ERP and MRP: What Custom Manufacturers Need Now

gears fitting together like ERP and MRP software

In the world of make-to-order manufacturing, businesses often find themselves grappling with complex systems for manufacturing management. It seems that there is a wide range of solutions online for manufacturers to reduce costs and increase the bottom line. However, two crucial tools necessary to optimize operations are ERP and MRP.

Despite both being abbreviations for types of software used by manufacturers, these systems serve distinct functions. Each plays a pivotal role in streamlining manufacturing production processes. Read on to learn about the differences between ERP and MRP and how they work together to optimize operations.

Manufacturing Efficiency with ERP

At its core, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems for manufacturers are the backbone of business operations. A comprehensive manufacturing ERP encompasses accounting, order management, product configuration, customer data, inventory control, production scheduling, manufacturing operations, supply chain management, and more. The powerful software expedites data automatically across different departments, providing a comprehensive, real-time view of core processes and business activities.

The best ERP software for manufacturing provides an overarching framework with many management tools. This foundation enables efficient decision-making, resource allocation, and collaboration through complex large datasets and intricate processes. These factors make ERP software an ideal solution for manufacturing companies with complex business operations.

MRP Provides Precision Planning

Effective material planning is a cost-saving necessity in the manufacturing industry. MRP stands for Material Requirements Planning. Introduced in the early 1950s, MRP software was among the first computerized software programs developed to help companies increase manufacturing efficiency. It is still a critical component of a business, focused on managing inventory, scheduling production, and raw material availability.

MRP has been made even more powerful when brought in as part of a larger ERP ecosystem through integration. Its effectiveness relies heavily on the accuracy of data input into the system. Utilizing an ERP to feed the MRP software reduces the chances of errors and improves productivity.

For example, when a company receives a purchase order, it enters the ERP system. The ERP software captures the data and directly transfers it to the MRP tool. The MRP then swings into action by analyzing product demand, checking stock levels, and generating a precise production plan. This interaction ensures that the manufacturing process aligns seamlessly with broader business operations.

Bridging the Gap: How ERP and MRP Work Together

Diagram of ERP system showing ERP and MRP relationship

ERP and MRP systems work together to help businesses run more efficiently.

The beauty of this style of manufacturing management lies in how ERP and MRP complement each other. ERP provides the bigger picture – integrating departments and simplifying collaboration. MRP, as a subset, zeroes in on the granular details of material planning.

When they work together, information flows effortlessly throughout the organization. Customers place orders, ERP captures data, and MRP ensures that materials and production schedules align for optimal efficiency. This results in increased capacity and improved customer satisfaction.

The approach to material planning can vary so it is important to ensure that your ERP system is adaptable. Whether you are strategizing at the plant or product level, flexibility in your ERP is key.

Benefits of ERP and MRP Integration

  • Improved Visibility and Transparency: Integration provides unparalleled visibility into the manufacturing process. This allows for real-time monitoring of financials, material flows, production schedules, and potential bottlenecks.
  • Enhanced Decision-Making: Accurate and up-to-date information empowers decision-makers. With ERP and MRP working in tandem, businesses can make informed choices on overall business operations. This leads to improved efficiency and profitability for the company as a whole.
  • Cost Savings via Inventory Optimization: When integrated with an ERP, MRP optimizes inventory levels by ensuring efficient use of materials. This minimizes excess stock, reducing carrying costs and preventing shortages to fill sales orders.
  • Streamlined Communication and Collaboration: An integrated system breaks down silos, fostering seamless communication and collaboration between departments. This unity enhances overall manufacturing efficiency. Consider if your business had to maintain integrations for independent accounting, ordering, inventory, production, etc. software. As updates are made, integrations can break, and communications fail. This doesn’t happen if your accounting, purchasing, and MRP software, for example, are already part of your ERP.

The Perfect Match for Custom Manufacturers

Person holding a tablet with a blurred manufacturing line in the background.

Realize the full power of ERP and MRP integration.

Make-to-order manufacturers using an integrated ERP and MRP system enjoy many benefits. The dynamic flexibility of the integrated system ensures that changes in orders or specifications are available in real time. This minimizes errors and maximizes customer satisfaction.

Accurate demand forecasting is critical for custom manufacturers. MRP’s ability to analyze historical inventory data and predict future material requirements enables proactive planning. As part of your ERP system, MRP can trigger purchase orders to ensure inventory is on hand when needed. In turn, this helps minimize lead times for on-time customer deliveries.

Resource allocation is paramount for custom manufacturers. An integrated ERP and MRP system ensures efficient use of materials and labor, reducing waste while optimizing production costs.

The Frontier ERP and MRP Solution

Frontier ERP is a one-stop solution for high-volume, make-to-order manufacturers. A complete MRP system is one of our integrated manufacturing ERP modules. This enables companies to focus on their business expertise rather than software development and maintaining integrations.

Through its innovative design, Frontier aids in minimizing lead times by leveraging advanced production scheduling tools. Our complete system also automates materials ordering and payment processes, strengthening vendor relationships to keep up with customer demands. With just a few clicks, you can effortlessly track the status of any order at any production stage.


Despite the distinct difference between MRP and ERP systems, they work hand in hand to increase operational efficiency. Manufacturers seeking to thrive in the competitive make-to-order industry need both MRP and ERP software. As technology continues to evolve, the integration of MRP and ERP solutions puts manufacturers on the path toward efficiency, profitability, and sustainable growth.

Friedman Corporation helps custom manufacturers grow strategically and profitably. Contact us to learn more about our innovative solutions.

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