Job shops are unlike make to stock manufacturing environments. You have complex job estimating and quoting requirements, and you may only win a small fraction of the quotes you generate. While you may get some repeat orders, the chances are slim, and you don’t need to stock finished goods. You can’t forecast demand based on history because there isn’t any. What you need is a system designed for your unique, lean manufacturing operations.
Years ago there were many options available for job shops, custom machine shops, and other make to order manufacturers but most of those ERP products today haven’t aged well – they are based on antiquated technologies and the systems have been acquired by companies that would rather make money on their dwindling customer base than to invest in new features or technologies. That’s not a strategic direction that you want to take for your critical business system. Further, the few job shop systems remaining on the market do offer great manufacturing features, but they often have weak accounting systems, few tools to help you manage the data, limited reporting, and very few third party options. Let’s just say there probably isn’t an “App for That” when it comes to most job shop software.
We represent two ERP systems that we recommend for job shops and custom manufacturers. Both are built on solid accounting applications with modern-day technologies and both offer the flexibility and functionality you need to manage every aspect of your business.
Make to Order MTO ERP
Sage 100 ERP alone is one of the most popular accounting applications available since the 1980s with tens of thousands of customers using the products today. Sage has done a great job keeping up with technology and there are literally hundreds of add-on products available to extend the core functionality. JobOps is written in the Sage 100 software development kit and provides make to order manufacturing functionality including estimating, job orders, scheduling, product configuration, work tickets, and material planning functionality as well as complete manufacturing job costing. A fit for many job shops, JobOps is ideal for manufacturers who make custom products that also involve installation or service.
ERP for Job Shops
Epicor ERP has always been a major player in the custom manufacturing software market tracing its roots to DCD Vista and Vantage which dominated the job shop ERP market in the 1990s. The features in these products are represented today in Epicor Express, the preferred solution for many job shops, machine shops, and custom manufacturers retaining the same great features available in those earlier products with the benefit of deploying the solution as a hosted application, minimizing technology requirements with a rapid implementation.