources into a product with an extensive operational existence. This emphasizes the need for a decision-making procedure that involves numerous evaluations and in-depth examinations. Presented here are the prime MRP solutions accessible to enterprises operating on a smaller scale. 


Becoming familiar with a new software system can pose a considerable challenge for businesses of all sizes. In addition to the financial implications, it’s crucial for management to thoroughly evaluate the software’s compatibility with the specific operational requirements of the business. Opting for a well-informed decision is the advisable course of action, requiring a thorough exploration of the software’s practical capabilities. 

Furthermore, organizations must decide between cloud-based and hosted options, while also ensuring an appropriate allocation for the correct mix of users. 

In the case of larger corporations, their in-house IT team can handle much of the groundwork, and the costs are spread out across many products, lessening the impact. Yet, this becomes more challenging for small manufacturing businesses with 10-200 employees. 

This is because smaller enterprises frequently encounter challenges, potentially lacking in-house IT expertise. Furthermore, the substantial financial investment required for implementing new systems might prove impractical for these modest-sized manufacturers. Consequently, business proprietors or decision-makers face the prospect of selecting a system that may be either insufficiently capable or overly complex. This complexity could burden already stretched staff, potentially impeding the potential of the system

When a company gets bigger and more complex, picking the right software becomes even harder. This is especially true for a strong ERP system that fits well. If choosing software for one part of the business is tough, it gets even tougher when it’s about software that will control most, or maybe all, of the business activities for a long time. 

MRP systems and ERP systems 

To make informed decisions among available platforms, it’s crucial to grasp the contrast between MRP and ERP. MRP centers on production control, managing materials, scheduling, and procurement for finished goods. Meanwhile, ERP integrates wider operations, spanning finance, HR, and more, streamlining overall business processes. 

An ERP system integrates MRP elements with advanced financial management, sales analytics, and process automation, culminating in a comprehensive solution for optimizing manufacturing operations. This entails harmonizing tasks involving accounts, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), fixed asset oversight, and other crucial administrative and financial functions. The ERP system orchestrates these components, facilitating optimized management across the organization, while exploiting real-time data analysis to enhance overall company performance. 

Advantages of ERP Solutions for Small Businesses 

Implementing an ERP system offers numerous advantages for small enterprises. Firstly, it provides an opportunity to upgrade from outdated or manually operated systems. Often, small businesses rely on piecemeal arrangements or outdated software carried over from previous roles. An ERP solution can replace these systems with enhanced features and analytical capabilities, facilitating precise and optimized materials management across the entire organization. 

Next, an ERP solution has the capability to address the issue of “fragmentation.” Fragmentation arises when a business employs multiple software applications across various departments to manage its initial expansion. Challenges arise when the company expands further, surpassing the collective abilities of these disparate systems to effectively manage both production processes and administrative tasks, resulting in a lack of organization and control. 

In numerous instances, disjointed software systems might not seamlessly connect, leading to manual reconciliation of reports across systems. As production levels rise, an ERP system can eliminate this fragmentation by unifying material and business controls within a singular platform equipped with real-time data and analytics. 

Furthermore, a company might have diversified its product range, introducing newer and more intricate versions that expand the associated bill of materials needed for production. This can complicate planning and procurement processes, introducing inefficiencies throughout manufacturing. Here, an ERP system steps in, processing data to offer structured and automated tools for managing fundamental business functions, ensuring efficient manufacturing operations and optimal material availability. 

Leading Six Manufacturing ERP Solutions 

Irrespective of a company’s motivation for pursuing an ERP system, today, there exists an array of choices catering to nearly every sector and companies of diverse sizes and aspects. Noteworthy ERP providers like SAP and Oracle, often associated with larger entities surpassing $200 million in revenue, have expanded their offerings to encompass small to medium-sized businesses. Meanwhile, Tier II ERP solutions typically accommodate enterprises with sales ranging from $20 million to $200 million, coupled with a user base of fewer than 200. Correspondingly, Tier III ERP systems cater to businesses with revenues under $40 million and a user count ranging from 5 to 30. To aid in selecting the optimal ERP system for an evolving small-scale manufacturer, we present an overview of the leading six Tier II and Tier III ERP vendors presently available, specifically tailored for small manufacturers. 


This second-tier provider presents a platform dedicated to manufacturers exceeding $1 million in revenue. Notably adaptable, the core features of the fundamental ERP can be enhanced through the individual selection of supplementary modules. This allows enterprises to procure precisely what they require while retaining the option of incorporating extra modules at a later stage. Epicor delivers an array of functions including production management, supply chain management, scheduling, and financial oversight. The platform equips manufacturers with the capability to efficiently handle make-to-order, configure-to-order, and make-to-stock shop floor operations, all within the inherent capabilities of the software. With a user-friendly customization interface and scalability, the system accommodates diverse needs and remains compatible with all mobile devices. 

Epicor also provides a Quality Performance Management (QPM) module, a feature less commonly encountered in alternative ERP systems. Such modules are typically exclusively accessible via ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) within rival vendor platforms. 

Certain drawbacks encompass frequently cited concerns regarding sluggish customer assistance. Additionally, its versatility in terms of invoicing and order adjustments is somewhat restricted, and it lacks predefined integrations, although an open API is accessible upon request. Importantly, its import and export functions are significantly limited, which stands in contrast to the widespread Microsoft import/export capability present in many of its typical offerings. For Epicor, import and export processes necessitate the acquisition of an ISV add-on. 

This system can be deployed on-premises, hosted externally, or utilized as a cloud-based SaaS solution. Although Epicor refrains from divulging specific pricing details, approximations hover around $175 per user per month following the completion of implementation expenses. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central 

Commonly considered alongside Tier I offerings, this Tier II provider has piqued the interest of many large businesses seeking to incorporate it into their operations. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central brings the renowned Microsoft brand to the table, providing a comprehensive ERP platform for tasks such as operations oversight, financial accounting, project management, CRM, and procurement. Additionally, it presents a field service alternative, enabling the integration of extensive field technician operations into the streamlined ERP system. 

While Business Central provides substantial inherent core functionalities, specific workflow programming needs may call for the integration of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). This could potentially lead to significant supplementary costs during the implementation process, particularly for businesses with intricate operations. Nonetheless, the product exhibits the potential for customization to suit the distinct demands of each client. 

Negatives involve restrictions on editing within multiple modules and irregular integration with specific external applications provided by third-party vendors. Additionally, getting accustomed to its adaptability for various industries might require a substantial learning phase. The implementation of Business Central ERP also demands collaboration with an authorized third-party company for programming and deployment, leading to supplementary expenses and introducing a certain level of detachment between the adopting organization and the core service provider. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers flexibility in its deployment, available for use either on-site or through cloud-based deployment on Microsoft’s proprietary cloud infrastructure. This solution can be acquired through a one-time purchase or a subscription model. Following infrastructure and setup expenses, the user cost stands at $70 per user per month for the Essentials package, while the Premium plan is priced at $100. Notably, it’s essential to recognize that the implementation expenses for Business Central may extend into significant figures. 


Rootstock, an additional Tier II ERP provider, presents manufacturers with an ERP solution. Operating on the Salesforce framework, it gains advantages from robust cloud capabilities and enhanced interconnectivity between applications, addressing an issue commonly encountered in other platforms. 

Rootstock provides capabilities for managing production schedules and capacity, overseeing shop floor operations, handling inventory and procurement, and managing financial aspects—features commonly found in ERP systems. However, Rootstock goes beyond the basics by offering additional functionalities such as engineering change management, sales order administration, services management, and returns and repairs handling. This extensive range of options can be further enhanced by integrating applications and solutions from the Salesforce ecosystem, allowing for customization to address specific industry requirements. 

Rootstock offers supplementary components for Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and engineering, enabling the handling of designs ranging from electronics, electrical, and mechanical aspects. Altering work order routings does not impede standard procedures, enabling shop floor management to personalize production orders devoid of typical challenges stemming from special requests and customizations. Additionally, the system boasts cost management capabilities spanning from intricate details to broader perspectives. Even in its advanced stage, users consistently praise its intuitive interface and ease of use. 

The platform has faced criticism for its sluggish customer support and limitecd product documentation. However, Rootstock has proactively enhanced its customer service, leading to positive recent online reviews. Nevertheless, obtaining mobile applications, a standard offering from rival platforms requires a costly add-on. Furthermore, certain typical features in the finance module are absent, which could impact its status as a comprehensive ERP solution. On a positive note, it does offer integration with third-party accounting applications like Quickbooks. 

The solution is provided through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model on the Salesforce Cloud Platform. Pricing commences at $200, in addition to associated implementation expenses. 


The Syspro manufacturing software delivers comprehensive ERP capabilities that can be customized to match an enterprise’s size. As a Tier III provider, Syspro offers a modular framework, allowing the addition of extra modules as the company expands. Core components include shop floor control, inventory management, and financial functions, which are common to small-scale ERP systems. A notable strength of Syspro is its scheduling feature, accommodating both single-constraint and multi-constraint scheduling. This versatility enables accurate labor tracking, material management, and work-in-process scrap control, particularly valuable for smaller manufacturers aiming to optimize profitability given the impact of material costs. 

Furthermore, the platform has enhanced its user interface, featuring various visual tools for the smooth integration of master data throughout the enterprise. It presents a unified system for mixed-mode manufacturing, a key consideration for smaller manufacturers aiming to optimize production. 

Despite the system’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, there are some drawbacks in terms of reporting and data management. Pre-configured reports lack usefulness and necessitate customization for alignment with each company’s specific needs. Customization options are limited, and data synchronization between critical areas, such as inventory and accounts receivable, must align within the same cost period to ensure accuracy. This constraint can hinder certain data analyses, requiring vigilant attention where other providers seamlessly manage the issue. Users have also raised concerns about the intricate interface and extended response times from the support team, occasionally spanning weeks. 

Syspro is accessible through both cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and on-premise deployment models. Primarily distributed through resellers, pricing for Syspro averages around $199 per user per month post-installation, with an initial on-premise installation starting at a base cost of $12,000. 


DELMIAworks, a Tier III provider (formerly known as IQMS), offers modular solutions tailored for manufacturing companies seeking to expand their capabilities as they grow. Core functionalities span from manufacturing and resource planning, scheduling, supply chain management, CRM, procurement, and financial accounting. 

Notably, DELMIAworks stands out with two distinctive features that are uncommon in its competitors, granting significant advantages to small-scale manufacturers. The first is Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), enabling companies to oversee customer-side inventory, fostering consignment-style arrangements, and facilitating Just-in-Time capabilities by enhancing visibility into the vendor’s warehouse. The second is an integrated Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) that optimizes automation from order placement to the delivery of raw materials and crucial components. These attributes position DELMIAworks as an excellent choice for businesses aiming to integrate lean best practices into their procurement processes. 

However, certain drawbacks merit consideration. Limited drill-down capabilities for inventory analysis somewhat offset the benefits of VMI. The reporting functions within DELMIAworks are constrained throughout the system, and concerns have arisen regarding software glitches and restricted functionality in modules like Time and Attendance. Additionally, the system fails to establish a connection between work orders and sales orders, thereby disrupting end-to-end coordination. Clients have expressed that if fundamental supply chain functionality is the main concern, DELMIAworks might not be the optimal solution. 

DELIMIAworks ERP can be accessed through the cloud or as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) on-premise solution. Determining pricing for DELMIAworks ERP has proven to be challenging, with online estimates ranging as high as $45,000 USD in annual costs and $3,000 USD per user per month. 


This provider, ranked under Tier II and Tier III, stands out as the most economical choice on the list. MRPeasy initially developed its ERP platform as an MRP system, rendering essential features like manufacturing, shop floor control, material planning, inventory, sales order management, warehouse management, and work order management. Recognizing the strength of its core offering, MRPeasy strategically evolved into a comprehensive ERP system, delivering cost-effectiveness within the Tier II and Tier III category. 

MRPeasy executed this transition into a full-fledged ERP solution ingeniously, with integrations with third-party software applications. Notably, MRPeasy designed its new ERP platform for smooth integration with well-established systems such as Xero and QuickBooks, as well as popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. Furthermore, it interfaces smoothly with Pipedrive CRM and integrates with fulfillment platforms including Ware2Go and ShipStation, complemented by an integration hub, Zapier. 

The amalgamation of these widely adopted applications significantly benefits small and medium-sized enterprises across the globe. By amalgamating its core MRP functionalities with top-tier accounting, CRM, and fulfillment platforms, MRPeasy offers a fully functional ERP solution dedicated to companies with a workforce ranging from 10 to 200 employees. 

MRPeasy distinguishes itself by blending comprehensive functions with an attractive price point. Particularly noteworthy in manufacturing, the software’s traceability feature is all the rage,  especially in regulated sectors like food and pharmaceuticals. 

The software boasts a modern and uncluttered user interface, enhanced by features such as Gantt charts and drag-and-drop rescheduling, which refine production scheduling. Its interconnected modules ensure real-time updates, enabling immediate adjustments to production schedules and CRM activities in response to supplier delays. MRPeasy caters to businesses dealing with product variants or intricate multi-level assemblies, thanks to its product configurator (Matrix BOM) and multi-level BOM capabilities. The RMA module facilitates efficient management of product returns, repairs, and recalls. 

Operating solely on the public cloud, MRPeasy requires no installation, providing convenience to users. The software’s official website offers a wealth of high-quality instructional materials, including videos, user manuals, FAQs, and other resources designed to simplify implementation and learning. This comprehensive support allows most users to independently adopt the software without external consultation. 

Notably, MRPeasy’s integration with Xero, QuickBooks, Pipedrive, and Zapier lends credibility and reliability to its integrated functionalities. This affiliation also aids in overcoming potential software development challenges that can arise during transitions to higher-functioning versions. The system is also mobile-friendly, compatible with Android and iOS devices. Its browser-based nature eliminates the need for regular system maintenance and updates. 

While a range of packages is available, including Starter and Professional options priced at $49 and $69 per user per month for the first ten users, the Enterprise version at $99 per user per month is particularly popular. An additional Unlimited tier is offered for $149 per user per month, mirroring the Enterprise features without inherent limitations and featuring an added API capability. 

The software’s pricing structure for additional users beyond the initial ten is notably economical, costing only $79 per group of 10 users. This approach ensures that scaling the company’s operations leads to a reduced average cost per user, making MRPeasy an increasingly cost-effective solution as the business expands. 

Selecting Appropriate Software Solutions 

The process of implementing ERP systems can be arduous, time-intensive, and financially demanding. When a manufacturing enterprise opts for a new ERP platform, it is essentially making an investment in a product that boasts an extended operational lifespan, potentially surpassing the longevity of any manufacturing machinery. 

Achieving equilibrium in the options considered can lead to heightened operational efficiency and enhanced customer service. Conversely, opting for an ill-suited system could result in financial outlays. 

For small and medium-sized businesses, judiciously managing capital expenditures is of paramount importance, given that user expenses constitute only a portion of the equation. Over the ERP’s lifetime, additional expenditures encompass data entry, training, software upgrades, maintenance, support, and potential cost complexities. 

Hence, it is imperative that business owners and decision-makers responsible for selecting a new ERP do so by striking a harmonious balance between expenses, user-friendliness, adaptation to changing circumstances, and particularly, the distinct requirements of their company within its industry.