Top 5 ERPs For The Metal Industry: An Essential Guide For Beginners

Before exploring ERPs for the metal industry, let’s go back to the basic ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning system. An ERP is a business management solution that integrates and optimises various key business functions. It provides a single source of truth throughout the operation, from finance and accounting, supply chain and logistics, to sales and marketing

Metal ERPs are not significantly different from general ERPs, however, they should include features that are specifically designed for the metal fabrication operation. In this guide, we aim to provide you with a clear understanding of ERPs for the metal industry, and must-have features and recommend the top 5 solutions that stand out.


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What Is ERP For The Metal Industry?

For the metal fabrication industry, the ERP is specifically built to meet the needs of this industry. An ERP for the metal industry offers an integrated platform through which fabricators can manage the entire operation, from purchasing and production planning to quality control and legal compliance.

After implementing an ERP, 90% of business respondents in Panorama’s 2024 Report recognised that they had improved operational productivity and efficiency. By addressing operational bottlenecks and increasing productivity, adopting an ERP system provides significant benefits for metal companies:

  • Give access to real-time visibility into fabrication operations, including inventory levels, production schedules, customer orders, and financial performance.
  • Streamline communication thanks to the integration features. ERP systems allow everyone to access precise and up-to-date data, reducing data and departmental silos.
  • Automate repetitive jobs and standardising procedures. ERPs help fabricators streamline the entire operations from quotation to production.
  • Provide comprehensive insights through extensive reporting and analytics to help businesses make better decisions based on accurate and real-time information.

How Do ERPs Solve Metalwork Challenges?

The metal industry has faced numerous challenges, from monitoring complex projects and job orders to ensuring regulation compliance. Here's how metal ERPs can efficiently address these obstacles:

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  • Complex projects & job order management: Metal fabrication usually involves complex projects with multiple elements, stakeholders, and tight deadlines. By providing integrated project management capabilities, an ERP enables metal businesses to optimise job scheduling, track progress in real time, and ensure timely delivery. 
  • Material planning & inventory management: These efficient capabilities of an ERP assist metal fabricators in minimising waste, cutting down costs, and meeting production requirements. By integrating material requirements planning (MRP) and inventory management tools, ERPs allow companies to optimise stock levels and track material flow with consistent visibility throughout the supply chain. 
  • Compliance with stringent safety, quality, & environmental regulations: Most ERP systems have compliance management features such as audit trails, quality control apps, and regulatory reporting. These robust tools assist metal fabricators in adhering to industry standards and avoiding costly penalties. 
  • Resource allocation & cost management: Labour costs significantly affect the profitability of the metal fabrication industry. Thankfully, most ERP systems provide helpful features like time and attendance tracking, enabling businesses to manage labour costs accurately and optimise productivity levels and resource allocation.

Metal ERP Key Features: How Should The System Work?

1. Essential Features for Metal Fabrication ERP

To best meet the unique requirements of the metal industry, it is recommended that an ERP system includes the following key features:

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Project management and job scheduling

Metal ERPs must have these features so fabricators can efficiently plan, track, and execute complicated projects. There should be tools for setting and managing project timetables, allocating resources, tracking progress, and identifying potential delays.

Bill of Materials (BOM) and routing management

ERP features should include centralised BOM management, version control, engineering management, and CAD/CAM integration (more details in the next section).

MRP and inventory management

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) and inventory management play crucial roles in the effectiveness of a metal ERP. These features must provide precise material forecasting, optimise stock levels & material movement, and offer real-time visibility into inventory levels across multiple locations.

Shop floor control and production tracking

It’s a must to have these features to optimise manufacturing procedures. They should allow fabricators to manage work orders, schedule machines, and keep track of labour in real-time production to identify risks and enhance productivity.

Quality control and compliance management

To ensure compliance with industry standards and maintain high-quality benchmarks, an ERP system should include features such as non-conformance reporting, quality inspection checklists, audit trails, and regulatory reporting.

Job costing and billing management

Metal ERPs should include features like job costing, cost tracking, profitability analysis, and billing management to optimise pricing, cost management, and invoicing procedures.

Flexible quoting and generation

When using ERPs, metal fabricators must be able to provide accurate estimates and prices to win clients and remain competitive. It's ideal to have flexible quoting tools within an ERP, regarding account variables like material costs, labour rates, overhead costs, and project complexity.

2. Integration with Other Systems and Technologies

One huge advantage of ERPs for the metal industry is that most systems can integrate effortlessly with other technologies. By minimising data silos and automating data flows, this integration feature enables fabricators to make data-driven decisions and customise the workflow:

  • CAD/CAM system integration: Computer-Aid Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) solutions are widely used in the metal industry. When integrating these systems with an ERP, you can ensure flawless data transfer and improve manufacturing and product design procedures.
  • Sensor data and IoT integration: The IoT (Internet of Things) and sensor technologies transform how fabrication businesses work. It must be possible to integrate ERP systems with IoT and sensors devices. This integration allows you to manage processes, equipment, and environmental conditions in real-time to improve control and preventative maintenance.
  • Mobile compatibility & field service management: Thanks to mobile access and field service management features in ERP systems, metal fabricators can control external operations efficiently. These features give field technicians access to real-time information, job statuses, and work orders, which eventually help them to respond to customers quickly.

5 Recommended Cloud ERPs For The Metal Industry

The cloud ERP market is estimated to grow to USD 130 billion with a 12.6% CAGR from 2025 to 2028 (Markets & Markets Research). What fuels this enormous growth is the increasing adoption of cloud technologies across industries, including metal fabrication. A cloud-based ERP can be the best option for metal fabrication companies with numerous benefits, among them:

  • Robust data security features
  • Lower initial costs and less IT overhead
  • Effortless scalability and remote accessibility
  • Less IT burdens with updates and maintenance by the vendors

Let’s explore the 5 top-recommended cloud-based ERPs for metal fabrication businesses:

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Top 5 ERPs for the metal industry

1. Odoo

With a record of over 12 million users, Odoo has become a leading open-source and cloud-based ERP solution in the market. It is developed with a modular design that lets companies tailor their implementation to meet specific demands.

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Specifically, metal fabricators need to look into Odoo's Manufacturing (MRP) module because it is specialised to help manufacturers streamline work orders, routeing, production planning, and quality control. Robust features can be lot & serial traceability, automated replenishment with RFQs & POs, complex Bill of Materials (BOM) management, preventive maintenance with downtime tracking, and more.

What makes Odoo stand out?: What makes Odoo stand out is its customisation capabilities and affordability. Metal fabrication businesses of all sizes can use the free version or select a paid plan that fits their budget. Moreover, thanks to the modular design, Odoo becomes a cost-effective solution as it allows users to start with only the basic apps they need, and add more apps when they grow.

2. Epicor Kinetic

Epicor Kinetic is also a cloud ERP for the metal industry designed specifically for the industrial sector. Notable features include real-time shop floor control, advanced quality management, chronicle cash flow management, MES (Manufacturing Execution System) data exchange, and more.

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(source: Rajawali Adikarya)

What makes Epicor Kinetic stand out?: Epicor Kinetic provides extensive metalworking features, going beyond standard ERP functionalities. This is more advantageous for large businesses that manage highly complicated projects with specialised software. Epicor Kinetic's industry-specific expertise guarantees that it tackles most of the unique metal manufacturing obstacles.

3. Microsoft Dynamic 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based ERP and CRM system that can also meet the requirements of manufacturing-specific companies. It is a complete solution with powerful features including supply chain management, project service automation, production control, and business intelligence. Additionally, Dynamics 365 can easily integrate with other Microsoft products like Azure IoT, Power BI, and Office 365.

(source: Microsoft)

What makes Microsoft Dynamic 365 stand out?: With seamless integration between ERP features and other Microsoft products, Dynamics 365 provides a great environment for medium-sized to big metal fabrication companies that are utilising the Microsoft ecosystem. This integration simplifies data analysis and improves business workflows.

4. Infor M3

The cloud-based ERP - Infor M3, originally known as SyteLine, was developed primarily for discrete manufacturers, including metal fabricators. It provides specialised features designed to meet the particular requirements of this sector, such as global trade and supply chain management, multi-site management and advanced planning, cost and profitability analysis, and more.

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(source: Software Advice)

What makes Infor M3 stand out?: The extensive level of configurability of Infor M3 is a valuable asset for large metal fabrication enterprises to manage complex production and international operations. The systems aim to meet the complex needs by providing advanced capabilities for international trade compliance and multi-site management.

5. Oracle Cloud ERP

Another outstanding ERP for the metal industry is Oracle Cloud ERP. Not only for metal fabrication, it is also a comprehensive cloud-based solution for many other industries, providing an array of features like SCM (Supply Chain Management) apps integration, CX (Customer Experience) apps integration, digital procurement management, and more.

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(source: Oracle)

What makes Oracle Cloud ERP stand out?: Oracle Cloud ERP is best for large metal fabrication businesses that need a feature-rich, highly scalable and globally capable system. The ERP provides strong security features and advanced functionality for complicated manufacturing processes.

The Next Step

Although cloud-based ERPs offer plenty of benefits for metal fabrication companies, each business has different requirements and concerns. Have you considered integrating a cloud-based ERP system into your metalworking business? What are the greatest difficulties you encountered in running your production line? If you need help, let our ERP experts analyse your business processes, find areas of improvement, and design an ERP solution that best fits your specific requirements.


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