Manufacturing software provides functionality to plan and execute projects from beginning to end, while automating materials planning, production tracking and scheduling and product lifecycle management.
Benefits of Manufacturing Software
Manufacturing software provides your business with several tangible benefits, including the following:
- Widens supply chain visibility. Manufacturing software (or an Enterprise Resource Planning system for manufacturing) can be integrated with other systems for a holistic view to make adjustments based on events throughout the supply chain.
- Stronger production planning. Production processes can be optimized when manufacturers analyse data and identify actual costs and time needed to complete specific steps in the process.
- Improved compliance management. Manufacturing software keeps a record of activities in the system, including materials used, maintenance tasks and safety measures, which helps you prove compliance during audits.
Competitive Advantages of Using Manufacturing Software
Our digital world requires that businesses adopt a sufficient level of technology just to remain competitive. Manufacturing software designed for your specific type of production helps your company:
- Scale your business. If you only have 100 contacts to deal with, then you might be able to keep all of their information straight using a simple Excel spreadsheet, or even pen and paper. Larger companies, however, deal with thousands or potentially millions of contacts and customers, which require CRM software in order to keep that information well-organized and accessible.
- Operate more efficiently. When everyone in your company has access to your customer and contact data, you can deal with those customers more efficiently and avoid the dangers of over or under-contacting them. You can also track those interactions and analyse that data for more efficient resource planning.
- Protect valuable intellectual property. A manufacturer’s most valuable asset is usually their method of production, not the product itself. Software helps preserve and protect these trade secrets when combined with proper security tools.
Business Segments Using Manufacturing Software
Manufacturing software is used by many businesses, across a variety of production types. Each company has its own needs, but you’ll likely fall into one of the following segments:
- Industrial machinery. These types of manufacturers produce a wide variety of equipment or materials used for machinery or infrastructure, typically for other companies or organizations.
- Food and beverage. Producers of food and beverages have stricter regulations and guidelines to follow to ensure product quality, and more importantly, safety and compliance.
- Electronics. Electronic device production usually involves partnering with a number of third-parties to perform certain processes or supply parts and materials produced elsewhere. Managing these relationships is crucial to this segment.
A List of Common Manufacturing Features
When comparing manufacturing software, it’s important to understand the functionality included in each. The most common functions of these systems are listed in the table below:
Material requirements planning (MRP)
Automates the front end of the production process. Functions include planning and costing of materials, labour and equipment; automated quoting; order processing and resource scheduling. Systems should also process advanced shipping notification from suppliers to reduce receiving errors and report any changes in cycle counts for inventory management.
Manufacturing execution system (MES)
Controls the actual production phase and shop floor operations. Functions include work-in-progress reporting, production tracking, labour tracking, equipment utilization and scrap reporting.
Manages all of the financial transactions and operations for a company. In addition to the traditional accounting functions, which include general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory and payroll, the ngo accounting software application offers support for sales orders, purchase orders, change orders, work-in-progress reports and job costing modules.
Production planning & scheduling
Creates production schedules, which includes reviewing inventory levels, tracking lead times and making build-versus-buy decisions. This is a subset of MRP; planning and scheduling does not generally include automatic ordering or inventory tracking functionality.
Product life cycle management (PLM) Organizes all manufacturing information around the designing, producing, supporting and disposing of manufactured goods. May include computer-aided design ERP software, bill of materials data and document management.
Feature Details and Examples
Material requirements planning (MRP): An MRP functions to ensure the various factors that make up the final process and product come together, which involves a bill of materials, labour and equipment costs, reordering for inventory, scheduling production tasks for machines and generating quotes. An MRP is fundamentally used to manage all of the events that drive production efficiency.
Manufacturing execution system (MES): A manufacturing execution system is specifically designed to help companies optimize their production efficiency and quality. An MES takes and executes the production plan created in the MRP, which includes the bill of materials, schedules for production machines, inventory requirements and more. The system also tracks machine use so scheduling can be maximized.
Manufacturing accounting: This functionality manages all the financial records of the company, focusing on the costs and revenue from production. Some items are specific to the manufacturing process—such as sales orders, purchase orders, change orders, work-in-progress reports and job costing modules. When integrated with an job card software or standalone accounting software, this gives you a valuable view into the financial impact of production.
Production planning and scheduling: This feature works to help companies make more analytics-driven decisions about dividing up work, based on available capacity instead of just total capacity. This way, managers can prioritize jobs that are more critical to the business and shift others around intelligently. This functionality is particularly useful for make-to-order or highly complex manufacturing processes.
Manufacturing Software Buyers’ Top Requested Features
hvac service software buyers typically ask for a few key features most often—ones like MRP and MES, which are manufacturing-specific. Accounting, quality management and supply chain-related functionality are requested to compliment the core systems.
How Manufacturing Software Is Priced and Hosted
Due to the specificity of needs and requirements for which manufacturing software is developed, companies can almost always find a system that fits their budget and deployment model. However, manufacturing vendors don’t publish full pricing details on their websites and instead ask you to call for a price quote based on your company’s needs.
Pricing models run the gamut, from subscription-based models paid monthly to one-time, upfront payments. While cloud-based ehs software is a popular choice for most industries today, the traditional on-premise deployment—where the vendor installs the system on your hardware—can offer greater control over the data produced on your shop floor.