Profitability in job shop manufacturing relies on efficiency, accuracy, and above all, organization. Small-scale manufacturing and custom batch jobs present a unique set of challenges, not the least of which being profit management in such an unpredictable space. Job shops must take every precaution to avoid inaccurate information, unforeseen expenses and skewed profit margins.
Before the introduction of sophisticated management platforms, manufacturers were limited to maintaining exhaustive paper records or complicated spreadsheets, which not only proved time consuming, but also created a perfect storm for lost data and misinformation. Job shop management software is not new per se, but recent strides in job shop platforms have made modern software options virtually indispensable among industry leaders.
Read on to learn 10 ways these advanced program suites can accelerate productivity, reduce waste, and improve your bottom line.
- Accurate Accounting and Estimating Tools
Some job shops might feel content to stick to their Quickbooks or Excel sheets to manage their workflow, and learning a new platform can be difficult to justify when processes are already in place. However, many modern job shop suites offer simple integration with Quickbooks and Excel, allowing managers to feed data into the platform in a familiar way, but with the numerous added advantages of a more sophisticated software platform.
From streamlined accounting and cost calculation, support for customer records and comprehensive record keeping, job shop platforms offer a custom suite to improve all the moving parts of your business, with minimal ramp-up time.
- Schedule Management
Scheduling is a challenge even among the most seasoned job shops. When it comes to anticipating change in a customer’s order, machines malfunctioning or just routine repair and maintenance, there is little room for error. A machine shop needs software that can account for the persistent change that is typical to the industry, and the advanced planning and scheduling systems native to these platforms allow for seamless integration with your other ERP point solutions. Adaptive, comprehensive information is the cornerstone of efficiency in this industry, and advanced job shop software can help take the guesswork out of productivity.
- Inventory Control
Proper inventory management is vital to meeting customer demand. With the help of current software, job shops can leverage robust inventory control features to streamline their processes and increase productivity.
Program suites offer tools designed to detail inventory supply chain issues and manage everything from raw materials to special components. With visibility into every step of the supply chain, owners can trust their data and manage processes with confidence.
- Order Tracking
When quotes turn into orders, job shops need to be able to track the entire process. Shop program suites make this easy by allowing users to build visual project routings, generate work orders, plan labor, and track engineering changes. Integrated software functions are designed to help owners track sales orders and ensure timely delivery.
- Creating Invoices
Every job shop wants to get paid in a consistent and timely format. Since many job shop software options are integrated with ERP systems, they provide all the tools necessary for sending invoices, running financial reports, accepting payments and more. Intuitive job costing software can also recalculate when data, like unanticipated invoice amounts, are entered into the system.
- Tools for Managing Work in Progress
Software solutions make manufacturing automation easy through the use of work-in-progress (WIP) codes. By collecting WIP data, job shops can track the present status, history and preventative maintenance schedule for their machinery. Some floor control programs are even designed specifically to track work in progress.
- Real-Time Job-Specific Updates
Software suites can provide shop managers with real-time information and up-to-date reporting on specific jobs. By providing increased visibility, these programs can facilitate better decision making and a smoother assembly cycle. To improve the process, most suites can be integrated with remote laptops and mobile devices.
- Track Product Safety and Compliance
Of course, safety and compliance are paramount when it comes to overseeing a job shop. Some software suites offer customizable functions that can help managers track product safety for their industries. This can help job shops make sure that their manufacturing stays up to the standards that their clients and the industry demand.
- Managing Employee Payroll
One of the most important expectations of job shop software is that it can also make payroll processing a breeze. Owners will appreciate the efficiency and organizational benefits of having all of their accounting needs seamlessly integrated with their other necessities, housed conveniently within one software suite.
- Software Developed for Specific Industries
Not all job shops are the same. That’s why different shop software providers target different industries. Most suites can be put into the category of manufacturing resource planning (MRP) or machine execution systems (MES). However, there are other options available as well. In addition, many programs are designed specifically to meet the needs of small- to medium-sized manufacturers. With so many choices available, any shop should be able to find the right solutions.
Job shops have to deal with a lot of uncertainty on a daily basis. With so much to worry about, shop owners stand to benefit greatly from a custom management strategy. Job shop software provides a range of comprehensive tools that can change the way a manufacturer does business.
Some managers might doubt the scalability of such program suites – that they are too expensive to be cost effective. But the truth is that modern software solutions pay for themselves by eliminating wasted administrative time, curbing potential data loss and error, and increasing shop productivity and profitability. So in practice, can a job shop really afford not to?