Find the best Manufacturing Project Management Software
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Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP
Businesses in the manufacturing industry need to have well-oiled project management processes to keep their manufacturing and supply chain operations smooth. They need to be able to manage the fast paced activities of their crew on production floors as well as track equipment and raw materials.
While enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools on the market can help manage these functions, they can also be an overkill, especially for small or midsize manufacturers, given the breadth of organizational processes they are designed to support.
Instead, manufacturers can make do with project management solutions that help them in effectively scheduling tasks and tracking employee production hours and equipment inventory.
That said, choosing the right project management solution needs businesses to put in time and effort in software research. However, not all manufacturing businesses have the time to do this.
If you're such a business, this buyers guide will help you get started on all the information you need to make the right software choice.
Here's what we'll cover:
What is manufacturing project management software?
Manufacturing project management software is a tool designed to help a manufacturing company with managing projects, resource allocation, task tracking, team collaboration, and generating business intelligence reports. The tool comes with features such as Gantt charts, Kanban boards, built-in reporting dashboards, and shared team workspaces.
A thing to note is that this software is different from a manufacturing execution system, which comes with features such as production planning, materials requirement analysis, and quality management.
Tracking project reports in NetSuite OpenAir (Source)
Common features of manufacturing project management software
Manufacturing project management software comes with features that help businesses effectively plan projects planning and track employee performance.
Plan projects using Gantt charts to visualize task interdependencies and estimate the time and resources (people and machinery) required to complete a project.
Understand the availability and skill set of employees and assign tasks accordingly.
Track the flow and stock of raw materials and the availability of equipment on the production floor.
Track the status of tasks (in progress/completed) on different dashboards, such as Kanban or a digital calendar.
Store and organize different project documents, such as product designs, client contracts, and project proposals, in a centralized online library.
Track the time taken by employees to complete specific tasks to understand their performance and productivity levels.
Allow different teams to view project-related information, share documents, and communicate via a built-in live chat app, shared activity dashboards, and task comments.
Reporting and analytics
View analytics of employee performance and project ROI on built-in dashboards.
What type of buyer are you?
To make the right manufacturing project management software choice you need to know which buyer category you belong to. Below are two categories that will help you in your software evaluation.
Small and midsize businesses: These buyers are generally concerned about the cost of software as an expensive one can be an added expense and a strain on their limited software budget. The best option for these businesses is to opt for a cloud-based tool that is easy on the wallet as it typically costs less than the upfront investment required for an on-premise product.
Large businesses: These buyers are concerned about advanced capabilities such as project portfolio management to effectively manage the project allocations for their massive teams. Another important point for large businesses is relevant third-party integrations, such as with dedicated manufacturing solutions, inventory software, and accounting tools.
Benefits of manufacturing project management software
Below are some of the most notable benefits of manufacturing project management software.
Gain visibility into project bottlenecks: Manufacturing project management software offers planning tools such as Gantt charts, which help you visualize project timelines and understand how a project will impact your resources. As a result, you are able to identify any bottlenecks that can cause project delays and make the necessary adjustments to ensure all projects run smoothly.
Improve team collaboration: Manufacturing project management software comes with communication and document management features that foster team collaboration. Different teams—engineers, manufacturing designers, and project managers—can be on the same page regarding tasks by commenting on shared activity dashboards and tracking project documents on a single location. Team members can also quickly clarify doubts or share important project information via chat channels, which save everyone's valuable time and effort.
Key considerations when selecting manufacturing project management software
When buying manufacturing project management software, you need to have the following most important considerations in mind.
Do you need a dedicated manufacturing system? While a manufacturing project management tool helps you in planning and utilizing project resources more effectively, it's not a replacement for a dedicated manufacturing software such as a product lifecycle management or production scheduling tool. Dedicated manufacturing tools offer specialized capabilities relevant to manufacturing. For instance, while manufacturing project management solutions will allow you to create digital repositories of documents, product lifecycle management tools will come with CAD applications for creating product design documents. Likewise, production scheduling tools will offer more robust reporting and analysis capabilities, helping you create "what if" scenarios for predicting project outcomes.
Do you understand the total cost of the software? Manufacturing project management solutions are available for on-premise as well as cloud deployments. Typically, the cost difference between is quite apparent, however, what businesses need to check for are hidden costs such as data migration fees, training costs, and priority phone support fees. These costs can vary from vendor to vendor, so the best way to understand the total cost of a solution is to ask the vendor detailed questions about all costs during the software demo.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and isn't intended as an endorsement or a recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.