Different companies have different needs and priorities. However, some common themes seem to emerge across small- and mid-sized manufacturing companies.
For example, many companies struggle to manually reconcile invoices when many different raw materials are involved. The process can be incredibly time-consuming, mentally-draining, and fraught with errors.
By introducing technology that provides for automated invoice reconciliation, a company benefits from applying optical character recognition (OCR) technology to assist with processing line items. This kind of automation saves a ton of time when processing invoices and creating entries in the accounting system.
In some companies, manufacturing systems, sales systems, and customer relationship management (CRM), are tightly integrated. Because of this, you can easily know the cost of a product and all the work involved. Other manufacturing companies, however, completely lack this visibility, so it is a common occurrence for lots of organizational friction to occur between manufacturing staff and sales staff.
Other companies face similar challenges around automating quality assurance (QA) processes.
When this happens, workers will use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (or Google Spreadsheets) to capture QA information. However, because spreadsheets are not designed for this purpose, manufacturing companies are often capturing incorrect or inconsistent information.
If your spreadsheets become too complicated, to the point where you need a spreadsheet expert to continue duct-taping together workarounds, you likely are at the point where you need a more robust solution for automating how QA information is communicated throughout your company.
Finally, in manufacturing companies that resist process automation, human error is a big problem. Sometimes items are missing within batches. Other times dimensions are recorded inconsistently. When the manufacturing hardware is integrated with the MRP, most of these problems go away almost immediately.
What software automation challenges has your manufacturing company faced? Share your comments below.