Last updated: Apr 25, 2018
TOP 10 Manufacturing Products
A Buyer's Guide to Manufacturing SolutionsManufacturing Software Buyer’s Guide
Manufacturing ERP, Manufacturing Software and Manufacture Execution System are all but a suite of comprehensive technology tools designed to improve the end-to-end processes in the manufacturing of a product. The manufacturing industry is perhaps one of the oldest in the history of humanity’s quest for industrialization. If it’s about automotive manufacturing, we’ve learned a lot of process disciplines from Henry Ford. In today’s modern manufacturing, high-level standards and best practices being introduced by semiconductor and electronics manufacturing companies from across the globe are shaping a great culture in the manufacturing business. Be it on food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, household wares, clothing, garments, test equipments, or consumer electronics, various disciplines in manufacturing enables us to get the best quality products since the early days until today.
Small businesses, large enterprises and even start-ups in the field of manufacturing are all tasked with one common goal – manufacture a product that will satisfy the demand of customers. Doing this is not an easy job. Managers, supervisors, technicians, operators, and support groups in charge of production operation must collaborate in order to fulfil the customers’ requirements for quality, affordability, and quantity. In today’s manufacturing environment, where there is more trade-offs between supply and demand, a software solution can be the key in solving the issues and challenges most manufacturers are facing. In this Buyer’s Guide, we from ITQlick.com would present to you a clear definition of manufacturing software solution, the types, the features, and more importantly, the right processes in acquiring this software technology. Whatever line of manufacturing business you are into, we can guarantee that upon reading this software solution buyer’s guide, you will come to realize that investing on this software solution is nevertheless a winning solution for your business.
Depending on purpose, manufacturing software solutions can be categorized into these different types: application, kind of business, business size and technology.
According to application, the categories are:
- Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
- Manufacturing Execution System (MES)
- Manufacturing Accounting
- Production Planning and Scheduling
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
There is a software solution suitable to these kinds of business:
- Light Assembly
- Discrete Manufacturing
- Made-to-Order Manufacturing
- Process Manufacturing
- Job-shop Manufacturing
- Mixed Mode Manufacturing
The types of software products based on existing technologies can be differentiated as:
- Cloud-based or Software-as-a-Service
- On-premise or On-site
Base on the size of business, the relevant types of software solutions are:
- Integrated Suite (ideal for MNEs)
- Industry-specific (ideal for SMEs)
It is important to note that software solutions based on technology can be mixed and matched with solutions available by business size. Other factors such as budget on hand, ROI and TCO considerations, functional requirements, and requirements for certain features and specifications can all affect your decision in selecting the right software solution for your business.
When choosing a manufacturing software solution, a blend of features and benefits will come into your way. Your goal then is to analyze each of them and come up with a well-rounded list of features that must be completely visible in your system as you use it in the long run. Have a look on this list of features and identify which ones are really necessary to be included in your manufacturing software solution.
- Engineering and Material Design Planning Capability
- Demand and Forecasting Planning Capability
- Purchasing Function
- Quality Control Function
- Inventory Management Function
- Cost Management Capability
- Overall Usability
- Configuration/Customization Flexibility
- Production Workflow and Functionality
- System Integration Capability
Again, keeping in mind that feature is one of the factors that can affect your decision-making, it is highly recommended that you conduct your own research of these features as in-depth as possible. By doing that move, there could be no other reasons on why you will not be able to fully bring these benefits into your manufacturing atmosphere.
- Optimization of you resources – raw materials, manpower, power that runs your machineries, office supplies, budget, etc.
- Increase on your production output, better production efficiency
- Avoidance of delays, downtimes, interruptions, and other untoward incidents that can jeopardize operation
- Reduce PPM (parts per million) defects and eliminate product discrepancies
- Increase the overall productivity while reducing cost of inventory and overhead expenditures
Solutions per Business Size, per Vendor
Being in the manufacturing business can already be considered as a huge success on your part as a business owner or executive running its operation. Whether you’re still small with only a few machines, tables, and people or already a corporation hitting the top spots in the stock market, your effort in bringing your company on this industry is already commendable. Such attitude you exerted in establishing your business is the same attitude needed in selecting and implementing the right manufacturing software solution to your business. And to further enhance your knowledge in selecting the right solution, here are the important points we from ITQlick.com would like you read on more.
- If you’re looking for one-size-fits all solution, the integrated suite offered by Oracle, SAP, Sage ERP, Epicor and NetSuite is the right solution for your mid-size to large company.
- If you’re management team is suggesting for an industry-specific software product, then go for the best-of-breed, single application solution offered by Exact Job, Fishbowl and Casco all of which are suited for SME manufacturers.
- You can be a unique manufacturing business and you need a custom-made solution. ProcessPro, NetSuite and Sage ERP can be your solution provider in that respect.
Here’s a few more solution providers for you to verify.
Providers for Small Businesses
- Pilot ERP
- Smarter Manager
- Job Master
Providers for Mid-Market
- Abas ERP
- Exact Macola
- xTuple ERP
- Plex Online
Most executives will agree that the cost of software and its implementation are critical factors for the “go” or “no go” decision. Prices published on websites can be both convincing and deceiving and that’s the truth in almost all kinds of business. And when it comes to software business, you need to be very inquisitive in the money aspect of your solution. We from ITQlick.com would like you to go over these necessary steps when assessing the overall cost of your solution.
- Don’t hesitate to send a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the solution providers. The price you’re seeing on websites and reports could be the list price (not the actual price) or estimated price. So be proactive and find that true price.
- Don’t spend too much time on industry reports. Yes, they can help but doing your own research and survey can bring you into a more reliable price benchmarking report.
- Search and ask for practical advice no matter how cheap or expensive that solution might be. Ask the experts. Visit websites of consultants with proven track records in business software solutions.
Here’s a reference guide for Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) where you can base your actions for steps 1 to 3 above.
- TCO for mid-market, Integrated Suite, manufacturing software solution can range from $3,000 to $6,000 per user.
- TCO for small business Integrated Suite solution ranges from $400 to $1,000 per user.
With the improving features and levels of functionality brought about by manufacturing software products, the trends in manufacturing automation keeps on increasing in the last couple of years. Manufacturing businesses feels the need for a software solution that could help them stand out against their competitors.
Productivity wise, according to reports, computer-based systems are somehow decreasing the demand for laborforces inside manufacturing plants in the past several years. But despite of lesser manpower, these automation systems were seen to increased labor productivity.
The use of advanced electronic systems like barcoding devices and tracking products plays important roles in the accuracy of information being sent out by manufacturing software solutions.
Cloud-based solution, despite large industries are still hesitant on implementing this solution over the on-premise type, is beginning to build its presence in the market place. Mobile devices, on the other hand, keep on doing their role inside and outside the manufacturing premise.
Considering all these trends and their impacts to your manufacturing business, we think that today is the right time for you to launch your investment on a manufacturing software solution.
ITQlick chart - 2018 best Manufacturing Software
Finding the right Manufacturing software for your business
Proper Manufacturing software selections are the precursor to successful deployment and business growth. Finding the right Manufacturing solutions doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to take days or weeks of your time.
After researching over 2,000 systems, we can identify the best solution for companies of all shapes and sizes. ITQlick.com is 100% free for software buyers.
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25 MUST Ask Questions Before Buying Manufacturing Software
The prime purpose behind investing in the software solution is to boost efficiency and growth. Ask the software vendor (Shoptech) how their business app would improve efficiency of your enterprise.
E2 Shop System has tremendous exposure to different companies. They offer the same type of software to different industries, so they are better aware of who is doing what with their technological product. This also helps them understand and foresee whatâ€™s really working. Allow them to share their observations so that you get an ideas about their experience, expertise, and intelligence. This will also be an opportunity to identify the service providers who come up with the most insightful suggestions.
Perhaps your business is growing, will expand in the future and your Manufacturing requirements with it. So you would be interested to know if E2 Shop System is scalable and can grow with you. Itâ€™s no use investing in a solution that can be scaled.
Each business has different needs. Yours is no different. When it comes to selecting a software solution, you are looking for a tool that can be easily customized and configured to cater to your specific business needs. So you want to understand if E2 Shop System you want to buy is easy to customize.
Such a community forum is the best way to engage users. Getting access to E2 Shop System forums can help new or proposed users connect with product experts through peer-to-peer discussions.
E2 Shop System should answer how their business software will improve your bottom line and ROI.Most service providers make tall claims, so you want to make sure you get your hands on the best solution.
Before choosing a business app, you want to understand that the implementation would be smooth. So you should be interested to find out about the person responsible for handling the implementation process. Do not hesitate to ask E2 Shop System about their qualifications.
A good software vendor should be able to show you a positive track record with their implementation strategy.Try to find out if E2 Shop System method is structured. Your purpose should be to look for one that is structured and flexible to adapt to unexpected situations.
The software vendor should give you a structured data conversion methodology that will enable smooth migration of your information to the new system.
A growing business is always in need for expansion and integration with thrid-party apps is a part of the growth model. When it comes to choosing software, make sure the business app provides an application programming interface for easy integration.
Ask the software product vendor if the tool will allow you to export data to an external file or import data from external sources.
Ask the software vendor (Shoptech) if the software package includes consulting hours. Do not hesitate to ask if there are any hidden charges involved.
You do not want to be caught unawares when a software vendor sends a technician to resolve an issue that may crop up due to varied reasons. You want to make sure the charges are reasonable. Better still, you should be aware of what needs to be paid to the technician sent by the vendor to fix a problem.
You do not want to fall in love with the front end unless you are 100% sure that the software is compatible with your existing system. Ask the software vendor is you need any specific hardware to install the software. Will the business application run on your existing workstations. How much space will the software take on the disk drive? Is there a need for RAM upgrade to successfully run the software for optimum performance?
You should enquire about the cost of having more than one terminal in your store. While some software vendors charge on the basis of the number of store locations, others charge per terminal.
When you are looking for a software solution, make sure you know if the vendor charges any fee to get you started. You should also be interested to know if there are any software maintenance charges for you to pay.
Your business is accountable to customers, regulators, employees, and partners. So you should look for one software vendor who has adopted a comprehensive, technically sound security and compliance program. Does the vendor map your needs for security controls?
Data loss can prove extremely risky for any business. So you should always ask the vendor about their backup policy. How often is data backed up and what is the cost for the same?
What is the software vendor's policy on disaster recovery? Are any charges involved for disaster recovery support if a catastrophic hardware failure affects your system?
How easy is the software to work on? Is it user friendly for your end users? Does it involve any complexities that are difficult to understand for the team? Even a feature-rich solution is of no use if end users find it difficult to use.
Shoptech should clearly mention whether the solution is complex or simple to use. If it is not an easy-to-use software solution, then do they provide training? What is the level of training your team requires to make the most of the solution?
You will be interested to know about the software updates. When is it updated? Does the service provider notify customers when the upgrades are scheduled? Does the software work when the upgrades are under way? How long does the process take?
You should be interested to enquire about how an issue is handled at the side of the software vendor. Do not hesitate to question about who will respond to your emergency calls. What is their experience in software industry?
If the software vendor is widely popular, chances are that they have a good product. So always check their client base to measure their product's competence in the market.
Testing is crucial to ensuring that the software runs as promised. So you should try to find out if the vendor offers any free trial runs or try before you buy the product. By testing the concept first, it gets easier to understand the software product's functionality and allay fears before signing a contract.