Manufacturing software solutions aren’t something coming down the road; they’re here, now. Are you ready to embrace them?
It’s not enough to have manufacturing software. Today’s technologies demand a strategy around the implementation and effective use of manufacturing software solutions. Without such a strategy, you run the risk of not getting as much from your software as you can.
Every manufacturer needs as much of a competitive edge as possible, so it makes sense to utilize manufacturing software to its fullest extent. In a Manufacturer’s Alliance for Productivity survey published on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, almost three-quarters of all small manufacturers indicate they’ve automated all or part of their facilities. Among the companies who responded to the survey, 64% indicate they plan to add additional automation to their firms in the next three years. Clearly, automation is here to stay and growing in importance.
Choosing Manufacturing Software Solutions
Choosing the right manufacturing software solution for your business depends on several factors.
- Which areas of your business could software impact the most? An assessment of all functions throughout your company will help you pinpoint areas where manual processes create bottlenecks. Such areas may be a great fit for software solutions that automate processes or share information.
- Have you updated any software recently? New software may not need to be replaced but older systems may be ready for an upgrade. Over time, as you add new software packages to your business, they may not work well with older software. You may need to upgrade some of your older systems before adding new packages.
- Are you losing time, money or both? Any areas of business where you are losing time, money, or both are areas where your company may benefit from a software upgrade.
- Industry specific or industry-agnostic software? Industry specific software helps manufacturers in a specific vertical with a unique function of their business. Food, chemical, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, for example, may need different software to improve their manufacturing processes than automotive or heavy equipment manufacturers. Consider whether your business will benefit from industry-specific software or the addition of industry-agnostic software such as an ERP, CRM or BI system that helps overall productivity rather than a specific manufacturing challenge.
Ready, Set, Go! Steps to Add Automation
Once you’ve chosen your manufacturing software solution, it’s time to set it up. A few tips for success:
- Standardize your operations: Businesses are started by people, but systems support scale and growth. Create standard operation procedures to help get everyone on the same page when it comes to both how and when you want things done. Once the software is in place, such SOPs will help everyone understand how the software fits into the workflow.
- Create an implementation: Implementation doesn’t happen automatically. You need to plan for a smooth rollout. You may wish to upgrade your software during scheduled maintenance times, for example, so that the adjustment and training period for your team doesn’t interrupt production. Manufacturers who take equipment offline for set periods of time each year for maintenance can schedule software upgrades and training during this time to make the best use of the downtime.
- Build a training plan: Training is also critical for everyone on staff. Those who will use the new automation software the most frequently should receive intensive training and hands-on training while the training manager or consultant is on site so that they can practice with it and ask questions as they use it. Ensure there is adequate time for training and follow up.
- Lead by example: Change is disruptive by nature, and people don’t like change. To ensure a smooth, orderly transition with your new software, be sure to lead by example. Make sure that all executives and team leaders take the same training as the staff. If you require staff members to use the new software, don’t make exceptions for the senior executives. Be the example of the change you want to see in your operations.
Manufacturing software solutions offer an exciting way to boost productivity and automate many procedures throughout your business. If it’s time to explore new software, please call Emerald TC. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 for more information about our software solutions for manufacturers.