Find the Best Manufacturing Software

10 Best Manufacturing Software

Here are our top picks:

Fiix

Fiix

183 Reviews

Fishbowl

Fishbowl

180 Reviews

Redzone

Redzone

170 Reviews

Katana

Katana

156 Reviews

Sage 100

Sage 100

130 Reviews

DELMIAWorks

DELMIAWorks

122 Reviews

CATIA

CATIA

76 Reviews

Global Shop Solutions

Global Shop Solutions

70 Reviews

REALTRAC

REALTRAC

64 Reviews

Aquilon ERP

Aquilon ERP

51 Reviews

Manufacturing Software Buyers Guide

Manufacturing companies operate in a challenging landscape that demands efficient problem-solving and strategic decision-making. From managing complex supply chains to optimizing production planning processes, from ensuring stringent quality control to meeting regulatory compliance standards, the hurdles are numerous and ever-present. These challenges not only pose significant risks but also hinder efficiency and profitability. 

However, amidst these obstacles, manufacturing software emerges as a guiding light—a powerful tool that illuminates a path toward streamlined operations, enhanced productivity, and sustainable success. These technology-driven applications offer a comprehensive solution to improve every facet of manufacturers’ day-to-day operations. 

In this buyer's guide, we will guide you through the process of navigating the complex choice of software options for your manufacturing company. Additionally, we will provide an in-depth analysis of key features, benefits, and considerations to help you identify the ideal software solution for your unique needs.

What Is Manufacturing Software?

Manufacturing software is a specialized tool designed to help manufacturing companies plan, execute, and manage their projects from start to finish. It serves as a centralized digital platform that automates various manufacturing operations, including inventory management, production planning, project management, quality control, and supply chain management.  

With manufacturing software, manufacturers can easily enhance productivity, reduce costs, and make informed decisions throughout the product lifecycle. The application also offers tailored features to optimize production sequences, balance workloads, and manage dependencies. Moreover, its comprehensive capabilities enable seamless coordination and integration of various manufacturing processes, empowering companies to streamline operations and achieve their production goals efficiently. 

There are several types of manufacturing software that manufacturers commonly use, including: 

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software 
  • Quality Management Software 
  • Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) 
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) Software 
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software 
  • Capacity Planning Software 
  • Inventory Management Software 

Why Do Manufacturers Need Dedicated Software?

The manufacturing industry operates in a complex and dynamic environment where streamlined processes and efficient management of operations are crucial. Implementing dedicated software for manufacturing can offer several tangible benefits, from supporting better decision-making to increasing productivity. 

In this section, we will explore why manufacturers should consider investing in this technology for sustainable growth and success. 

1. Enhanced Visibility And Control 

Manufacturing ERP software provides manufacturers with a holistic view of their production processes, inventory levels, and resource utilization.  It enables them to track and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure productivity and identify areas for improvement.  

2. Improved Compliance Management 

For manufacturers operating in regulated industries such as food and beverage or pharmaceuticals, these technology-driven tools help ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. They facilitate quality control processes, track product traceability, and automate documentation and reporting, ensuring adherence to safety, quality, and compliance requirements. 

3. Better Production Planning 

Dedicated software for manufacturing companies provides advanced planning and scheduling tools that enable the optimization of production workflows. Manufacturers can quickly analyze data, accurately forecast costs, and estimate the time needed for specific tasks within the production process. 

4. Reduced Waste 

Maintaining high-quality standards is vital for manufacturing companies. Manufacturing software provides comprehensive quality control modules that enable businesses to monitor and track quality at every stage of the production process. It helps detect and rectify defects early, reduces rework, and ensures adherence to quality standards, improving customer satisfaction and reducing waste. 

5. Enhanced Product Quality 

One of the key benefits of a manufacturing management system is its comprehensive quality control features, which enable companies to consistently achieve higher product quality. Businesses can monitor and track quality at every stage of the production process to detect and address potential defects early on. 

6. Reduced Unplanned Downtime 

Implementing manufacturing software solutions help minimize unplanned downtime in production operations. Through real-time data monitoring and predictive maintenance capabilities, companies can proactively identify and address equipment issues before they lead to unexpected breakdowns. 

Understanding Different Business Segments In Manufacturing 

Manufacturing software solutions are utilized by businesses across various sectors within the manufacturing industry. Each sector has its own unique requirements, and companies within those sectors can further be categorized into the following segments based on their specific needs and characteristics: 

Food And Beverage: 

  • The food and beverage segment comprises businesses involved in the production of consumable goods 
  • Manufacturing software tailored for this segment should address specific challenges such as  batch tracking, compliance with regulatory standards, and quality control 

Industrial Machinery: 

  • Manufacturers in the industrial machinery segment produce heavy machinery, equipment, and components used in various industries 
  • The right manufacturing software solution for them should focus on key areas such as bill of materials (BOM) management, engineering change control, production planning, and equipment maintenance scheduling 

Electronics: 

  • Manufacturers in the electronics segment often rely on partnerships with various third-party vendors for specific processes and parts 
  • Manufacturing software solutions tailored for this segment should offer features for effective collaboration, streamlined supply chain management, and quality control 

Common Features Needed In Manufacturing Software 

When evaluating different manufacturing software options, it is essential to consider the functionalities offered by each system.  

The following table presents a list of the key features manufacturing companies should include in their checklist:

  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
    • MRP is a critical feature that automates and streamlines the front end of the production process. It supports functions such as requirements planning, bill of materials, master production schedule (MPS), and project management.
    • The system should also process advanced shipping notifications from suppliers to reduce the risk of errors and provide real-time updates for inventory management.
  • Production Planning And Scheduling
    • This tool helps users create production schedules. They can easily review inventory levels, make build-versus-buy decisions, and track lead times.
    • It is important to note that this feature is a subset of MRP and does not support inventory tracking or automatic ordering functionality.
  • Quality Control/Management
    • Quality control functionalities are integral to manufacturing software. They play a critical role in ensuring that manufacturing processes comply with industry-specific regulations such as FDA and ISO standards. These functionalities include inspection, testing, and documentation to uphold product quality and fulfill customer expectations.
  • Manufacturing Accounting
    • The best manufacturing ERP software provides comprehensive financial management capabilities specifically tailored for manufacturing operations. It includes essential accounting functions such as general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and inventory.
    • Additionally, the system should offer support for purchase orders, sales orders, change orders, job costing modules, and work-in-progress reports.
  • Manufacturing Execution System (MES)
    • MES is a key feature that facilitates real-time monitoring and control of shop floor operations. It enables tracking and management of production orders, work instructions, and resource allocation.
    • MES also captures and analyzes real-time data, providing insights into production efficiency, machine utilization, and overall performance for better decision-making.
  • Inventory Management
    • Inventory management feature streamlines the tracking, control, and optimization of inventory levels. It enables accurate stock monitoring, order fulfillment, and replenishment.
    • This feature also includes functionalities for barcode scanning, stock valuation, serial/lot number tracking, and demand forecasting, ensuring efficient inventory management and minimizing carrying costs.
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
    • This helps manufacturers manage the entire lifecycle of a product from beginning to end. It stores and organizes the information related to designing, producing, and disposing of manufactured goods in a centralized repository.
    • Some PLM tools also include document management, bill of materials data, and computer-aided design software.

How To Decide Which Software Is Best For Your Manufacturing Company? 

We have compiled a list of questions that will help you with your decision-making process.  

Here’s what you need to do: 

  • Put a tick against these basic manufacturing software design benchmarks 
  • Narrow down your options to top five contenders; test them individually or collectively 

We have also compiled a list of top manufacturing software solutions a few sections down to help you with your analysis. 

See the checklist below and remember that the tool with the most checks wins (our recommendation for you is to go ahead with the steps listed below the following list). 

Manufacturing Software Evaluation List

  • Does the software work with your business size/training needs?  
  • What is its required level of tech expertise (only built for technical professionals)?  
  • Is it easy to integrate/connect with other tools you have in your tech stack?  
  • Does it fit your budget (expensive or cost-effective)?  
  • How will you deploy your software (cloud-based or on-premise)?  
  • Does it include MRP, shop floor management, quality management and PLM modules?

Now, you need to shortlist one manufacturing software system. Visit its product profile page – use our search bar above – to watch demo or request pricing (accurate, updated, custom plan figures tailored to your manufacturing organization) so you can get subscribed quickly. 

Manufacturing Software Pricing 

When it comes to manufacturing software, there is a wide range of pricing options available to accommodate the specific needs and requirements of different companies.  

In this section, we will explore the two main pricing models and shed light on some hidden costs associated with manufacturing software. 

Subscription-Based Models: Many manufacturing software solutions offer subscription-based pricing, where companies pay a monthly fee to access the software. This model allows for predictable, recurring costs and often includes ongoing support and updates. Subscription-based pricing is an attractive option for companies looking for cost-effective solutions with lower upfront expenses. 

One-Time, Upfront Payments: Some manufacturing software vendors offer the option of a one-time, upfront payment. With this model, companies make a single payment to purchase the software license outright. This option provides long-term ownership of the software and may be preferable for companies seeking complete control over their manufacturing operations. 

The pricing for manufacturing software solutions typically falls in this range:

$20 per user per month to $2000* per month

(*Note: This is just a rough estimate, and pricing may vary widely depending on factors such as the vendor, the scope of features, and the scale of deployment.) 

Hidden Costs Of Manufacturing Software 

While considering the pricing model is crucial, it is equally important to be aware of the hidden costs associated with implementing and maintaining manufacturing software. These costs can include: 

  • Installation Costs: Depending on the complexity of your manufacturing environment, installation costs may be required to integrate the software effectively. It's important to discuss installation requirements with the vendor to determine any associated expenses. 
  • Training and Support: To ensure the long-term value of the software, training and support services are essential. This includes hands-on instructions for employees and ongoing upgrades to keep up with evolving needs. 
  • Customization: Customization may be necessary to tailor the user interface or make specific changes to align with your manufacturing processes. This customization may involve additional costs, so it's important to evaluate the extent of customization required. 
  • Additional Hardware: Vendors may offer additional hardware, such as sensors or controllers, to provide more visibility and enable remote management. These hardware components may be separate purchases, and their costs should be considered. 

For more pricing information, call us at (661) 384-7070 to get a custom, updated pricing guide tailored to your manufacturing organization. 

Best Manufacturing Software Solutions: Our Top 5 Picks! 

Navigating the selection process for software solutions designed specifically for the manufacturing industry can feel overwhelming due to the sea of options available. 

That's why we have done the work for you and curated a list of the top 5 picks to make your decision easier. Let's take a closer look at their features and pricing! 1. 

1. Fishbowl 

Fishbowl is a comprehensive manufacturing and warehouse management software that empowers users to streamline their manufacturing process and drive productivity. The application simplifies inventory management, optimizes production processes, and provides valuable insights into day-to-day operations. Manufacturers can easily create bills of materials (BOMs), track work orders, and monitor manufacturing processes, all in one place.  

Pricing 

  • Fishbowl Drive - Warehousing: Starts at $349 
  • Fishbowl Drive - Manufacturing: Custom Pricing (contact us at (661) 384-7070 to confirm pricing) 
  • Fishbowl Advanced - Warehousing: Starts at $399 
  • Fishbowl Advanced - Manufacturing: Custom Pricing (contact us to confirm pricing)  

Key Features 

  • Inventory Management: Track stock levels, manage multiple warehouses, and set reorder points for efficient inventory control 
  • Bill Of Materials: Create and manage bills of materials to track and manage the production of finished goods 
  • Production Scheduling: Schedule production tasks, monitor work in progress, and optimize manufacturing processes 
  • Work Order Management: Efficiently create, track, and fulfill work orders for streamlined operations and minimized errors 

Pros And Cons 

ProsCons
Easy to navigate and useLimited reporting capabilities
Scalable 
Integration with QuickBooks 

Dashboard View

2. Odoo

 

Odoo is an integrated manufacturing ERP system that covers all aspects of the manufacturing lifecycle, from planning and scheduling to production and inventory management. The platform provides modules for bill of materials (BOM) management, work center routing, capacity planning, and production scheduling, enabling manufacturers to effectively plan and execute their manufacturing processes. Its open-source nature and modular structure make it a dependable choice for organizations looking to streamline their processes and drive overall growth. 

Pricing 

  • One App Free: $0 
  • Standard: $9.10 
  • Custom: $13.60 

Key Features 

  • Inventory Management: Track and manage inventory levels of raw materials, finished goods, and work-in-progress  
  • Quality Control: Ensure product quality by defining quality control points and performing quality checks at various stages of the production process  
  • Reporting And Analytics: Gain actionable insights into manufacturing performance by monitoring key metrics, enabling data-driven decision-making and enhancing operational efficiency 
  • Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP): Streamline all aspects of manufacturing, including planning, scheduling, and tracking of production orders 

Pros And Cons 

ProsCons
Open-source natureSteep learning curve
for new users
Customizable interface 
Integration capabilities 

Dashboard View

3. Prodsmart 

Prodsmart is a powerful manufacturing management solution that empowers businesses to streamline their production processes and achieve operational excellence. The program enables manufacturers to effortlessly track and manage the entire production process, from sales to shipping. It provides real-time visibility into production progress, allowing users to monitor and analyze each stage of the manufacturing workflow. Moreover, its integrated quality module facilitates the tracking and traceability of information in one place. 

Pricing 

  • Custom Pricing (contact us to confirm pricing) 

Key Features 

  • Mobile Production Tracking: Track your shop floor production in real-time through mobile devices, ensuring easy access and flexibility 
  • Quality Management: Streamline quality management processes to maintain product standards and minimize defects 
  • Inventory Management: Efficiently manage inventory to optimize stock levels, reduce waste, and improve supply chain management 
  • Real-Time Production Reports: Generate real-time production reports to monitor key metrics, identify bottlenecks, and make informed decisions  

Pros And Cons

ProsCons
User-friendly interfaceCostly implementation and maintenance fees
Real-time data tracking and reporting 
Scalable solution 

Dashboard View

4. QT9 ERP

QT9 ERP is an all-in-one manufacturing ERP software designed to help businesses manage their production, sales, purchases, and inventory within a shared workspace. It offers a real-time dashboard that gives managers actionable insights into item procurement, supplier performance, and manufactured goods. Users can accurately forecast manufacturing needs based on inventory, sales, and future potential. Overall, the platform automates core business functions to enhance productivity, reduce manual errors, and promote seamless collaboration between departments.  

Pricing 

  • Custom Pricing (contact us to confirm pricing) 

Key Features 

  • Shop Floor Control: Track work orders on the shop floor, capture real-time data on production activities, and monitor job status 
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) Management: Create and manage BOMs, including components, labor, and equipment 
  • Traceability And Lot Control: Track and trace materials and components throughout the manufacturing process 
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP): Generate accurate material requirements based on demand forecasts, sales orders, and production schedules 

Pros And Cons

ProsCons
Easy-to-use interfaceCostly implementation and maintenance fees
BOM revision control 
Limited customization of modules 

Dashboard View

5. Global Shop Solutions

Global Shop Solutions is a top-rated manufacturing ERP software designed to serve manufacturing businesses of all sizes; The multi-modular platform combines independent modules for supply chain management, CRM, inventory management, project management, and job costing in a centralized location. Its advanced planning and scheduling capabilities enable businesses to optimize resource allocation, minimize downtime, and meet customer demands.  

Pricing 

  • Custom Pricing (contact us to receive a quote tailored to your organization) 

Key Features 

  • Accounting: Streamline financial management with comprehensive features for general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and accurate financial reporting 
  • Job Cost Estimating: Generate precise cost estimates and quotes for custom manufacturing projects, ensuring competitive pricing and improved profitability 
  • Customer Relationships Management (CRM): Manage customer interactions, track sales leads, process orders, and maintain customer accounts for enhanced customer satisfaction and retention 
  • Bill Of Materials: Create and manage detailed bills of materials (BOMs), ensuring accurate inventory tracking, streamlined production processes, and better cost control 

Pros And Cons 

ProsCons
Many modules and
add-on options
Steep learning curve
Cost-effective compared
to other software
 
Responsive customer support 

Dashboard View

Frequently Asked Questions  

What does ERP stand for in manufacturing? 

ERP stands for enterprise resource planning in manufacturing. It's a software solution that integrates all business processes, from inventory management to finance and customer relationship management, in one place. The program helps manufacturers enhance efficiency, optimize resources, and make informed decisions for better productivity and customer satisfaction. 

What are the 5 types of software used in manufacturing? 

In manufacturing, the five types of most commonly used software are enterprise resource planning (ERP), computer-aided design (CAD), product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing execution systems (MES), and supply chain management (SCM). ERP integrates business processes, CAD aids in product design, PLM manages product lifecycles, MES monitors shop floor activities, and SCM optimizes supply chain operations. 

What is a manufacturing management system? 

A manufacturing management system refers to a software solution designed to streamline and optimize various aspects of manufacturing operations. It provides a centralized platform that enables manufacturers to efficiently plan, execute, and monitor their production processes. 

What is the difference between ERP and MRP? 

The key difference between ERP and MRP lies in their scope. MRP focuses solely on managing material requirements for production, while ERP encompasses a broader range of business processes, including inventory management, finance, HR, and customer relationship management. 

What is the best software for production? 

The best software for production varies depending on the specific needs and preferences of each manufacturing organization. There are numerous reputable options available, including MES, ERP, PLM software, and more. 

Let Us Help You Get Started!  

Selecting the right manufacturing software solution is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your company's productivity, efficiency, and overall success. It is important to consider your specific business requirements, budget, and deployment preferences to make an informed choice.  

At Software Finder, we understand that finding the right manufacturing system can be a challenging process, and that's why we are here to help. Our team of experts is committed to providing you with tailored guidance and support to help you navigate the market and find the ideal software solution for your business.  

Schedule a free consultation with us at (661) 384-7070 to learn more about manufacturing solutions and get personalized recommendations based on your unique needs.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Manufacturing software, often referred to as Manufacturing Execution System (MES), is a system designed to manage and control manufacturing operations on the shop floor, improving efficiency, productivity, and visibility into production processes.