Manufacturing Applications: Ratings and Reviews

What Should You Look For In A Manufacturing Application?

There is no end to the number of options available to you when it comes to manufacturing software. What should you pay attention to when trying to find the best option?

Manufacturing is a complex, evolving and often unforgiving industry. It presents a number of difficult challenges:

  • Complicated supply chains
  • Rising costs of labor
  • Local and offshore competition
  • Multi-faceted inventory management considerations with both raw materials and finished goods.
  • Accessibility

That’s just to name a few.

It’s these challenges that manufacturing applications aim to help you deal with. Unfortunately, equipping your firm with the best software available isn’t just a matter of picking one at random.

Some are better than others, but how can you tell them apart? We find that many firms like yours in the San Francisco Bay Area have a combination of up-to-date software programs running side by side with core legacy programs. This can lead to big and costly issues when data is inconsistent, and decisions are being made based on the wrong data.

How Should You Select The Right Manufacturing Application?

The reality is that given how large and important the manufacturing industry is, the need for constantly improving technology is also considerable, and there’s no end to the number of options available to you.

With so many vendors vying for your business, how can you narrow down the options and choose the best one for you?

What Features Should You Look For In Manufacturing Software?

Worthwhile manufacturing software will…

1. Assist With Inventory Management.
Let’s face it; this is often the primary concern for those operating in the manufacturing industry, right?

If you’re going to invest in software, it should have features including:

  •  Barcoding
  • Asset management
  • Forecasting
  • Raw materials scheduling and management
  • Cycle counting
  • Customized reporting

If you can’t manage your inventory with the application you choose, then you’re just going to have to find another, right? That’s why you should ensure it has inventory management capabilities. And you must understand how the implementation will impact your business before you make any decisions.

2. Be Accessible.
This is easy to overlook, but it’s crucial that you choose software with a user-friendly interface. If you and your staff are going to rely on it for daily, frequent tasks, then choosing software that’s easy to learn and use can make a huge difference. Especially given the unique demands/environments, it may be used within.

Before making your selection, give the trial version a test run, view the training materials that you would have to rely on and understand how information will be accessed.

3. Integrate With Your Systems.
It may sound like a basic consideration, but you would be surprised by how frustrating it can be to try to integrate an incompatible application.

Whether you’re running on MAC OS, Linux, or any form of Windows (XP, 7, 8, 10, 2000), you need to make sure the software you choose will work with it. Also, understand the additional needs the software will place on your existing infrastructure such as the network (especially the wireless network) and your internet connection.

In a nutshell, the right manufacturing software will make what you already do, easier; simple as that. But, does that sound too good to be true? The good news is that it isn’t.

How Do The Industry-Leading Manufacturing Applications Stack Up?

Fishbowl Manufacturing Software
This application offers business automation and inventory management capabilities, along with built-in integration with QuickBooks for material requirements planning (MRP) and job shop floor control/manufacturing execution.

Fishbowl Manufacturing Software supports the following operating systems:

  • Windows 7 (Support from Microsoft will end January 2020.)
  • Windows Vista (Support from Microsoft has ended and should be removed from use for security and compliance reasons.)
  • Windows XP (Support from Microsoft has ended and should be removed from use for security and compliance reasons.)
  • Mac OS
  • Linux
  • Windows 2000 (Support from Microsoft has ended and should be removed from use for security and compliance reasons.)
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10

Fishbowl Manufacturing Software also provides training and support via online tutorials, in-house support, and training videos. Despite this, many reviews suggest that it can be very difficult to use if you lack extensive technical skills.

NetSuite Manufacturing Edition
In addition to the standard inventory management capability, NetSuite Manufacturing Edition also provides manufacturing firms with accounting and financial management, order management, customer relationship management, and an e-commerce platform.

NetSuite Manufacturing Edition is a cloud-based application that’s compatible with just about any operating system/browser combination including Mac OS, which means it’s easily accessed no matter what platform you use. Ongoing Integration with existing systems can be a challenge, but since NetSuite Manufacturing Edition is a fully integrated solution, this tends only to be an issue during the implementation. Also, since it’s a cloud-based solution, special attention must be paid to the infrastructure.

While NetSuite Manufacturing Edition only provides standard training materials, reviews suggest that it is very user-friendly and modern in its interface, although customization can be time-consuming. Furthermore, given the browser delivery method, it’s less expensive upfront and is very easy to implement.

E2 Shop System Software
This solution, designed with job shops/contract/make-to-order shops in mind, provides scheduling, purchasing, shipping, accounting, and customer management features. Users can easily generate quotes (incorporating costs for labor, overhead, materials and more), as well as generate shipping labels and packing slips with ease.

Most of today’s E2 Shop System Software implementations are cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions; so many of the dependencies have been eliminated, and the capital outlay has been reduced. It will place additional demands on your existing infrastructure such as the network (especially the wireless network) and your internet connection. Also, as with any SaaS application, security is always a primary concern.

The legacy E2 Shop System Software application supports the following systems:

  • Windows 7 (Support from Microsoft will end January 2020.)
  • Windows Vista (Support from Microsoft has ended and should be removed from use for security and compliance reasons.)
  • Windows XP (Support from Microsoft has ended and should be removed from use for security and compliance reasons.)
  • Mac OS
  • Linux
  • Windows 2000 (Support from Microsoft has ended and should be removed from use for security and compliance reasons.)
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10

While easy to learn and use according to reviews, E2 Shop System Software has an outdated interface that will likely not scale for enterprise-level needs.

Like this article? Check out How to Use the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to Get Access From Anywhere, or What Is Small Business Saturday? (November 24th, 2018) to learn even more.

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