Process Manufacturing ERP Software Market Guide

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Although the manufacturing industry employs a smaller percentage of Americans than it did 50 years ago, there are still sectors that are thriving and experiencing substantial growth. Most of these companies fall within the process manufacturing sphere. Process manufacturing refers to the processing and the combination of raw materials and ingredients to create finished products. To deal with the specific challenges in this field, many businesses turn to process manufacturing ERP software.

Already know that your business needs process manufacturing software and looking for the top available solutions? Click here to go straight to our list of the best options on the market now.

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Process Manufacturing Definition

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What Does ERP and Manufacturing Software Entail?

When looking for a software solution that supports process manufacturing operations, you’ll likely come across both ERP and manufacturing software as prospective options. So, what is the scope of these solutions, and what do they actually entail? ERP stands for enterprise resource planning and is a solution that centralizes business information and facilitates both front- and back-office operations. These programs can handle everything from human resources management to material requirements planning.

On the other hand, manufacturing solutions are more steeped in the needs of manufacturing businesses. Some vendors are differentiated by whether they support process or discrete manufacturing, but some support both methods. We’ll go into more depth on the differences between discrete vs. process manufacturing in the next paragraph, so you can decide what specific solutions would best serve your business needs.

In general, manufacturing solutions as a whole are especially adept at handling processes such as warehouse management, distribution, inventory management and supply chain management.

What’s the Difference Between Discrete and Process Manufacturing?

As opposed to discrete manufacturing, where distinct products are produced, process manufacturing creates batches of goods that need to be divided into units such as barrels or bottles. The ingredients and raw materials used in the manufacturing process are transformed through chemical reactions. This means they can’t be reused, unlike the parts and components used in discrete manufacturing.

These unique characteristics of process manufacturing make it difficult to manage. First, the fact that the production process cannot be reversed forces process manufacturers to be more careful when planning product recipes and operations. Product delivery can also present a difficult challenge for process manufacturers as their finished products have a greater potential to impact the health of both consumers and employees.

Plant managers require complex and specialized ERP process manufacturing solutions to deal with safety laws and regulations,

demands from consumers wanting healthier and more environmentally-friendly products, and everyday functions such as careful operational planning of product recipes, accounting, customer management, sales and purchasing.

Get our Manufacturing ERP Software Requirements Template

Top 10 Benefits and Components

Although the actual functionality of a solution depends on which vendor you go with, it’s important to be aware of the capabilities that are typically most beneficial to businesses in the manufacturing industry. Factors such as deployment method, industry and company size affect which solutions may adequately serve your company’s manufacturing requirements. Regardless of these factors, it’s essential to keep in mind the top features that you should be looking for in your process manufacturing software.

1. Quality Management

One of the most important aspects to account for when selecting process manufacturing software is the quality management capabilities that the vendor offers. Yes, producing an item in an efficient and optimized manner is important, but the point is moot if it doesn’t adhere to important governmental regulations and industry standards. Because process manufacturers have a unique and significant need to meet regulations, it’s essential that the ERP or manufacturing software that you go with supports these endeavors.

Additionally, because many manufacturing companies have global operations or sell their products to international customers, it’s helpful for a program to support laws and regulations from various geographical areas. This can help you avoid legal issues such as product recalls, which occur when an industry or safety standard gets overlooked.

Ideally, the quality management function in your software solution will also include capabilities that support product quality in general. Because process manufacturing is so detailed, it can be easy for hazards such as pollution or bacterial contamination to occur. Therefore, quality management is an essential part of a solution as it protects your customers, your revenue and your brand.

2. Supply Chain Optimization

As you likely already know, there are a lot of moving pieces associated with supply chain management. It can seem overwhelming to manage this process without a software solution, which is why supply chain optimization is one of the essential functions included in process manufacturing ERP software. One of the key benefits associated with this feature is vendor relationship management, which helps ensure that you are using high-quality materials to create your product at a good price point. Vendor relationship management includes facets such as tracking costs, performance and transaction history.

Process manufacturers also have unique transportation needs due to the delicate or potentially hazardous nature of the products they create. For example, a pharmaceutical manufacturer might need to transport chemicals in a tanker, or food manufacturers might need a refrigerated vehicle to prevent food and other goods from spoiling during the distribution process. This is further exacerbated by national regulations that often affect how chemicals can be transported. Software for the manufacturing process can ensure that everything is distributed efficiently and that when developing products you are doing so efficiently and affordably.

3. Recipes and Formulas

When creating products using process manufacturing, there’s little to no room for error. This is why management and adherence to formulas and recipes are so essential, making it a key component of process manufacturing software. Recipe and formula management is a capability that ensures quality success and helps save money by reducing the creation of ineffective products. It can be very complex to fix defective products, which is why this function not only reduces the likelihood of defectiveness but also often includes recipes for substitutions that can be made to fix your product or deal with material not being on-hand during the manufacturing process. When using a substitute to develop an item, keeping track of potential adverse chemical reactions that can occur when adding an aspect that wasn’t included in the original recipe is essential to the safety of your employees and your customers.

The delicate nature of process manufacturing is further expanded by the fact that some products or processes can only be completed under specific conditions related to elements such as humidity, temperature or light exposure. Additionally, the concentration or potency of a component that’s used during the manufacturing process can affect the recipe and how chemicals react during the development process. Process manufacturing software accounts for all of these aspects so that you can ensure safety and quality when developing your products.

4. Tracked Costs and Profitability

The bread and butter of business is ensuring that your efforts are generating a profit. With cost tracking and profitability measurement tools, you can use the often complex information regarding the cost of materials for recipes and formulas to measure revenue and other financial factors. ERP Process manufacturing software should track ingredient costs based on chemical characteristics such as potency and the quantity that’s used. Additionally, the program should be able to measure and calculate how much wasted ingredients and raw materials cost your business. This enables companies to track total actual costs per unit and compare this metric with sales prices to discover what the profit margins are and adjust as needed.

Additionally, there are costs associated with the special storage conditions required for sensitive materials, such as temperature-controlled storage spaces and transportation vehicles. It’s essential to keep these factors in mind as well so that you have an accurate gauge of the total cost of producing an item. Items may also have multiple units of measure, which makes costs difficult. For example, you might ship a product in a vial for a certain customer but in a different container for another customer. Expiration dates and lot numbers should also be tracked in your process manufacturing software to reduce spoilage and the costs associated with it.

5. Adaptation to Different Types of Markets

With government regulations constantly changing, process manufacturers need to stay ahead of the curve to reduce the probability of compliance issues. An example of a regulatory change that process manufacturers had to account for occurred in 2000 when American producers of crude vegetable oil and similar products were issued a hexane emissions restriction by the EPA. For manufacturers that serve multiple geographic areas, new and changed regulations can be especially hard to track.

Another market consideration is how a product is labeled and packaged. If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you might have noticed that food labels can vary widely from country to country. This is all dependent on governmental regulations that determine what needs to be included on a label and what does not. When looking at packaging, size preferences can also vary by country. For example, the large soda size at a fast food joint in America could differ in size from the same order at the same establishment in China due to customer demands or expectations. With this differentiation in labeling, packaging and regulatory requirements across regions, companies can benefit from process manufacturing software by staying abreast of developments and market demands in various areas. This software can also help to facilitate changes to products as market preferences and regulations change over time.

Get our Manufacturing ERP Software Requirements Template

6. Reduced Waste

Waste is a sad but true component of process manufacturing, especially because it’s difficult to create a formula or recipe for a product that produces absolutely no waste. Therefore, most process manufacturers will have to deal with a percentage of their final output being waste. Additionally, waste can be caused by changing product recipes to account for increased demand or shortages of essential raw materials and ingredients. Reducing and eliminating waste is difficult, but software for the manufacturing process can help you keep track of the actual waste that’s produced and compare it to your calculated estimated waste to measure efficiency and help discover issues with the production process.

Another reason that waste occurs is due to bad planning. For example, if you don’t effectively track the expiration dates of your raw materials, they may expire before they can be used and therefore need to be discarded. Additionally, employee time is wasted through the reduced efficiency caused by unexpected downtime and changes in production. Therefore, production planning is an incredibly important feature to look out for in process manufacturing ERP software.

7. Agile Production

It’s common for process manufacturers to produce multiple different products along with variations of each product. Considering every item created has a different recipe or production method, transitioning between cycles can be extremely difficult. Process manufacturing software with agile production capabilities can help you plan ahead and adjust planning to improve productivity levels and efficiently utilize the equipment.

As a process manufacturer, you’ve likely had to replace planned production cycles for a product with a different cycle for another finished product. This can happen due to factors such as compromised quality of a good or material, which requires an adjustment or a fix to proceed. A flexible software solution will help ensure that these adjustments are efficient and timely while also making sure that the goods produced are of high-quality.

8. Improved Product Development and Go-to-Market Strategies

While the majority of product development is facilitated through product lifecycle management (PLM) software, there are capabilities in process manufacturing ERP software that can help with the gathering of data that’s highly relevant to product development. Some of the data that a system might collect include information on returns, sales volume and customer satisfaction. With this information in hand, you can easily see which of your products are a success and which ones aren’t. These software solutions also manage information related to what costs are incurred when creating finished goods along with any time variations. This enables you to produce high-quality products at a lower price.

Additional ways to leverage historical information include identifying trends in customer behavior that may affect your company’s revenue. With constant changes in the market, it’s essential to quickly adapt your current offerings, discontinue unprofitable items and release new products to adhere to customer demand. Sometimes process manufacturers will even sell or release products that have low short-term profitability in exchange for their potential for long-term revenue generation. This production method has its risks, but with process manufacturing software, these potential risks are more measured and well-informed, increasing the probability of success.

9. Responsiveness to Consumer Pressure to be More Environmentally Conscious

Recently, one of the ways consumer taste has significantly shifted is through the desire to purchase products from environmentally conscious companies that source their materials in a manner that doesn’t hurt the environment. Although it’s currently extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach net-zero, there are still steps that companies can take to reduce emissions and have less of an impact on the environment.

Even after considering basic quality standards and safety laws during the production cycle, you also need to account for factors such as the use of conflict minerals. Conflict minerals are sold to perpetrate violence or war in the countries that sell them. With the rise of technology and an increase in consumer knowledge, it’s become increasingly common for customers to boycott organizations that use conflict minerals or otherwise use practices that they deem not environmentally friendly. Process manufacturing ERP tools can help reduce your company’s reliance on negative resources so that you can boost your consumer reputation and come off as a socially responsible organization.

10. Increased Competitiveness

By leveraging process manufacturing software, you can boost your company’s competitive position. Through benefits such as optimizing production, ensuring compliance and presenting a more environmentally conscious brand to your customers, you can attract more clients while also gaining revenue through increased efficiency. If you decide to look for a process manufacturing solution, you might want to speak to other businesses that used the vendor you are considering to see how it affected factors such as their bottom line and their customer base.

Automation capabilities and reduced spoilage are just a few of the many factors that can make your day-to-day processes easier while also optimizing opportunities for revenue.

Top Process Manufacturing ERP Software Vendors

The process manufacturing ERP market is a mix between vendors that focus exclusively on this type of manufacturing and vendors that offer discrete functionality as well. Large ERP vendors with a diversified portfolio often offer separate solutions for discrete and process manufacturing. When selecting a system, you’ll want to look out for factors such as whether the vendor offers cloud or on-site deployment, what industry they primarily serve, which functionalities they provide and the size of the businesses that use the program.

With all of these factors at top of mind, here is our list of the best process manufacturing software vendors on the market today, as compiled by our team of industry analysts.

Compare Top Manufacturing ERP Software Leaders

Top Process Manufacturing Software

ProcessPro

ProcessPro is a multi-deployment process manufacturing ERP system built for batch process manufacturers to settle problems with lot control, management and compliance of complex formulas and recipes. It’s intended to be a robust system for the entire manufacturing and accounting processes from start to finish.
ProcessPro

An example of ProcessPro’s sales analysis module

Schedule Productions Like a Pro

The production scheduling module comes with a nifty automatic schedule generator that allows you to color-code work order statuses and even comes with a drag-and-drop rescheduling tool. You can select and reschedule multiple batches simultaneously. Every step a batch takes in its production route can be found in the scheduling tool.

Complete FDA Cooperation

Installation Qualification (IQ) assesses the accommodation of new machinery and evaluating its materials. Operational Qualification (OQ) tests if your machinery meets your operational requirements. Lastly, a Performance Qualification (PQ) challenges your equipment to determine if it can operate well in various conditions. This compliance accessory creates test scripts for each of these tests as well as extends electronic signatures, approval and audit trails that guarantee you comply with the FDA.
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Prompt Warehouse Management System

In need of a warehouse management system (WMS) solution that manages data accuracy for your receipts, movements, transfers and more? ProcessPro has you covered. With the WMS tool, you can handle data accuracy as well as get immediate real-time inventory transactions on a Wi-Fi network with bar code scanning.

Document Lot Numbers with Ease

ProcessPro makes lot traceability a cakewalk because you can promptly view and track all of your raw ingredients and finished goods from receipt to shipped sales orders. You can also generate recall information at any time.

CRM that Grows Your Outreach

The customer relationship management (CRM) tool permits you to study and manage marketing, sales and customer care activities across all focal points of contact. This allows you to grow your outreach by finding new customers, close sales and develop sustainable relationships throughout all of your channels.

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Fishbowl Manufacturing

Fishbowl Manufacturing is a solution that meets the inventory management needs of small and medium manufacturers, wholesale distributors and e-commerce companies. Order management, reporting, and part tracking are some of its key accessories.
Fishbowl Manufacturing

A preview of Fishbowl Manufacturing’s dashboard

Integrates Hassle-Free

This process manufacturing ERP software integrates with e-commerce, shipping, CRM, EDI and merchant services and accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero, Reckon and Avalara. This accounting integration checks for data accuracy and alerts in the event duplicate data appears.

Effortlessly Trace Parts

You can easily track products by lot, serial, revision and tag numbers with the part tracking tool. You can oversee part levels and quickly reorder them when they get low. This component also allows you to locate the whereabouts of parts in your warehouse with elaborate maps.

Variety of Reports

The reporting tools and plugins assist in generating barcodes and constructing sales and inventory data into organizable graphs. These features can deliver reports on accounting, inventory availability, bill of materials and more. You can pinpoint gross sales by product and person as well as predict incoming inventory needs.
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Keep an Eye On Your Inventory

Following your inventory has never been easier thanks to the inventory management accessory. It traces products en route to your customers and develops reorder points for every item in your facility. Some of its capabilities include managing numerous locations, tracking shipments, automatically reordering products and converting various units of measure.

Supervise Orders

Fishbowl Manufacturing’s order management tool initiates purchase and sales orders and manages your inventory. It records products received at your warehouses and enables your workforce to choose, gather and deliver products to customers. You can also track supplies from source to destination and configure automatic reorder points for parts and products to avoid overstock and shortages in your inventory.

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Syspro ERP

Syspro ERP’s software is designed for manufacturers and distributors to blueprint, execute and control productions. In addition to inventory management, sales analysis and lot traceability, this software also offers self-service reporting, sales tax reporting and Syspro Customer Portal.
Syspro ERP

An example of the Syspro ERP’s master data accessory

Full Visibility of Orders

Wish you had a tool that offers simple cooperation between you and your customers? Wish granted. This feature automates and optimizes order-to-delivery methods and implements complete transparency of your operations. The sales order module also grants order processing and order fulfillment.

Maximum Pricing and Sales Assessment

The sales analysis and optimal pricing features study market trends and geographic purchasing sequences and immediately presents reports with top-notch business graphics. The product profitability component notifies you on your pricing strategy, whether it’s cost-based, performance-based, market-based or a mixture of all three. The pricing capability permits you to set numerous pricing levels for various customer groups with local and foreign pricing practices.
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Surveil Lots and Serial Numbers

Syspro’s serial tracking and lot traceability grant you transparency of all destinations, such as origin, production and customer, of products and batches. This tool allows you to swiftly trace and review where defects started if they arise. The engineering change control module provides complete tracking of modifications to product designs while the return merchandise authority component delivers constant processing of product returns and analyzes data for improvement programs.

Efficient Inventory Management

You can kiss expired stock goodbye thanks to the inventory management element’s precise product rationalization, obsolete provisioning and specific promotions on slow-moving and expired stock. You can diminish forecast flaws and meet customer service targets with decision-making and graphical output accessories. The analytical and predictability components improve decision-making with information on order policies, lead times, safety stock and replenishment planning.

Elaborate Product Knowledge

Syspro has different capabilities to record and notify you about various products within your facility. The numerous units of measure per stock module assists in documenting and tracking stock quantities with precision. The elaborate master data feature defines benchmarks for purchasing, sales and manufacturing transactions. The blanket sales order tool simplifies call-off schedule updates for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) clientele and also contains coherent OEM accommodation features.

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EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP

In need of a manufacturing solution that encompasses every nook and cranny of your facility’s operations on one database? EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP could be your ideal software. In addition to material management, sales & order management, customer relationship management and other features, this solution provides on-site, internet and virtual training classes for customers.
EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP

An example of EnterpriseIQ’s scheduling module

Reliable Estimates

The forecasting accessory offers clarity of current and proposed orders and measures their impact on past, present and future annual sales. The time-phased planning component updates immediately with each material requirements planning (MRP) performance. You can also view/sort estimates by customer, part or manufacturing facility. This accessory’s instantaneous link to shipping activity grants accesses to sales and shipping information. The software compares proposed sales and quantities by month, customer, order or part.

Manage Various Jobs

The project management tool employs user-defined tasks and project templates for thorough tracking on any type of assignment from quote generation to work order completion. It’s embedded with EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP’s quoting, inventory, purchasing and product lifecycle management (PLM) tools among others. It provides a complete history of orders, labor distribution through an attendance and time component and inventory management that provides a succinct reporting list for all jobs, statuses and costs on one computer screen.
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Centralize Outsource Merchandise

Gaining clear visibility over your supply chain has never been simpler thanks to the outsource central component. You’ll have clarity on supply chain characteristics related to product assembly, planning, shipping and tracking of sub-contracted products that are either partially or completely manufactured at outsourcing vendor regions. This tool also generates work and ship orders for items that need to be transferred to suppliers based on demand and offers status tracking on products that are sent to outsource vendors such as inventory in-transit location details, rejects, ship orders, supplier-specific pricing and more.

Supervise Shipments

The shipping management promptly automates the shipping process including receiving sales orders, capturing shipment information and inventory locations and quantities. The advanced shipping notice (ASN) quality delivers prior notice of shipment details such as packing slip information, shipping destination, terms of payment, carton/weight information and more to your customer.

Effective Connections with Customers and Suppliers

Your customers and suppliers are important to your manufacturing practices. EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP’s customer relationship management (CRM) solution offers the right components to sustain effective relationships for your customers and suppliers. This module operates all of your business support communications and records information on calls, meetings, notes and tasks.

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SAP Business One

SAP Business One is a process manufacturing ERP that caters to small and medium enterprises and subsidiaries of large enterprises. It’s intended to maximize business processes, deliver real-time information and supervise business performance. Its top features are financial management, sales and customer management and business intelligence among others.
SAP Business One

A preview of SAP Business One’s dashboard.

Administer Finances Accordingly

The financial management accessory instantly handles essential accounting methods from ledger entries to accounts payable and receivable. It oversees cash flow, traces fixed assets, manages budgets and observes project costs. This tool can also cipher reconciliations, bank statements and payments through checks, cash and bank transfers. The virtual function diminishes repetitive manual data entry because it simplifies the management of your fixed assets. The financial management tool also permits you to develop standard or customizable reports from immediate data to boost your business planning and audit review methods.

Customizable Dashboards and Robust Analytics

You can create instinctive hands-on dashboards and reports that respond to your crucial questions with the analytics and reporting tool. You can promptly see and correct any arising issues, evaluate the performance of your facility, track cash flow, costs and revenues. Immediate robust analytics make information easily accessible and can streamline data searching.

Oversee Sales and Customer Data

The sales and customer management component shadows all of your sales opportunities and lead activities throughout the sales cycle from initial contact to closing a deal. This tool can store all of your critical customer data in one place by managing and synchronizing customer contacts stored in your Microsoft Outlook account. You can craft and supervise warranty contracts and service agreements effectively and even enter and respond to service calls quickly.
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Regulate Purchases and Inventory

The purchasing and inventory control tool offers immediate updates of goods, receipts and inventory levels in your warehouse to implement purchase planning hassle-free. You can create accounts payable and invoices instantaneously from a purchase order or receipt. A convenient platform combines all of your purchasing processes with manageable data. You can seamlessly review your account balance and purchase analyses while sustaining elaborate purchasing information that includes price lists and tax information.

Develop Solid Knowledge on Your Business

You can kiss uninformed business decisions goodbye thanks to the business intelligence accessory. The robust data visualizations feature allows you to make better business choices with detailed data analytic charts and graphs.

In-depth analytics and key performance indicators provide full visibility of your cash balance and sales performance. You can also access data from numerous sources, draft new reports and tailor existing ones in multiple layouts.

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Conclusion

Most ERP solutions are built to help companies across the entire supply chain. However, process manufacturers might benefit from choosing a solution built to deal with specific issues in their industry. A specialized ERP can help process manufacturers gain greater visibility of processes, reduce waste, increase efficiency and more.

There are many solutions capable of supporting these objectives in several different industries. While a wide variety of options is ultimately good, this can make choosing a system or combination of systems complex. But if buyers take the time to compare programs and deeply understand the features they offer, the process can be made much simpler.

What process manufacturing software do you use? Let us know which ones and why in the comments below!

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Join the conversation
  • Hitendra Rathore - October 15, 2018 reply

    Really awesome blog. I loved reading it. I’ll share the strategy with my team to apply it in our marketing strategy

  • Orion ERP - November 30, 2018 reply

    Amazing blog! From improved quality to increased ROI, process automation empowers the digitized workforce to achieve more; dispelling the general misconception that automation will substitute traditional workers.

  • MiniBigTech - July 22, 2019 reply

    In an organization, ERP helps to manage business processes of various departments & functions through the centralized application. Check it out click on Manufacturing erp modules. Please contact us at any time.

  • sneha patil - February 18, 2020 reply

    Nice information it’s very useful for me.

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