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What software does your manufacturing business need?

Manufacturing software can deliver significant value across your operations, from production planning to workforce management, inventory, efficiencies and resource allocation. By integrating processes and providing real-time operational visibility, it can also play a role in increasing control and productivity while minimising risk.

But with so many products out there, how do you evaluate your options to make the best investment? Here is our guide to getting it right.

Understanding where the software should deliver value

Today, businesses of all sizes, from OEMs to SMEs and small-scale start-ups, use manufacturing software as it is as vital to success as machinery and heavy equipment. Your software can deliver value by:

  • Accelerating production through simplifying allocation planning, workforce preparation, time management and production routing.
  • Cutting down unplanned downtime through real-time reporting that allows you to identify and respond to emerging issues early to prevent serious consequences, such as damage to your machinery.
  • Reducing bottlenecks by identifying them early on to determine which processes are profitable and which aren’t.
  • Helping manage global production through cloud-based software that gives manufacturers complete visibility and control across multiple sites anywhere in the world.
  • Optimising operations through production planning tools that reduce the potential for waste, whether in inventory management, machinery maintenance, labour or rejected products.

The manufacturing software solution your business chooses must be reliable and meet all your needs. It must also integrate production with other organisational functions, such as accounting, and integrate with external partners, like suppliers, customers or third-party logistics.

Determining whether the software is a suitable investment for you

Here are some questions to ask yourself when evaluating potential software solutions.

Does it ease the production planning process?

You will want your manufacturing software to help you plan out production as simply and efficiently as possible. For instance, it should be easy to schedule orders and update them by dragging and dropping them into an interactive calendar or a Gantt chart.

Will it help you manage inventory?

Effective inventory management is critical for all manufacturing businesses, so any solution you consider should give you accurate and real-time data to achieve it.

Can it help you control and keep track of orders?

The right software should be intuitive and help you keep track of production schedules and work orders by production line or work centre.

Can it help you manage maintenance resources?

Some software providers also include a maintenance module that can be helpful to manage maintenance resources.

What impact will it have on customer service?

In today’s landscape, a focus on the customer is critical at all points of your supply chain. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help you put the customer at the centre of your operations, from initial contact and pricing and quotes, through to production, delivery and billing.

The right CRM should enable you to optimise lead times, from faster tracking of your products to speeding up the billing process, activating customer orders and redirecting orders to your planning or production team. And you should also be able to track your sales, from the moment you quote to product delivery and invoicing through to payment.

Other factors to consider

Your manufacturing software should offer a host of functionalities and allow you to tailor the solution to your specific environment, needs and challenges. In addition, the right software should integrate with the tools you already use, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Other areas your software should be able to help you include:

  • Managing materials purchase
  • Managing suppliers
  • Controlling costs and accounting
  • Supply chain visibility

While this list is not exhaustive, we hope it’s given you food for thought when considering your software needs.

Get expert advice

Your manufacturing software is a critical part of your business, and you must make the right investment from the outset. The wrong software can prove more costly than just the initial outlay, as it can have long-term implications for your business performance. Explic8 has been helping manufacturing businesses make the right software investments for decades. If you’re considering your software needs, get in touch with the experts first.