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Guide to Choosing Software for Your Manufacturing Business

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

Let's take a closer look at the concept of software production and then examine the aspects that should be considered when looking for the right software.

What is Production Software?

Production software is a software solution that allows you to manage production processes. Production processes include production planning, inventory tracking, workforce management, and overall resource allocation.

Your production software must integrate production functions with other functions, such as accounting. It also means the ability to integrate with external partners such as suppliers, customers or 3PL (third party logistics).

Production software, like MRP software, is not only used by large international companies. Today, it is accessible to start-ups as well as small manufacturing companies.

Tips for Choosing the Right Production Software

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right production software for your business.
  1. Production planning
  2. Manage your inventory
  3. Manage the store floor every day
  4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  5. Manage the purchase of materials
  6. Control costs and accounting
  7. Integrate your software with other software
  8. More key considerations
Let's take a closer look at tips to help you make your investment more efficient.

1. Production Planning

Production must be planned simply and efficiently. Orders need to be easily scheduled and updated by dragging and dropping orders into the calendar or Gantt chart.

Make sure the planning is built on a solid production plan and master planning schedule (MPS). Check that the production plan module allows you to manage all your SKUs for the work center and machines to meet the permitted limit.

Here is an overview of important functions for production planning software.

2. Manage Your Inventory

If you have a manufacturing plant, you need to manage inventory.

You need to manage accurate and real-time data. You need to know the quantity of raw materials, semi-finished and finished product in your stock. You also need to monitor WIP in your company.

Also, check to see if you can create a BOM with parameters and easily explode and offset MRP. It is important to monitor the movement of materials in the company, to monitor product batches or SKUs. On the other hand, your software must help you optimize inventory levels and avoid running out of stock or overstocking.

3. Manage the Store Floor Every Day

Your production team must manage your workshop daily. Keep track of production schedules and work orders.

Make sure you can manage your operations and distribute work orders according to the production line or work centers. Manage your resources, inventory usage, and workshop workforce. 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 a quick response. Production software should allow you to recommend the price of each product based on product price information.

You also need to optimize your delivery times. This is not only faster tracking of your products, but also:

- Improves the speed of the billing process
- activate customer orders
- Redirect orders to your planning or production team.

Lastly, you should be able to track your sales throughout the process. This is from the moment you quote the delivery, invoicing and payment of the product. Manage enough returned items and use barcode systems to print and scan barcodes.

5. Manage the Purchase of Materials

The production software must also cover the purchasing module. You can manage your purchase orders supported by a production master plan. This will also prevent you from making excessive or deficient purchases in addition to making them on time.

Also, check to see if you can manage your supplier list, quotes, batch size, and prices. This allows you to test the performance of your suppliers.

Your buyers can complete purchasing functions without having to ask the warehouse worker for more information.

6. Control Costs and Accounting

You need to keep track of your accounting and production costs at all times. Make sure you can manage your products and inventory costs, cash flow, balance sheets and income statement in real time.

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

Check the cost information for the updated material to see if you're receiving quotes automatically. You should also be able to track sales payments using integrated software. This avoids wasting time on your administrators and improves the traceability of customer payments.

7. Integrate your Software with other Software

Leave separate sections and move on to the integrated production business model. The software can integrate both your company's internal functions and external partners.

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

Integrate your production plant with special software:

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

8. More Key Considerations

In addition to the need to cover production processes, other functions need to be considered. Let's look at them below.

Your Company Profile

Think about the specific case of your company. Is it located in one country or does it work worldwide? In this case, make sure your software is multilingual and works in different places around the world. It is also important that the software offer or include a multi-currency platform.

Lastly, you should consider the scale of your business. Think about the fact that the number of users, products and areas covered may increase in the future.

Where Do You Want to Install your Software?

Today you have the opportunity to install your production software on-site or in the cloud.

Some companies prefer to use their servers, also called prerequisite or local. In this case, you need a physical site with specific servers in addition to maintenance staff. This is ideal when infrastructure and resources manage your data.

Cloud services can mean reduced computing costs. This is because you do not have to invest in infrastructure or provide a physical server.

Do you Need a License or Subscription?

If you choose a license model, you pay a prepayment and you own the software permanently. However, this does not always include system updates, maintenance, or customer support.

Another alternative is subscription software, which is usually offered through SaaS (software as a service). The subscription model includes storage and infrastructure with monthly payment. Version updates are also included with this type of model.

How Easy is the Software to Install and Use?

Make sure the software is easy to install and use. In addition to the device used, the software must be intuitive and easy to navigate.

In addition to the quality of all the above features, ensure customer support. Self-service software allows the end user to find answers without requiring real-time customer service assistance. This is a fact that simplifies both customers and customer support services.