Manufacturing Inventory Software – What to Look For

Mark Canes

This post outlines functionality one should expect from Manufacturing Inventory Software.

Manufacturing is a broad term that can apply to a variety of business types and is often used interchangeably across industries. “True” manufacturing consists of converting raw materials into a finished, or partially finished, product (see manufacturing definition), but in practice the term has come to encompass assembly, kitting and light production. While these secondary processes may be seen as a type of manufacturing (light manufacturing, as we call it) the software requirements for these are very different from true manufacturers.

Manufacturers who employ extensive machinery to convert raw materials into finished product require specialized functionality that can only be found in expensive manufacturing software packages. However, many light manufacturers can find a perfect fit for their business with standard inventory ERP software that includes the required production components such as: Bill of Materials (BOM), assembly, production control, and kitting.

Manufacturing Inventory Software

Unlike a full-blown manufacturing software package, manufacturing inventory software (ERP software) presumes that the primary requirement is inventory control – often wholesale or distribution – with a production element to your operations. If you do not have complex machine scheduling processes or intensive labour components to the creation of your products, manufacturing inventory software is likely what you are looking for. This type of software contains the primary ERP elements like accounting, order entry, invoicing etc. combined with specialized production elements such as:

Bill of Materials (BOM)

The ability to define a list of components necessary to assemble a particular item used to track production that is able to be accomplished depending on which components are available.

Assembly / Production Control

Given a defined bill of materials and available inventory, determine what products can be assembled. This functionality will allow you to assemble product, disassemble product and assign costs to the labour components of assembly.


Allows for inventory to be sold as pre-defined kits – groups of items sold as a single item. For example, you might sell keyboards and mice separately or together as a keyboard + mouse combo.

Many wholesalers and distributors that assemble product believe they require manufacturing software only to discover that its cost is prohibitive. Now you know that you can find ERP software with manufacturing inventory functionality for far less than full-blown manufacturing software.