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Modern day manufacturing currently is and continues to become a very complex process due to the increasingly large variety of raw materials, production requirements, and quality controls needed to ensure a successful manufactured product.  Due to these variables Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) is required to manage the inventory stock to source the production process efficiently, manage the actual shop floor production system effectively, and ensure that everything is properly scheduled so that production time is optimized.  Today manufacturers cannot operate with MRP software, as it is an important part of their value chain and is the link that ensures their business profitability. This is why for a growing SMB manufacturer that needs to expand operations in a competitive environment, the choice of MRP software is a key strategic decision.

At ITQlick we understand these key business requirements and that is why we have endeavored to review numerous manufacturing solutions for a variety of industry requirements to help SMBs in their selection. To make sure there is a good business fit we have checked for the scope of MRP functionality and its scalability to meet growth requirements. Additionally we have looked at automation concerns, integration with existing software systems, production process & employee management, and how easy it is to use for all organizational levels. Finally we have considered the technology requirements and cost effectiveness to successfully implement the system. Based on these points we feel confident to recommend these solutions.

1. E2 Shop System

This product is suitable for SMBs and is available for a variety of different manufacturing settings. It supports the full cycle from estimation, order & purchase, scheduling, data collection & quality control with ISO standards support, along with shipping & manufacturing accounting. This includes shop floor data tracking for analysis & quality review, to improve the production process. Additionally it offers SMBs three different feature based packages suited to their business needs. Finally there is a mobile dashboard, accessible by a variety of mobile devices to allow remote real-time access and control for both shop floor technicians and production managers.

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2. Epicor Manufacturing

Epicor Manufacturing is part of the Epicor enterprise application suite, this offers SMBs scalability options to expand to other functional areas and to meet growth requirements as needed. The product can handle the needs of both discrete and process manufacturers and can be utilized in numerous industry settings. Epicor supports the major production processes of make-to-order, engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, make-to-stock, and mixed mode manufacturing. The product includes lean manufacturing techniques for quality assurance, advanced planning & scheduling, and complete product lifecycle management.  For SMBs looking at a flexible solution that can adapt to their requirements, and also gives them the option to deploy as an on premise, hosted or cloud solution, Epicor Manufacturing is a good option to consider.

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3. Exact Macola Manufacturing

This product is designed for SMB manufacturers, and provides an integrated suite of enterprise applications that cover most business operations.  For manufacturing, its features include inventory management & production order processing, manufacturing cost accounting, scheduling & shop floor control, and manufacturing planning & product routing.  Additionally SMBs have the added advantage of inbuilt business activity monitoring for process improvement, configurable workflows for process management.  Also included are customizable workplaces aligned to the requirements of different organizational levels. Exact Macola is suitable for those companies that need an enterprise solution for a reasonable investment.

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4. Datacor Chempax

Datacor Chempax is a specialized solution that focuses on manufacturers in the chemicals processing industry.  This product provides a MRP solution that includes compliance with the unique regulations & safety standards for the chemical manufacturing process.  Datacor Chempax covers batch manufacturing with recipe controls which is needed for chemical production.  Additionally its features include scheduling, planning and quality control, with an online edition accessible via mobile devices as well.  Another good feature is its support for a collaborative platform for knowledge sharing, process updates & quality tracking to improve the production process.

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5. Rapid Response Manufacturing

This is another scalable product focused on the requirements of SMBs. Included is support for the manufacturing planning process from inventory management, scheduling, shop floor activity monitoring, capacity & resource management, and operations monitoring to detect and reduce production stoppages. The product also provides shop floor kiosks for job monitoring and scheduling updates to dynamically address potential bottlenecks.  Additionally Rapid Response Manufacturing incorporates the Kanban quality process to optimize the planning process which is an important benefit for SMB manufacturers.

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