Business Central Essentials for Manufacturing Companies

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When deciding on either Business Central Essentials vs Premium versions for your manufacturing business, which one will be best for you will depend on what is important for your company. When Sabre conducts a Microsoft Dynamics Business Central implementation, we look at some key requirements to find out which version (Business Central Essentials vs Premium) is right for the customer.

Business Central Essentials Manufacturing ERP

Assembly vs Production Management in Business Central

Deciding between the Assembly or Production Management modules is the first decision when dealing with Microsoft Business Central implementation for manufacturing. This determines if the Business Central Essentials or the Premium level subscription will be more beneficial for you.

4 Factors impacting the Assembly vs Production Management in Business Central decision

There are a few factors you need to consider when deciding between Business Central Essentials vs Premium.  Here are the 4 key factors that we look at to determine which would work best for the customer.

1 - Job Costing Detail Requirements

Production Management is used if your manufacturing business needs detailed job costing. If your business only needs rough job costing, you can just use Assembly Management.

2 - Multi-Step Manufacturing

A majority of manufacturing is multi-step. There are operations in the fabrication or machining process that you must complete in order to advance to the next steps. Each step takes a certain amount of time after which the production proceeds onward.

There are two ways that you can address this.

  1. Create a new item between each step
  2. Use a routing, that tracks the status of each step

If your business does not need choice number two, either because the production process is simple enough, or the process is done in one step alone, then Assembly might be workable. Another instance is if your business creates an item between each of the manufacturing steps.

Production Management in Business Central is needed if you require routings and need to keep track of the status at each step of the manufacturing process. If that is the case, the decision between Business Central Premium vs Essential is easy.

3 - Scheduling

If you are required to have machine-level loading and scheduling for your business, then you will almost certainly need Production Management. This is not offered at the Assembly Management level.  The Production Management module gives you the ability to sequence and plan assemblies, and use that to dispatch work. You can also create a due date for an assembly.

4 - Outsourced Manufacturing

Last but not least, one of the most important factors in the Business Central Premium vs Essential decision is whether your business is looking to outsource any manufacturing capabilities. This is very hard to do with Assemblies and requires some ugly workarounds. It can be done if needed, but in general, if you are sending materials to have work done on them by contractors, then you will need Production Management in Business Central.

For more information on these factors, read Understanding Business Central Premium vs Essentials versions for Manufacturing.

Manufacturing Walkthrough Video

Choosing Business Central Premium vs Essential licenses can be a bit complicated for a manufacturing company. This video outlines several of the points that we've discussed in this blog and gives a reasonably brief high-level overview of most of these concepts.


There are lots of things to consider when deciding between Business Central Essentials vs Premium. At Sabre, we recommend that smaller manufacturing companies consider starting with Assembly Management when they are making their first move to an ERP system. If you need to, upgrading from Assembly to Production is not very difficult.

Need some help?

Have more questions about Business Central Essentials vs Premium level pricing? You can visit the Microsoft Business Central Capabilities page for more information. Want some assistance with a Microsoft Business Central Implementation? Visit our website, or give us a call at: (519) 585-7524 x.45 or contact our team, we're excited to talk with you soon!

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