Calling All ETO, MTO, and CTO Manufacturers 

Sitting in meetings and hearing different kinds of descriptions for manufacturing companies provided by different people in different roles within our organization sparked me to ask a question that inadvertently started a debate. My question is, how do manufacturing companies identify themselves?

If asked to describe your company in one word what would you, the manufacturing employee, choose?

Would you identify the company with the industry name/category you fall under: Aerospace & Defense, Construction Management, Electronics, Fabricated Metal, Industrial Machinery, Robotics, Semiconductor, some other…?

Or would the one word you use to describe your company be a strategy/process type: Discrete, ETO, MTO, Repetitive, etc.?

Here at Visibility, we tend to identify our customers by process type as our ERP solution caters to ETO, MTO, and CTO manufacturers. ETO, MTO, and CTO manufacturers have unique needs that our solution is able to meet with modules tailored to meet those unique needs. Wondering what all of these acronyms mean, see below for a cheat sheet on the various manufacturing process types.

Manufacturing Process Types  

Engineer to Order - ETO

Complex, non-standard (custom) products driven by customer requirements/specifications which are never built before an order is received.

Made or Make to Order - MTO

Standard products not held in inventory and are made when a committed order comes in and standard variations can be used.


Standard product made to a forecast prior to receiving orders.


Standard product where some components are held in stock but the finished product is finished only after an order comes in.

Configured to Order - CTO

The standard product is designed to order but isn’t so different from a standard that it is too complex.

Would you use something completely different; a description that isn’t an industry type or a process type? Let us know by commenting below. We'd love to hear how you identify yourself and end the debate!

Here at Visibility, we have the ERP solution to meet your unique industry and processing type needs. To learn more, please feel free to contact us. You can reach us online or at 978-269-6500. 

Topics: Manufacturing

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