Is manufacturing software a good choice for a company offering services?

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    Searching for shopfloor control software, you come across the Prodio website. Then, wanting to know more about our product, you select Solutions from the main website panel and try to pinpoint whether Prodio will work for your company. For example, many clients ask if manufacturing software is a suitable choice for a company offering services – would Prodio help? Sometimes they can’t find their industry listed on our website, so they doubt this is the right choice. Manufacturing software is usually associated with a large and modern factory, artificial intelligence, Industry 4.0, and mass production of similar products.

    However, a large percentage of our clients are small and medium-sized companies which provide various services. They use Prodio with even more success than typical manufacturing companies, but it is almost impossible to prepare a complete list of use cases. 

    Manufacturing and services – common denominators

    The line between what is strictly manufacturing and service is very thin because there are workers, orders to be completed on time, the processes that need time and efficiency tracking. You must know where in the production process you are. Manufacturing stages are key: each work has to go through specific steps, whether you provide service or make products. Industrial cleaning or powder painting services is a good example. There are certain manufacturing stages organised in Prodio, and work-in-progress is registered on each step, even though we don’t produce any goods, and the product is, in fact, a service.  When you look at the production schedule (work schedule) in a company offering services, there is practically no difference between the production schedule in a manufacturing company. Instead of the names of machines, there are the names of operations (ex., folding, mounting, cleaning, etc.), and that’s about it. 

    Another common denominator is the customisation of products or services — for example, the company offering bespoke, fitted furniture. On the one hand, they use ready-made elements and solutions, so their job is to complete necessary things (therefore it is more of a service provided, although nobody orders parts but ex. a fitted kitchen). But, on the other hand, some of the things are made from scratch; they need fitting, cutting, adjusting, and checking so that the said kitchen can become a product. This means work on the shop floor and on-location. The above example shows the hybrid model, popular among prodio clients – their companies offer services and make products. For instance, fitting or mounting could be counted as services, and the customer, instead of ordering fitted kitchen units, would order the service of the fitting. The fact that they order furniture doesn’t automatically mean full-on manufacturing.

    There is a similar situation with steel construction: welding some elements could be treated as a service because it is complex and time-consuming. There are different stages in both cases, and we get a final product or service: the rest is in the name. Some people will call it manufacturing, some providing a service. The same situation applies to the CNC industry: some companies sell ready-made elements, and some provide a machining service. 

    The majority of our customers make a product which consists of many elements. That’s why that line is so thin. If you have a large factory with mass-produced goods, serial production, etc., you don’t need Prodio. 

    Prodio –  the benefits for the company offering services

    Excellent information flow about orders /services and fewer complaints

    When a company provides bespoke service, Prodio works like a dream: a powder paint shop owner gets a new order to paint an element. He takes a photo with his phone and adds it to the order to the Prodio system. At the same time, a new order is visible on the shop floor, and the workers know exactly how to paint that element (on top of that, thanks to the owner’s comment, they carefully check the unique colour of the paint). So it makes their job easier and more efficient. The worker can also take a photo of the painted element, which is excellent in case of customer complaints or disagreements.

    The sure way of avoiding complaints is to add documents, technical drawings, and photos to each order and leave comments, which prevent recurring mistakes and flaws. Then, it is as plain as a day what needs doing and how to do it; workers are aware of the potential traps and nuances. As a result, Prodio helps to eliminate pricey mistakes, and there are fewer unhappy customers. 

    Even though each order is unique, you can work on “good practices” and organise company knowledge about products and services. The worker gets a detailed description of the service with comments, often the most important. 

    The communication between the sales team in the office and shop floor is key. The time is money, most clients want their order done yesterday. The ability to deliver on time gives the company a competetive advantage over rivals. This is decisive element when a customer picks a company. The faster you communicate with your shop floor workers, the faster clients get a quota, and you get a new order. The client gest a clear message: yes, we have the resources to do the job. When you use Prodio you know how many orders upfront you  have scheduled and when they are due. Forget the paper notebooks and the panic search among papers to give the order status. 

    Time tracking, productivity and efficiency 

    Time tracking is vital for all services. The workes don’t always work from the shop floor, so it is not enough to go and check who is working on machines and who is on break-time. They are often on location, taking measurements, fitting, adjusting, etc. You have to belive in what they say: we are re-fitting cupboards or put some extra wiring. If you set a team of mounters as “machine” (ex. in stone masons) you can regain control over orders, because you know who is where and what they are doing.

    In Prodio the person who works on location clocks in on their phone or tablet. There is no doubt how long the task took and there is no need to explain yourself, because information goes diretly into the system. It is typical for the services: there is no repeatability. In case of the numeric machine you know how long it takes to make one item (the software will give you this information). The worker manufactures products on the machine, so there is higher predictability. The human factor is the most important in services. The talent, the experience, the know-how. Again Prodi is invaluable: the moreder orders you have the larger knowledge base, the industry tricks. It is an eye- opener for the sales team in the office, when they learn how long it really takes to do something. And with that knowledge thay can price better the following orders..  

    Communication between stages (including the teams working in different locations)

    Improved communication and effective flow of information in your company is vital. That’s what you get if you use manufacturing MES. For example, you know precisely who is busy working, how many workers are available to take on new tasks, how many teams work on location and if you have space for committing to more orders. 

    There are also benefits for the employee: in services, there are many manual jobs where you rely on experience, and each order is different; therefore, it is hard to predict how long one particular assignment would take. When the sales team carefully prepares a calculation, it happens that they underestimate the time needed for each task. This can result in customer complaints and delays.   

    Another example of Prodio used in services: a company (one of the first clients) providing the maintenance of telecom networks. They divided the work into the preparation stage (in the office) and the service on location. Different dashboards with a team of mounters were created (each team counted as the “machine” – on the production schedule, also there were visible cars used by teams). A different view was created for the architect and documentation (licences, permissions, etc.). Thanks to that, it was clear whether it was possible to start work on location with completed paperwork or if the team had to wait. There were attached maps, technical drawings and photographs of the area. Everything worked like a dream.

    Do you provide services – start now:

    You shouldn’t be afraid of using the Prodio manufacturing software tool if you provide services. We treat everybody individually and help each client with the implementation and adjusting of settings to their industry and the service provided. Use a 14-day free trial to see what kind of savings you could make. After only one week of using the Prodio tool, the investment should pay off. It is enough to avoid just a few complaints in a small-sized company to fully appreciate such a software solution.       

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