Production planning – a systematic approach, which helps to calculate and estimate goals and stages of the manufacturing process during the constant changes of multiple factors.
Technological developments have made the production planning process very simple. While there are still manufacturing companies that use pen and paper to make an MRP assessment, most manufacturing companies use one type or another of the software solution.
Read more about Material Requirements Planning (MRP).
Below are three main types of software solutions that small businesses use to plan production.
Excel, Open Office or Google Documents. Spreadsheet software is the ultimate scheduling software used by about 30% of small businesses. The main reason is its availability, low cost or even no cost and ease of use. A good example is Microsoft Excel, which comes with the standard Microsoft Office suite that is often preinstalled on every Windows computer, so it doesn’t cost the business extra.
Also, Excel is a very simple tool to work with, it has a large database of users around the world, so any questions you may have will be answered. Programming macros in Excel also allows you to program some additional features that make production planning easier.
Custom planning software
This includes in-house solutions. Companies that choose to go this route usually have no experience working with Excel or other similar spreadsheet-based software. By creating a solution, the manufacturer thinks to increase the productivity and reliability of its planning department. Another reason why small businesses chose to develop their own tool is that they could save on recurring costs and have complete control over what features are developed.
While the idea of using some software instead of a complex spreadsheet is good, creating completely new scheduling software from scratch can be very difficult. First, it would be necessary for employees to have someone who is knowledgeable enough to manage such development, a programmer or an IT project manager. Second, with customized solutions, there is always a high risk that the person responsible for supporting and developing the program may change position, leaving the company without support.
Specialized production planning software
Professionally designed production planning software for small businesses offers the best of both worlds – it offers all the production planning features a small business needs, and unlike tablet software, it’s fast and reliable.
Today, most MRP software providers use cloud solutions for hosting, which increases performance reliability and speed. It doesn’t matter if the software works with a hundred or a hundred people at a time, it always works fast. Another advantage is that with professionally designed and updated planning software, small businesses can be sure that professional support is always provided. Therefore, they do not need to invest additional resources in their IT department.
When it comes to the cost of such a production planning solution, they are very affordable. Today, small businesses don’t have to break banks by investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in sophisticated and sophisticated ERP solutions like SAP or Epicor to get the same production planning functionality.
Most specialized production planning software providers do not require long-term contracts and small businesses could have a completely free access to test the software.
Some of these solutions are built in-house, others are outsourced from specialized software providers. They may have different prices and functionality, depending on what features the manufacturer needs and is willing to pay for.
Finding the right production planning software for a small business is not an easy task. There are hundreds of well-known solutions available on the market today, all with different visibility and functionality options.
This infographic about Top 7 Mistakes When Searching MRP Software might help.