Determining Software Needs for Your Manufacturing Business

As more manufacturing processes are given over to automation and robotics – and as globalization ushers significant portion of manufacturing activities into cheaper labor markets such as those found in Asia – the manufacturing industry remains in a state of flux where the path forward can feel mighty uncertain.

With multiple software options available to manufacturers to manage evolving industry trends and demands, manufacturing ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems are a common choice as manufacturers plan for their future.

Job shop ERP systems bring all of a manufacturer’s operational data into a unified system, which ultimately helps streamline other processes over in the warehouse and up in the accounting department.

There are many considerations to keep when evaluating the best software solution for a manufacturing business. In addition to figuring out your company’s budget for a software solution, determine whether the SaaS (software-as a-service) or on-premise systems are right for you. Do a circumspect view of your organization and its mission:

  • How many disparate systems with wasteful manual workarounds exist in your manufacturing operation now?
  • What are the company’s plans for diversification and expansion in the future?
  • What is the current state of technologies in the company, including all operations software?

And since not all manufacturing is created equal:

  • How complex is the manufacturing process used in your operation?
  • Will you need a specialized set of software to help you’re your specific manufacturing operations, or will a simple software option suffice?
  • Are you currently using the best business practices for your goals, or will those need to be updated in advance of installing new software solutions?

Stay on top of recurring businesses processes like ordering supplies, paying vendors, and issuing payroll, while making it more intuitive to track inventory, generate reports, and cross reference operations data along any set of parameters.

Job shop ERP has been a part of standard manufacturing practices in the United States for decades. However, ERP is at this point a fairly old approach to manufacturing solutions. While ERP still does a tremendous job at tackling many of the challenges faced by manufacturing businesses, there are some holes in what some systems offer.

Some ERP solutions don’t address processes associated with ground-up product design, total supply chain management, and maintenance issues. As a result, manufacturers who use incomplete ERP solutions often wind up having to supplement their business software with other solutions to plug the holes in their enterprise resource planning software.

Other software options exist for manufacturers. For instance, manufacturers can turn to MES (manufacturing execution systems) and QMS (quality management systems) for some of the functions often not handled by ERP software. An MES is typically used to control very complex manufacturing processes and activities on the factory floor, while a QMS is a set of procedures and policies dedicated to achieving organizational goals and policies. How should a manufacturer choose what software solution is right for them?

Once you’re able to determine the state of your manufacturing company, the remaining priority is to consider your specific ERP requirements and how different software options may meet those needs.

Some manufacturing software platforms will fall short of your requirements, others will meet those needs while other solutions will exceed them. Exceeding those needs can be useful—particularly for a business with expansion on the horizon—but you don’t want to go overboard with functionalities you won’t use.

Your software vendor is your partner in getting what you need from this technology upgrade, so make your decision only after thoroughly vetting your vendor options. With how costly ERP, MES, and QMS can be, you should make sure you aren’t paying for more than you’ll ever realistically use. Ideally, you’ll find and select a vendor with expertise in your industry and a track record of servicing companies similar to yours.


e2b teknologies is your partner for next-generation enterprise software to help save you time by automating business processes and streamlining workflows. Today’s ERP systems boost productivity while keeping costs down resulting in a more competitive, agile, and responsive operation. Contact our team of ERP experts when you’re ready to begin your ERP software evaluation process.

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