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Custom Manufacturing

ERP for Custom Manufacturing

The custom manufacturing industry is seeing more and more individual customer requests for increasingly complex products without additional costs. These difficult market and production conditions mean individual producers seeking to make a profit are faced with major challenges. Lean concepts inherited from series production do not provide enough optimization potential for batch size 1 production. Individual producers wanting to remain competitive in the future are increasingly focusing on innovative technologies and the IT support provided by modern ERP System for Custom Manufacturing. 

Master the digital transformation and benefit from the customization boom:
• Prototypes
• One-offs
• Small series
• Build-to-order
• Mass customization

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An industry-specific ERP solution enables manufacturing companies to strengthen their market position through maximum customer orientation


Integrated product development
Order-related design is typical of custom manufacturing. A CAD system that is coupled directly to the ERP software facilitates communication between business departments and designers and supports costing, procurement and production planning.

Sound costing
Make-to-order manufacturers need to prepare bids based on empirical values and rough estimates. An ERP system provides data on suppliers, resources and similar projects in one simple step. It also facilitates pricing and constantly compares the actual costs against the cost estimate.

Smart production
Small batch sizes hamper the efficient use of the production facilities. Industry 4.0 offers great potential here. Through intelligent networking of ERP, PPS and equipment it can strategically control production and drastically reduce setup costs and throughput times - provided the software solution is fit for Smart Factory.

Flexible procurement
While serial manufacturers have complete BOMs at their disposal, make-to-order manufacturers plan dynamically from project step to project step. An ERP system that can easily manage growing BOMs is therefore important for timely and cost-optimized procurement with minimal inventory.


There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you're good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backwards. 

Jeff Bezos

Why ERP systems for make-to-order manufacturers are different

In custom manufacturing, nothing is as constant as change. No two jobs and no two products are the same; change requests from the customer for an ongoing project are increasingly seen on a daily basis. Structures, processes and calculations need to be thought through again and again, which means a major investment in design, development and production planning. Without a modern, industry-specific ERP for Custom manufacturing, it is impossible for make-to-order manufacturers to obtain a complete overview of costs, resources and schedules.


From standardization to customization - ERP for Custom Manufacturing

The challenges of Batch size 1 are no longer only a concern of traditional make-to-order manufacturers within mechanical and plant engineering. The trend toward customization of products and solutions has also reached industrial series production. "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black" - Henry Ford’s strategy would be unthinkable nowadays. In order to remain ahead of their competitors, manufacturers of mass products are also increasingly forced to fulfill customer expectations regarding differentiation and customization. An increase in the number of variants often leads to a complexity trap, so serial manufacturers are seeking new customer orientation options. 

The solution: mass customization. Standard, off-the-shelf products are giving way to "mass goods made to measure" - it is becoming rare for two completely identical cars to roll off the assembly line, and custom creations are becoming as normal as designing your own brand name sneakers. The goal is to produce customized products as efficiently (and thus for the same price) as serial production. So many series manufacturers are suddenly also faced with the classic problems of make-to-order manufacturers. Take in consideration a specific ERP for Custom Manufacturing. 

Digitization as opportunity

Even if the degree of customization varies, ranging from configuration using a range of predefined options to developing a completely new product based on customer requirements, customization makes process optimizations more complicated and reduces profit margins. Which make-to-order manufacturers will manage to remain competitive in the face of globalization? And how can series producers link the benefits of mass production to the demands of customer-specific production? The consistent use of new technologies is a must: trends such as 3D printing, robotics or augmented reality increase speed, quality and agility - critical success factors for custom manufacturing. Future-oriented, make-to-order manufacturers and mass customization pioneers are not only leaders in innovative technology, but also demand uncompromising flexibility from their ERP systems. Take in consideration a specific ERP for Custom Manufacturing. 

abas ERP for Custom Manufacturing

Successful make-to-order manufacturers make planning for the unpredictable possible
In custom manufacturing, the customer is always right. An industry-specific ERP system helps manufacturing companies respond flexibly to customer requests and transforms the challenges of Batch size 1 and Industry 4.0 into a competitive advantage.

Master the diversity!

The most important ERP functions in the ERP for custom manufacturing include:

  • Customer and project files for a comprehensive overview, for example, of revenues, outstanding items, outstanding processes and tasks, notes, archive documents from the document management system, service devices, and current service processes
  • Project orientation for procurement planning and vendor management
  • Flexible project costing: Preliminary, concurrent and final costing
  • Sales order/Project related production list; growing, project related production lists; editable order production list
  • Device file with lifecycle BOM and spare/wear parts list
  • Project center
  • Production/Assembly planning with graphical console
  • Capacity planning
  • Key figures and evaluations for custom manufacturing, for example, key figures accumulated for all projects (particularly hour analysis vs. degree of completion), project risks, capacity bottlenecks (particularly in construction, production, assembly and service), Project forecast / sales pipeline (particularly key account customers), evaluations of the profit situation (completed and current projects/total company)
  • Mobile applications, for example, for sales, purchasing, service, warehouse

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Streamline your manufacturing and business workflows with abas ERP’s integrated functionality

See how, with abas’ powerful ERP software, all parts of your business can work together seamlessly. Team members in management, sales, purchasing, receiving and production can get on the same page -- in the warehouse, on the road, or in the office -- eliminating bottlenecks and helping your business improve efficiency and profitability.

ERP systems for make-to-order manufacturers: prepared for surprises

What criteria are relevant for selecting a software solution for make-to-order manufacturers? Many common ERP systems for the manufacturing industry are developed for classic series production. Similar to the mass customization processes orientated toward custom manufacturing, the processes for contract manufacturing in mechanical engineering are also not considered. Nothing goes by the book, but manufacturers need to be able to keep responding flexibly and quickly to unforeseen changes and adjust planning and production to new circumstances - without compromising their profitability. Make-to-order manufacturers also require such agility from their business software:

CAD/PLM integration

The integration of CAD and PLM data is imperative for make-to-order manufacturers. Only if design data can be easily “translated” into business data, will all the necessary information for costing, parts lists, production steps and resource planning be available to Purchasing and Project Management. Conversely, engineers can include prices, working hours and availability in the development from the start - a significant advantage for an efficient project cost structure and schedule.

Updated BOMs

To help ensure timely and trouble-fee production, the ERP system must provide updated BOMs. This means Purchasing can order materials with long delivery times in a timely fashion and Production can create work plans for released components at short notice. Advantage: this makes it possible to significantly reduce costly express deliveries, downtimes and extra shifts.

Scalability and internationalization

Medium-sized make-to-order manufacturers sometimes manage a number of highly complex supply chains within the country and abroad. The ERP software should therefore be suitable for international use. A multi-site system also offers the advantage of easily integrating cooperation partners, thereby increasing data transparency across multiple locations.

Quality management

Being able to deliver consistently high quality is a decisive competitive advantage in the face of increasing competition from global providers. In addition to device files with a lifecycle parts list, a must for make-to-order manufacturers is complete test documentation and easy traceability by means integrated batch and serial number management.

Production control

The production planning and production control also needs to be able to map and efficiently manage complex production processes. Interfacing an APS captures deviations between planning and the existing situation through short-term detailed planning. The ERP system uses predictive planning and simulations to continuously match capacities and customize the order sequence.

Costing and analytics

Keeping costs and deadlines under control - a difficult task for make-to-order manufacturers. Offers must be priced properly, despite all the uncertainties, and it should be possible to counteract deviations in a timely manner. The sophisticated analytical tools of ERP systems not only assist with precise pre- and post-calculations and monitoring the progress of the project, but also with strategic corporate management: Which projects pay for themselves? Which suppliers are cheap and reliable? Where do costs regularly spiral out of control? Which processes have untapped efficiency potential?

Communication 4.0

Custom manufacturing is a consultancy-intensive business requiring close and seamless interaction with customers and suppliers over the entire project period. Mobile apps, as well as clearly bundled information in customer, project and vendor files makes the process of communication much easier by readily providing the latest available data.


The way to the smart factory inevitably leads to the cloud: partners, machines and workpieces must be networked via a common technology platform that manages the growing volume of data. To be ready for Industry 4.0, ERP systems for make-to-order manufacturers should also be available as an SaaS model. Take in consideration a specific ERP for Custom Manufacturing. 

Everything fits, but you’re still unsure?

Then think about which software vendor you trust to join your company on the path to Industry 4.0. Because only an IT partner that understands the challenges and offers a specific ERP for custom manufacturing can provide tailor-made solutions.

More about abas ERP for Custom Manufacturing

+43 1 319 15 19
+49 721 96 72 30
+38 061 21 37 855
+420 241 931 544
+31 (0)85 3033 555
+421 903 717 980
+55 - 11 5054 - 5500
+91 77559 04373
+62 (21) 293 19 366
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+66 81 6297375
+359 2 423 61 56


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