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

Table of contents

    The platform seems to have everything you might need, but before you decide, there’s a very important question you need answered. Namely, can you use the software as a service company rather than a regular manufacturing business.

    Our answer? Absolutely yes! Several of our clients are small and midsize businesses that provide various services, and for them and their business goals, Prodio works like a charm.

    How exactly can you benefit from using such a platform in your own service company? Grab a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer) and read on – we’ll show you how to use a manufacturing solution to handle your tasks as well.

    Manufacturing and services – what do they have in common?

    Many of our clients first asked us whether production planning software would even be suitable for a company offering services. After all, manufacturing enterprise resource planning or similar tools are usually associated with larger manufacturers who need inventory control, supply chain management and others industry-specific features. Not small job shops or service companies.

    If they can’t find their industry on the “Solutions” page, that makes them doubt whether the system will be working with their small or medium businesses even more.

    In reality though, the line between strictly manufacturing operations and service tasks is very thin as their core business functions are nearly identical:

    • Both have orders that need to be completed on time
    • They need raw materials and workers to complete the orders
    • There are core business processes that need to be tracked for deadlines and production efficiency (in services as well)
    • Workers have to go through specific steps to complete the tasks
    • They need someone to take care of inventory management

    To illustrate the similarities better, here are a few examples.

    Production scheduling in traditional manufacturing and service

    When you look at the production scheduling plan in a company offering services, there is practically no difference between theirs and the schedule in a typical manufacturing company. The only real change is they use operation names (folding, mounting, cleaning, etc.) instead of machines. 

    If they develop products inside their office (like bespoke furniture), then their plans are even more similar since they also include:

    • Production operations
    • Inventory requirements
    • or quality assurance.

    Here’s how production scheduling can be made easier with Prodio.

    Let’s say you want to use Prodio manufacturing software in your industrial cleaning or powder painting company. You can add all tasks related to the service you are providing to the application and then have the work-in-progress tasks monitored in real time. 

    As long as you have tasks to schedule and monitor, you can use Prodio – even if you aren’t producing any physical goods (because your “product” is a service).

    Product customization in traditional manufacturing and service

    What about companies offering customized products or services, for example, those creating bespoke, fitted furniture or jewelry?

    On the one hand, they use ready-made elements and solutions and give them finishing touches – so it’s technically more of a service. But, on the other hand, some things have to be made from scratch and then fitted, cut, and adjusted before they become ready products. This means working on the shop floor and on location.

    For instance, the above-mentioned bespoke furniture makers could both offer to produce custom-made furniture for a kitchen and then have fitting or mounting the furniture as a service.

    Quite a few of our clients use such a hybrid model – meaning their companies offer services but also make products. The steel construction and CNC industries, for example, regularly use our Prodio to manage their service task schedules but also keep an eye on the shop floor.

    Prodio manufacturing software – the benefits for the company offering services

    As you can see, in many cases the difference between “manufacturing” and “service” is basically only in the name. Some of our clients create products consisting of many separate elements, while others focus more on offering services. 

    But both of them have a list of tasks to do during the day, schedules to create, and deadlines to meet. That’s why the line between them is so thin.

    In what ways can our Prodio help service companies such as yours, though? Here are some of the main benefits of working together with cloud manufacturing software that should pique your interest.

    Streamlined order information flow

    With our help, communication between you as the business owner and your workers can be a lot smoother. How exactly? Thanks to real-time dashboards with project progress and requirements automatically updated.

    Let’s look at how a powder paint shop owner can use Prodio to manage the orders as an example.

    A powder paint shop owner gets a new order to paint an element. He takes a photo of the element with his phone and adds it to the order in the Prodio system, together with information about how exactly it needs to be painted. The order is immediately visible on the dashboard so the workers know there’s a task for them. 

    Thanks to the owner’s comments under the task, they also know which paint they should pick and in what order they should paint the element. That makes their job easier and more efficient – and easier production management for you.

    Order management that takes no time at all

    Delivering your services exactly when your clients need them can give you a significant competitive edge over your competitors. For this though, you need seamless communication between the sales team in the office and shop floor workers. 

    The quicker you can reach out to your shop floor workers, the faster the client can get a quote, and your workers get a new task.

    If you rely mainly on paper notebooks though, then finding out what is the status of the manufacturing process your team is currently working on might be quite time-consuming. Not to mention, calling several workers to ask whether they have time for another job while the client waits impatiently can be quite stressful.

    What if you could tell the client straight away – yes, we have the resources to do the job? With Order management module, that’s possible.

    At a glance, you know how many orders upfront you have scheduled, when they are due, and how many resources you have available – so you know whether you can add another task to the list or whether the client needs to wait a bit. 

    And that way, you can give the new customers exactly what they need – exceptional service.

    Far fewer complaints

    What should be especially useful to you as a service provider is that Prodio can also help you reduce complaints and issues thanks to making keeping quality standards across your entire business easier. 

    • Documents, technical drawings, photos, or comments (with unique requirements, for example) added to each order can help your workers understand exactly what needs to be done and prevent mistakes caused by a lack of knowledge or miscommunication. Plus, that makes quality control tasks also easier later on.
    • Any issues or delays in the process (such as malfunctioning shop floor equipment) will be visible on the dashboard so you could tackle the problem straight away.
    • Inside Prodio, you can also build a company knowledge base related to your products and services. Using it, workers (especially new ones) can quickly check the steps they should take to complete a task and what standards they should follow.

    Being able to take a photo of the ready product or service can also come in handy when it comes to handling customer complaints or disagreements. With all those key features, Prodio can help your company to reduce the number of pricey mistakes during work – giving you far fewer unhappy customers. Boosting your service quality will also help improve your customer satisfaction (and entice them to return). 

    Remote control over your workers with manufacturing software

    In a typical manufacturing facility, most of the workers are on the production floor the entire day. So if you want to check what is the production progress, which machines are occupied and who is currently on break time, you just need to go to the shop floor. With service workers though, tracking their work time and performance is far trickier though. More often than on the shop floor, they might be on location, taking measurements, fitting, adjusting, cleaning, etc. How to track their performance if all workers are in a different place right now?

    With a cloud-based solution with work-in-progress tracking giving you real-time insights, this is easier than ever. Here’s how it works:

    • Employees working on a location use the mobile clock in feature on a device such as a phone or tablet.
    • When they are starting a task, they click on the “Start” button near the task name in the schedule and then click on “Done” after they are finished. They can also add any comments to the task.

    The entire information is then sent straight to the system, so you no longer need to question all workers about how long they’ve been working and what did they do during that time. Plus, that way, you can also keep an eye on your company and workers while you are away – on a business meeting or on holiday. 

    Plenty of data you can use to track performance and price your service better

    Last but not least – the knowledge you can gain from Prodio can help you both with project management but also boosting customer service.

    In services, there are many manual jobs where you have to rely on your experience because each order might be different. That made it harder to predict how long a particular task would take, as you had to rely mostly on guesstimates.

    Results? It often happened that the sales team underestimated the time needed for the project, and so the service team has already missed the deadline. In the end, that can only lead to frustrated workers and angry clients.

    A manufacturing MES platform can help you say goodbye to such frustrating situations. 

    Looking at the data inside the platform, you can find out how many workers are available to take on new tasks, who is currently on a location and how much time a similar order took last time. Using the data, the sales team can then ensure there are enough people for the task and estimate a realistic timeframe by which the order should be completed. 

    Plus, with that knowledge, they can price better the following orders as well.

    Prodio and service industry – a case study

    Finally, let’s take a look at how a company providing telecom network maintenance (one of our first clients) used Prodio for scheduling their servicing orders.

    They started from dividing the work into the preparation stage (in the office) and the actual service tasks on location. For this task, they created separate dashboards for each team of mounters (with the team marked as “machine” on the production schedule). The architects and people responsible for documentation (licenses, permissions, contracts, etc.) also got their own dashboard.

    Thanks to that, the service team knew straight away whether it was possible to start work on a given location or if the team had to wait (because the paperwork wasn’t ready yet).

    What’s more, each task had attached maps, photographs of the area, and comments with information about any potential problems the team had to keep in mind. By doing so, the service team could review the order requirements and the area they will be working on before they even arrived. 

    Do you want to see whether Prodio can be just as beneficial for your own service company as well? Then, how about giving us a call? We’ll be happy to show you that yes, our cloud solution can be used in service companies as well – with amazing results.

    Get to know manufacturing software

    Have we reassured you that service companies can take advantage of the software for manufacturing companies as well? Whether you are a manufacturing firm that produces physical goods or sell your workers’ skilsl and knowledge as a product, you could benefit from a software application that can help you keep your entire team on the same page. 

    And while an enterprise resource planning solution with tons of advanced functionality might be too complex for your needs, a smaller and more flexible app like our Prodio can work for a service company like a charm.

    If you need a bit of help with the implementation, product configuration and adjusting the settings to your business requirements, you can count on us to be there when you need us as well 🙂

    Manufacturing software FAQ

    Can the service industry use manufacturing management platforms or are they just for regular process manufacturers?

    Of course they can – after all, their work also relies on tasks, orders, and business processes. With a few tweaks, those platforms can, for example, track the time workers spend working on a location or give a real-time overview of how the furniture customization is going.

    And if they have to handle complex manufacturing processes as a part of their service, then the platforms can help them keep an eye on the factory floor and handle various material planning tasks as well.

    Why a regular Enterprise resource planning software might not be a good fit for smaller service companies?

    The biggest appeal of ERP software is that it comes with several advanced features. From managing human resources, inventory costs and supply planning to financial management, customer relationship management or business intelligence. 

    For smaller or midsize manufacturers or service companies, the cost of ownership of such manufacturing software solutions might be far too high. What’s more, those software solutions are typically pretty complicated to use and require extensive training so the user experience is typically a bit worse as well.

    How many differences are there between the production schedule in traditional manufacturing organizations and service companies?

    In most cases, there’s little to no difference. Typically the only difference is that rather than use machine names in the schedule they have only operations names. For example, an industrial cleaning company might have only the task names and who is responsible for those.

    How can manufacturing solutions enhance internal communication in the service company?

    Real-time visibility can be a game-changer for the managers and employees alike.

    There will be no more need to run around the shop floor or call other workers that are on location just to ask them what they are doing at the moment. Additionally, workers will be able to find all order information, along with a detailed outline of the task and steps needed to complete the task, inside the app. That way, employees will be able to work more efficiently and the number of errors will drop as well.

    How can the real-time data inside cloud-based applications be useful both for the manufacturing industry and for service business owners?

    For example, they will no longer need to question each worker on what they are working now or whether they have enough time and resources to handle growing customer demand.

    Plus, the data from the application also makes advanced planning and demand forecasting easier as business owners can use the data to estimate how much time a given task might take – and how they should price it.

    The data can also be later turned into progress reports with plenty of information about their current and historical demand, sales forecast or any other information they might need.

    Ready to Streamline Your Shop Floor?

    Simple to use, yet effective online manufacturing software that puts you in control.

    Get started today

    14-day free trial - No credit card needed - Unlimited free support