10 Key Questions to Ask As You Evaluate New Software for Your Manufacturing Environment

Choosing the perfect enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for your discreet manufacturing operation can create hassles or create a work environment that is productive, low cost, and keeps customers returning for more of your products.

Unfortunately, the world of ERP software can be a difficult one to navigate, with every company claiming they are the best for your manufacturing environment. The great thing is that you can choose your software easily by asking a few simple questions before you find yourself with a product that meets your current, and future, needs.

Is it scalable?
If you’re a part of most businesses, the goal is to expand and grow. That means the first question you’ll want to ask is “Is it scalable?” Ultimately, you want to know the limits of the product and if the product can grow with you.

Can it be updated?
The world of discreet manufacturing is changing, with new technologies and techniques being added to every savvy business’ arsenal. Take 3D printing, for example: Ten years ago that was the thing of science fiction. Now individuals have them and are utilizing them for businesses out of their garages. Updating the software may be vital to your business’ success.

Is it intuitive?
A piece of software, no matter how great it is, doesn’t mean a thing to someone who is unable to use it effectively. If the product you’re looking at doesn’t provide you with an easy and intuitive navigation system, then it can cause more hassle than benefit.

Does it provide logistics and analysis?
The point of adding software to your company, no matter what that software is, is to make your life easier and avoid human error. A piece of software without logistics and analysis is just glorified pen and paper.

How does it streamline my supply chain?
The ultimate goal of any ERP software should be to streamline your supply chain with ease. Ask to take a look at the software you will potentially buy and ask the seller how it can be utilized to streamline the process.

Can it integrate with more than just the manufacturing environment?
A great software suite for your manufacturing environment should move both upward and outward. Not only should the ERP software show you the manufacturing floor, down to the individual machines, it should be able to show you the business side as well.

Does it help design?
With additive manufacturing and 3D printing on the rise, your software should be able to adapt to it and help design or improve your products. This added benefit of a good software platform will keep your business moving forward.

Does it help plan?
After the design is completed, can the software help you plan a course of action? This isn’t simply about how the product is assembled; it is about planning inventory costs, inventory levels, processes, and limitations.

Does it help standardize?
When it comes to the actual manufacturing process, you’ll want software that aids in standardizing the entire operation so that your business puts out products that are the same every time, minimizing returns and waste due to manufacturing defects.

Does it help customize?
Every now and again, you’ll run into an order that needs to be customized to fit your customer’s expectations. If your software can help plan a series of products, can it also help to customize those products for a specific customer if necessary?

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Long Business Systems, Inc.
Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and South Bend
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