Selecting the right software solutions is crucial for streamlining operations, enhancing efficiency, and staying competitive in today’s modern aviation aftermarket. At Ambry Hill Technologies, we are often asked about the differences between the various types of solutions available.

Three types of software stand out as the most common that companies seek to use for managing their aviation business: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

Each serves a distinct purpose and can address specific needs within an aviation business. We will try to cover the differences between these solutions in this article and their relevance to various facets of the aviation aftermarket.

Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Software

MRO software is an essential tool in the aviation industry, particularly for managing shop floor activity, maintenance activity and even some disassembly work for component parts, aircraft, engines, landing gear and other items that require inspection, repair, overhaul, and maintenance.

As a digital project hub for FAA Part 145 certified repair stations, commercial and cargo airlines, helicopter and private operators, MRO software facilitates efficient handling of job progress, tasks, labor recording, bill of material management and production planning. It enables teams to better manage their entire process from initiation to completion.

Real-time job status tracking can enable MRO teams to monitor progress and action tasks quickly to minimize downtime, reduce costs, and uphold corporate standards. And, while some MRO software systems offer a mobile option for remote data entry, others are not as mobile-friendly, requiring the manual transfer of paperwork information later.

Most MRO software contains elements of a traditional ERP system, such as inventory management, purchasing (purchase orders), outside vendor repair (repair orders), invoicing and in some cases even the GL level accounting. However, unlike CRM systems which primarily track customer interactions, or ERP systems which encompass broader business functions, an MRO system specifically addresses the workflow intricacies of maintenance-related activities, technician tasks, labor recording, financial accountability, and work planning.

Furthermore, MRO systems in the aviation industry will also produce required paperwork such as FAA 8130-3 or EASA Form-1, Dual Release as well as industry certifications such as the ATA-106 or a CofC (Certificate of Conformance).

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software for Aviation

ERP software offers comprehensive tools for managing various aspects of business operations, including materials procurement, inventory management, customer quoting, invoicing, sales orders, transaction history, customer details, and business analytics.

ERP systems are the backbone of aviation organizational processes and facilitate seamless communication and information exchange between departments.

By centralizing data and standardizing processes, ERP software enables organizations to make informed decisions based on accurate, real-time information. Whether it’s tracking inventory across multiple locations, optimizing supply chain management, or streamlining financial reporting, ERP software provides a holistic view of the organization’s transactions and empowers decision-makers to drive strategic initiatives.

An ERP system differs from both CRM and MRO systems in its comprehensive scope and purpose. ERP systems encompass functionalities such as materials procurement (purchase orders), outside vendor repair (repair orders), inventory management, sales transactions (sales order and invoicing), good shipping and receiving management and overarching supply chain management, providing a centralized platform for comprehensive business management.

Aviation ERP systems will also include support complex business transactions such as component exchange sales management, brokered repair management and inventory lots or pools. Unlike CRM and MRO systems, ERP software offers a broader range of capabilities that span multiple departments and functions, facilitating seamless coordination, data exchange, and decision-making across the organization.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software:

CRM software focuses on managing customer interactions, nurturing leads, and fostering long-term relationships. In the aviation aftermarket, customer satisfaction and retention are paramount, and CRM solutions play a vital role in enhancing engagement and loyalty.

Aviation customers meeting and exchanging business cards to show customer relationship that should be tracked in CRM software.

Whether managing service contracts, tracking customer preferences, or analyzing sales trends, centralizing customer data with CRM software can help aviation organizations build strong customer relationships and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

A CRM system differs from ERP and MRO systems primarily in its focus on managing interactions with customers and nurturing long-term relationships.

Unlike ERP systems, which integrate and manage core business processes across an organization, or MRO systems, which specialize in managing maintenance operations, a CRM system is specifically designed to centralize customer data, track sales leads, analyze purchasing patterns, and tailor marketing campaigns to specific customer segments. Often times you will find that ERP and MRO software offer integration with CRM solutions.

The distinct focus of CRM systems on enhancing customer satisfaction and retention sets them apart from ERP and MRO systems, which have broader operational functions within the aviation aftermarket.

Critical Considerations in Software Selection

When evaluating aviation business software solutions, integration capabilities between ERP, MRO, and CRM systems are crucial for ensuring data accuracy, optimizing workflows, and facilitating collaboration across departments.

Aviation software implemnentaion training of Vista-Suite Enterprise ERP and MRO software.

Organizations will find greater value and flexibility in choosing software solutions that offer the most capability under one roof, or at least flexible integration options and support interoperability with other third-party applications and systems to enhance visibility, streamline processes, and drive operational excellence.

Another consideration is the deployment model of the software—whether it’s hosted locally or delivered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. SaaS solutions offer scalability, accessibility, and reduced infrastructure costs compared to on-premises deployments.

More aerospace companies than ever are assessing their specific requirements and choosing a SaaS solution model because it aligns with today’s modern operational needs and strategic objectives but without significant IT infrastructure expenses.

Because complex workflows and time-sensitive duties often characterize the aerospace industry, an intuitive UX/UI design is paramount in boosting productivity and reducing the need for extensive training.

Software solutions with a modern, user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation will foster user acceptance, efficient task execution, and minimize errors across the organization.


Vista-Suite Enterprise is the best aviation erp and mro software which checks all the boxes.

ERP, MRO, and CRM software play distinct yet complementary roles in optimizing operations, enhancing efficiency, and delivering superior customer experiences.

Understanding the differences between ERP, MRO, and CRM software will empower your organization to thrive among your peers in the competitive aviation aftermarket marketplace.

ERP, MRO, and CRM software solutions are abundant and often industry-specific. Vista-Suite Enterprise, a purpose-built solution for the aviation aftermarket, offers specialized features, industry-specific functionalities, and addresses the aviation aftermarket’s unique challenges and complexities.

Vista-Suite Enterprise checks all the boxes for the best aviation ERP and MRO software. Request a Vista-Suite Enterprise demo at

FAQ: Understanding ERP, MRO, and CRM Software in Aviation

  1. What is ERP software, and how does it benefit the aviation industry? ERP software helps manage various business operations, including inventory, sales, and customer details. In aviation, it streamlines processes, enhances data accuracy, and supports strategic decision-making by providing a comprehensive view of organizational activities.
  2. How does MRO software specifically cater to the aviation sector? MRO software that is tailored for aviation maintenance tasks manages shop floor activities, maintenance schedules, and component parts repair, ensuring efficient job progress tracking and minimizing aircraft downtime.
  3. Can CRM software improve customer relationships in the aviation industry? Yes, CRM software centralizes customer interactions, helping aviation businesses nurture strong relationships. It tracks customer preferences, optimizes service contracts, and analyzes sales trends, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  4. What are the main differences between ERP, MRO, and CRM software? ERP systems manage overall business processes, MRO software focuses on maintenance activities, and CRM systems handle customer interactions. While ERP and MRO may overlap in functionalities like inventory management, CRM’s core function is enhancing customer relationships.
  5. Why is it important to have integration capabilities between ERP, MRO, and CRM systems? Integration ensures data accuracy across systems, optimizes workflows, and facilitates communication between departments. It allows businesses to have a cohesive view of operations, enhancing productivity and strategic decision-making.
  6. Should aviation businesses prefer SaaS solutions for their software needs? SaaS solutions offer scalability, easy access, and lower infrastructure costs, making them suitable for aviation companies looking to adapt to modern operational needs without significant IT expenditures.
  7. How does the choice of software impact operational efficiency in aviation? The right software solution enhances operational efficiency by streamlining processes, reducing manual tasks, and providing accurate data for decision-making. It also minimizes downtime and enhances customer service, enabling businesses to stay competitive.
  8. Is user experience (UX/UI) important when selecting software for aviation businesses? Absolutely, software with a user-friendly interface reduces the learning curve, boosts productivity, and minimizes errors. A good UX/UI design is crucial for efficient task execution and user acceptance in the fast-paced aviation industry.
  9. Can ERP and MRO software integrate with CRM solutions? Yes, an ERP and MRO software solution such as Vista-Suite Enterprise offers integration with CRM systems. This allows for seamless data exchange and a unified approach to managing business operations and customer relationships, optimizing overall performance.