Production Management Software or ERP for Small Manufacturers

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    Production management software – this is a phrase you probably typed in Google searching for a solution to your production problems but soon were surprised to find thousands of search results. Names such as ERP for small manufacturers, manufacturing ERP software, and production scheduling software free popped out in hundreds of searches. Each company offered you their excellent product, and you were none of the wiser and still have a dilemma about what production planning and scheduling software are good for your business.

    How do you choose the best software for a manufacturing company?

    That’s why here, we will help you to pick the most suitable tool for production planning, for your shop floor. You will register work with ease, get rid of paper orders, and last but not least, improve efficiency and gain control over processes on your production floor.

    PLEASE NOTE: This guide is addressed mainly to MICRO and SMALL PRODUCTION MANUFACTURERS (5-40 people at the production hall), which intend to achieve positive effects quickly, with small business manufacturing software, without involving complicated, hundred of thousands of dollars pricey ERP systems. 

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    Take a shortcut – the summary of which software for manufacturing companies is the best:

    1. Which production management software you should choose (graph)?

    2. Which software for small manufacturing businesses you should choose?

    There are characteristics of different manufacturing planning and scheduling software in the table below.

    The size of your company

    When you offer: 
    simple products/production services

    When you offer:
    complex products with a significant share of purchased parts 

    Large
    ( +50  people)
    • Corporate MES with automated scheduling and connection to machines, ex. Queris or Żbik
    • Complete production system ERP + MES + WMS, ex. SAP Business One
      with extensions
    Medium 
    (25-50 people)
    • Advanced production management software such as MES, ex. Plan-de-Campagne 
    • User-friendly production management software which uses RFID cards, ex. getprodio.com – premium package
    • Advanced production system with MES and accounting integration,  ex. Qcadoo
    • Simple ERP class system, ex. Modus

    Small
    (10-25)

    • Advanced production management software with accounting integration, ex. Qcadoo
    • Simple ERP class system, ex. Modus
    Micro company
    (up to 10)
    • Using completion in accounting software
    • Extended spreadsheet / free Google Docs
    • Simple production addition for calculation and accounting systems such as ex. MRPeasy

    A short explanation of the basic terms used:

    • Accounting and inventory software probably you’ve already got it. However, for production, it only offers a completion outlook (it shows what consists of which elements).
    • Production management software (MES) – apart from scheduling, it accesses a production floor, where employees register their work.
      • simple (MES) – enables easy planning, registration of working time, calculating efficiency and finally abandoning paper production orders;
      • advanced (MES) – advanced manufacturing planning and scheduling (including semi-automatic), extended registration, services, complete materials cycle – however less flexible. It is very often integrated with accounting and replaces an advanced planning system;
      • corporate (MES) – usually requires cooperation with the ERP system. Automatic manufacturing planning and scheduling are very often connected to machines with artificial intelligence elements.
    • ERP system  – a wide array from a few hundred to a few million dollars; practically speaking, the difference between enterprise resource planning and a good accounting and inventory system is that the first one plans what and when should be purchased based on orders. Please note: it doesn’t reach a production hall, so it requires the addition of MES or another module.
    •  Time and attendance tracking – registration of working time (clock-ins and clock-outs). It is usually a production management software component. You can buy it separately, ex., with the clock-ins/clock-outs tracking software for an advanced inventory management system which usually works together with bar codes and high stockpiling.

    3. Different types of manufacturing scheduling software for planning and shop floor control.

    In the search for suitable production planning and scheduling software for a small manufacturing business, you probably came across the terms: ERP/ MRP / MES. Unfortunately, the definitions tend to be cloudy, and instead of helping you understand those terms clearly, they add to the confusion. It makes the whole process even more complicated and discouraging. Here we will try to explain everything in simple words and shed some light on the differences between manufacturing ERP software and other solutions available.

    What is ERP?

    An ERP for manufacturers is defined as an enterprise resource planning management system, which is a configurable enterprise-wide software package that integrates isolated functional areas, typically production, planning, purchasing, transportation, and distribution, but also sales, marketing, finance,  accounting, and human resources — into a single system with shared databases. However, even the definition of manufacturing ERP sounds complicated, indicating that ERP implementation is not just a simple software project but a change in the whole business process. To fit the new advanced manufacturing ERP software many adjustments must follow suit. It’s like managing simultaneous changes in different areas having the same resources available at additional costs, which might strain the firm financially and substantially impact its performance. 

    Advanced manufacturing ERP comes equipped with modules for various business processes, including general modules and industry-specific ones. Consequently, manufacturing ERP systems might solve multiple tasks by integrating these different components. 

    What is MRP?

    MRP stands for material requirements planning. It is a system for calculating the materials and components needed to manufacture a product. It consists of three primary steps: taking inventory of the materials and parts available, identifying which additional ones are required, and then scheduling their production or purchase. The primary purpose is to ensure the highest production rate in your manufacturing centre. There is also a lean time concept, or to be more precise, lean times (the period from when an order is placed and the item delivered). Most companies use it to track and manage all dependencies, calculate the number of items needed by the dates specified in the master production schedule, and boost inventory profitability. MRP is one of the most widely used systems for harnessing computer power to automate the manufacturing process, but using it requires you exceptional diligence regarding entering data accurately and punctually. Small MRP software isn’t really what you want for your business. If the data is old or incorrect, material forecasts can become skewed, leading to having too many or too few raw materials available for efficient business practice.

    What is MES?

    MES – stands for Manufacturing Execution System. It usually includes extensions to MRP / ERP systems and very rarely independent software, which extends to the shop floor and helps employees learn about planned tasks, register operations, monitor progress, productivity, etc. 

    In conclusion, we can sum up the above table as follows:

    Manufacturing ERP systems are considered the most complicated and complex solution. In many cases, they are only the primary platform to which different modules are added, from production registration to integrated and automated inventory modules. There are many things the company has to do if they want the manufacturing ERP to work smoothly and implementation successful. All elements need to be integrated and organized. Even in so advertised ERP software for small manufacturers.

    MRP is a simplified version, a kind of predecessor of manufacturing ERP. The main task is managing required materials – particularly what and when should be purchased, considering variability in stock due to fluctuations in supply and demand through measurement of actual consumer demand and production needs. Although these two are very good, they aren’t designed to fulfil small businesses’ needs, which stride for flexibility and agility. In a small and medium-sized company, undisturbed communication at the shop floor level and registration of work is

    crucial. 

    MES systems are extensions of other systems, allowing the present production data and monitoring progress. They can process and store all data or send it to integrated MRP / manufacturing ERP systems. 

    There is also a group of production management software created to help small manufacturing companies or tailored to specific industries’ needs. We are particularly talking about online tools (designed mainly for small businesses), which offer different scaling possibilities and savings and are implemented within one working day. 

    Different types of manufacturing planning software when you consider the most prevalent problems manufacturers encounter: 

    • ERP:
      • you wish to have everything in one IT system, with the option to extend it or add extra modules when the need arises 
      • your production is standardized / series so that you can make good use of automated scheduling or automated purchase 
      • to your manufacturing ERP, you buy an MES module to extend it to a production floor as you try to automate your warehouse and inventory as much as it is possible
      • you are aware of the fact that:
        • it will be pretty expensive, 
        • it will require a lot of time at the start,
        • you are willing to accept the rule: if it isn’t in the system, it doesn’t exist,
        • adding a new product will require a lot of time and precision, respectively; the same will require each change in the system. 
    • MRP:
      • you are mainly interested in planning and calculation, based on considering variability in stock due to fluctuations in supply and demand by measuring actual demand and production needs,
      • you have an accounting system, which you are pretty fond of, and there isn’t a need for integration of this system or change,
      • you can extend your activity (unless you haven’t this function already built-in) by sending data to the shop floor and registering them,
      • introducing a new product still takes a long time, so it works best with series production / repetitive processes.
    • Simple manufacturing software (ex. Prodio)
      • you are mainly interested in organizing your production floor, regaining control, and learning about actual cost and productivity, 
      • the most important is fast remote work communication between the manager and shop floor, a clear vision of the working schedule and setting operation parameters,  
      • it would be best if you had quick effects, functionality, and simplicity (reducing features that you wouldn’t use anyway)

    Why manufacturing ERP software is not suitable for small manufacturers:

    • It will not work well if it doesn’t get lots of (even sometimes obvious) information. Hence you will have to spend long hours adjusting the production management app to your needs;
    • You have to run everything perfectly, or your stocks will show such significant discrepancies that you will need to prepare separate documentation;
    • Forget flexibility – in the advanced system, everything must be prim and proper, with an accompanying document;
    • They usually don’t have a production extended module, so you need to buy an external module to measure production efficiency or rely on a manufacturing solution recommended by the software producer;
    • Be prepared for high cost at the start, and multiply the offer you got by two.

    Potential traps for small manufacturers: 

    • Free production management app is usually a cheap marketing gimmick. Only the licences for basic modules are free, and companies make a fortune on implementation services because usually, you get a product without any technical support.
    • Production management tool integrated with the accounting and inventory system  – as it happens, due to imprecise technologies, systems will not integrate, and you may waste lots of time on detailed technology descriptions.
    • Lack of online access – in practice, the smaller the company is, the more SECURE, futuristically thinking, data storage in the cloud should be.

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    ERP software – best manufacturing software for small businesses?

    The idea of an enterprise resource planning production system, which is an “all in one” manufacturing software, doesn’t work as well for small manufacturers as it seems at first glance. Although many production managers dream of such a production environment. Look at the graph and choose your situation to find the best software for the manufacturing company (the vertical line indicates the number of employees. and The horizontal line describes how complex the average product is).

    1. For simple products produced primarily in-house:
    (ex. machining / CNC, plastic/injection moulding industry, rubber products, cardboard packaging, simple woodwork and carpentry, printing shops/printing, steel constructions)

    Challenges to deal with: better production management, work planning: the employees must know what to do, how and when, real-time production registration – you know what’s completed, how efficiently, in which time frame and at which cost.

    Suggested solutions Micro company (<10 people):  

    • Free Google Docs sheets shared at the production hall;
    • Straightforward, independent manufacturing management software (planning and calculating production and clock-in/clock-out times): getprodio.com (Simple production management software). 

    Suggested solutions Small company (10-25 people): 

    Suggested solutions Average size company (25-50 people):

    • If you intend to keep it simple and you don’t need a connection with warehouse and accounting:
    • getprodio.com/ optimal packageRFID reader (Read more: simple production management software).
    • If you wish to have an accounting module and a connection between warehouse and materials used: advanced  manufacturing production planning software – straightforward MES, ex:
      • metal industry, plastic ex. Plan de Campagne,
      • other industries ex. Qcadoo, MES.

    2. For more complex products, where there is a need for externally purchased elements/ operations:
    (ex. robots production, exhibition stands)

    Challenges to deal with: better inventory-purchase procedures, especially if the product consists of tens of elements, often purchased externally.

    Suggested solutions for a Micro size company (<10 people):  

    • Extended Google Docs sheet shared with the office staff;
    • Using completion modules in accounting and inventory software, ex. Sybiekt GT or Optima XL.

    Suggested solutions for a Small size company (10-25 people):

    • Production addition to accounting and inventory system targeting inventory planning, ex. MRPeasy.

    Suggested solutions for an Average size company (25-50 people):

    • If you wish to keep your present accounting system: advanced production planning and registration system integrated with Optima / Subject, ex. Qcadoo.com (from about 367 $ per month + implementation).
    • If you wish to implement an accounting system from the beginning: a simple integrated system with enterprise resource planning or RHO Modus functionality.
    • If you estimate that your company will grow fast, consider investing in complex tools offering cloud storage such as ERP-s.

    Production management software – MES, ERP systems and so on

    We have to make an exception here because there were numerous situations when a company spent 50 – 200 thousand dollars on an enterprise resource planning system, only to discover later, that it didn’t reach a production floor!

    1. Accounting and inventory software with additions

    Perhaps you have already this kind of production app in your company. The Polish market’s best known is Comarch Optima, which gradually has become more and more expensive, and suddenly became an ERP Optima (it’s an enterprise resource planning only by name 😉 ) and Inserted Subiekt GT, which is a good value for money. Both applications can be recommended, although neither is a masterpiece nor a flop. What’s important they are going to move to a cloud and become cloud ERP manufacturing software – which might generate future problems.

    The primary functions of accounting and inventory software are:

    • Sales (which is everything connected with issuing invoices);
    • Orders (which means accepting the Client’s order and making a product reservation in the warehouse);
    • Stock  (states, WZ / PZ, also very often orders from providers);
    • Completions  (based on completed order and product parameters, the stock updates automatically);
    • Simple CRM (which functionality leaves a lot to desire).

    If you wish to have access to the shop floor, you have to buy a simple but still separate (or integrated with an accounting program) production management app.

    Simple small business manufacturing software additions to accounting software

    Example software:  Apator Mozart

    Apotor Mozzart - Widok ze strony producenta

    The price is based on the offer presented on the producer’s website:  licence from 512 $ per working station + implementation.

    The principles are to expand your accounting and inventory app by adding a purchase and planning module to make complex products and complete your orders.

     Main target: 

    • to facilitate the production of sophisticated, multi-element products/complex products, where managing the inventory is of crucial importance,
    • to create work schedules connected with ordering parts (usually those schedules are for the manager, not for a shop floor).

    Functions:

    1. Materials planning/products balancing.
    2. BOM-s (products “tree” – which parts it consists of).
    3. Inventory and calculation of semi-products / products.
    4. Advanced cost calculations.
    5. Work schedule, according to BOM-s.

    It’s the best manufacturing software recommended for:

    • the size of a company: practically speaking from 2-3 employees on the production floor up to about 10 people (when this number exceeds, it might prove uncomfortable to register production),
    • industries: complex products, where more important is forecasting and monitoring of semi-products than production management and shop floor control ex. if you produce sophisticated farming machines on a small scale.

    2. Production scheduling software (MES-es)

    Acronyms and abbreviations tend to be quite fashionable, so most companies with an independent production management system on the shop floor boast to be a MES (which, as we mentioned earlier, stands for a “Manufacturing Execution System”). The role of MES-es is much bigger and includes complete production service, planning and accounting.

    For example, even the simplest monthly subscription to Prodio manufacturing management software (97 $ USD per month) can be called MES: it reaches the production floor, employees can see the working schedule, and benefit from a real-time registration of work.

     2.1 Simple MES-es – production planning, registration and accounting software dedicated to small manufacturers

    The principles are simple – you leave behind your accounting and inventory system and start to track manufacturing operations comfortably with a new small manufacturing software. This tool is great if you want to abandon paper production orders and have full control over your shop floor from any place in the world.

    The example software: getprodio.com

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    The prices are based on an offer from the producer’s website: a monthly subscription from 97$ USD net per company

    • Implementation costs / set up: 0 $ USD. An intuitive self-onboarding using the configuration tool or free technical support,
    • Update costs: 0 $ USD (it is always updated),
    • Equipment needed: simple laptop / computer with Internet access, RFID readers + key-fobs.
    Target:  

    To track work-in-progress and better organize your shop floor, so your employees know what to do, and which orders are due (they have a clear and updated schedule). You know lead times and workshop efficiency.

    Functions:

    Creating a clear production schedule in online manufacturing software with real-time updates on the production floor

    The employees can register operations (and clock-ins / clock-outs).

    Registration of clock-ins and clock-outs to help manufacturing order management.

    Manufacturing scheduling software for small business: working history view and manufacturing order details.

    Managing orders and monitoring progress (not including warehouse).

    It’s recommended for:

    • industries with simple products: metalworking, CNC, injection moulding, elastomers, carpentry, cardboard packaging, printing shops, tooling departments, other simple production and production-support processes (ex. plating process),
    • from 2-3 people at the production hall up to about 50 people.

     An example of manufacturing software for small businesses: getprodio.com  (click here to get a free trial)

    Ready to Streamline Your Shop Floor?

    Online manufacturing software that puts you in control.

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    2.2 Advanced MES-es with a possibility of accounting and inventory integration

    This narrow group is dedicated to larger companies, which prefer to keep their accounting and inventory system or even a simple ERP (which doesn’t have as exciting production as ex. Comarch CDN XL).

    Integration isn’t often as comfortable and lacks solutions to daily problems, as in the case of unified ERP, but it’s possible to make some great savings. We get good manufacturing control software, without the necessity of buying a whole accounting system.

    The example software for production planning:

    The online version of production management software Qcadoo MES
    Qcadoo MES - screen ze strony producenta

    The advanced online version of MES OptiMES

    Typical pricing – how much costs advanced production management software:

    • For SaaS as paid monthly subscription: from 315 $ USD + about 1600 – 2600 $ USD implementation;
    • For offline systems from about 5200 to 10400 $ USD for implementation + 10 – 20% of this amount for annual licence;
    • Equipment: it requires a sophisticated network infrastructure.

    Target:

    Advanced calculations of product making, production scheduling with accounting for inventory and integration with accounting.

    Functions:

    1. Everything, what a simple manufacturing software has PLUS:
    2. Advanced planning, including machine calendar, employees competencies matrix, Gantt’s graphs, etc.;
    3. Advanced monitoring, including bottlenecks, downtime, and OEE factor;
    4. Calculations and offering (including margins and commission/mark-ups on department costs);
    5. Warehouse management (inventory documentation, disbursement methods and attributes in documentation);
    6. Integration with accounting and inventory systems.

    Manufacturing software is recommended for:

    • companies, which would like to have complete functionality of advanced forecasting software, but wish to keep their present accounting and inventory app,
    • planners, who want to use advanced planning functions, including automatic scheduling,
    • companies aware of the number of data necessary to provide for the system,
    • companies with products divided into small elements, where each needs separate management.

    2.3 Corporate MES systems (mainly as an addition to advanced ERP)

    Are you surprised? It would be best if you weren’t, as it was mentioned earlier, that most advanced software systems don’t reach a production floor and need additional extensions. That’s why MES additions were initially invented.

    Machine integrated MES

    The truly extended MES usually has a connection to machines to register their work and all working parameters in real-time (the example of small manufacturing software can be a Polish production system – Żbik). A graphic below comes from the producer’s website, which shows a shop floor with several dozen machines and their updated status.

    This is probably a dream of many owners of production companies. However, it’s worth considering, especially at the beginning, if the level of complexity and the cost of implementation will pay off. Those systems also prove to be the most useful in unified production processes – ex if you have several dozen similar machines and alike products.

    Systems with automatic scheduling and the basics of artificial intelligence

    Indeed, “all in one”. From independent production planning to connect to machines, service works scheduling and complete registration of all processes at the production hall. Once combined with an ERP system (preferably with an automatic system based on robots), you have a complete factory 4.0 🙂

    These marvels and wonders of technology can be introduced to small manufacturers. When there’s a will, there’s a way, and it’s not even about the costs, but the number of data required to provide for the system to give tips and operate, is immense. However, the strength of this solution allows ex. car factories work successfully without hold-ups, despite thousands of configurations and elements.

    Ready to Streamline Your Shop Floor?

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    3. ERP systems – essential “processors.”

    This is one of the best marketing products in the IT history – software which can do practically anything, but in standard version offers almost nothing, because the company, which is responsible for implementation, has to make money. The best example is the companies that decided to change from Comarchow’s Optima and go through a few thousand zlotys worth implementing Comarchow’s ERP CDN XL. It turned out that some functions or reports are available in simpler software, and for the advanced program, they have to be written on request.

    Other examples of the most popular resource planning systems for smaller companies include SAP Business One and Insert Navireo. 

    What is a PRACTICAL difference between operating of ERP system and an accounting program?

    It isn’t the access to production or human resources (this module you can buy as an addition to simple accounting software). Still, a basic resource planning system usually doesn’t have any production module, and you have to buy it as an extra

    The difference between accounting and inventory software and the advanced program is calculating material from the warehouse (which is called material demand). For example, if you produce a bed, which consists of a frame and a matterace, the earlier mentioned CDN Optima, will show you the total number of frames booked, based on the number of beds ordered. However, it won’t use this information while making a purchase plan connected to the production process until CDN XL, from the same producer, will point it, but you have to spend tens of thousands before.

    Please remember that practically none of the ERP-s reach the production floor, so it is not a standard feature.


    The idea is that you buy a basic version of advanced manufacturing software and next upgrade or modify it to suit your needs better. Usually, you end up purchasing additional modules to get your solution to work somehow:
     

    • The production module for ERP – enables the creation of products technology and work planning;
    • MES registration module for production employees, where they can click completed works/operations to appear on the production plan;
    • CMMS (managing maintenance, machine service, etc.);
    • WMS (warehouse managing system, operating on bar codes). 

    To sum up, the newest advanced planning programs are sophisticated tools, where you buy a “foundation” and build on it a perfectly tailored system, adding as many “building blocks” as you need. If you wish to have an ERP for production, you have to search for ERP + MES.

    The typical cost of ERP for a company with 35-50 people

    • Base and licenses: from 5300 $ USD – 13 200 $ USD + on average 400 – 1 200 $ USD for each working station;
    • Adjusting cost and production additions: on average twice as much as the cost of licence;
    • Maintenance and updates: about 20% of the cost of the licence;
    • Safe budgeting:
      • the simplest solutions such as Modus – 9200 – 10 500 $ USD,
      • market standard: 65 600 $ USD,
      • market leaders: 105000 – 157300 $ USD.

    Production management software – be aware of traps 

    Theoretically speaking, advanced systems are for manufacturers a dream come true. That’s why you might be surprised to learn that most implementations end up in disappointment, where a small company spends thousands of dollars on ERP system investment and returns to Excel or other manufacturing software for small businesses such as Prodio.

    The most crucial difference is those small manufacturers assume the system will automatically guess what they need, but it doesn’t work like that and often ends up in disaster.

    Advanced systems are incredible technological and mathematical creations. This allows them to automate technical processes in large factories where thousands of elements are produced.

    Imagine an ultra-modern car factory, where each model of ex. BMW series five can be configured in a few thousand different ways, starting from the type of engine used, drive, gearbox, colour, driving assistant, type of leather covering seats, to the colour of thread used in the steering wheel coverage. Each chosen parameter implies using different parts ordered from the supplier and opens up additional combinations. There are thousands of orders at the production line every day – a man can’t monitor them all. ERP systems make sure the correct parts are at the right place, at the right time. Pure magic.

    Let’s look at this issue from a different angle – for the system to work so smoothly, thousands of programmers made sure that each detail would be there, and hours were spent discussing things with suppliers, so the software could learn new possible combinations, limitations, etc., and first and foremost that the series product could be produced in many various varieties. Usually, this system is connected with suppliers’ warehouse inventory system.

    Thanks to this approach, the software has a plethora of data regarding the present situation and knows the number of employees on the production floor, their holiday schedule, production line status, and the queue of tasks for 2-3 months upfront. PROVIDING THESE CONDITIONS, YOU CAN PLAN PRODUCTION.

    You can take the best, worth a couple of million ERP systems with artificial intelligence, but there is no way it would work in small manufacturing.

    A small company owner thinks that if he paid several dozen/ thousands of dollars for the system, the computer should solve its problems. Instead, the implementation was rushed, shortcuts were made where possible because there wasn’t much time, work was hectic, and the IT company did the job based on limited data. And what’s next? There is no surprise that it doesn’t work.

    Why did the implementation of the advanced solution fail in a small manufacturing company:

    • flexibility and custom production: in small manufacturing, there isn’t time for the team to spend 1 hour entering all data into the system, dividing the product into smaller parts, logistic minimum, surplus material, or material loss. The Client places an order, and its due date is “for yesterday,” which means all these preparatory jobs have to be skipped, and the system lacks operational data from the start. 
    • imprecise data: in a small manufacturer, nobody cares about the % of losses, creating alternative technology, additional stock/ inventory, or schedules of machine downtime, not to mention even more advanced data. 
    • Mistakes copied from the production panels create chaos in the whole system – as a consequence, employees make mistakes, writing ex. Instead of 10 pieces, 100 or they click the wrong product, and because these systems count automatically and take away things from the stock, it works as a domino effect and spurs even more incorrect decisions.
    • very often, there is a need to pass by the system due to its inflexibility because good MRP/ERP won’t let you send an order to production when there isn’t a suitable raw material entered into the system or technology, even though you know that this material is available and the technology could be completed on the go – well, that’s the trouble with using the advanced solution. 

    My experience taught me that most companies that come to us to implement Prodio want to make their lives easier. So, as a result, they work not only with ERP but also with Excel. Why? If you can’t trust everything you have in your ERP system, there has to be somewhere else where you store your data safely, so naturally, you put your trust in Excel

    Watch out for “a free production management app” or “open source ERP.”

    Paid ads try to lure you to producer sites with a promise of production scheduling software free for your business. It is often a marketing gimmick.

    • Free is usually only basic modules licences (such as ex. OpenOffice), any dedicated modules must be purchased at additional costs;
    • Independently installed systems usually don’t have any guarantee and technical support, and they might not be developed any further;
    • Imagine that possibly you managed to install some open-source production scheduling software free for your business and there is another JPK, which you have no idea about;
    • Software implementation and adjusting it to your needs as well as maintenance are paid, and fees are very high – this is the “revenge” of the free licence policy;
    • It turned out in total balance that production scheduling software “free” is more expensive than the paid planning program and involves higher uncertainty.

    The smaller the company is, the faster it should move to a “cloud”, as sooner or later that’s the way all business will go 😉

    • Installing any software in your company, you have to realize, that in a few year’s time, you might have to start from scratch;
    • Practically speaking, for small companies, without an IT department and an advanced network, an online service is much safer than storage data at their premises.
    • The term “cloud” for production software shouldn’t scare you, because the data is on a particular server in a secure location (as it is in Prodio), it isn’t all over the Internet, as in other cloud services.

    Integration with accounts and inventory module isn’t always worth doing.

    As an entrepreneur, you strive to have work automated. You fight to eliminate dispensable procedures; you wish to pay once only and have everything in one place – this thinking is like grist to the mill of companies, which want to sell you the idea of “integration”.

    Integration is excellent, but it requires precision, and the system should be tailor-made for the company.

    Each waste and what will happen with it (to go to the warehouse or the trash), each technological change or different raw material used by an employee MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR in the system. Otherwise, just after 2 months, it will be impossible to count your stock automatically calculated and based on production. No products can be taken without being physically ordered, and all actions must be put in the system (it will be blocked otherwise).

    You might now think it’s great and that for small manufacturers will finally e organized – but when there are really many orders. The machines can’t work because you didn’t enter all the necessary data into the system. So you may go back to old good paper orders and leave this new system behind, although you spent several dozen.

    Automatic planning – won’t pay itself off!

    Gantt’s graph and a dream of one magic button setting a production schedule is a topic of many talks between company owners.

    Meanwhile, although there appeared many different types of manufacturing software, which promise to plan everything themselves, so far it is still necessary to know before the planning process starts:

    • calendar of availability of production employees, time off work, their work presence,
    • matrix of competencies, to know who and in which scope can perform an operation on which machine,
    • service and maintenance schedule,
    • perfectly prepared technology of the product, including changeovers, with exact lead times, possible replacement by other machines, types of tools used for a particular machine
    • properly run warehouse and inventory system and raw material- products allocation.

    If you fail to provide any of the above parameters, you can forget about even the best algorithms automating the production for you 🙂 The software is a small company that should tip you on your machine’s occupancy and estimated lead time of production. And this is precisely what we wish you 🙂

    Manufacturing software implementation – typical mistakes. 

    Failed manufacturing software implementations are a taboo topic in the manufacturing world, often swept under the rug. Why do manufacturers fail?

    Do you want to avoid these implementation mistakes?

    1) Perfect theory

    You have an idea of your perfect manufacturing scheduling software and a list of potential problems and difficulties. Regardless of the tips, we give you – reality will put all of them to the test the most effectively. So no more theory, start practising!

    2) Let’s start after the season ends 

    How much time and money must be wasted finally to find a few hours for constructive optimally? 

    3) All in one package

    small manufacturers wish to invest in advanced production, inventory, and accounting software. Ok, but remember that your flexibility will also be limited and your daily tasks hindered.   

    4) I don’t have my data because it’s in “the cloud”.

    It is a better solution for small manufacturers to store all software data on an external server with an encrypted connection. It is more superficial, cheaper, and more convenient than internal infrastructure.   

    5)  I can’t afford it…

    Is 5% a lot for you? You employ 15 people and spend about 30 000 euros each month on their salaries. If you increase productivity by 5%, you are plus 15 636 euros in a year. You are right – you can’t afford to buy Prodio.

    How to avoid unsuccessful manufacturing software implementation? Common mistakes.

    Nowadays, manufacturing is a detailed interplay of human and material resources required to...

    1. Security of online cloud-based manufacturing software is often much higher than the internal network infrastructure used in small manufacturing.

    2. Availability of cloud-based manufacturing software

    3. What happens if we decide to “close up the shop”?

    4. Automatic update of cloud-based manufacturing software.

    5. Access your data.

     

    5 myths about cloud based manufacturing software.

    Dilemmas of cloud-based manufacturing scheduling software Selecting the right production...

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