New software in the manufacturing industry has advanced exponentially over the past few years. Mark Davidson, a principal research analyst at LNS Research, wrote on InTech that companies are now starting to understand the potential of what they would be getting from warehouse tracking software, inventory management systems and enterprise resource planning. However, many may not be clear on how to implement the right solution. Citing numbers from a recent report by his company, he said organizations should look at information within and outside of their firms for the best possible solutions.
Generally, organizations look at functionality before anything else, as 49 percent said this was one of the most critical areas of selecting manufacturing software. Other important points include software costs, which 39 percent of respondents said was the the most important issue. Thirty-seven percent said looking at ease of integration with legacy apps was the most important, and 27 percent claimed they simply want new software to be easy to use.
"Every company has an existing information technology and application landscape that any new software needs to readily fit into," Davidson said. "This criterion can greatly affect the initial and long-term success when introducing new software."
There were other less critical areas, including the industry expertise of the vendors, their service delivery model and how long it will take to implement, according to the LNS Research.
As for the approach, 48 percent said they choose their manufacturing software vendor integration services simultaneously. Davidson said the choice of which integration service is used can be just as important as what kind of manufacturing software is adopted, so businesses should not take this issue lightly.
No matter what course a business chooses to take, Davidson said it's essential to make sure buyers are doing their research on the software. Firms should closely look at functionality to make sure the company is getting just what it needs. There should be a specific business purpose for each software adoption.
Software coming of age in manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is seeing some huge advancements from software. Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO of PTC, said at a recent company event that there's now more personalization, digitization, connectivity and globalization than ever, according to Design News. It is now almost necessary for companies to have systems that make work more efficient, productive and easy.
Lou Celi, president of Oxford Economics Americas, said at the same event that 68 percent of firms are undergoing a radical transition, with much of it due to technology. One thing this brings to organizations is flexibility, as they can design products for one market and change specific aspects to bring them into another later on.
Tools like NAV barcode scanning can also make it easier to collect information and get numbers that a company would not otherwise have. By capturing warehouse transactions, pointing out inaccuracies, cutting out shipping incorrect items and more accurately track items, organizations can have a more precise operation than ever before.
Heppelmann said computer-aided design and lifecycle management of products will likely be huge factors in the industry going forward.
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