Six essential features for a new process manufacturing ERP

There are a lot of different requirements to consider when shortlisting process manufacturing ERP.  If your product is toothpaste, yours are quite a bit different from another manufacturer that produces motor oil but both are process manufacturers.  I tried to find some requirements that serve across many different industries.

1. Coproducts and byproducts management

A coproduct is something left over from production that can also be sold in a different market.  Your business might be making sugar for humans from beets.  You also yield livestock feed from the same beet.  A byproduct is something produced in the making of something else.  Your business is producing gasoline and asphalt is a byproduct of the process. These exist in many process industries, so a good process manufacturing ERP must help manage them.

2. Automated input and output

Many processes run over long periods of time and can be designed to read sensor input into the ERP and adjust as temperature, pressure, and other variables change during the process.  Output from a process might move through different paths or secondary processes automatically by triggering a PLC or programmable logic controller.  The PLC might open a gate and send material to one customer while a concentration is high and then to another customer while the same concentration is lower.

Make the right software choice using this seven-step guide to selecting process manufacturing ERP

3. Multiple units of measure

The same product might need more than one unit of measure.  The nominal output could be a 16 ounce bottle and the volume of fruit measured as a factor of the weight.

4. Catch weight

In some cases, process manufacturing ERP must manage inexact measurements.  For example, chickens are unloaded from a truck for processing.  The catch weight might be 10 lbs. each but any particular bird might be as much as 1 lb. more or less than the catch weight.  At the other end of the process the consumer expects exactly one pound of chicken in his frozen dinner ERP has to convert from an approximate inventory to precise inventory values.


Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point is a food industry method of managing food safety through analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from procurement to consumption of the products.  Your process ERP should help monitor your process and provide the measurements needed.


The European Chemicals Agency ensures the benefit for human health and the environment and companies are required to comply with legislation regarding the safe use of chemicals.  Almost all process manufacturers have similar compliance regulations, so ERP should be able to collect this data effectively.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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