Finding software can be overwhelming. Metal fabrication software offers production scheduling and inventory management functionality. It helps drive worker efficiency and improve production quality.

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Fishbowl Manufacturing

Fishbowl is a business automation and inventory management platform for small to midsize companies. It integrates with QuickBooks accounting and offers inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) and job shop floor control/manufacturing... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 144 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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NetSuite

NetSuite Manufacturing Edition offers an integrated inventory, warehouse management, accounting and financial management, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), and e-commerce platform. Offered as a cloud-based solution... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 138 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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E2 Shop System

E2 by Shoptech Corporation is a manufacturing solution that offers scheduling, purchasing, shipping, customer management and accounting. It’s designed specifically for job shops, contract and a variety of make-to-order manufacturers. E2... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 57 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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JobBOSS

JobBOSS Shop Management Solutions, an ECi Software Solutions company, is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution built for small and midsize manufacturers in North America. It allows key office and production staff to manage... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 49 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Prodsmart

Prodsmart is a cloud-based real-time production tracking and management solution designed for businesses in the manufacturing and fabrication industries. Features include shop floor real-time data collection, production analysis,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 43 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Global Shop Solutions

Global Shop Solutions offers a One-System ERP software to serve clients across manufacturing industries of all sizes. The multi-modular application comprises of independent modules for customer relationship management, inventory management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 36 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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OptiProERP

OptiProERP is a cloud and on-premise Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for small and midsize discrete manufacturers and distributors. Key features include supply chain management (SCM), purchasing, work orders, scheduling... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 35 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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IQMS ERP Software

IQMS’ flagship product, EnterpriseIQ ERP, is developed specifically for SMB and large discrete, and batch process manufacturers in the aerospace, medical device, automotive, food and beverage, consumer products, plastics, packaging... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 34 recommendations

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ECi M1

ECi M1 is a subscription-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, available on-premise or via the cloud, that automates financials, inventory, production, sales/quoting and production planning. The solution is suitable for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 27 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Henning Visual EstiTrack ERP

Visual EstiTrack ERP is an on-premise solution for small to midsize shops that offers manufacturing execution management, light material requirements planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, customer management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 23 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Sage 100cloud

Sage 100cloud is an ERP platform for growing and medium-sized distributors and manufacturers. Financials, supply chain, reporting, analysis, and collaboration are all part of the mobile-ready solution.  Financial processes within... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Priority

Priority is an on-premise and cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution suitable for midsize to large businesses in many industry segments including manufacturing, apparel, electronics, food and beverage, industrial machinery... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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MIE Trak PRO

MIE Trak Pro is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) offering that is best suited for manufacturing businesses. It includes modules designed to accommodate most production cycles and optimize the capabilities of repetitive, custom,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Infor VISUAL ERP

Infor VISUAL is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System with end-to-end functionality built for manufacturing organizations looking for a complete solution that supports the entire operational lifecycle, from planning to sourcing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Deskera ERP

Deskera ERP is a cloud-based enterprise business management suite that automates sales, billing, fulfillment, distribution (including pick, pack and ship process), sales commission calculations, purchasing, payment processing, product... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Royal 4 Enterprise

Royal 4 Enterprise is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution with built-in modules for distribution, manufacturing, planning, inventory management, reporting and company financials. It serves midsize to large enterprises... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

Platforms: WinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Realtrac

Realtrac is an on-premise job management solution designed for job shop manufacturers and modular machine shops. It helps small and midsize manufacturers to schedule workflows, manage shop operations, track inventories, manage purchases... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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uniPoint Quality Management

uniPoint Quality Management Software is a modular on-premise quality management solution capable of integrating with other ERP systems. Built on Net Technology, a SQL database, and Crystal Reporting, this system is designed to grow... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Made2Manage ERP

Aptean Made2Manage ERP is designed for manufacturers in job shops and dynamic “to-order” and mixed-mode environments. It's suitable for SMB manufacturers in industries like industrial equipment, electronics and fabricated metal,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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WorkWise ERP

WorkWise ERP is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that helps midsize businesses in the manufacturing industry with their management processes and operations. It can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. WorkWise ERP... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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Deployments: On premise
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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: March 14, 2019

Metal fabrication companies use all kinds of hardware technologies—from 2D laser cutting and robotic welding to even 3D printing. However, successful metal fabricators go a step further than just using hi-tech equipment. They also use software to ensure that their teams meet production deadlines and maintain high standards of quality.

Known as metal fabrication software, and part of the larger category of manufacturing systems, these solutions help metal fabricators manage different business operations. A feature of metal fabrication software is inventory management that's used to track materials and equipment located in different facilities.

However, selecting a metal fabrication tool may not always be an easy process because you have to factor in the scale and size of your businesses to find the right tool. In this buyer's guide, we will help you understand the common features of these tools and things you should consider when evaluating software.

Let's get into the details!

Here's what we'll cover

What Is Metal Fabrication Software?
Common Features of Metal Fabrication Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Key Considerations
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Metal Fabrication Software?

Manufacturing businesses (i.e., fabrication shops) need software to handle projects. The software helps them from the time they bid for a contract to the final quality check of the finished product. It also automates inventory tracking, project scheduling, project cost calculation, quoting and bid proposal generation.

interface screenshot of sys pro displaying project costs

Calculating project costs and creating quotations in Syspro

Small businesses that use metal fabrication software will see tangible benefits such as better production planning, faster creation of bid proposals and optimal equipment utilization. The software will also help you eliminate the use of spreadsheets, which are prone to manual errors and waste a ton of employee time.

Common Features of Metal Fabrication Software

In this section, we have shortlisted the wide-ranging features of manufacturing systems. These are the most common functionality that small businesses can expect in metal fabrication software.

Document management Create a centralized file repository of the drawings of product models, change orders, request for information (RFI) and other project-related documents.
Inventory management Automatically sort and track raw materials, stocked items, work-in-progress (WIP) items and finished products using serial or lot numbers.
Estimating and quoting Create project cost summaries by automatically calculating labor and materials costs. Use this information to generate bid proposals.
Production planning and management Understand the status of existing work orders, or assign new ones to employees, on visual dashboards. Also, plan job completions using Gantt charts.
Materials management Calculate the requirement of materials and track the usage of equipment for the optimal utilization of equipment and materials.

While these features are common to most metal fabrication tools, there could be variations in the depth of functionality and ease of use. Also, different vendors offer different integration options. For this reason, it's essential that you fully explore a tool's functionality to assess whether or not it meets your specific business requirements.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Getting the right metal fabrication software for your business means analyzing the size of your organization and your software budget. To help you understand the different categories of buyers in this market, we have divided them into the following types:

  • Full-suite buyers: Large fabrication shops that work on varied projects, such as additive manufacturing, and use robotic automation will have complex needs. They want a one-stop solution for all their manufacturing needs. For instance, a full-suite solution will have built-in CAD tools so that designers can create 3D models for custom fabrication requests.
  • Small manufacturers: These buyers may not need advanced features but are looking to automate their wasteful manual processes. They need an easy-to-use solution that offers inventory management and project tracking so that they can improve their production speed and quality.

Once you identify the category that you fall under, the next step is to think about the type of software you need. Read about these considerations in the next section.

Key Considerations

When you're shopping for software to use in your business, you need to keep certain things in mind such as software deployments and the use of mobile devices. Here are the top considerations to review vendor offerings before you purchase a solution:

  • Deployment options: For small fabrication shops, the ideal deployment would be in the cloud over on-premise due to the high upfront license costs of the latter. On-premise tools require you to handle software maintenance and data backup on your own. Therefore, opt for a cloud-based tool that has a smaller monthly subscription fee and the vendor is typically responsible for software upkeep.
  • Integrations offered: Third-party integrations are important for seamless data transfer between different systems. For example, integrating accounting software will help you create detailed financial reports about your profitability over time, while integrating CAD software will help you import 3D images and drawings. In general, integrations become essential to a small business as it grows and needs more complex systems to meet its requirements.
  • Mobile accessibility: This is important if your employees don't have fixed workstations. For instance, if you have a designer working remotely, then the ability to receive and send drawings on mobile devices makes processes very convenient. Similarly, warehouse workers can log in the information of new inventory from their mobile devices.

Market Trends to Understand

Among the many trends affecting the manufacturing industry, here are some of the most important ones:

Build complex prototypes with 3D printing: Fabrication shops have many uses of metal 3D printing systems that can be integrated with CAD software. This helps them quickly print prototypes and small parts with complicated designs. The technology is especially beneficial for custom fabrication businesses that cater to a wide array of industries such as aerospace and healthcare.

Track inventory easily with smart tagging: Advancements in inventory tagging, such as radio frequency identification (RFID), have solved many challenges of tracking and managing the records of equipment and materials. For instance, a business can monitor the status and availability of equipment remotely with RFID tags. This technology helps metal fabrication shops optimize the stocking of their inventory and prevent theft.

Automate equipment maintenance with Internet of Things (IoT): Manufacturing businesses can use IoT in many ways. For instance, install sensors connected to the internet at the site for automated equipment monitoring. Instead of employees manually checking the health of different systems, the sensors will constantly fetch data and automatically send alerts for any maintenance requirements. With predictive maintenance, businesses can prolong the life of equipment and prevent accidents.