ERP-systemen machinebouw

3 best ERP systems for machine builders [+ key features]

26 June 2024

Are you looking for an ERP package for your machine-building company? After reviewing this page, you'll know which ERP software is right for you. 

You'll also discover what additional important features to look out for. And we'll show you the three best systems for machine builders like you. 

In our opinion, Ridder iQ, Microsoft Finance & Operations and SAP S/HANA are among the best ERP packages for the machine-building industry.

Read on and discover:

Key ERP features for machine builders

Machine builders have specific requirements when it comes to ERP systems. The complexity of their processes, from design and production to maintenance and customer support, requires a solution that seamlessly integrates these different facets.

A good ERP system for machine builders not only provides basic functionality, but also supports the unique challenges of the industry. Think efficient parts management, advanced scheduling and effective project management.

Here are the top 5 features an ERP system for machine builders absolutely must have:

  • Inventory Management: Manage parts and materials efficiently. Track inventory levels and automate orders.
  • Production planning and management: Plan, manage and optimize your production processes. Includes machine and labor scheduling.
  • Project Management: Manage projects effectively with features for budgeting, time tracking and resource allocation.
  • Quality management: Monitor and maintain quality standards during the production process.
  • Maintenance management: Plan and perform machinery and equipment maintenance, both preventive and reactive.

With these features, you streamline your processes, increase efficiency and strengthen your competitive position.

Biggest advantages ERP software for machine building sector

For machine builders, ERP software makes a world of difference. By integrating all business processes into one system, you work more efficiently, save costs and improve the quality of your products. Here are the three biggest benefits of ERP software for machine builders:

  • Seamless integration of business processes: Manufacturing, inventory management and project management work together for a smooth workflow.
  • Real-time insight: Always access current business data for more informed decisions.
  • Improved product quality: Ensure every part and process meets the highest standards.

Are there alternatives to ERP software?

There are alternatives to ERP software. For example, consider separate software packages for different business functions. 

Many machine builders use specific stand-alone tools for inventory and project management. 

ERP software offers a unique added value by integrating all these functions into one system. This ensures a seamless workflow and eliminates the inefficiencies and opportunities for error that arise when using separate systems. 

You now only need to log into one system: your ERP system! The fewer systems, the better. 

This makes ERP software the most complete and efficient solution for machine builders as far as we are concerned. 

One other commonly used ERP alternative is Excel. As you can see in the example below, Excel can be fairly messy:

5 tips for machine builders to choose a good ERP package

Below are our 5 best tips for choosing an ERP package. These tips are similar to tips we give to several types of companies. 

However, we have focused our advice on machine builders like you. This makes it even more relevant!

1.  Analyze your business needs

Before choosing an ERP package, it is essential to analyze your business needs thoroughly. What are the specific processes and challenges within your machine shop? 

Think of things like parts inventory management, production planning and quality control. By clearly mapping this out, you can more specifically search for an ERP system that fits your unique requirements perfectly.

Understand your own business processes and needs before looking for an ERP system.

2. Don't choose your ERP software based on low-cost

Don't be tempted by the lowest price. Don't choose an ERP system purely on the basis of low cost. Go for quality and look at what the system gives you. 

A well-functioning ERP system improves your efficiency, reduces costs in the long run and supports the complexity of your mechanical engineering processes.

Invest in quality and consider the long-term benefits of the ERP system.

3. Ask for references (from other machine builders).

Ask for references from similar engineering companies. These companies often use the same ERP systems and can tell you exactly what the strengths and weaknesses are. 

This will help you understand how the system performs within your specific industry and with your specific challenges, such as managing complex manufacturing processes and parts logistics.

Ask for references from similar companies to get a better idea of the ERP system.

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4. Choose a future-proof system (look ahead 5 to 10 years)

Choose an ERP system that is future-proof. Think ahead: where will your mechanical engineering company be in 5-10 years? A future-proof ERP system grows with your business. 

Make sure the system supports different currencies and countries if you plan to go international. Also check that the license is flexible so you can scale up or down depending on your workforce.

Choose an ERP system that’s future-proof and fits your company's growth ambitions.

5. Have a clear goal and know what you are looking for

Formulate a clear goal and know exactly what you are looking for. Many machine builders don't always know whether they need an ERP or a CRM. 

Make a list of your needs, such as production management, inventory management, and quality control. That way, you'll avoid confusion and choose a system that fits your business goals perfectly.

Know exactly what you need and formulate a clear goal for your ERP system.

With these tips, you'll be better prepared to choose an ERP system that perfectly suits the needs of your machine shop.

See more tips on how to choose an ERP system? And would you also like to see our ERP selection roadmap? Find out now on our page about choosing ERP software. 

Best ERP systems for you as a machine builder

Below are three ERP packages that are particularly well suited for mechanical engineering. 

Some systems from our list are specifically ear medium to large companies. Ridder iQ's system, on the other hand, is more suitable for somewhat smaller companies. Something for every size machine builder! 

Ridder iQ ERP (with partner: ECI Solutions)  

Knight iQ is an advanced cloud ERP system designed specifically for Smart Manufacturing. It is perfect for machine builders and for the broader manufacturing industry. It helps you optimize processes from R&D to service orders.

Also built into this ERP system is a CRM solution. You easily link this CRM solution with Outlook, for example. 

You can fully customize Ridder iQ to your specific business needs. This makes it the ideal solution for small and medium-sized mechanical engineering companies like yours.

  • Specifically suited for machine builders like you
  • Optimizes your processes from R&D to service orders
  • Embedded CRM system linked to your Outlook
  • Fully customizable to your business needs.

Want to get in contact with a partner that can implement this ERP? Get in contact with ECI Solutions!

Microsoft Finance & Operations (with partner: Delaware)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (Dynamics F&O) is an advanced ERP system aimed at large and medium-sized companies, including machine builders. It offers comprehensive functionality for finance, supply chain management, manufacturing and more. 

Dynamics F&O uses cloud technology and can be customized to meet specific business needs, making it a powerful tool for companies managing complex manufacturing processes.

Unique features of Microsoft Dynamics F&O:

  • Advanced Supply Chain Management: Optimizes inventory management and logistics for machine builders.
  • Robust Manufacturing Functionalities: Supports various manufacturing processes with planning and quality control.
  • Integration with Microsoft Technologies: Seamless collaboration with Office 365 and Power Platform.
  • Analytics and Business Intelligence: Powerful data analysis and reporting for better decision making.

SAP S/HANA (with partner: Aiden)

SAP S/4HANA is an advanced ERP system developed by SAP aimed at large and midsize companies, including machine builders.

The platform offers comprehensive functionality for finance, supply chain management, manufacturing and more. S/4HANA uses in-memory computing technology, enabling real-time processing of large amounts of data and significantly accelerating business processes.

Unique features of SAP S/4HANA:

  • In-memory Computing: Real-time processing of data for faster decision-making and more efficient processes.
  • Advanced Supply Chain Management: Optimizes inventory management, procurement planning and logistics to strengthen machine builders' supply chains.
  • Robust Manufacturing Functionalities: Supports diverse manufacturing processes with advanced scheduling, capacity management and quality control.
  • User-friendly Interface: Intuitive user experience with a modern interface and use of SAP Fiori for enhanced usability.

Finding a package that fits your machine shop perfectly?

Want to speed up your selection process for an ERP system? Get an overview of ERP systems that perfectly fit the needs of your machine tool company. 

Fill out our ERP comparison tool and quickly find the best ERP vendors for you.

Peter de Bruin
CEO & Sr. Software Specialist
With over 15 years of dedicated experience in the enterprise software industry, I have seen firsthand how crucial it is for an organization to find the right software system for success. In this rapidly changing marketplace, a fair playing field is not always a given. My mission is to create a fair match between companies and vendors, putting the importance of appropriate and effective software first. Our independent selection tool is designed to fulfill this mission, with the goal of creating a future where everyone can effortlessly find the perfect software package, with a smile. Let's strive for that effortless future together.
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