Must-Haves for a Manufacturing ERP

Author: Vincent Bull in: Business Solutions

14 Must-Haves for a Manufacturing ERP System

November 23, 2021

Top of the line ERP II systems are built as a series of core modules that connect to a central database with data accessible to any module as needed. The core modules are subdivided into submodules.

The list of modules presented here are of crucial importance to improving the productivity of your manufactory.

When shopping for a new ERP system, look for an ERP II system which includes everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. The more powerful your new system, the more you will save. You can do this by cutting other systems, thus decreasing your software overhead and improving your data and communications.

Also, look for ever-evolving systems. As new technology comes of age, it can quickly reach a price-point where you will look to invest. When this happens, an ERP that keeps learning from new technology will give you the comfort in knowing that your expense in adopting this new tech will net you the desired returns.

An ERP II System can be thought of as many-in-one. That is, many subsystems that are working in tandem within the one main system. To simplify how this is addressed, each of the subsystems are called core modules. In this regard, you want to ensure that your new ERP contains core modules that will help you where you need it.

There can also be subsystems within each module, like a Time Keeping/ Time Clock system that is part of the HR module. In this case, the HR module would be the Core Module, and the Time Clock would be a sub-module.

This paper is a comprehensive list of the most important modules for most manufacturing companies along with a brief description of each one and what problem it should solve. OnRamp believes that each core module and submodule is equally vital to improving your operations, so this list is not organized by importance.

Customer Sales and Relation Management (CRM)

Customers drive your success. So, it is imperative that you know as much as you can about them, like their products, their staff and points of contact, what orders they have placed, when you are delivering, and at what price. All of this also needs to be easily accessible to your support staff to ensure that they can effectively communicate with your customers.

Sub-modules for CRM include:

  • Customer Information
  • Customer Purchase and Sales Orders
  • Quoting
  • Price Lists
  • Forecasting


Improve the way you manage your engineering data with master lists of your materials and parts, bill of materials, routings, and other engineering related information. Maintaining all the recipes of your success in a central database that can manage changes and automatically updates all the required information downstream is a game changer.

Sub-modules for Engineering include:

  • Parts and BOM
  • Work Centers and Routing
  • Engineering Change Requests

Quality Management

Few things are as important to customer satisfaction as consistently delivering a quality product. The best way to do this is with a quality management system (QMS). Added to your quality product (and happy customers) is the benefit of decreasing your scrap and defect costs with improved quality control.

Sub-modules for Quality Management include:

  • Inspection
  • Part Rejection
  • Gage Management
  • SPC
  • PPAP

Planning and Scheduling

Great ERP systems start and are built around smarter planning and scheduling. With better material planning and order scheduling, balancing your shops will never be easier. And by having all the quote-to-cash components built out from the ERP core, you will always know your upcoming needs and what you have in stock.

Sub-modules for Planning and Scheduling include:

  • Material Resource Planning
  • Capacity Planning
  • Scheduling
  • Make-to-Stock/ Make-to-Order

Purchasing, Work, and Shipping

Getting what you need, making your product, and sending your products out are crucial operations that your ERP system should be able to action. With an integrated ERP, having smarter purchasing, better work orders, and faster shipping will simplify your sending and receiving while improving your shop productivity.

Sub-modules for Purchasing, Work, and Shipping include:

  • Vendor Management
  • Order Management
  • Lot Grouping
  • Packing and Container Instructions

Warehouse and Inventory Management

Whether you are buying it or making it, your ERP needs to let you know what you have in stock at all times and where you can find it. Knowing this allows your firm to be quick and nimble when replying to the market forces. With Inventory being a key components of LEAN DOWNTIME, this means that too much or too little can be a problem. The value of an inventory and warehouse module is key.

Sub-modules for Warehouse and Inventory Management include:

Business Modeling and Auditing

Business intelligence has come along way since the ability to download a report to a spreadsheet, where it could be parsed and analyzed, was added to ERP. Today’s BI tools include real-time data analysis and employee dashboards where executives and managers can quickly see the condition of their interests in real time and can make adjustments immediately to keep the business on course.

Maintenance Management

The sometimes-unsung hero of manufacturing, machine maintenance can be the difference between orders completed on time and tools lost to misuse. While you know the benefits to good maintenance, and good ERP will include a module to ensure your preventative maintenance is up to speed.

Some new ERPs can also plug into newer tools in a way that allows predictive maintenance, where diagnostics or signals from the tool can let the operator or maintenance worker action a stream before it becomes a flood.

Sub-modules for Maintenance Management include:

  • Maintenance Parts Management

Finance and Accounting

The fiscal hub of your shop. This core ERP component should include the financial information and costs from all your other modules. It is used for accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger, and payroll. Your ERP Finance module can be used to automate your financial forecasting and budgeting activities.

Human Resources

While ERP systems began as the planning engine for a manufactory, leaps in technology have led to adding more and more modules with the HR module being one of the most anticipated. Beyond the previously mentioned benefits of coordinating capacity planning with scheduled hours, a good HR module will also allow you to assign payroll, benefits, and other items related to that most valuable of resources: labor.

Sub-modules for Human Resources include:

  • Recruiting
  • Timekeeping
  • Leave and Vacation
  • Employee Performance
  • Skills and Training
  • Organizational Chart

System Administration

With the advent of cloud-based ERPs, the cost for new servers and other equipment is no longer required. Also, based on your needs, try and find an all-in-one ERP that requires little to no third-party software. This allows for easier process automation, and easier transfer of data between users.

Sub-modules for System Administration include:

  • User Access
  • Security

Plant-Wide Integration

Break down the business unit tribalism. By having all the data in one system, sales, engineering, accounting and your other units will begin to cooperate more which will lead to a better run company.

Reporting and Dashboards

No data is useful unless it can be used. This is where good reporting and dashboards comes in. An all-in-one ERP will have dashboards and reports that can report across your business units and provide you with an up-to-the-minute review of what is happening in your manufactory including financial and profit reports, productivity reviews, KPI identification, shop load and capacity, and order reports.

Sub-modules for Reporting and Dashboards include:

  • Notifications
  • Data Management

Mobile and Future Ready

New cloud-based ERPs can be accessed from any device with a connection to the internet. Some also have native iOS and Android apps that have been designed for use in specific business units, like the warehouse, or in quality control. Added to the mobile revolution is the ability of a good app to make any device into a barcode scanner.

Ensure your ERP has RFID device integration capabilities to remove mistakes from order and inventory processing.


Based on your business and requirements, modern ERP II systems are complete firm-management software suites that greatly improve your productivity and competitiveness.

When looking for your ERP, always consider one with more features. This can decrease the added expenses for other software suites that would fill a crucial role that a more advanced ERP would already do for you.


  • Vincent Bull

    Vincent Bull is the current VP of Sales and Marketing at On-Ramp Solutions Inc. On-Ramp provides comprehensive, flexible fully integrated ERP, MES software solutions to manufacturing and services based companies. He is seasoned in the interaction between software solutions and pairing that with helping human resources improve their abilities to increase their production capacity. Vincent has a passion as well for sports such as basketball and has long been a supporter of such initiatives as The Guelph Board of Approved Basketball Officials. He also has volunteered at Special Olympics Ontario, for a host of different sporting events. Vince is a graduate of Georgian College in Ontario, holding a degree in Computer Programming.

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