Job shops and machine shops are uniquely different from other types of manufacturing businesses that know well in advance what they will be making and how much they will be producing. Specializing in made-to-order or engineer-to-order manufacturing makes it significantly more difficult to plan ahead for materials you’ll need for a project, provide accurate estimates and quotes, determine ROI, and predict labor requirements. Having the right job shop software will ease many of the challenges you face on a daily basis.
This buyer’s guide will help you find the right software and covers:
Job shop software facilitates the complex processes of job shops and machine shops with manufacturing functionalities like job costing and estimating, inventory management, order management, scheduling, and material resource planning.
|Manufacturing Accounting||Track your expenses and revenue with accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general ledger modules.|
|MRP||Calculate and plan material requirements, and coordinate machine workloads and personnel.|
|Bill of Materials||Provides instructions on the materials and assemblies required to create a product.|
|MES||Includes shop-floor control, scheduling, and corrective action guidance for performance and quality improvement.|
|Job Costing||Assigns costs to materials, labor, and equipment needed to improve cost control and monitor the profitability of a job.|
|Inventory Management||Tracks the materials and parts you have on-hand, so you can order more when needed.|
|Work Order Management||Outlines the work that needs to be done and how it should be done. Includes features like scheduling management, change orders, rules-based approval management, and reporting.|
|Purchase Orders||Track important order information including costs, payment terms, type of product, product quantities, delivery timeframes, and vendor info.|
|Quoting||Create an accurate quote based on the cost of materials, equipment, and labor needed to complete the job.|
|Project Management||Coordinate the execution of tasks including planning, scheduling, quality management, document sharing, and time tracking.
*Project management is more common for engineer-to-order jobs that are extensive and highly customized.
Accurate estimating and job costing. You know that quoting too low can make you lose money, but quoting too high is also an issue. If your quotes are significantly higher than your competition, you won’t be able to close sales. Finding the right balance is easier with job shop software. You’ll have a record of how much it actually costs to manufacture similar products, as well as have records of the costs of the materials, equipment, and labor you have available at the moment.
Put out quotes faster. Providing accurate quotes with a quick turnaround time will help you land more work. Job shop software has all of the records and documentation you need about the cost to complete a project, making quoting easier and faster. You don’t have to spend hours, or even days, finding all the data you need and putting it together into a quote.
Complete more jobs on time. Managing production schedules on paper, in a spreadsheet, or on a whiteboard is not an efficient way to manage your jobs. Job shop software keeps track of production deadlines and lets you create reports on current projects to see if any issues might make the job late, allowing you to take corrective action to avoid delay.
Accurately determine ROI for your jobs. With job shop software, you can easily keep tabs on how much you’re spending on a project vs. how much you made on a project down to the materials, labor, equipment, and any other expenses used to complete the job. This information provides valuable insight into where you’re gaining and losing money, so you can make adjustments to pricing as needed.
More accurate billing. Job shop software tracks labor, equipment, and material costs back to specific production jobs to ensure accurate billing and cost capture.
Guidance in business development decision-making efforts. With job shop software, you will be able to project revenues and expenses in order to provide meaningful targets for performance management.
QuickBooks Enterprise is branded as a manufacturing accounting software and can be used by smaller job shops for managing accounts payable, accounts receivable, basic inventory, purchasing, and sales orders.
Add-ons for QuickBooks like ManuDyn Cloud9 assist in the manufacturing process and pick up where QuickBooks lacks in some places. Some of the features of ManuDyn Cloud9 include quoting & estimating, bill of materials, order processing, purchase orders, process routing, scheduling, sales order management, and machine loading profiles.
Medium to large businesses find QuickBooks lacks important core functionalities and need a job shop software system that assists with things like material requirements planning, equipment maintenance, engineering, and production management.
Small and medium-sized businesses: If you’re a small or medium-sized job shop or machine shop, you’ll want a software solution that keeps you organized to keep schedules on time and ensure you see a good ROI on all of your projects. Look for job shop software that has job costing, order tracking, and scheduling. A module-based software is ideal as it will let you add features as you grow. If you want to continue using QuickBooks or another software system, find a solution that will integrate easily.
Large businesses: Large job shops and machine shops should look for a solution that features a manufacturing execution system (MES) and an extensive MRP to improve production planning, workflow management, and quality management, as well as streamline the manufacturing process through production scheduling and purchase planning. Look for a solution that can be customized to the unique needs of your enterprise.
Charging too much or too little for a job. Job shops and machine shops lose money when they don’t charge enough and lose potential customers when they charge too much. Job shop software identifies the costs and materials needed to provide accurate quotes, so you can develop competitive bids and see a better ROI.
Bottlenecks from sending scheduling and deadline information through one person. In many job shops, scheduling and deadline information is sent through a single supervisor or manager. This causes a bottleneck of information. The one person has to ensure everyone has the information they need, slowing down the manufacturing process. Job shop software distributes deadline and scheduling info to the entire team, eliminating the bottleneck.
Unexpected schedule changes. If a customer asks for a design change in the middle of the project, the wrong material comes in, or some other unforeseen issue arises during production, the entire schedule will be thrown off. Job shop software keeps all of your scheduling deadlines well-organized and gives you the ability to move other projects around as needed to avoid delays.
The unpredictability of material and process requirements. Job shops and machine shops have the unique issue of manufacturing custom made-to-order products, making it difficult to predict what materials and equipment you’ll need for any particular project. Inventory management in job shop software lets you see what you have on-hand if any of the required materials are similar to other projects you’ve done.
Additive manufacturing technologies: According to Modern Machine Shop, 37% of Top Shops surveyed were using additive manufacturing and 3D printing equipment in 2017, up from 19% in 2016. About 74% of those using these technologies also 3D print their own fixturing and tooling. Additive manufacturing will improve the efficiency of your job shop by providing rapid prototype development and makes manufacturing completely custom parts easier and at a lower cost. Check out 3D Printing: The Future of Additive Manufacturing to learn more.
Automation is becoming more accessible: Industry Today’s article “Trends for Custom Manufacturers in 2018” noted that automation options are becoming a more affordable way to improve job shop efficiency. More businesses are incorporating things like work-holding devices, SMT (surface mount technology) systems (also referred to as pick-and-place machines), and automatic tool changers into their operations.