Manufacturing Software for Small Businesses: 10-Feature Checklist & Suggestions

Selecting the best manufacturing software for small businesses is a challenging task. You should take into account various aspects such as your objectives, business requirements, industry-specific workflows, budget and the necessary features. Let’s dive in to figure out what you need and what you can benefit from an ideal manufacturing software.

Read more: How ERP Accounting Software Elevates Finance Management

manufacturing software for small business Havi Technology Pty Ltd

Does your business need manufacturing software?

1. Consider the software’s benefits

Provide real-time data

One of the best features of ERP manufacturing software is that it records data from all departments that mostly operate as separate entities. This allows you to acquire detailed analytics and make necessary adjustments to achieve better outcomes. For instance, small businesses lose $260,000 every hour on average due to manufacturing downtime. But suppose your company can track excess inventory and anticipate shortages before they cause a production hiccup. Alternatively, you can monitor machine performance in real-time to spot possible malfunctions before they affect delivery schedules.

Specifically, to address bottlenecks, you can employ real-time analytics in supply chains, manufacturing floors, accounting, and inventory management, among other areas. Say, to fulfil orders, a food business needs raw ingredients like eggs, milk, flour, fruit, and more. It can prevent stockouts or overstocking of these materials by using real-time data and analytics. It can also stop using expired ingredients or prevent company foreclosures.

Enhances customer service

Accurate data is one of the first things that many small businesses notice when they use manufacturing software. Errors and unhappy customers are significantly reduced when inventory, materials, progress, scheduling, and shipment are all visible. 90% of online shoppers regularly track the status of their shipments daily. Fortunately, the right software provides accurate inventory updates and automated order tracking for a better customer experience.

Read more: Top 5 ERP Software For Small Businesses In Australia

Reduces costs

A well-selected manufacturing software can help you save money by automation and keeping an eye on all aspects of your finances. Accordingly, it helps to minimise errors, inventory surpluses or deficits; track costs and write-offs, and lowering operating costs. Of course, by freeing up labour for other uses, a system that saves the most time will also save you a ton of money.

Grow your small business

Growing businesses require increased manpower, storage capacity, time, and marketing resources. The majority of manufacturing software aims to maximise your current assets and create additional room. An appropriate software, for instance, could enable you to make the most of your warehouse space and store more inventory without needing to increase the size of your building or make additional storage purchases. To put it briefly, they're all made to support corporate growth.

Streamlines and simplifies

The software streamlines and simplifies your business activities by providing a real-time view of all your primary procedures in only one system. This often includes consolidating all of your core operations under a single software solution rather than using multiple ones. Additionally, it establishes a unified software training programme for all departments, creating a central point for the entire organisation.

2. Consider what you need

#1 How are you managing your manufacturing business?

More than 70% of small businesses tend to invest in technology to increase productivity and efficiency in 2022. Many people looking to replace their in-house systems with new software solutions. It's time to put the new software into practice if you're searching for a more sophisticated, customisable solution that goes beyond Excel and other tools you've outgrown.

Read more: 6 Ways Construction Software Transforms Your Project Delivery

best erp for small manufacturing business Havi Technology Pty Ltd

The good news is that your current stack will assist you in selecting the appropriate software. The majority of new solutions are designed to assist you in moving from simpler tools to fully functional software solutions. For example, when switching from Excel to a new software, you’ll want to select one that’s compatible with Excel input. Otherwise, you might have to spend a ton of time rebuilding databases from scratch. To maintain your current databases, make sure that you choose an option that enables a smooth transition.

#2 What is your detailed manufacturing process?

To winnow your selection, dive into your manufacturing process. There are software solutions that are designed specifically for precise manufacturing modes, such as discrete, process, or mixed-mode manufacturing.

However, choosing a solution that is not mode-specific also works well. If your business engages in process manufacturing, for instance, your software should include extra management features to assist you in organising, classifying, and manufacturing formula-based goods. It should also include extra solutions to streamline process-specific needs, like meeting federal compliance standards and ensuring lot traceability.

#3 What are the unique requirements of your industry?

Considering your industry’s characteristics can help make some specific issues easier to understand. For many businesses, important aspects to keep in mind when choosing software are industry regulations, security requirements, and safety legislation. For instance, if your company specialises in aerospace manufacturing, you will need to consider some special factors such as the ISO AS9100 compliance.

manufacturing erp for small business Havi Technology Pty Ltd

#4 How much is your budget?

One more important step is to decide on a software adoption budget. This seems easy enough, but with any significant software integration, expenses can be a little misleading. Long-term costs could result from manufacturing software that first appears to be inexpensive. The ROI of your software is what you should be genuinely thinking about.

It is not recommended to be concerned about the initial cost of manufacturing software implementation, which can range from thousands to millions of dollars. Rather, you should calculate the ROI by subtracting your expected returns from the upfront spend. You can speak to our experts to better understand all the costs associated with ERP manufacturing software. 

Licencing is one of the major costs that you must also take into account. There are two main types of licence fees for ERP manufacturing software. The first one is cloud-based ERPs, which are usually paid for on a per-user, per-month basis. Second is on-premise ERPs, which are usually paid with a significant, one-time licencing charge. Cloud-based ERPs are frequently a more affordable option for businesses with fewer employees or who only need to grant licences to several key persons.

10 Key functionalities of manufacturing ERP for small businesses

best manufacturing software for small business Havi Technology Pty Ltd

1. Product lifecycle management (PLM)

Manufacturing software helps integrate your product development efforts with supply chain and business planning tools. This way, you can get a comprehensive understanding of the full product lifecycle. The centralisation and organisation of product data, including drawings, bills of materials (BOMs), manufacturing instructions, and specifications, is a crucial capability of PLM in manufacturing software. 

Moreover, your cross-functional teams in product development and manufacturing may collaborate and communicate with ease thanks to manufacturing software. They will be able to work together in real-time and monitor development at every phase of the product lifecycle. As a result, more efficient communication shortens lead times, minimises errors, and speeds up decision-making. With these PLM capabilities, you can maximise productivity, cut expenses, and provide cutting-edge products that live up to customer expectations.

2. Bill of materials (BOM)

Managing BOM is important to precisely trace the components and assembly procedures needed to generate final goods. By eliminating production delays and minimising waste, this feature guarantees that all required resources are available when needed. Your business can maximise the purchasing operations and bargain for better pricing from suppliers with a well-organised bill of materials.

3. Production scheduling & planning

If upper management requested that you launch a specific product tomorrow, how would you respond? Can you reply to the request quickly and precisely, or would it take hours to modify the current configuration? A great manufacturing ERP software enables you to provide a prompt, in-depth schedule in response to this query. Thus, you may easily verify the condition of your goods by running an enquiry. When you have enough on hand, you can fulfil right away. If not, you can look through the open purchase orders and respond with a precise estimate of when the material will be delivered. 

4. Maintenance & quality control

Quality control capability helps with monitoring and maintenance of product quality throughout the manufacturing process. It allows your business to quickly detect and address problems, and consistently satisfy your customers. 

Additionally, the software monitors all levels of the process and uses alarm mechanisms to track maintenance procedures. By increasing the life of critical assets and decreasing downtime, integrated maintenance tools assist you in planning and monitoring equipment maintenance. Your small firm can minimise costly repairs and ensure efficient production processes by proactively addressing potential equipment faults.

5. Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

You can organise your production schedule and allocate the required resources following it thanks to the MRP feature. In addition to handling requests and utilising barcode technology and BOM management, it enables your producers to manage inventories and help users forecast their future material needs.

This is a crucial capability, particularly for small firms that must maximise productivity while operating on a limited budget. By precisely estimating demand and comparing it to available resources, you can minimise overproduction, lower the cost of inventory storage, and enhance the cash flow.

6. Inventory management

Keeping track of your stock, products, purchase orders, finished goods, raw materials, and general control are all part of inventory management. Just-in-time, material requirement planning (MRP), and inventory management are key components of modern manufacturing ERP software that enable effective stock management.

7. Shop floor management

The backbone of any manufacturing business is a well-run shop floor. The manufacturing software streamlines your production by giving employees access to process instructions via a variety of media types, including documentation, drawings, or videos. Workers can report job statuses more efficiently by touch screen log-in and task management. Supervisors can use mobile devices to assign workers to equipment remotely, keep an eye on shop floor worker productivity, and track production status in real-time. 

8. Analytics & business intelligence

ERP systems provide role-based dashboards with KPIs that are customised for each user, as well as real-time data. This makes it easier to make knowledge-based decisions in a variety of commercial domains. Users can customise reports to meet unique needs and drill down for detailed insights thanks to the environment rich in data. Strategic planning is guided by patterns and trends from analytics and business intelligence, which help identify opportunities and areas for your business improvement. 

9. Accounting and financial management

Manufacturing ERP solutions provide you with complete business management. Through real-time reports and business intelligence integrations, the finance and accounting management capability robustly tracks all financial activities and documents. This enables upper management to effectively oversee the procedure and devise the next tactics.

10. Other system integrations

It is essential to streamline operations and have a complete view of your business. Streamlining is possible when it seamlessly integrates with your other systems like accounting, CRM, or HRM. By doing this, you can increase the business’s data accuracy, decrease manual data entry, and make better decisions in the future.

5 Best software for small manufacturing businesses

1. Odoo Inventory & MRP

manufacturing erp software small business Havi Technology Pty Ltd

Odoo is a one-stop shop for modern manufacturing businesses. From the shop floor to the storefront, everything is effortlessly integrated by this cloud-based ERP. It specifically enables scalability, agility, and a single, real-time picture of your company. In addition to streamlining sales, inventory, and production, Odoo breaks down silos, provides real-time data, and optimises each step of the manufacturing process.

2. Katana MRP

manufacturing scheduling software for small business Havi Technology Pty Ltd

For small to medium-sized enterprises who wish to oversee their production process from beginning to end, Katana is the ideal MRP software. It has functions including factory scheduling, inventory control and management, and real-time production progress tracking.

3. Fishbowl Manufacturing

Another complete manufacturing software solution is Fishbowl Manufacturing. Work order management, bill of materials, and inventory management are some of its notable features. The solution can be a little pricey, but for those who want to scale, it's a good option.

4. Oracle NetSuite

small business erp manufacturing Havi Technology Pty Ltd

Growing manufacturers may control, optimise, and monitor all aspects of their operations in one place with the help of Oracle NetSuite, a manufacturing cloud ERP. It connects the shop floor to the top floor, integrating your whole company for quick decision-making and a cohesive picture of your accomplishments.

5. Sage 100

Sage 100 is an ERP manufacturing software designed for small-to-midsize firms, regardless of whether they specialise in specialist fabrication or basic assembly. This intuitive solution simplifies processes, increases output, and provides insightful data to strengthen your manufacturing company.

A couple of last words

A lot of great manufacturing software for small businesses is available in the market. However, the most suitable one will rely on your specific business needs (i.e. manufacturing workflows) and budget. Therefore, it’s advisable to do as much research as you can and compare the potential options.

Lastly, we highly recommend taking advantage of free trials, product tours, or software demos so you can have a real-time experience before committing to it. If needed, leave us a quote for a comprehensive software selection and adoption process.


Stay on schedule, reduce project risks, and boost profitability with greater precision and control

You might also like

How well do you know about the ERP companies' ecosystem ? Selecting an ERP system is more than just ...

Read more

Are you wondering how construction software drives your projects ahead? Okland Construction , a more...

Read more

Before you start another " top 5 project management software " search, let's cut through the noise a...

Read more