MRP stands for Material Requirements Planning. MRP is a method – and it is used by manufacturing companies to plan and manage production processes. MRP software solutions automate associated management processes. This makes material requirements management and production planning more accurate, more efficient, and faster.
MRP software solutions are popular and important because they help manufacturing companies optimize production schedules, reduce inventory costs, and ensure that materials are available when needed. They also improve visibility of inventory levels, traceability of material, and support e.g. integration of demand forecasts. MRP software solutions can also be used to schedule production, shipments and procurement. All in all, MRP software solutions are popular because they make manufacturing operations more effective and efficient, i.e. more profitable and more reliable.
Popular MRP software soultions for manufacturers
There are several MRP software solutions available for manufacturers. Some of them have unique capabilities or freatures. Here are two popular MRP software solutions:
SAP ERP: SAP is a global leader in enterprise software, and their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software includes MRP. The system can be used to consider e.g. lead times, inventory levels, and capacity constraints. It can be used to automatize procurement, production scheduling, and material dispatch – and it can serve as the foundation to optimize all processes associated herewith.
Oracle NetSuite: NetSuite is a cloud-based ERP software that provides a range of functionality, including MRP. NetSuite MRP supports real-time visibility of inventory, production scheduling, availability management, and integration of demand forecasts.
Other popular MRP software solutions include Microsoft Dynamics 365, Epicor ERP, and Infor M3. A longer list of possible alternatives is briefly provided in the following section.
40 manufacturing MRP software solutions
There is a wide range of MRP software solutions for manufacturing. Here is a list of 40 manufacturing MRP software solutions that I could find:
- SAP ERP
- Oracle NetSuite
- Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Infor M3
- Epicor ERP
- Plex Systems
- IQMS Manufacturing ERP
- Fishbowl Manufacturing
- Global Shop Solutions
- Acumatica Cloud ERP
- E2 Manufacturing System
- M1 by ECi Software Solutions
- SAP Business One
- Sage X3
- Rootstock Cloud ERP
- QAD Cloud ERP
- Infor LN
- Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline)
- xTuple ERP
- ProcessPro ERP
- Genius ERP
- Cetec ERP
- Katana MRP
- Abas ERP
- Priority Software
- Global Shop Solutions One-System ERP
- Jobscope ERP
- EFI IQMS
- Visual EstiTrack
- DBA Manufacturing Next-Gen MRP
- Asprova APS
- Made2Manage ERP
- MIE Trak Pro
Odoo as an open-source manufacturing MRP
Odoo is another popular MRP software solution that can be used by manufacturing companies. Odoo is an open-source ERP software that offers a variety of modules, including MRP. You can also learn more about Odoo in one of our earlier SCDA blog posts:
The MRP module in Odoo allows manufacturers to manage the entire production process, from planning and scheduling to inventory management and delivery. It includes features such as bill of materials (BOM) management, work order management, production planning and scheduling, inventory tracking, and quality control.
Odoo also offers other modules that can be integrated with MRP. For example CRM, sales, purchasing, and accounting. As is generally the benefit of ERP and MRP software this allows manufacturers to obtain and maintain a good overview of important business operations. Managers can make data-driven decisions. This helps them in optimizing production-related KPIs, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction (quality, reliability, less backlog).
Odoo can be a good fit for small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses. The fact that Odoo is open-source makes it attractive for businesses that want to have more control over their software and have the ability to modify the software.
Integrate mathematical models and simulation
There are several examples of integrating mathematical programming and discrete-event simulation with MRP to optimize production planning and scheduling. Some use cases have already been presented by us on the SCDA blog.
Using integer programming, MRP can be optimized to create feasible production schedules with e.g. reduced lead times, reduced inventory holding costs, and less machine setups. Discrete-event simulation can then be used to validate the feasibility of the schedules and can test robustness of the scheduling. Discrete-event simulation can also be used to derive schedules in the first place.
Simulation-based optimization, for example, combines the use of simulation with mathematical optimization to create an optimal production schedule that minimizes costs and maximizes throughput. The simulation model is used to generate scenarios that are then optimized using mathematical programming.
Genetic algorithms can be used to solve complex production scheduling problems by mimicking the process of natural selection. MRP data can be fed into a genetic algorithm, which generates and tests multiple schedules until an optimal solution is found. I have written a small introduction covering this. See here:
In short, mathematical programming, constraint programming, genetic optimization and discrete-event simulation can be integrated with MRP. This can make production scheduling and more accurate and robust, more efficient and more profitable.
You can learn more about production planning in SAP ERP by reading the following SCDA blog posts and documentations:
- Link: Production scheduling in SAP ERP system
- Link: Intro to production versions in SAP PP
- Link: Routing types and routing creation in SAP PP
- Link: Components & operations in SAP PP routing
- Link: Production planning process in SAP
If you are interested in integrating mathematical modelling, simulation, and mathematical optimization with MRP, you can find inspiration in the following SCDA articles:
- Link: Production scheduling in SAP ERP system
- Link: Optimized SCM capacity scheduling
- Link: Optimization via master production scheduling
- Link: Excellent job shop scheduling does not require fancy tools
Data scientist focusing on simulation, optimization and modeling in R, SQL, VBA and Python
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