Manufacturing Software Solutions

When it comes to manufacturing processes, having the right software in place is essential to ensure efficiency and minimize costs. There are a variety of solutions available that can be tailored to the specific needs of the manufacturer. Learn about the most important elements of these software solu
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Published on:
22 June 2023
Updated on:
02 February 2024

As the manufacturing industry advances, the tools and software that fuel its progress evolve. Over the past decade, new software options have emerged to optimise operations for corporations engaged in manufacturing. Whether on the production floor or in the C-Suite, these tools prove valuable in facilitating production and aiding crucial decision-making to take businesses to the next level.

As such, any manufacturing business needs to investigate and understand the different software available to ensure they receive the most value from their investments. In 2020 alone, the manufacturing industry in Belgium saw a surge with an increase of 781 enterprises – meaning the need for robust software solutions to serve this sector is significant.

Manufacturing software solutions take many forms – from ERP systems to advanced Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). No matter the type, one of the most critical elements is offering features to give a firm the necessary visibility and control over its operations.

Whether your company is looking to implement manufacturing software or you are needing to enhance your current system, it is crucial to understand that not all software for manufacturing processes is the same. It is essential to consider the features and capabilities of each option to ensure your operations are running as efficiently as possible.

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Types of Manufacturing Software

Modern software for manufacturing process systems comes in many shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most common options you’ll find in the marketplace:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

ERP systems (like OracleSAP, and Microsoft Dynamics) are widely used in manufacturing to automate back-office operations related to finance, accounting, human resources, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM), among other processes.

ERP solutions include a variety of features, such as:

  • eCommerce integration
  • Advanced quality management
  • Automated forecasting and demand planning
  • Integrated supply chain execution and visibility

A fully integrated ERP system aims to provide a comprehensive view of the manufacturing process from end to end. For instance, an ERP system can provide a single view of inventory, production, and orders to enhance your supply chain visibility.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

These software applications manage the entire lifecycle of a product, from conception to design, manufacturing, and end-of-life. PLM systems ensure that all information related to the product is documented and readily accessible – ensuring that the product meets customer requirements and is produced efficiently.

PLM solutions typically include features such as:

  • Bill of Materials (BOM) for tracking components used in production
  • Advanced quality control processes
  • Automated change management systems
  • Configuration management tools

You’ll typically find PLM software deployed in industries with complex products, such as aerospace and automotive manufacturing. They are beneficial for designs that require multiple components to be integrated.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

WMS is a type of software that optimizes the tracking and management of inventory as it moves through the warehouse. It helps keep a check on inventory levels and ensures the right products are available when needed, offering the ability to automate order picking and dispatching of goods.

The features of WMS solutions often include:

  • Automated inventory tracking – including real-time updates on stock availability
  • Real-time visibility into warehouse operations
  • Optimized route planning for delivery vehicles
  • Barcoding and labeling capabilities

A WMS with advanced forecasting capabilities can also offer predictive analytics to help you better plan inventory levels for the future.

Preventative Maintenance Software

Do you effectively track and manage the maintenance of your manufacturing equipment? Preventive maintenance software helps you ensure that machines are properly maintained and running in peak condition – avoiding unexpected downtime.

The features of a preventive maintenance solution can include:

  • Automatically generated work orders for regular inspections
  • Real-time status updates to maintain visibility into equipment performance
  • Historical records of maintenance activities
  • Detailed reporting capabilities

Here’s some top functionality you should be searching for on a preventive maintenance software.

Two smartphone screens showing a maintenance app interface. The left screen displays a schedule for weekly maintenance, and the right screen shows a detailed task:

Quality Management Systems (QMS)

Designed for manufacturing companies, QMS software manages quality-related processes and ensures compliance with industry regulations and standards. And when combined with preventive maintenance, QMS can help you identify defects and potential issues before they become more significant problems.

The features of a QMS solution often include:

  • Robust document control capabilities to ensure compliance
  • Training modules to educate employees on quality standards
  • Quality assurance tools for tracking performance and identifying failures
  • Advanced reporting features for measuring performance trends.

QMS helps improve quality and allows you to track production costs and profitability. This, in turn, helps increase efficiency and optimize resources.

Digital Work Instructions Software

Each of the above manufacturing software solutions is important in its own way, but each seeks to achieve the same goal: to facilitate the manufacturing process and ensure its success.

For this, it’s essential to consider a key manufacturing software solution that enables all parts of the process to work together – and that’s Work Instructions.

Work instructions provide a detailed guide for manufacturing operations and can be used with all types of manufacturing software. Traditionally done via paper, work instructions have gone digital in recent years thanks to technological advances.

Work instructions enable better communication between production, operations, and the design and engineering teams. By allowing workers to quickly access information about a product, work instructions help reduce errors, improve efficiency, and increase productivity.

When implemented effectively, work instructions can offer a method to:

  • Standardize Processes: Work instructions create a standard for all employees to follow, reducing variations in task execution and ensuring consistent output. For instance, if a worker needs to assemble the same parts in the exact same order hundreds of times, having a work instructions will help them complete the task quickly and accurately.
  • Improve Quality: When employees have an accurate guide to follow, it helps them identify mistakes early on and take corrective action before it affects product quality. This prevents costly errors from making it into the final product.
  • Enhance Safety: Providing clear, step-by-step guidance reduces the risk of accidents, product defects, and equipment damage due to operator error or lack of information. When your team understands how to complete a task, they are better equipped to avoid preventable hazards.
  • Reduce Training Time: Having a set of clear work instructions simplifies the training process, enabling new employees to adapt quickly to their roles and responsibilities. For those already familiar with the process, work instructions are a great reference to have on hand.

Work instructions can lay a bedrock for all of your manufacturing processes. But, to get the most out of them, you need a powerful software tool to handle complex operations and scale your business as it grows.

The Benefits of A Comprehensive Manufacturing Software Solution

Juggling a suite of different manufacturing software tools can lead to data silos, complex processes, and a lack of visibility across the entire operation. This can lead to inefficiencies that seriously limit your production potential.

By using a comprehensive software platform like Azumuta, you can avoid these issues and reap the benefits that come with it. You get unified data insights into all aspects of your business—from maintenance to quality and operations—allowing you to make better decisions about the manufacturing process.

Built around the vital concept of work instructions, Azumuta also allows you to create and designate step-by-step instructions for any task or job. Seamlessly integrate these instructions into processes, update them as needed, and ensure everyone works from the same set of rules. This helps promote quality control and consistency across the entire operation.

Azumuta also offers advanced features that integrate with ERP systems and offer a wide range of features, which include:

  • Preventive Maintenance Options: Azumuta helps manufacturers to plan and schedule maintenance activities, reducing the rate of equipment breakdowns and extending machinery life.
  • Quality Management: The software provides tools for managing quality-related processes, monitoring compliance with industry standards, and generating custom reports on quality performance.
  • Work Instructions: As mentioned above, Azumuta offers an integrated work instruction module that simplifies creating, updating, and distributing detailed task instructions to employees.
  • Time Study: The platform enables manufacturers to analyze the time taken to complete tasks, identify bottlenecks, and implement measures to improve efficiency. For example, it can help identify how much time is spent on different processes and assign more resources to speed up production.
  • Skill Management: Azumuta helps companies to identify skills gaps in their workforce, enabling them to source the right talent and provide targeted training to current employees. Ensure your staff has the skills and knowledge required to complete the job.

Enhance Your Systems with Modern Solutions

The advancements in manufacturing ERP software enables firms to streamline operations, improve quality control, and optimize resources.

But trying to add each solution piecemeal can be time-consuming and costly. Rather than attempt to build a house of cards with various software applications, manufacturers should look for an integrated solutions and platforms.

Investing in a full-spectrum manufacturing software solution means that your business can benefit from an array of features, like work instructions, quality management tools, time study options, and skill management functionality.

With the right software, manufacturers can ensure products are made on time and to spec – every time.

Learn More About Azumuta’s Digital Work Instructions

Here’s the first step to have a paperless factory

Learn more

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