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FAQ - What is the difference between ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), MRPII (Manufacturing Resource Planning) and APS (Advanced Planning Systems)?

In short, there is very little real functional difference between MRPII (Manufacturing Resource Planning) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). Cynics would say that changing the "badge" from MRPII to ERP enabled software vendors to sell MRPII programs to non-manufacturing companies.

In many cases ERP has built better integration and some new functionality onto the basic MRPII system. The additional features often include human resource functionality, maintenance, project planning and document management. I prefer the term ERP rather than MRPII as it implies, correctly, that use of the system involves everyone in the whole enterprise. In conclusion, the difference between MRPII and ERP does not justify changing systems. You problems are more likely to involve the people than the system.

APS (Advanced Planning Systems) are another variation on MRPII. An APS program, in addition to MRPII functionality, must include the ability to optimise a manufacturing plan where the sequence in which jobs are carried out effects the set-up time (finite capacity planning). The program must also be able to adjust a plan where there are multiple constraints (e.g. labour and equipment), preferably with the ability to simulate changes rather than run MRP. APS is therefore required for companies with a large number of orders on short lead times where the sequence in production is important.

For more information see the ERP Survival Guide and the book Business Excellence.