The Top 6 ERP Vendors of 2023 — A Guide to the Latest Trends (2023)

With so many ERP vendors trying to grab attention with the latest bells and whistles, it can be tough to sort through the noise and make the best choices for your company.

We’re here to help!

In this report, we’re going to break down the latest trends and new features from the top six ERP vendors in 2023. Our goal is to give family-owned manufacturing and distribution companies like yours all the info they need to make smart choices when selecting and implementing an ERP system.

Let’s dive into what’s new and exciting with the top six ERP vendors for manufacturing and distribution. We’ll also explore why these updates matter for family-owned companies in 2023.

1. Oracle Cloud

Oracle invites developers to customize their app platform

Oracle is opening up its app platform to customer developers and partners, empowering them to design personalized applications for their ERP systems.

The Oracle Applications Platform provides access to the same tools used by Oracle’s development team, allowing for the customization and extension of applications to meet customized requirements. The platform features a variety of tools like a low-code development suite, a search and recommendation engine, a digital assistant and analytics capabilities.

The UX Building Blocks toolkit allows developers to modify and assemble user experience components without lengthy and expensive software development projects. Oracle’s Visual Builder Studio also enables developers to embed data visualizations within their applications.

Automation for downtime prevention

Oracle has introduced a new service — specifically targeting high-tech and manufacturing sectors — that is designed to automate the prevention of asset downtime. This service aims to help organizations predict and avert asset downtime so they can reduce costs and improve service efficiency.

Key features of the asset downtime prevention service include proactive monitoring and maintenance, automated field service capabilities and depot repair automation. With depot repair automation, the service streamlines the repair process by automatically generating estimates and authorizations, creating work orders and initiating the purchase of replacement parts.

How Oracle is simplifying B2B commerce with finance and logistics integration

Oracle Cloud ERP is introducing Oracle B2B Commerce, which integrates finance services from J.P. Morgan and logistics from FedEx directly into the platform.

This collaboration with J.P. Morgan and FedEx, offered through the Fusion Cloud ERP suite, will digitize and simplify the entire B2B commerce process for mutual customers. The integrated logistics solution will offer real-time rate quoting, shipping and tracking capabilities, while the collaboration with J.P. Morgan will deliver advanced banking services, including real-time cash positions, predictive cash forecasting, a mobile application for employee reimbursements and an integrated travel card.

2. Infor

Exploring ChatGPT and generative AI for enterprise applications

Infor sees potential in utilizing ChatGPT and other generative AI models to improve productivity and automate business processes in enterprise environments.

These models could be applied to tasks like:

  • Writing emails, reports and product documentation
  • Creating job descriptions
  • Comparing products and vendors
  • Assembling marketing materials

However, Infor must address challenges like ensuring accuracy, consistency and data privacy before widespread adoption of this AI technology.

Infor’s industry-specific solutions

Infor’s CloudSuite incorporates three multi-tenant ERP systems that support specific industries like chemical, automotive and hospitality.

By understanding best practices for specific industries, Infor aims to deliver a shorter time to value for customers and minimize the customizations customers need to make.

Infor’s API gateway connects to other major platforms and will continue to improve its granularity. In addition, Infor’s RPA technology facilitates the integration of legacy applications with ERP systems, offering a comprehensive solution for complex supply chains and distribution channels.

Customer base expansion

The company is also leveraging its vertical expertise to attract new customers beyond its existing user base. In 2022, Infor revealed that its SaaS revenue had reached an annual run rate of $1 billion. With their focus on providing industry-specific functionality, Infor’s leadership team is also reshaping and restructuring their services, sales and support.

By restructuring its internal organization around industries, Infor is well-equipped to provide tailored solutions and engage with potential customers currently using other ERP vendors.

3. Epicor

Improving manufacturing efficiency with Epicor Kinetic

Epicor Kinetic for Manufacturing offers a range of solutions to improve operational efficiency.

Key features include:

  • Epicor CPQ, which streamlines production with visual product configuration, dynamic pricing and document generation.
  • Epicor Commerce Connect, an omnichannel digital commerce system that simplifies online store management.
  • Epicor Application Studio, which provides an easy way to configure the Epicor Kinetic environment.
  • Dynamic Documents, which gives users the ability to design their own forms and drive business actions within the platform.

Epicor Prophet 21 for distribution management

Epicor Prophet 21 for Distribution focuses on enhancing operational efficiency and security in the distribution sector. It features an integration with Epicor CPQ to connect sales and operational data for improved demand planning and production, as well as Smart Inventory Planning and Optimization through native web applications for optimized inventory stocking and forecast accuracy.

Epicor Report Studio provides advanced reporting options and data access, and Epicor Identity Provider (IdP) offers additional security for cloud customers with single sign-on support across ERP applications.

Updates for lumber and building supply businesses

Epicor designed BisTrack for Building Supply to optimize customer experiences and simplify business processes in the building supply industry.

Notable updates for 2023 involve an upgraded 3D configurator for the Epicor CPQ integration, which provides customers with realistic visualizations of products in their environment.

Epicor’s integration of Geotab fleet management enables customers to improve vehicle tracking, while Epicor ECM Accounts Payable automation reduces errors in business document processes. The Verifone payment integration is also now available for U.K. customers.

4. IFS

IFS is continuing its commitment to providing industry-specific functionality for its cloud platform, focusing on six key sectors: aerospace and defense, energy and utilities, manufacturing, construction and engineering, telecommunications, and services like property management.

The IFS Cloud platform integrates applications for ERP, enterprise asset management (EAM), field service management (FSM), CRM, HR and more.

IFS leadership states that the company will continue to deliver vertically-focused ERP, EAM and FSM functionality natively in the applications, rather than as bespoke customizations after purchase. While IFS is primarily focused on asset- and service-related use cases, it will also continue to offer core ERP functionality for processes including HR, finance and CRM.

5. Microsoft Dynamics 365

Automation advancements

The 2022 updates to the Microsoft Dynamics Finance and Supply Chain Management products — as part of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution suite — introduce several enhancements aimed at helping customers streamline their billing systems, quotations, automation and character recognition.

These improvements include:

  • Subscription billing for automatic generation of recurring quotations
  • Split billing capabilities to accommodate multiple customers
  • Advanced automation features to simplify invoice processing and ledger settlements

As part of these new updates, the ERP solution suite now offers Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology for reading invoices, with customizable parameters to meet internal standards and manual review options for noncompliant recognized invoices.

Cloud-based ERP boosts productivity and connectivity

Cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solutions give manufacturing companies easy access to information from anywhere, so they can boost productivity and help teams all over the world stay connected.

This focus on cloud solutions allows manufacturing and distribution companies to have convenient access to data in the field or when meeting with customers, partners and suppliers. And setting up cloud ERP systems saves time, resources and headaches that might come from complicated on-premises installations. Because they run on a monthly subscription basis, cloud ERP systems usually don’t need a huge upfront investment, making them a good choice for smaller manufacturing companies.

Meet Copilot: Your AI helper for ERP tasks

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot is an AI assistant that aims to make business tasks more manageable and efficient. By reducing the need for repetitive activities and manual data entry, Copilot frees up employees to focus on more essential aspects of their jobs.

For example, within Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Copilot actively detects external factors, like weather or financial changes, that might impact the supply chain. It then offers insights to help identify affected orders and streamline communication with partners to prevent disruptions.

6. NetSuite

NetSuite Ship Central: Revolutionizing warehouse operations

NetSuite Ship Central, a mobile application by Oracle NetSuite, is designed to improve warehouse operations by streamlining packing and shipping processes, reducing manual tasks and speeding up customer deliveries. The app provides warehouse workers with improved packing and shipping capabilities accessible through mobile or kiosk devices.

Simplifying complex sales with NetSuite CPQ

NetSuite CPQ is a solution designed to help organizations streamline their sales processes and improve purchasing experiences. This new tool enables sales teams to configure, price and quote complex products with accuracy and reliability, while applying customizable business rules to ensure error-free configurations.

Optimizing staffing and labor costs with SuitePeople Workforce Management

Oracle has announced NetSuite SuitePeople Workforce Management, a solution designed to help organizations optimize staffing, manage labor costs and increase employee engagement. The solution streamlines shift scheduling, automates wage calculations and simplifies time and attendance tracking. It also provides data-driven recommendations on staff scheduling.

A note about NetSuite’s growth

Our impression is that NetSuite has now become the fastest-growing solution for small to mid-sized companies. The company is also pushing into the enterprise space and competing with Infor, Epicor and Microsoft Dynamics 365. This growth can be attributed to its advanced technology (a pure cloud-based solution) and a strong network of solution partners that help bridge the gap between its initial offerings and the distribution and manufacturing functionality of traditional ERP players.

However, NetSuite implementation can be more complex than some other ERP platforms, often requiring additional partners for implementation. This isn’t necessarily good or bad — but you need to understand the trade-offs and evaluate them based on your specific needs.

The State of ERP in 2023

Across the board, technology is changing and expanding at an astonishing rate — and ERP is no exception. Based on our decades of experience as ERP consultants, these six vendors are poised to remain the most popular for family-owned manufacturing and distribution companies for the next year or more. However, things happen fast in ERP! When you’re ready to select and implement your new or upgraded ERP solution, be sure to reach out. We’d love to talk with you about what’s happening in this space, and give you our expert guidance.

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