ERP vs MRP - Which Best Suits Your Small Manufacturing Business?

Background

While the question was very relevant for manufacturers around year 2000, a lot has happened since. Clear borders between the systems (MRP/MRP II and ERP) have melted away, software as a service is winning at ERP space, on-premises solutions have become the redheaded stepchildren of the IT. The nature of manufacturing is changing: scaling the capacity in small autonomous units, T-shape focus on value creation (manufacturing in our case) along the value streams, cloud software adds digital brand management, multi-channel sales  etc. to the mix.

 The state of MRP in 2017

The state of MRP in 2017

Even though these changes favour small manufacturers, there is still a lot of ground to cover in order to make the starting up affordable. We at Katana believe that high entry cost is impeding innovation at manufacturing space, and it can be addressed by offering an "affordable glue" to connect your business workflows.

Our Recommendation

  • A la carte ecosystem: assemble the MRP/ERP system piece by piece from suitable SaaS offerings for the best match
    • With low entry cost: setting up the end-2-end process for designing, producing and selling the product has to be affordable
    • Self-onboarding: the time and material cost of onboarding and training process participants has to be small (general understanding of modern web apps and manufacturing flow should suffice

This approach introduces a whole new skill-set for a person filling in as CIO/CTO - SaaS tailoring, mastering the following:

  1. Establishing a Continuous Improvement/Tweak process: Jobs-to-be-done in an organisation evolve over time (it's a rapid process nowadays), there has to be an awareness regarding the fit-for-use and fit-for-purpose of used software at all times
  2. Building SaaS ecosystem around integration platform and data warehouse as it's core, together with  identity management
  3. Setting up a fast and lightweight process to evaluate SaaS offerings (as part of Continuous Tweak process)
  4. Set up the rhythm to align with the business, stick to it!

Katana MRP

Katana MRP, today, wants to position itself as manufacturing technology, excelling at orchestrating manufacturing while integrating with the rest of T-shaped ecosystem (focus on MRP, integration options for beyond basic needs in other areas).

Looking to organize your inventory and production? Try Katana MRP for free!

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To illustrate the recommendation above we will provide an example of an ecosystem for a small manufacturer, and how Katana MRP fits on it:

 A SaaS Tailor at work: this is how our IT ecosystem looks like.

A SaaS Tailor at work: this is how our IT ecosystem looks like.

SaaS Tailor's pro tip: Do not let the Google fool you, searches for MRP/ERP for small manufacturing software still wants to hook you up with the big bloaters, pay attention to links you are offered, skip the app directories and pick the real services!

Priit KaasikComment