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Production Management for micro small firms

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Production Management for micro small firms | 17 June, 2012

Hi, Recently i am faced with a challenge. How can a small manufacturing firm be able to have good production management (e.g. WIP tracking, progress of PCBA) without having sufficient cash to purchase sophisticated software? Excel do help in tracking, but it involves too many hours on sorting the data to create reports. Moreover, excel method of tracking does not gives us a "Live" update on the progress of production. How does you manage your production in a small firm?

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Production Management for micro small firms | 27 June, 2012

Here's some notes I've collected over the years on the topic ... Small MRP * I havent used it [DBA Manufacturing] yet but I do find myself keep coming back to it - I have been searching for a decent ERP system for my micro company for years. What I like about it is the way you can export and import just about any data which we need to do as our parts data is contantly evolving. You used to be able to get a free single user system but they have now made that a demo version only and you have to pay to get a proper download - although you do get a 6 month trial period. I dont think anything else comes close for the price but as with all ERP systems you do have to bend your company to match what it can do to some extent - but this is common in all packages. If we had the money we'd go for Manex but this is overkill for our size. [allgood SMTnet] * We've been using DBA Classic but is looking for a more scalable, robust system. Our main concern is purchasing and inventory management esp. regarding how well the system checks for shortages when there are Customer AVL lists, alternative/crossed components for BOM items. We're looking into: Epicor Vantage, Intuitive Manufacturing, Made2Manage, IFS, Syspro Impact, Softbrand 4th Edition. [Sean SMTnet] * We use IFS, seems to be quite good, I've used several MRP systems and I'd say this is the best one ive used, one drawback is there are so many (100's) screens. Its difficult to remember which ones you need to use. From an engineers point of view, I would recommend it. Its also handy as it doubles as a document storage system. [Slaine SMTnet] * I've used the following [Rob SMTnet]: ** SAP Connect & Go (or SAP in a box - designed for smaller companies)- despite the description a LOT of set up work, but not bad once you get the hang of it. Costs lots to change things though. ** Tetra CS3 - YUK! ** MFG Pro - very good, but was a long time ago now & the whole ERP/MRP/MRP2 offerings have come a long way since I last used it. * We were also using DBA classic and went to Intuitive about 4 months ago. I think it is a good system but it is also a huge difference from DBA. We picked it for a number of reasons but .NET was a major one. To some extent we are still learning it so have not made a lot of customizations. Going from DBA to an application like this is an incredible change. DBA is a very simple system. If you are not in a hurry, keep in touch. Intuitive is releasing a new version in March and I will let you know how it goes. We narrowed our list down to Intuitive and Epicor. I think we picked the better system for what we do but keep in mind this will be a HUGE project. [cmiller SMTnet] * If you are trying to have an internal part, and lets say have 3 mfg's approved for one customer and 5 approved for a different customer and you want the system to deal with that, and still only have one part number, I dont think anybody deals with that except maybe x-erp/Manix which is written in FoxPro which is an antique. We felt Intuitive was the best choice because it is mostly .NET so it can be easily customized. There are a lot of bugs in the 7.XX versions. Version 8 is supposed to be out in a month or so. I would not make a decision berfore you see version 8 of Intuitive. Also, dont underestimate the magnatude of the transition, we switched in November and felt we were well prepared but it has been one hell of a learning experience. [Cmiller SMTnet] * Intuitive has been somewhat helpfull in fixing the bugs. Thier main goal has been to release version 8 though. My understanding is that it is 100% .NET where the 7.xx versions were not quite there. The 8.00 version will be released soon but, it is only for new installations. The upgrade from 7.xx versions will not be out until the third quarter. We were led to believe we could upgrade as soon as 8.00 came out and most of our problems we were told would not be fixed with patches because they would be fixed in 8.00. We were VERY dissapointed. [Cmiller SMTnet] * don't know what kinda price range these systems that you guys mention are in, but, for about 600-700 dollars, PCMRP is very low cost and quite user friendly. [ted nguyen SMTnet] * Manex (xERP, last I knew) is a pretty inclusive set of manufacturing, inventory, accounting, and planning set of software. I used mostly the manufacturing side of things, and found that, from a material planning viewpoint, and a process control viewpoint, it was very well done. I never got too involved with the accounting side of things, but I did get to observe my Controller having headaches on a monthly basis. My understanding was that the accounting module wasn't as well done, and the commmunication between the two modules wasn't great. I'll also note that it's been four years since I was using xERP, and it's entirely possible that they've continued to work out the bugs. At the time, there was a pretty large community of Manex haters out there...I think they even had their own anti-Manex mailing list...mostly installed users that were very upset over the support they were receiving from the company. I think the biggest lesson we learned about xERP was that we really needed to change our processes to accomodate the system. For two years, we attempted to force the system to work the way we wanted to...with much pain involved. We met with another company that had been relatively successful, and their method had been to modify their processes. I used DBA at my last job, and found it to be a pretty decent system, considering the cost. The downfall for us was that it was a pretty old version of the system, and we weren't going to pay for upgrades. Having said that, I was pretty impressed with the way it managed BOM structures, and MRP. However, we had issues extracing information from it the way we wanted to. Again, it's entirely possible that the issues we encountered have been fixed in newer releases. From a cost perspective, you seem to be looking at both ends of the spectrum. Whichever way you land, be prepared for a lengthy transition process...and don't rush it. Test out the systems, determine how to use them, and modify your procedures to allow using the new systems. It'll cause you much less pain in the long run. [rob SMTnet] * DBA tried to re-write thier software at least twice and failed. They ended up buying/partnering with EZ-Jobz from I think Austrailia. The new product and the old product are not the same at all in any way. Manex was originally based on FoxPro. We are talking OLD technology. If they have re-written it in something new it may be a good bet but it is fairly expensive and if its still FoxPro I would keep looking. .net is the best architecture these days. Intuitive is pretty much there. Epicore I think is trying. Look at If DBA will work for you, try it. Its cheap and should run on a cheap server. [adlsmt SMTnet] * Considering the size...I'd guess that DBA or something similar is more along the right lines for you. xERP (Manex) may be way more than what you need. We were using it in a $20 mil company, and had a lot of head room in the software (considering our investment, we better have had headroom!!). Especially if you get something in SQL, or, well, any other relational database except FoxPro! Someone else mentioned Manex being FoxPro, and I had forgotten what a pain that was. I thought, though, that they were re-writing for SQL. Any open relational database backend, though, ought to serve. Any customization can be worked with Crystal Reports, or some other database front-end interface. [rob SMTnet] * I've used DBA in the past. It's not a bad MRP software for the price. Though, your mileage may vary. We were using an older version of it at my last company, and there was no desire to upgrade. From a manufacturing standpoint (bill of material control, inventory control) I found it quite comparable to some larger packages that I had used. ** I was given to understand that the purchasing capabilities left some things to be desired, though, I'll note that I later discovered that it was our implementation of the purchasing functions (min-max set up, etc). ** I was also told that the accounting functions were difficult, at best. After learning what I learned about our implementation of the purchasing functions, and our relative mismanagement of inventory, I suspect that the difficulties in the accounting parts were due to the poor usage in the other levels of the program. As with any MRP system, you may need to mold your processes to fit the way the system works. [rgduval SMTnet] * We have a version of an ERP called Catalyst []. It was developed within Ga Tech and then privatized. It is a really versatile system and handles PCBA operations very well. It also comes in an open license version which allows you to customize it. It is very reasonably priced as well. [dphilbrick SMTnet] * You should check out Inovaxe [], they have a sophisticated MRP solution dedicated to the needs of the electronic manufacturing industry. The system is called Inovision and is a full feature solution and is very unique in design and benefit. Also it is offered in a software as a service (SaaS) model so cost is low and return on investment is quick. [BobD SMTnet]

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Production Management for micro small firms | 15 July, 2012

Try using the accounting functions in my program PCB Synergy. It can calculate the number if components used in a run by simply importing the PCB or the schematic or a PIK file. It generates CSV which has the number of components per feeder used per board and total based on boards made. The library file just needs to have the price information to then give you total cost of board made.

It is not a full MRP but it does handle the basic functions of MRP,s without having to do very much idle spreadsheet work.

Email on the address on the webpage or here if you have any further questions.

regards sarason

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Production Management for micro small firms | 18 July, 2012

Hi....The key to good auto repair lies in troubleshooting the problem. If your car won't start, there are a number of things that could be causing the problem. Proper troubleshooting by electrical contractors will eliminate potential issues that aren't the real problem and point you in the right direction. There's no bigger waste of money than repairing or replacing an auto part only to find out it wasn't the problem. These troubleshooting tips should help out and save you both time and money, not to mention frustration!

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Production Management for micro small firms | 29 April, 2013

You may have to search any web based software which is easy to understand by you and properly maintain project management of your projects. You can easily find these software online they really are inexpensive and perfectly suitable for small business/firms.

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Production Management for micro small firms | 27 August, 2014


I decided to answer to your question, despite this is asked 2 years ago. I believe that my answer will be useful also for others, who visit Lean forums.

I would recommend to use some proven MRP SaaS (cloud), because there are many such software packages available nowadays.

They usually include all what MRP2 standard requires, like - material requirements planning; - equipment load management; - workforce management; - cost control; - CRM; - standard accounting.

You can try for example such MRP software like, which is simple and in cloud. I am a co-founder of this company so you can ask me any questions

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Production Management for micro small firms | 28 August, 2014

or QCadoo, xTuple, the list goes on.

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Production Management for micro small firms | 29 August, 2014


heh...happy to see my humble comments have made it into your knowledge base collection ;)


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Production Management for micro small firms | 1 September, 2014

We are a smaller company and have created our own systems using FilemakerPro, and it grows and evolves with us as we constantly improve it. Filemaker is a complete relational database system wrapped up WITH the tools to create your user interface - layouts, buttons, scripting (easy or complicated), automatic scripts AND VERY SLICKLY deploying on the shop floor via Ipads/phones/pods. Our equipment calibration database for example is self monitoring sending emails out 15 days before anything is due. we log our MSDS data sheets, checks, and receipts of materials in what we created. We store our "process sheet" all the information required to build a product - pictures, BOMS, everything for easy user access. You can server from a desktop, or install their server product as you grow to host your creations. Anything spreadsheet - is better in Filemaker - if you can write macros in a spreadsheet you can write scripts in Filemaker. Yes I am a bit of an addict, but it is a solution to many many problems on its own. Right now we are generating and printing on Zebra's our own yellow 1"x3" labels to put on component reels INCLUDING A QR code which we can read with an ipod to elminate hunting for part numbers on Digikey/Avnet/Arrow labels which are all Black on white with way too much redundant information for the shop floor. Peter

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Production Management for micro small firms | 10 September, 2015


We can understand the frustrations you face finding a full rounded cost effective ERP software specifically for high tech manufacturing.

I suggest having a look at our company profile below and if you would like a quick demo of the software feel free to give us a call to set a date and time.


Daren Saroop Field Sales TEL: +1 (450) 934-9430 ext.2003 CELL: +1 (514)-726-0571 SKYPE: daren.saroop INLYNK Software Resource Management Solutions

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Production Management for micro small firms | 20 September, 2015


We developed many solutions that can help you and save a time. Our solutions is also dedicated for small companies as you. You can read about some solutions and tools on our website: Also, you can send me an email and we discuss your needs:

Best Regards, Alexei

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Production Management for micro small firms | 2 December, 2015

If you are interested in LEAN type of software where you have realtime view on your bottlenecks so that your operators are actually focussed on more performance, than our LineSight system will provide this info (and more). This is a completely new system in the industry and is focussed on LEAN based performance improvement.

This is a cheap and easy solution, not based on MIS data, but including all machines (even conveyors) in the analysis. So there are never gaps in the data...

For more info: info(at) or call +31 6 2029 1358.. Currently we do not have a reselling partner in the US yet......

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