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Why do Manufacturers Invest in Business Management Software?

With many manufacturing shops heading over seas in favor of lower cost, it is tough to compete in today's marketplace. As a result, the goal for manufactures who want to compete going forward is to run leaner, faster and more accurately.

The manufacturing industry is heading toward a technology revolution. Many of the leading software vendors have created vertical solutions developed specifically for manufacturers. These vertical solutions help automate the entire process from the shop floor to accounting and beyond.

Top 5 Reasons:

1.Inventory tracking and control: Naturally, manufacturing companies deal with a ton of accounting work. Manufacturers have to deal with inventory which includes raw materials, work in progress and finished goods. Tracking these processes without automation makes this a pretty time consuming effort. Fortunately, business management software automates this whole process by tying all of the different functions together.

2.Running Multiple Systems: Many smaller operations have multiple systems running including a small accounting solution like Peachtree or Intuit, and they do some inventory control with these systems, however most everything else is tracked using databases such as Microsoft Access and Excel. A solid business management solution allows you to complete the same work and even more with just one single entry.

3.Cut Operational Cost: Seeing exactly where your money is going is one of the best steps to cutting costs. Most business management solutions for manufactures can provide complete, graphical, up-to-the-minute information of exactly what is working and what isn't with your business before it is too late to make adjustments. Having complete visibility of your key performance indicators on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis is paramount in making educated decisions.

4.Job Costing: You're business is only as strong as your weakest link. Job costing systems help to identify which manufactured items are generating the most profit and which items are costing you money. With a manufacturing vertical you will be able to identify production bottlenecks, and respond in real time to last minute engineering changes and high priority orders.

5.Improve on-time delivery: Business management software solutions integrate detailed shop floor and material reporting that visually shows where problems in your supply chain and on your shop floor may be approaching. With plenty of time to correct these issues before they cause a delivery problem, manufacturers are sure to improve delivery times. In addition, specific data as to when materials can realistically be shipped are available during the sales order process to ensure that feasible dates are given at the time the order is placed, so that you are not chasing an unrealistic timeframe.

It is no wonder the leading factor for manufacturers who are investing into business managements solutions seems to be inventory related. Manufacturers are realizing that it just doesn't make sense to enter the same data into three or four different systems.

That is why many of the leading business management software vendors have focused on automating this entire process. Most of the available solutions take a modular based approach, meaning that their solutions have completely integrated modules that are designed for different types of manufacturing.

Many of the solutions don't stop there. Typically they tie in all of your business functions including human resource, ecommerce, distribution and customer relationship management.

The most popular solutions in the market for small to mid sized manufactures are developed by Best Software (Formerly Sage Software) and Microsoft Business Solutions. Each company has a whole suite of solutions that have been developed specifically with manufactures in mind.

With so many options on the market for manufacturing specific solutions, the possibilities seem endless, so when making a decision on which vendor or service provider to use, make sure you really do your homework and dig down as far as possible to make sure that you are making the right choice.

Scott Davis is a specialist in Manufacturing Software and works for Software Link

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