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Manufacturing and distribution companies well know that an ERP selection process is a complex endeavour with long-term strategic implications. It is also a project that comes with a certain amount of risk, and requires a significant amount of organisational resources, including time, money and people’s effort. As teams approach the evaluation and selection of a new system, they often run into the concepts of ‘Best of Breed’, vs ‘Best in Class’ ERP.

These concepts have been around a long time and still serve to confuse.


Defining Best of Breed ERP

Industry analysts define a best of breed system as the best system developed to address a specific niche or functional area. The application performs specialised functions better than an integrated system, such as standalone quality management or inventory tracking as an example. Best of breed systems are developed and sold by separate vendors.

A “Best of Breed” solution is often times the best choice if a company’s business requirements are so specific that a single ERP can’t address their unique set of business conditions.

Defining Best in Class

Best in Class ERP combines core functions of a manufacturing enterprise into a single, integrated enterprise-wide software suite. There is tight integration between functions, linking manufacturing, finance, supply chain management, quality, inventory, maintenance and other functions in a single universe.

ERP vendors from tier one, two or three develop and market integrated ERP offering the features and functions that best meet the needs of a specific industry.


The Pros and Cons

When evaluating these two different approaches, should a company implement multiple best-of-breed packages or pursue a single integrated ERP solution?

The up-side of single, standalone best of breed applications is that a focused set of features and functions handle specific functionality. Each department is independent in terms of their IT strategy, maintenance and upgrade schedule. Additional benefits include:

  • Flexible approach to managing system upgrades
  • Wide choice of specialised systems and vendors
  • Modular application maintenance

The downside of a Best of Breed approach are the issues associated with multiple systems, databases and vendors. Maintaining multiple systems provides little cross-connectivity, which creates maintenance and integration challenges. It’s complex and resource-draining for many companies.

By far the biggest benefit of a single, integrated Best in Class ERP suite is full data integration across functions. As manufacturing becomes more challenging and complex, best in class systems tightly link data and processes together cross-functionality. The primary pros include:

  • Single system implementation, single database and single supplier.
  • Standardised technology across the enterprise
  • More control of total cost
  • Improved end-to-end process support

The downside of a Best in Class approach is that very often, a single suite can’t adequately address specific core functions. We’ve seen limited functionality in some areas, including product lifecycle management and other engineering-related functions. Additional cons include:

  • Customisation is more difficult
  • Upgrades are more complex
  • Vendor visibility is a risk
  • Potentially less options when adding features and functions
  • Tied to one vendor for support and maintenance


Microsoft Dynamics can be configured to suit your business, whether you’re looking for a best of breed or best in class solution. Get in contact with us today on 0345 467 9950 or email to discuss what would be best for your business.

By Harry Hamling

Skilled in Journalism, Newspaper writing, SM management, and thought leadership that resonates, Harry who holds an MA in Public Relations from Sheffield Hallam University, is an experienced PR and Marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Harry is passionate about the written word and its importance in today's social-led world.

As Head of Marketing at Azzure IT, Jordan has over 10 years of experience in marketing. Having worked in financial services, Hospitality, ERP, Manufacturing and IT. Jordan has applied his marketing skills to a number of industries and understands the importance of digital transformation with regards to marketing. 

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Azzure IT
10 Europa View, Sheffield Business Park, Sheffield, S9 1XH, UK

t. 0345 467 9950

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