How CPQ Improves Materials Management

Letters CPQ held in a woman's hand. Materials Management superimposed on back of her monitor.

Manufacturers using ERP software with CPQ find greater success in materials management

Manufacturing is a highly complex industry, requiring meticulous orchestration of various components to produce high-quality products efficiently. One of the most critical aspects of this process is materials management. This is the area that must handle resources, supplies, and inventory effectively.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of materials management. We’ll define Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ), and detail how combining CPQ with your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can improve materials management.

We’ll discuss how this can boost environmental practices, save money, and enhance overall efficiency. Additionally, we’ll explore the materials management capabilities offered by Friedman Frontier’s ERP software.

Understanding Materials Management

Materials management is the art of ensuring that a manufacturing company has the right materials at the right time. Think of it as the conductor of an orchestra, where every instrument (material) must be in harmony. Let’s dissect materials management to understand its significance and the impact it has on manufacturing operations.

The Significance of Materials Management

Materials management is pivotal in the manufacturing realm for several compelling reasons:

1. Cost Control: Efficient materials management is critical for controlling costs. Wasting materials or ordering excessive quantities can seriously dent a company’s bottom line. Materials managers act as financial custodians, ensuring a delicate balance between supply and demand.

2. Smooth Operations: Production halts when a company runs out of vital materials. Materials managers play the role of gatekeepers. They monitor inventory levels to ensure a consistent supply and prevent interruptions in production.

3. Quality Control: The quality of your products is linked to the materials used. Materials managers are the guardians of quality. By ensuring that the materials meet the company’s stringent standards, they help maintain your brand’s reputation.

4. Sustainability: In an era where environmental concerns are paramount, materials management plays a pivotal role in reducing waste and supporting sustainable practices. This not only benefits the environment but also fosters a positive image for the company.

Understanding CPQ

Before we delve into the combined power of CPQ and ERP in materials management, let’s demystify CPQ:

What is CPQ?

CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. It’s a technology solution that empowers manufacturers to streamline their sales, pricing, and quoting processes. CPQ software aids businesses in creating customized product configurations, determining accurate prices, and generating quotes swiftly. When you seamlessly integrate CPQ with your manufacturing ERP system, it significantly enhances materials management.

Optimizing Materials Ordering

Efficient materials management hinges on optimal materials ordering. Let’s explore how CPQ integrated into the ordering process enhances materials management and the entire manufacturing process:

1. Accurate BOM Management

A Bill of Materials (BOM) is the blueprint for a product. It lists all the materials and components required for product assembly.

With CPQ integrated into your ERP, managing BOMs becomes more streamlined. Your CPQ-enabled ERP should automatically generate BOMs based on customer specifications. This makes sure you only order the materials needed for an order, reducing waste and the risk of ordering too much.

2. Real-time Inventory Insights

CPQ can provide real-time visibility into your inventory through the ERP. This enables you to track material levels, monitor usage patterns, and make informed decisions about when to reorder materials. Such real-time insights are invaluable for preventing production delays because of material shortages.

3. Supplier Integration

Integration with your ERP enables CPQ to access supplier data and lead times. This helps in making intelligent decisions about where and when to source materials. It allows you to take into account factors like supplier reliability and costs. Supplier integration ensures that you receive high-quality materials, they arrive on time, and they are priced competitively.

Improving Sustainability Practices

gears cut out of a green leaf against a sky

Materials management plays an important role in meeting a company’s sustainability objectives.

Sustainability is a paramount concern for manufacturers in today’s environmentally conscious world. CPQ integrated with your ERP can significantly boost sustainability practices in materials management:

1. Material Traceability

A key aspect of sustainability is knowing where your materials come from. CPQ, when integrated with your ERP, allows for material traceability. This helps manufacturers adhere to environmental and ethical sourcing standards. It allows companies to ensure that they procure materials from reputable and responsible sources.

2. Resource Optimization

CPQ helps optimize the use of materials by creating product configurations that reduce waste and ensure the most efficient use of resources. This not only contributes to sustainability but also results in cost savings by reducing material waste.

3. Green Product Development

By enabling quick product customization with CPQ, manufacturers can meet customer demands for more sustainable and eco-friendly products. CPQ can suggest green alternatives for materials and configurations that align with sustainability goals, catering to a growing market that prioritizes environmentally friendly choices. This can enhance the customer experience while improving the sales process.

Cost Savings

Cost control is a crucial aspect of materials management. CPQ integrated with your ERP can help in several ways:

1. Accurate Pricing

CPQ tools help in accurately pricing products. It considers material costs, labor, and other factors, ensuring that pricing reflects the real costs of production. This reduces the risk of underpricing, which can lead to profit loss, or overpricing, which may deter potential customers.

2. Reduction in Material Waste

CPQ’s ability to fine-tune product configurations to match specific customer needs reduces material waste. This can translate into significant cost savings over time. This is especially critical in industries where raw materials are expensive.

3. Labor Efficiency

By automating complex configurations, CPQ minimizes the manual effort required to create quotes and orders. This not only reduces labor costs but also eliminates the potential for human error in material ordering. This streamlining of the ordering process results in increased efficiency and reduced operating costs.

4. Bulk Ordering

By providing insights into future material needs, CPQ integrated with your ERP can enable bulk ordering. Buying materials in bulk often comes with cost-saving benefits thanks to economies of scale. This is especially advantageous for manufacturers with high production volumes.

Faster Decision-Making

close up of a tablet with graphs being held in a warehouse

Real-time data helps materials management departments
optimize ordering.

Quick decision-making is an essential component of effective materials management. CPQ integrated with your ERP system excels in this area:

1. Real-time Data

CPQ in your ERP system allows for the collection and analysis of real-time data. This facilitates quick decision-making regarding materials, production, and inventory management. Accessing up-to-the-minute data ensures that decisions are based on the most current information. This reduces the risk of costly errors or delays.

2. Speed to Customize

CPQ empowers your dealers and sales team to rapidly customize product configurations and generate quotes. With embedded CPQ tools, you have access to the production schedule for accurate promise-by dates.

This can be a game-changer in highly competitive markets. Often, a swift response to customer requests can make all the difference. Rapid customizing and quoting not only enhances customer satisfaction but also streamlines the materials ordering process.

3. Reduced Bottlenecks

The efficient management of materials, accurate BOMs, and optimized product configurations lead to fewer bottlenecks in the production process. This ensures that your manufacturing operations run smoothly and meet customer demands on time, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Friedman Frontier ERP Software: Materials Management Capabilities

As we’ve seen, integrating CPQ with your ERP system offers a multitude of benefits for materials management. However, the choice of the right ERP system is paramount. Friedman Frontier ERP software, tailored for manufacturers, provides comprehensive materials management capabilities.

Friedman Frontier’s materials management functionalities include:

– Inventory Control: The software offers real-time inventory tracking, ensuring that you’re always aware of the materials on hand. This helps in preventing production disruptions due to material shortages.

– Supplier Integration: Frontier ERP supports supplier management. By providing insights into supplier data and lead times, the manufacturing software helps guide intelligent sourcing decisions.

– BOM Management: The ERP system enables accurate Bill of Materials (BOM) management. It automates the generation of BOMs based on customer specifications.

– Material Traceability: Frontier ERP facilitates material traceability. This is a crucial component for meeting sustainability and ethical sourcing standards.

– Resource Optimization: The software supports resource optimization by creating product configurations that minimize waste and ensure the most efficient use of materials.

– Accurate Pricing: Frontier ERP’s integrated CPQ ensures accurate pricing, taking into account material costs, labor, and other factors.

– Efficient Ordering: With streamlined ordering processes, materials managers can make quicker and more informed decisions. The software helps guide when and where to source materials, considering supplier reliability and costs.


Materials management in manufacturing is like conducting an orchestra to create a symphony of products. Materials managers ensure that the right materials are available at the right time, maintaining cost control, quality, and sustainability.

Having CPQ within your ERP system is a potent advantage for manufacturers looking to optimize materials management. It supports sustainability practices, saves money, and facilitates quicker decision-making, which is critical in today’s fast-paced manufacturing environment.

When choosing an ERP system, it’s essential to consider one that aligns with your materials management needs. Friedman Frontier ERP software has both advanced supply chain management capabilities and built-in CPQ tools. Contact Friedman today to learn how Frontier ERP with CPQ can help you stay competitive in the manufacturing industry.

Share this Article: