5 Key Reasons For ERP, CRM and CAD Integration

Manufacturers who are engineer-to-order (ETO), design and build products specific to a customer’s need, have a huge opportunity to differentiate themselves in the market. Those ETO manufacturers who win in the market will have a complete Engineered Manufacturing Enterprise SolutionTM (EM/ES) or (EMES) that integrates everything from enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and computer-aided-design (CAD).

Customers are expecting quick turnaround of quotes and orders with high quality, and the process of engaging sales, engineering, production and customer service, all working in harmony, is essential.

A fully integrated ERP, CRM and CAD solution provides five key benefits for ETO manufacturers:


Customers are demanding quicker quotes and reduced turnaround time on orders. If you aren’t able to provide it, there are competitors who can. With an integrated CRM solution, salespeople have their pulse on what is happening in ERP and can provide updates and constant communication to customers. Engineers can design and create in CAD, and those designs can be quickly used in ERP to produce accurate quotes that are competitive and will maintain profit margins.


Some key frustrations expressed by customers needing custom engineered products are disconnects between what they need designed and the final products, delayed responses when asking about an estimate or the status of an order, and missed promised dates. A solution that eliminates silos of data and incorporates everyone, is crucial. Sales has access to key data to keep in front of customer questions and changes. Customer service can answer order status questions with the customer immediately. Production will have full insight into the materials and processes for manufacturing and can plan to eliminate material and capacity constraints. Lastly, engineering can push the most current designs and bills of material to production to ensure what is being produced matches the customer’s design.


When systems are integrated, separate silos of information are eliminated, ensuring everyone is on the same page. Sales can provide true information to customers on the status of orders, how much is owed and see a quote that was sent. Production can see what has been engineered by having bills of material, design documents and routings automatically created and updated from CAD and engineers can see item information, like descriptions and locations, by having an ERP solution that updates back to CAD.

Because manually keying data into an ERP solution takes time and is error-prone, a bidirectional exchange of data between ERP and CRM and CAD systems not only eliminates the need to key data, but more importantly, assures the data is identical in all systems.


Each person in an organization requires access to the most current, accurate information. Salespeople need to see the status of orders from ERP and provide current customer information to ERP. Shop floor workers need current access to drawings and work instructions provided by engineering. When integrated, each area will access correct information to eliminate questions, bottlenecks and delays.


Too many manufacturers have processes dependent on a few key individuals. This includes those who engineer, to those who need to estimate costs for quotes, to those who define the processes of production. In a true integrated solution, the knowledge of key individuals is documented into processes and less dependent on those individuals. This protects the company from employee turnover and standardizes the processes so they are consistent from one job to the next.

In today’s world of customers wanting everything now and done right the first time, manufacturers need to continually update their systems and processes to eliminate constraints. Since ETO manufacturers don’t get a pass because their processes are more complex, they must constantly implement ways to offer increased value to their customers. An Engineered Manufacturing Enterprise SolutionTM that includes ERP, CRM and CAD places you on a path to win.

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