What is Material Requirements Planning?

05 December 2023
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Material Requirements Planning (MRP) is an essential system for efficiently determining the necessary materials and components to produce a product. 

This process involves three crucial phases: assessing current inventory, pinpointing required additional resources, and effectively managing their production or procurement. 

MRP assures that materials and components will be available when needed, minimizes inventory levels, reduces customer lead times, and improves customer satisfaction.


Material Requirements Planning
Image: Carlos Aranda

Why is MRP important?


Material Requirements Planning (MRP), typically executed through specialized software, plays a pivotal role in maintaining optimal inventory levels for seamless production. By ensuring that materials are available exactly when needed and at the lowest possible cost, MRP elevates the efficiency, flexibility, and profitability of manufacturing processes.

It boosts worker productivity, enhances product quality, and minimizes material and labor expenses. MRP also empowers manufacturers to respond swiftly to increased demand, preventing production delays and inventory shortages that can lead to customer loss, thus contributing to revenue growth and stability.

Widely adopted by manufacturers, MRP has been a cornerstone in the expansion and affordability of consumer goods, thereby improving living standards globally. Without the automation of complex calculations and data management offered by MRP software, it’s improbable that manufacturers could have scaled their operations as rapidly as they have in the past half-century.


History of MRP


Material Requirements Planning marked the inception of integrated Information Technology (IT) systems designed to enhance business productivity through the utilization of computers and software technology.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the first MRP systems for inventory management emerged, leveraging mainframe computers to analyze data from a bill of materials, facilitating the creation of production and procurement plans. MRP systems were then refined to include feedback mechanisms, enabling production managers to adapt and modify input data as required.

The evolution continued with Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP II), which integrated marketing, finance, accounting, engineering, and human resources facets into the planning process. Building upon this concept, Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) emerged in the 1990s, using computer technology to interconnect various functional areas throughout an entire business enterprise.


Material Requirements Planning
Image: CDC

Advantages of MRP:


  • Optimal Material Availability: Ensure materials and components are ready when needed.
  • Inventory Efficiency: Minimize inventory levels, reducing associated costs.
  • Faster Customer Service: Shortened lead times for improved customer satisfaction.
  • Enhanced Manufacturing: Boost manufacturing efficiency and labor productivity.


Disadvantages of MRP:



  • Data Accuracy Dependency: Heavy reliance on accurate input data.
  • Implementation Costs: Can be expensive to set up and maintain.
  • Production Schedule Rigidity: Limited flexibility in adjusting production schedules.
  • Inventory Surplus: Potential to maintain more inventory than necessary.
  • ERP Comparison: Less comprehensive compared to a full Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.




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Image: Kevin Ku

MRP Process


Utilizing Material Requirements Planning (MRP), managers gain the ability to assess their labor and supply needs, thereby enhancing production efficiency. This is achieved by inputting key data into the MRP system, which includes:

  • Item Name or Nomenclature: This refers to the name of the finished product, often identified as Level “0” in the Bill of Materials (BOM).
  • Master Production Schedule (MPS): MRP helps in determining the quantity needed to meet demand and the specific timeframe for production.
  • Shelf Life of Stored Materials: Understanding the longevity of stored materials is crucial for inventory management.
  • Inventory Status File (ISF): MRP provides insights into available in-stock materials and those currently on order from suppliers.
  • Bills of Materials (BOM): MRP includes detailed lists of the materials and components required for the production of each item.
  • Planning Data: This encompasses various parameters such as routing, labor and machine standards, quality and testing standards, and lot sizing techniques, offering valuable guidance for production planning.


MRP Inputs and Outputs


Material Requirements Planning (MRP) relies on three fundamental inputs: the Master Production Schedule (MPS), Inventory Status File (ISF), and Bill of Materials (BOM). By utilizing these essential inputs, MRP performs precise calculations to determine the required materials, the necessary quantities to complete a production run, and the exact timing for materials within the production process. This empowers businesses to implement just-in-time (JIT) production, where production schedules align with material availability. As a result, inventory levels are minimized, enabling businesses to streamline their manufacturing processes efficiently.

Book a demo and find out more about how AMFG can bring MRP to your CNC machining processes.





About AMFG

AMFG is a leading provider of MES software for manufacturing. Our software solutions empower manufacturers, allowing them to manage their workflows and achieve streamlined, automated processes.

With over 500 successful implementations in 35 countries and across a range of industries, we specialize in enabling companies to successfully integrate our software for AM and CNC production, into their wider manufacturing processes and scale their AM operations.

For more information, please visit www.amfg.ai or contact: press@amfg.ai



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