Modern manufacturers face many challenges that range from supply chain disruptions to lagging behind competitors.
One of the ways how those companies (or, in fact, all companies regardless of industry) can pick up the pieces or the pace, is through digital transformation.
Without further ado, here are five pieces of software that help modern manufacturers the most.
1. Inventory software
Inventory software helps manufacturers manage their stock levels, prevent stock-outs and overstocking, and therefore ensure that production does not stop due to flaws in inventory management.
If used correctly, a good inventory management software can help streamline production processes, free up resources that are otherwise tied up in the stockroom as excess stock, and make production more profitable.
It will also contribute to better worker efficiency thanks to the real-time and accurate information it provides.
Inventory software also helps companies dealing with perishable goods to comfortably manage expiry dates and prevent loss due to spoiling.
Good inventory software also has a procurement module along with supplier management and forecasting tools, helping manufacturers to automatically reorder materials with the best possible price when they’re running low or are predicting a stockout.
2. SCM Software
SCM or Supply Chain Management software is very much tied to the previous one, Inventory software.
But whereas inventory software deals mostly with storing the items, a Supply Chain Management software handles the movement of materials and goods.
A supply chain extends through the whole business process, beginning with raw material providers, going through the manufacturing process, and ending at the final consumer.
And in case the final consumer is not happy with the product they received, the supply chain management software will help manage the process of returning the goods, as well.
The major functionalities an SCM systems provides are order management, inventory management, shipping tracking, planning, and return management.
3. MES software
MES is short for Manufacturing Execution System. This type of software deals with managing and monitoring shop floor manufacturing processes in real-time.
It gives the floor level workers the necessary information pertaining to their personal tasks, and lets them reciprocate by putting their production data back into the system.
The materials consumed, the items made, the hours spent, and more – all this data is fed into the system and could be used to make data-driven business decisions in the future.
This also keeps company management up-to-date about the progress made regarding manufacturing orders.
Thanks to its reporting capabilities, MES software can also be used for quality management and maintenance management.
4. CRM software
CRM is an abbreviation of Customer Relationship Management. A CRM software helps businesses manage and analyze their contacts with customers and have an overview of the efficiency of their sales teams.
It brings all interactions with leads and customers together in a single product, making customer management a lot easier.
Even though CRM software like Pipedrive or Salesforce offer amazing functionalities for most businesses, manufacturers need their software to meet a certain set of unique requirements.
A conventional CRM system could help a business with managing customer data and sending out invoices.
Manufacturers, however, need a CRM that integrates into their inventory and production planning software.
This way, as soon as a customer order comes in, the system can calculate how much time production will take, and how much it will cost.
A manufacturing CRM will also help with managing and tracking orders, providing better customer support, improving product quality, and improving the company’s analytical capabilities by providing much needed behavioral data.
5. Manufacturing ERP software
A manufacturing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, otherwise known as an MRP or Manufacturing Resource Planning software, is an all-in-one solution that comprises all the aforementioned systems to allow for integrated use in one simple interface.
It brings together all data from throughout the business and can be used by all departments for all their special requirements, be it production planning, sales, procurement, warehouse management, shop floor, finance, or any other.
Apart from helping improve internal and external communications, using an MRP system has helped a lot of manufacturing companies shed the excess and become leaner, meaning that they hold less inventory, produce less waste, and save a whole lot of time.
Most modern manufacturing ERP systems are cloud-based, making them accessible from anywhere.
However, only few provide their customers with mobile apps that are indispensable when it comes to shop floor reporting.
Even though there is a plethora of software that modern manufacturers use, it would be feasible to use a single system that has the functions of them all.
This is what a manufacturing ERP system is – a comprehensive toolbox that helps manufacturers manage their whole business all at once.
Before deciding which software would be best for your company, you should do a lot of research and try out a selection of them before making the choice.