MRP, ERP, SCM and APS software solutions: different but complementary (II)

In our post ‘Software solutions MRP, ERP, SCM and APS: different but complementary (I)’ we explain what these solutions are for planning and scheduling the production.Although these systems are used for manufacturing, they differ in purpose and functionality. By having different objectives, the results that will be obtained will depend on how they are implemented, integrated and used.

Today we will talk about the differences between them and how they complement each other.

How are the APS, SCM, ERP and MRP different softwares?

An APS software is used mainly for planning and scheduling; SCM software is used to obtain visibility, collaboration and optimization of the supply chain network; and an ERP provides the registration system and business rules.

ERP and MRP vs. APS and SCM

The ERP and MRP solutions are generally not used for strategic decision-making purposes. Only one APS or SCM system can be used to better understand what should be planned and scheduled for optimal operations.

ERP vs. APS and SCM

In an ERP the processes of demand planning, material, manufacturing and logistics are usually done in isolation, having less visibility of the restrictions. This is not the case within an SCM or an APS. In these solutions, all constraint planning operations are performed simultaneously in real time, which helps the user to understand the impact on each business process.


ERPs are transactional systems, which operate using standard repetitive tasks. In contrast, an APS can perform an analysis to see the impact a change of order will have on the orders of other customers. You can also calculate what will be the optimal solution based on material, capacity and logistics limitations.

ERP vs. APS and SCM

ERP systems do not provide enough details regarding customer orders. On the other hand, SCM and APS optimize and fine-tune the planning, supply, production, storage and delivery processes.

How are APS, SCM and ERP systems complemented?

While all of these systems can work alone, we know that they provide the best results when they run together.


The SCM and APS applications need an ERP to be fed from their centralized data, to be able to carry out an analysis when there are changes in the supply, the demand or the manufacturing process, and allow quick decision making or in real time.

In addition, ERP applications do not have the ability to place the requirements, limitations and preferences of customers against multiple locations and production geographies. But the use of an APS allows the client’s requirements to be treated in a logical manner, from the entry of the order to the planning and programming material, capacity and logistics.

The ERP and APS applications work together to create the most favorable plan based on restrictions, capacity and materials. An ERP system takes the simulated plan of the APS system and generates requirements for different departments.


An ERP performs a complete analysis of the changes according to the client’s demand. However, manufacturers also need to know how, when and where the product should be manufactured and delivered. The SCM and APS systems help to make these evaluations.

Thus, when an ERP is connected to an APS, it takes into consideration not only the capacity, but also the restrictions of materials, equipment, personnel and logistics simultaneously. When the same requirements of an order are integrated into an SCM application, they are communicated from the bottom up in the supply chain network. This will mean that the supplier knows the new requirements and logistics knows when the material will be ready so that it can be delivered to the customer.


Now you know how well these four systems work for planning and scheduling intensive industries, and you’ve probably already figured out which systems can be most useful for your business.

If you are thinking of going a step further, at Bluesmart we accompany companies on their way to digitalization. We can help you find the solution that best suits you and your business.

Tell us about your project.

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