Find the best Small Business Manufacturing Software

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NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more about NetSuite

4.2 (1531 reviews)

78 recommendations

Fishbowl

Fishbowl is the #1 manufacturing and warehouse inventory management software! Its powerful inventory control system gives your small or midsize business the exact tools needed to transform your inventory management and scale your ...Read more about Fishbowl

4.2 (894 reviews)

64 recommendations

Global Shop Solutions

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

4.1 (70 reviews)

25 recommendations

DELMIAworks

DELMIAworks (formerly IQMS) 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, and elec...Read more about DELMIAworks

4.1 (288 reviews)

20 recommendations

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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 pur...Read more about REALTRAC

4.1 (68 reviews)

16 recommendations

R4 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 en...Read more about R4 Enterprise

4.5 (4 reviews)

15 recommendations

QT9 ERP

QT9 ERP is a highly-scalable manufacturing platform for connecting and automating business data from multiple systems into one scalable and intuitive solution. QT9 ERP integrates inventory management, accounting management, sales ...Read more about QT9 ERP

4.9 (14 reviews)

13 recommendations

Deskera MRP

Deskera enables fast growing businesses to operate more efficiently by providing them with an integrated platform that connects manufacturing, accounting, erp, inventory and warehouse management, order fulfillment, procurement, sa...Read more about Deskera MRP

3.7 (3 reviews)

12 recommendations

Visual EstiTrack

Henning Software has helped small to midsize manufacturers and job shops for 30 years. Visual EstiTrack ERP has complete material requirements planning, product lifecycle, supply chain, customer relationship, human resource and ma...Read more about Visual EstiTrack

4.8 (11 reviews)

9 recommendations

Aquilon ERP

Aquilon Software offers a combined supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, and financial management system that is deployable either on the cloud or on-premise. All modules integrate with each other, allowing users to gain full...Read more about Aquilon ERP

4.6 (51 reviews)

7 recommendations

ProfitKey

ProfitKey is an on-premise manufacturing management solution for small and midsize manufacturers and job shops. It caters to various manufacturing industries including aerospace, defence, automotive, capital equipment, electronics...Read more about ProfitKey

4.3 (13 reviews)

7 recommendations

Mar-Kov

Mar-Kov provides the best manufacturing software for batch and process manufacturers in the market. Companies turn to Mar-Kov when: • Their business outgrows excel sheets and are looking to manage their growing production. • T...Read more about Mar-Kov

5.0 (6 reviews)

7 recommendations

FactoryLogix MES

FactoryLogix is a manufacturing solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include manufacturing execution, quality management, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, supplier management, asset man...Read more about FactoryLogix MES

4.8 (15 reviews)

6 recommendations

ION

ION by First Resonance accelerates manufacturing for companies building mission-critical applications in hardware. ION reliably move parts, workflows, and data through manufacturing while ensuring accurate data capture at each jun...Read more about ION

4.0 (28 reviews)

4 recommendations

ALERE

ALERE ERP, brought to you by TIW Technology, is a robust, modular manufacturing package that offers accounting, manufacturing, inventory management, CRM, service, analytics, document management, and data acquisition. Designed for ...Read more about ALERE

4.7 (16 reviews)

4 recommendations

Deltek Costpoint

Deltek Costpoint is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) and management solution designed to meet the requirements of midsize and large enterprise businesses. The solution primarily assists government contractors, professional se...Read more about Deltek Costpoint

4.0 (208 reviews)

3 recommendations

BatchMaster ERP

BatchMaster Software offers process manufacturing software solutions for the food, chemical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Users can run the manufacturing application with QuickBooks, Sage 100&300, Microsoft Dynamic...Read more about BatchMaster ERP

4.7 (6 reviews)

3 recommendations

Cetec ERP

Cetec ERP is a manufacturing enterprise resource planning software built for small and medium sized businesses. Cetec ERP's cloud-based software is designed to help these companies efficiently manage all aspects of their manufactu...Read more about Cetec ERP

4.5 (43 reviews)

2 recommendations

Sync

Sync is a cloud-based integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) solution that caters to the apparel and footwear industry. The solution includes various integrated modules that help busin...Read more about Sync

4.9 (19 reviews)

2 recommendations

Exenta

Aptean Apparel Solution isn't just a solution; it's your strategic ally in the Fashion & Apparel industry. Designed to integrate every business aspect seamlessly, it transforms operations, offering real-time visibility and unparal...Read more about Exenta

3.4 (8 reviews)

2 recommendations

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

There are hundreds of software solutions on the market, many of which address every step of operations from product inception to customer delivery. For smaller businesses, however, many solutions are more complex than their needs require. To better help these buyers, we've narrowed down the manufacturing software market to focus on those solutions ideal for small businesses only (manufacturers with $10 million or less in annual revenue).

In this buyers guide, we'll cover:

What is Small Business Manufacturing Software?

A small business manufacturing software solution provides various modules, such as bills of material (BOM), manufacturing resource planning (MRP), work jobs, sales orders, purchasing and inventory, to small-sized businesses. The system addresses the major requirements of the overall manufacturing process workflow, which is the core of small businesses.

Common Reasons Small Manufacturers Shop for New Software

Many small manufacturing firms contact us for advice as they search for new software solutions. Some are replacing manual methods and have never implemented a software solution before, while others are looking to upgrade to a new system with greater functionality. The most common reasons prospective buyers cite when looking for manufacturing software for small businesses is that they’re:

  • Transitioning away from manual methods (e.g., pen and paper);

  • Outgrowing an older system;

  • Seeking additional functionality or

  • Needing a system that’s more user-friendly.

While the reasons abound, the systems and features that address these issues are also plentiful. We do find however, that most small businesses require one or more of these basic capabilities:

Feature

Function

Benefit

Material requirements planning (MRP)

MRP systems are used for tracking and organizing production materials and monitoring the flow of labor and equipment. These systems can also be used to help reduce shipping and receiving errors by processing advanced shipping notifications from suppliers and reporting changes in cycle counts for inventory management.

Automates the initial phases of the production process.

Manufacturing execution system (MES)

An MES is used to provide manufacturing managers with real-time reporting from the shop floor in order to assist with decision-making about the production process. Additional MES functions include production and labor tracking, equipment utilization and scrap reporting.

Provides a real-time window into shop floor operations.

Manufacturing accounting

Manufacturing accounting systems include standard accounting features such as inventory, payroll and accounts receivable, but also come with more manufacturing-focused capabilities such as sales and purchase orders, work-in-progress reports and job costing modules.

Manages manufacturing-specific financial transactions and operations.

Supply chain management (SCM)

While the functionality of an SCM system within a manufacturing system will likely be less robust than a standalone SCM system, this feature assists with basic supply chain management, particularly inventory control.

Automates basic supply chain control and alerts users to delays and backlogs.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Within a manufacturing solution for smaller businesses, this function will assist with basic customer service and support, such as troubleshooting and the storage of customer contact information.

Manages all of a company’s customer data and interactions.

Market Trends to Understand

Small manufacturers should always be prepared for unexpected changes in the market and competition from larger enterprises. Here’s a list of the current trends in the small business manufacturing market.

Small manufacturers will develop strategies more aggressively. Small-sized manufacturing companies will try and fight the digital differences that can develop between them and larger enterprises by creating strategies that embrace the latest manufacturing technologies and concepts. To achieve this, they will need to modernize their plant floor equipment and move to advanced manufacturing systems so that they can manage information more efficiently.

The adoption of robots will rise. Among several advanced technologies, small manufacturers are expected to adopt affordable and general-purpose robots. These robots will work in collaboration with the human workforce in a safe and secure manner to transform the overall plant floor activities. Also, concepts such as machine learning and visual analysis, will make it easier to deploy robots in frontline manufacturing roles, make them flexible for various types of work jobs and easier to program for complicated tasks.

Demand will drive production. Earlier, manufacturers used to push work orders to the shop floor, irrespective of the amount of work in line. However, this has now eased and current lean manufacturing practices help shop floors by requesting for a job based on the requirement. Manufacturers are applying the same concept to their high-level output planning by working closely with the sales force and customers. This helps them predict the actual demand for the future and results in lower lead times, fewer inventory items and overall satisfied customers.

Currently, even small business manufacturing software solutions provide capabilities that support demand-driven manufacturing. Hence, small manufacturers that are adopting such systems are on the rise.

Key Considerations for Small Businesses

What level of functionality do you require? The first consideration for a small business evaluating manufacturing software is how much functionality they require in a system. This will differ considerably from business to business, but starting with a clear assessment of your needs will go a long way in determining which system is the best fit.

Some small manufacturing companies may be automating only some operations for the first time, and thus may not require a full suite that includes material requirements planning. For example, a smaller firm may only need bill of materials (BOM) automation, which can be done with certain manufacturing accounting products, such as Peachtree and Quickbooks.

Does your business require an ERP system? Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can be used by small manufacturing companies, but are often a better fit for mid-to-large-sized manufacturing operations due to their complexity and advanced functionality (and often times, cost).

However, there are a number of ERP systems on the market tailor-made for small businesses. These systems offer more functionality than basic manufacturing software, but are easier to implement and operate than the enterprise-level ERP systems on the market.

Which manufacturing mode is specific to your business? Different products are made to support different modes of manufacturing, e.g. repetitive, made to order, mixed mode or another specific process. When evaluating manufacturing software for smaller firms, it’s important to select a product that supports your specific manufacturing type.

Otherwise, you may find yourself struggling to adapt your business processes to software that isn’t adequately designed to handle them.