What To Look For When Searching For Software for Your Manufacturing Business

You run your manufacturing business and you need to have software that is reliable and meets all your manufacturing needs. Regardless the size of your business or the industry type, the manufacturing software takes your company to the next level.

Let’s take a look at the concept of manufacturing software and then let’s explore aspects to consider when searching for the right software. 

What Is Manufacturing Software?

Manufacturing software is a software solution that enables you to manage manufacturing processes. Manufacturing processes involves production planning, inventory tracking, workforce management, and general resource allocation.

Your manufacturing software needs to integrate production functions with other functions, like accounting. This also implies the possibility of integrating with external partners, such as suppliers, customers or 3PL (third-party logistics). 

The use of manufacturing software is not just for large multinational companies. Today it is accessible to startups and also small manufacturing businesses. 

Tips For Choosing The Right Manufacturing Software

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right manufacturing software for your business.

  1. Production Planning
  2. Manage your inventories
  3. Manage the Shop Floor on a daily basis
  4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 
  5. Manage material purchases 
  6. Control costs and accounting
  7. Integrate your software with other software
  8. More key points to consider

Let’s take a look at the tips in more detail to help you to make your investment more effective.

 

1. Production Planning

 

You need to plan production simply and effectively. You need to schedule and reschedule orders easily by dragging and dropping orders on the calendar or the Gantt chart.
Make sure the Planning is built on a solid production plan and master planning schedule (MPS). Check that the Production Planning module let’s you manage all your SKU per work center and machines to meet the promised lead times.

 

2. Manage Your Inventories

 

If you have a manufacturing business, you must manage the inventory.

You need to manage accurate and real-time data. You need to know the amount of raw material, semi-finished and finished product in your inventory. You also need to track the WIP in your plant.

Check also that you can create bill of materials (BOM) with parameters and explode and offset your MRP in an easy way. It is important to track the movement of materials within the business, follow up on production batches or SKUs. On the other hand, your software needs to help you optimize inventory levels and avoid a lack or excess of stocks. 

Here is a detailed article about inventory management

 

3. Manage The Shop Floor On A Daily Basis

 

Your production team needs to manage your workshop on a daily basis. Track production schedules and progress of work orders. 

Ensure that you can manage your operations and break down work orders, according to your production line or work centers. Manage your resources, the use of inventory and the workforce in the workshop. Some software providers include maintenance modules, where you can manage your maintenance resources.

 

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

 

Quote your customers or potential customers with fast response. Manufacturing software should allow you to suggest a price for each product, based on product cost information.You also need to optimize your lead times. This is not only tracking faster your products, but also:

– Improves billing process speed

– Activate customer orders

– Redirect orders to your planning or production team.

Finally, you should be able to track your sales throughout the entire process. This is from the time you quoted to the delivery, billing and payment of the product. Manage adequately the return merchandise and use barcode systems to be able to print and scan your barcodes.

5. Manage Material Purchases

 

Manufacturing software needs to cover a purchasing module as well. You will be able to manage your purchase orders backed by the Master Production Schedule. With this you will avoid purchases in excess or in defect, in addition to making them on time.

Check also that you can manage your supplier list, quotes, lot sizes and prices. This allows you to test the performance of your suppliers.

Your buyers will be able to carry out the purchasing functions, without having to request more information to the warehouse clerk.

6. Control Costs And Accounting

 

 

You need to monitor your accounting and manufacturing costs at any time. Make sure you can manage your products and inventory costs, cash flows, balance sheets and profit and loss chart in real time.

Manufacturing software must record accounting transactions. For example, if you finish producing a batch and move it to the warehouse, the system must accompany that transaction.

Check if you can get quotes automatically, based on updated material cost information. You should also be able to track sales payments using integrated software. This will avoid the waste of time for your administrators and will improve the traceability of customer payments.

7. Integrate Your Software With Other Software

 

 

Leave the separate compartments behind and move to an integrated manufacturing business model. The software is capable of integrating the internal functions of your business, as well as with external partners. 

Make sure your manufacturing software provides accurate and real-time data to your team members. Your manufacturing software should be able to be integrated with suppliers, clients and 3PL in real-time.  This provides visibility in the supply chain.

Integrate your manufacturing business with specialized software:

  • Accounting software, such as QuickBooks or Xero
  • ecommerce store, such as Woo Commerce or Magento
  • Specialized CRM, such as Pipedrive.

8. More Key Points To Consider

 

Besides the need to cover the manufacturing processes, there are additional features to be considered. Let’s see them below.

Your Business Profile

Consider the particular case of your company. Is it located in one country or does it operate globally? If this is the case, make sure your software is multilingual and can operate at different locations around the world. It is also essential that the software offer or include a multi-currency platform.

Finally, you should consider the scalability of your business. Consider that the number of users, products and regions to cover may expand in the future.

Where Do You Want To Have Your Software Installed?

Today you have the opportunity to install your manufacturing software locally or in the cloud. 

Some companies prefer to use their own servers, also called on-premise or locally. In this case, you will need a physical site to have specific servers in addition to the maintenance personnel. It is ideal when infrastructure and resources manage their own data. 

Cloud services may involve reductions in computing costs. This is because you do not need to invest in infrastructure, nor provide a physical server.

Do You Need A License Or A Subscription?

If you choose a license model, you will pay an up-front cost and you will own the software perpetually. However, it does not always include system updates, maintenance, or customer support. 

Subscription software, typically provided throught SaaS (Software as a Service), is the other alternative. The subscription model includes storage and infrastructure, with a monthly payment. Version updates also are included when you use this type of model.

How Easy Is To Install And Use The Software? 

Make sure the software is easy to install and use.

The software must be intuitive and easy to navigate, besides the device you are using. 

Besides to the quality of all the functions mentioned above, ensure customer support. Self-service software enables the end user to find answers without requiring the assistance of a live customer service representative. This is a fact that simplifies both customers and customer support services.

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