Small business manufacturing software processes purchase orders more efficiently, gives you greater inventory control as your product line expands and sales orders ramp up, manages shop floor operations, and gives you greater visibility across your supply chain. Dedicated manufacturing software keeps your business more organized than tracking complex processes through manual methods or accounting software alone.
Manufacturing software designed for small manufacturers often features a multi-module system that allows you to pick and choose the functionality you want. This allows you to cut costs and have a system that isn’t too complex for your needs.
Small business manufacturing software includes a range of products that vary in functionality and specialty. Some businesses need a solution tailored to specific manufacturing industries like food manufacturing or medical device manufacturing to ensure regulatory compliance. Businesses that want to handle everything including human resources, accounting, production management, and more from a single system often choose a small business manufacturing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that can be scaled with your business.
|Manufacturing Inventory Management||Manage real-time data on inventory levels of your finished products and raw materials. Manage prices and descriptions of your inventory.|
|Production Planning||Assign schedules of labor and resources for each manufacturing job.|
|Bill of Materials (BOM)||Includes instructions for manufacturing and lists of materials and equipment needed for the manufacturing process.|
|Sales Order Management||Create and send invoices. Convert sales orders into work orders for fulfillment.|
|Supply Chain Management||Track the flow of goods from acquiring the required materials to delivering the finished product.|
|Quality Control||Track defects in finished products and raw materials, and take corrective action as needed.|
Small business manufacturing software gives you better control of your inventory. Tracking inventory quantities and costs of inventory items manually is prone to errors and miscalculation. As your business grows and you have more inventory to manage, the right solution will help you track your growing inventory demands.
The manufacturing system will track the quantities and costs of your on-hand finished products and raw materials. When your supplies are running low, the system can automatically create and send a purchase order to the right vendor. This ensures you always have the necessary materials on-hand and allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
As your business grows and takes on more manufacturing jobs, it becomes more difficult to manage production schedules. Small business manufacturing software includes production planning and scheduling features that allow you to assign materials, equipment, and labor to each job. The software also features calendar views and Gantt charts, making it easy to visualize work order progress and the schedules of employees and materials.
If there are any conflicts with double booking equipment, materials, or employee time, the system will alert you immediately. This allows you to take corrective action such as ordering more materials or reassigning jobs as needed.
Small manufacturing companies commonly use QuickBooks Enterprise as an alternative to ERP software. QuickBooks Enterprise helps small manufacturing businesses with income and expense tracking, invoicing, and job costing. Small manufacturers also benefit from advanced inventory tracking, sales order status management, and purchase order creation. QuickBooks also helps manufacturers calculate the true cost of manufactured products. The system factors in labor, freight, insurance, and other costs to help you determine prices for your products and increase your profit margins.
For a single user, QuickBooks Enterprise starts at $1,155/year for an on-premise solution and $140/month for cloud hosting - pricing goes up with additional users and higher-level plans.
Some manufacturers quickly outgrow QuickBooks as their manufacturing system for a solution that offers features like material requirements planning, quality management, production scheduling, and BOM. Manufacturers can choose to either find a software solution that integrates with QuickBooks in order to keep accounting on a familiar platform, or completely replace QuickBooks with a fully integrated system.
In a survey we conducted, we’ve found that the most popular QuickBooks replacements among manufacturers were:
Small manufacturers may choose an ERP system instead of standalone manufacturing software to manage all business processes from one system. ERP solutions designed for small manufacturing businesses are often customizable while reducing overall costs. However, small manufacturers may find some ERP solutions too complex for their needs and find a manufacturing solution that fills in the functionality where their business is lacking.
Some common features in manufacturing ERP software include financial management, costing, customer relationship management (CRM), human resources management, inventory control, and material requirements planning (MRP).
ERP software can have other advanced features that can be added on as your business grows. Some ERP solutions feature ecommerce functionality for manufacturers that create and sell products directly to consumers. Some solutions feature warehouse management for manufacturers with a large number of inventory items to track.
Some small business manufacturing software solutions are distinctly designed for specific industries or certain types of manufacturers including:
Small business discrete manufacturing software manages business operations for manufacturers that produce distinct products that can be counted individually. The software helps improve lead time and reduce costs through effective inventory control, production planning, and MRP. Made-to-stock, made-to-order, engineer-to-order, and mixed-mode manufacturers can find a solution specific to discrete manufacturing to improve their business processes.
Small business process manufacturing software manages the manufacturing of products that are created with recipes or formulas and packaged as individual units. The process manufacturing solution will ensure your formulas and recipes are secure and consistent. These systems also assist with lot traceability and compliance management to ensure your products meet regulatory standards. Industries that use process manufacturing software include pharmaceutical, chemical, and food manufacturers.