In order to run a successful manufacturing business, you need the proper tech tools in place. Software can help you to manage all parts of the supply chain, from materials and inventory to job tracking, without having to create manual processes for everything. However, there are so many different choices for software available, so it can be difficult for some manufacturers to even know where to start.
Dan Taylor, content analyst at business software review and research platform Capterra offered some tips in an email to Small Business Trends, “It’s got to have good financial and inventory management tools. It needs to allow the user to do material requirements planning (MRP) to manage the manufacturing process. It should have a safety management feature. All of these features together provide a holistic manufacturing management solution.”
Manufacturing Software Options
While different manufacturers are likely to have different needs in terms of software, here are a few popular options to help you in your search.
E2 Manufacturing System
The first program that Taylor recommends is E2 Manufacturing System. From Shoptech Software, this tool includes a full array of management features, from order and inventory processing to job tracking and shipping. The company offers a list on its website of the specific types of manufacturing shops that can most benefit from its software, including assembly shops, mold shops and wood shops. You can also request a demo to see if it would be a good fit for your business.
From the well-known German enterprise SAP, this manufacturing suite includes cloud-based and on-premises enterprise resource planning solutions. There’s one that’s made specifically for small businesses, one for medium sized businesses and an enterprise version. The small business solution offers functions for managing supply chains, purchasing and even accounting.
JobBOSS is another software that Taylor says is especially popular with manufacturers. It’s a customizable solution. So you can pick and choose the functions that you want included, from the basics like quote processing, inventory control and shipping to optional add-ons like quality control and payroll. The company also offers both cloud and on-premises options and a free demo.
NetSuite Manufacturing Edition
NetSuite Manufacturing Edition includes an integrated platform that includes options for managing inventory, warehouse, finances, orders and customer relationships. A cloud and web based solution, NetSuite helps you manage all of these various functions in real time.
The manufacturing software from TrueERP comes with a wide selection of different modules, including marketing, job costing, training, servicing, shipping and more. You can create your own processes and resources and take advantage of real-time reporting and payments to manage almost every aspect of your business.
An inventory management and automation tool made specifically for small manufacturers, Fishbowl Manufacturing lets you easily manage inventory and materials. It also offers integrations with many popular business tools, including QuickBooks and Xero.
Priority’s manufacturing software solution offers a comprehensive ERP tool for production management and control. The module is made to support the entire supply chain, from materials to shipping. And it’s made specifically for small and medium sized businesses.
Global Shop Solutions
Global Shop Solutions actually offers a number of different software programs and tools specifically for manufacturers that you can manage from one central dashboard. You can use it for managing inventory, job costing, shop floor display, project management and even your website.
Specifically for machine shop manufacturing businesses, Realtrac offers solutions for shop management, scheduling, purchasing and inventory, accounting and more. It also boasts a relatively low cost of implementation, though the exact cost varies depending on your company and the solutions you need.
xTuple Manufacturing Edition
xTuple is actually an open source platform for ERP and CRM. The company’s manufacturing option offers modules for products, inventory, orders, scheduling, sales, CRM, purchasing and accounting. Prices are calculated by which licensing options are needed, depending on the type of modules you need and the number of users you need to access the software.
While these are some of the most popular software solutions on the market that can be helpful especially for small manufacturers, Taylor stresses that there is no single solution that’s right for everyone. You have to be willing to try out different options to find the best features and capabilities that work for your specific business, either through a trial period or at least a demo.
He says, “You never know if software is right for you until you’ve tried it. Fortunately, most software developers have a free trial option.”