Rich Dale
Written by Rich Dale
18 11 2020

What is cloud manufacturing software?

Affordable, modular software is available to small manufacturing businesses looking to overhaul their processes, reduce costs and minimise risks. 

Cloud manufacturing software is an excellent solution for decreasing confusion and manual effort at your firm, while enhancing customer satisfaction. 

But how can you decide on the most suitable cloud manufacturing software for your business?

We’re no longer in the era of ‘one-size-fits-all’ platforms 

Different firms have different business processes. This means they need the most appropriate types of software for their needs. A standardised platform that requires major customisation and significant reorganisation in order to lock its complete functionality is simply no longer good enough. 

The range of types of manufacturing company out there – with their varying processes and demands – further complicates the task of coming up with the right software to cater to these needs. 

At a high level, a cloud manufacturing platform should: 

  • Provide information about current orders 
  • Enable the planning and execution of manufacturing tasks 
  • Allow the tracking of time, materials and activities for each order 
  • Forecast material needs and issue purchase orders 
  • Schedule production 
  • Monitor wastage and problems in relation to delays and defects 
  • Connect to other business processes like sales, stock and finance 
  • Provide all-round visibility of your firm’s manufacturing operations 

Choosing a cloud solution grants you further advantages such as ease of access, an intuitive interface, and integration with other platforms like finance or CRM. Flowlens software, for instance, combines CRM and manufacturing platforms within one solution.

Pick the software that caters to your firm’s manufacturing style 

Various forms of cloud manufacturing software exist to suit different styles. Lower-volume manufacturing businesses naturally differ from high-volume businesses in their requirements. There are also differences between the requirements of equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and component manufacturers, unless the former produces everything in-house. 

The Flowlens cloud manufacturing platform is largely geared towards the needs of small and medium-sized equipment manufacturers and dealers. This focus enables us to provide the most capable and relevant possible product for these businesses. 

While there is other cloud manufacturing software on the market that is said to support multiple manufacturing modes, you will often discover that even these platforms originate from one specific process.

Determine the most suitable product for your business 

To begin to narrow down your options for cloud manufacturing software, ask yourself what form your business processes take. Alternatively, think of it in terms of what your firm’s value chain is. Identify the steps that occur in your business that allow you to generate value for your customers. 

Mapping out these steps using a whiteboard or flowcharting tool will make it easier for you to distinguish between suitable and not-so-suitable cloud manufacturing software systems.

Download our free eBook today that will help you to select the right software for your organisation. You can also review our customer case studies, request a demo or begin a no-obligation free trial of the Flowlens software to discover what a transformative effect it could have on your business. 

Interested to find out how Flowlens Cloud MRP & CRM could transform your business?
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