Manufacturing project management software helps manage your projects, provides resource management, and monitors project team members in order to reduce lead times without sacrificing quality on your production orders. The key capabilities of a manufacturing project management software include planning production, scheduling your staff, and showing real-time equipment and staff availability visual methods such as Gantt charts and Kanban boards.
This special type of manufacturing software helps managers control costs and hit deadlines across entire projects by helping plan, organize, and manage all resources needed to create estimates, provide quotes, schedule jobs, and track their production status from beginning to end. This is important for manufacturers that have goals to increase margins and profitability.
Businesses with complex supply chains may realize they are lost without the proper project status tracking, scheduling, and planning capabilities that an integrated project management tool provides. This is because many manufacturers may do business across multiple locations.
For example, a design team may create plans in one location, but send it to a warehouse to be manufactured. They may also contract out their distribution process, meaning the finished goods need to be sent to a different location. This interconnected web of employees, equipment, and facilities requires a strong manufacturing project portfolio management solution to ensure all departments are kept on the same page.
Project management solutions for manufacturers can be locally-installed, web-based, or accessed via mobile devices such as Apple iPhones (iOS) or Android devices. User permissions can allow all staff members to access only the appropriate part of the software.
The top benefits of manufacturing project management software include:
One goal you can accomplish with a manufacturing project management software is decreasing project timelines while delivering a more stable, profitable project. A manufacturing project management software will help visualize all products your business is assembling, shows resource allocation (such as machinery or raw materials from inventory), and all staff members involved in the process.
Each software may include a different set of information, depending on if you are creating a work plan, a timeline, or a Gantt chart. Sometimes, these terms can be used interchangeably.
All three of these maps can be combined to show the data you need with the right manufacturing project management software. Because most manufacturing projects use different people and resources, it can be hard for them to keep tabs on one another. Gantt charts will help illustrate your project schedules company-wide, providing a single unified view to see how one project will impact the raw materials and staff availability of another.
Now that you have a visual project planning tool, you can load production schedules and put those Gantt charts to use. In the event of unexpected delays, a manufacturing project scheduling software will be able to send management the appropriate alerts to make adjustments. If you want to test out “what-if” scenarios involved with postponing or delaying certain manufacturing jobs, or rescheduling them to different times of the day, you’ll be able to see the proposed impact on other jobs, if any, depending on the personnel and equipment that would be affected.
Having complete insight into the product status of your manufacturing projects will help you avoid bottlenecks, leading to improved cycle times and increased employee productivity. Long term, this should also help reduce waste and get a better grasp of your production costs.
Like any industry that may be using a project management system, manufacturers have their own deadlines to worry about, in addition to any natural fluctuation of customer orders and market conditions. Manufacturing project management calendars can let staff view what tasks they need to complete today. Project managers can view their own schedule and monitor the productivity of their team, to ensure everyone is completing the work that was assigned to them that day.
A solution that is intuitive and visual will encourage all employees to use it as frequently as possible. This leads to better communication and lets people manage their work more proactively. For example, a manufacturing project management system will let the design team chat directly with the production team to ensure there are no surprises. Document management features will let each team upload appropriate paperwork and ensure everyone is aware of any project expectations.
The cost of manufacturing project management software will depend the most on:
For web-based systems on a subscription-based pricing model, the cost of systems will start between $8/user/month to $55/month. Some systems will have a minimum number of users required to subscribe, making their advertised price appear much lower than the real monthly price.
Some software developers may offer free manufacturing project management software, but they are usually slimmed-down versions of their paid versions. These options let you manage one project with a limited amount of users, and are best used as free trials of the programs.