ERP Insights

The Essentials of Production Management

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Production management

If you’ve ever tried to build anything from scratch, you’ll know how complicated it can get, even when producing something relatively simple. So much so that the phrase, “The devil is in the details,” may well have originated in production management.

In this article we cover

The process requires the efficient juggling of everything from planning and scheduling to quality control and budgeting, so it can sometimes feel like a miracle that anything gets made at all.

So, starting with the basics…

What Is Production Management?

In short, it’s the process of overseeing and controlling the various activities involved in producing goods. 

It encompasses planning, coordinating, and supervising production processes to ensure products are manufactured on time, within budget, and to required specifications. 

This process involves several critical elements:

  • Production planning: The foundation of efficient manufacturing is production planning, which involves determining the product’s design and how to execute that design with available resources. Effective production planning minimizes lead times and keeps production capacity aligned with demand, requiring careful management of human resources, supply chain logistics, and machinery. 
  • Budgeting: An essential aspect of production management is estimating the costs associated with production. This includes forecasting the quantity of products needed to meet customer demand, minimizing operational expenses, and maintaining optimal inventory levels. 
  • Scheduling: Production scheduling involves planning the sequence of operations to ensure prompt completion of your production activities. It takes into account supply chain management, materials management, labor availability, logistics, and production timelines. A master production schedule helps keep everyone on the same page, allowing manufacturers to allocate financial resources, meet delivery schedules, and manage logistics efficiently.
  • Production control: Monitoring and adjusting the production process helps keep it running smoothly and efficiently. This involves managing inventory, overseeing quality control, and maintaining equipment to prevent downtime. Production control aims to keep production running without interruptions by predicting potential issues, planning for contingencies, and scheduling maintenance activities. It also includes managing work-in-progress inventory and ensuring that all production activities are aligned with the overall production schedule.
  • Quality management: Arguably the most critical part of the process, quality management maintains the standards of the final product. The process includes defining quality standards, establishing quality assurance procedures, and implementing quality control measures. The goal is to ensure that every product meets the specified quality requirements. Through regular inspections, testing, and monitoring of the production process, manufacturers can identify and rectify any defects or deviations from quality standards. The process not only ensures customer satisfaction but also helps to reduce waste and boost overall efficiency.

Managing these areas effectively results in a production management process that delivers goods efficiently, affordably, and consistently high quality. However, effectively” is the important word in that sentence, and it’s here that things start to get a little more complicated. 

Key Pain Points in Production Management

Manufacturers face numerous challenges that complicate efficient production management. Some of the pain points that keep throwing a proverbial spanner in the works include: 

Supply chain disruptions

From COVID-19 and extreme weather to labor strikes and geopolitical tensions, supply chains suffer more than their fair share of disruptions. With inefficient supply chain management (SCM) processes further exacerbating the problem, delays, and shortages are par for the course. Manufacturers need technologies that deliver insight and flexibility in order to remain responsive to these events.


Pressure from stakeholders pushes manufacturers to adopt sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon footprints and ensuring fair labor practices. More than simply being an ethical choice, these standards are becoming increasingly necessary to remain competitive and meet regulatory compliance. 

Labor shortages

The manufacturing sector faces a growing gap in skilled labor, with experienced workers retiring faster than they can be replaced. Attracting younger workers is also challenging, as manufacturing doesn’t immediately appeal to the more high-tech-oriented younger generations. Investment in workforce development, retraining programs, and competitive compensation is needed to attract and retain talent. 

More than this, the high-tech nature of modern manufacturing needs to be better marketed to shake off dated ideas about what a manufacturing career means.


Compliance with a complex array of regulations that seem to be constantly changing further strains operations. From environmental standards and safety protocols to continually shifting data protection laws, non-compliance can result in financial penalties, reputational damage, and lawsuits. Simply staying updated on regulatory changes is a task in itself before you begin to think about integrating compliance into your processes.


Although automation offers significant efficiency gains, it presents implementation challenges. Integrating advanced technologies like IoT, AI, and robotics into existing systems can be complex and costly. Maintaining business operations while upgrading production lines adds further difficulty. 


Effective collaboration among geographically dispersed teams and production sites is as increasingly challenging as it is unavoidable. Inconsistent production management methods and documentation further hinder efforts. 


Improving productivity is vital if you hope to counteract labor shortages and supply chain inefficiencies. Outdated production processes, inadequate training, and ineffective performance management impede progress. Implementing productivity-enhancing technologies and refining workflows are essential here. 


Increased reliance on interconnected systems makes manufacturers targets for cyberattacks, which can disrupt production and compromise data. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures, including regular updates and training, is essential.

Data Insights

Modern manufacturing generates vast amounts of data. Transforming this raw data into actionable insights allows companies to reliably forecast everything from consumer demand to market changes. That said, they need to deploy advanced analytics tools to achieve this. As a relatively new technology, AI-driven analytics isn’t yet the manufacturing mainstay that it needs to be. 

Leveraging ERP Systems for Improved Production Management

Manufacturing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are essential tools that overcome production management challenges and help optimize manufacturing processes. The systems offer modules designed to streamline production and operations management and improve efficiency across various aspects of production.

Offering integrated data management. ERP systems centralize all production-related information including inventory control, orders, schedules, and quality control, in a single source of truth. Delivering a crystal clear perspective on your entire operation, EPR systems make decision-making a far quicker and more effective task to perform. 

The many areas where an enterprise resource planning system can help manufacturers include:

Erp for production management

Production planning

ERP solutions provide powerful production planning modules that help production managers design efficient workflows and schedules. By integrating data from different departments, these modules ensure production plans align with demand forecasts, minimizing bottlenecks and reducing lead times. This real-time visibility allows managers to remain highly responsive, giving them the insight they need to adjust plans and resource allocation rapidly as situations change.

Inventory management

ERP systems feature inventory management modules that track raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods in real-time. This visibility helps maintain optimal inventory levels, reducing stockouts and excess inventory costs. Automated reordering and forecasting streamline the supply chain, ensuring smooth production runs.

Quality management

Quality management modules monitor quality at every production stage, supporting compliance with industry standards. Automated quality checks and non-conformance alerts address issues promptly, minimizing defects and increasing product reliability.

Production control

EPR functionality enables real-time monitoring and management of the production process. It provides insights into production performance, helping managers track progress, identify delays, and optimize workflows. Integration with other business processes further ensures efficient resource usage.

Maintenance management

Maintenance modules schedule regular equipment maintenance, track repair activities, and manage spare parts inventory. Predictive maintenance features anticipate equipment failures, reducing downtime and stabilizing continuous production.

Reporting and analytics

ERP systems offer reporting and analytics features that provide insights into production performance. Customizable dashboards and reports help monitor KPIs, track trends, and make data-driven decisions, supporting continuous improvement initiatives.

By integrating ERP software into their production management workflow, manufacturers can address key challenges, enhance operations management, and improve efficiency. It also improves customer relationship management.

Top ERP Systems for Production Management

As powerful as ERP systems are, picking the right one for your business requires some thought. With numerous options available in the market, it’s important to choose a system that offers features tailored to your business and sector. 

However, as a general introduction, here are some of the top ERP software systems renowned for their exceptional production management capabilities.

Acumatica Cloud ERP

Acumatica Cloud ERP is a versatile system tailored for growing businesses. It integrates accounting, sales, and customer management with industry-specific add-ons and advanced technologies like AI and IoT. With a user-friendly interface and global adaptability, Acumatica stands as a premier, affordable ERP solution.

Yes Icon Cloud
Yes Icon On-Premise
Cost Per User N/A
Price Range $7.50K - $150K
Retention Rate

Epicor Kinetic

Epicor Kinetic, formerly Epicor ERP, is tailored for various manufacturing needs. It offers both cloud and on-premises options and excels in real-time monitoring, quality management, and global financial integration. Its user-friendly design ensures intuitive navigation and robust global support, fostering business growth and efficiency.

Yes Icon Cloud
Yes Icon On-Premise
Cost Per User $125/mo
Price Range $4K - $500K
Retention Rate

IFS Cloud

IFS Cloud (previously IFS 10.0) is a versatile enterprise software combining ERP, EAM, and ESM functionalities. Started in 1983, its latest version boasts an intuitive user interface built on a component-based, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), emphasizing adaptability across core processes like Manufacturing and Supply Chain.

Yes Icon Cloud
Yes Icon On-Premise
Cost Per User N/A
Price Range N/A
Retention Rate


SYSPRO ERP is a flexible enterprise solution with 40 years of industry-tailored development. It emphasizes user customization, offers cloud and on-premise deployment, and integrates advanced analytics for real-time decision-making, connecting seamlessly with AI and IoT.

Yes Icon Cloud
Yes Icon On-Premise
Cost Per User $150/mo
Price Range $25K - $500K
Retention Rate

Plex Manufacturing Cloud

Plex Manufacturing Cloud is a modern ERP solution optimized for manufacturing, delivered via the cloud. It provides real-time data and seamless updates, removing the need for traditional IT overhead. Offered as SaaS, it streamlines operations and supports growth.

Yes Icon Cloud
Yes Icon On-Premise
Cost Per User $500/mo
Price Range $50K - $500K
Retention Rate

While ERP platforms can occasionally appear intimidating to the non-tech-savvy, they are designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. Despite their in-depth capabilities, most ERP platforms are relatively easy to grasp and come with 247 support should you need it. 

Explore ERP Systems Tailored to Your Industry

If you’re considering adopting an ERP platform (and if you run any kind of production facility, you really should be), make sure you do your research. 

We deliver insightful, objective, and independent ERP product information for manufacturing operations and distribution businesses. The data available on our site results from extensive collaboration and research from ERP experts and industry leaders who understand the importance of unbiased evaluation tools for ERP software.

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