Can only large companies with plenty of funds afford an MES? Are small and medium sized manufacturers destined to be stuck in the complexity of Microsoft Excel for ever?

MES can be quite an involved undertaking for a large company. Engineers and IT professionals must rationalize operations bringing intellectual coherence to them. Transactions must be defined and understood. Existing applications must be sorted through and organized. Even for a smaller company it takes a lot of work. Some companies seem to strive for complexity in applications.

New products, especially that follow some of the trends of affordability and ease-of-use, interest me.

I was recently approached by a technologist from Estonia who had heard my podcasts and figured I’d be interested in his company’s new product—Katana MRP. [Note: the term takes me back to my early years in IT software installing MRP II. I didn’t ask about the name. But translations into English sometimes get interesting.]

Katana MRP is a manufacturing and inventory management software for small and medium sized manufacturers. The software is cloud and subscription based. Affordable for even the smallest makers/manufacturers (Plans starting from $39/mo. The main value stands in the simplicity of use.

Among the benefits to the manufacturer include better stock level optimizations and manufacturing planning leading to less time spent on operations and more time to product development or selling/marketing.

My contact, Oliver Vesi, told me, “The feedback from over 500 users shows that a lot of the value stands in the easy-to-grasp interface that makes the state of your stock and manufacturing perfectly clear. The second best outlined value is integrations. Katana MRP integrates with the most used accounting and e-commerce platforms, so the sales data and stock needs run in and out automatically.”

Following is a list of main features.


Manufacturing grid. Track the status of each manufacturing order from material planning to production execution. Complete overview of your production pipeline.

Material availability. Have control over the availability of materials required for fulfilling each manufacturing order. Take necessary action by purchasing more materials or changing the priority of orders.

Production planning. Set priorities of orders and manage tasks for your shop floor personnel.


Sales grid. Track the status of each sales order from order creation to delivery. Manage material availability for each order and conveniently create required manufacturing orders. Get a complete overview of your sales order fulfillment pipeline.

Manage sales and purchase orders. Each order can be edited to include information on customer or supplier, items, quantities, sales or purchase prices, tax levels etc. All your sales and purchase orders are accessible from one place.


Automatic inventory management. Your inventory levels update automatically based on your sales, purchasing and manufacturing activities. Calculate costs using moving-average-cost reflecting all purchase and manufacturing related expenses.

Real-time inventory control. Make inventory decisions based on the quantity of products and materials you have available for sales or manufacturing. Control in hand, committed, and expected stock amounts in real time.

Stock level optimization. Set an optimal reorder point for each product and material. Make procurement or manufacturing decisions based on optimal stock level calculations.


Product and material cards. Each product and material can be edited to include information on category, product code, variants, reorder point etc. All your portfolio items are accessible from one place.

Variants. Each product and material can include variants such as colour, size or material. Manage a wide portfolio effectively via variants.

Production recipe (bill-of-materials). Keep track of costs and quantities of all your materials required for assembling a product.

Production operations (routing). Specify the steps that are used to manufacture a product. Calculate costs related to production labour.

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