Nowadays, more and more manufacturers choose to diversify their sales channels, go directly-to-consumers via online stores, and cut the middleman to see bigger profits.
This approach is evidently appealing for many, especially since the hit of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consumers want to be able to buy online, straight from producers, at affordable prices, without compromising quality.
Selling D2C isn’t as straightforward as it may seem for manufacturers, however. It comes with several challenges and modern entrepreneurs must optimize processes, adopt the right business tools, and implement smart manufacturing software, in order to meet demand and adapt to the ever-changing market.
This article will discuss the most important factors to take into account before choosing what type of software to implement in your manufacturing business.
Table of Contents
Your business needs
What is the reason you are looking into manufacturing software? Don’t start looking before you are sure what it is you need help with. Identify and list your main struggles and how you imagine digital technology can help you simplify them. Whether it’s managing raw materials, cutting waste, or organizing data, it’s crucial to stay focused and have a specific and measurable goal in mind.
Try to seek tools that offer the specific features in your interest. Don’t fall for the tools that offer a myriad of functionalities that you most probably will never use. You’ll still have to pay a hefty fee, regardless. Instead, focus on integration options. It’s important for your manufacturing software to act as your single point of truth. This means it should be able to integrate with your other business essentials such as your ecommerce platform (e.g. Shopify, Woocommerce), marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy), accounting tools (QuickBooks, Xero), or shipping tools (Ship2Station). Ideally, the software should offer an API too.
You can count on one hand the manufacturing tools that offer quality customer support. Customer support availability is a non-negotiable factor for you, as you’ll need advice on implementation, help along the way, support with new features and so on. Customer support agents are also usually ready to offer clever workarounds in order to make sure you can create specific workflows and make your life easier.
SaaS vs. On-Premises
Large manufacturing companies might benefit from on-premises, heavy solutions, but for small- and medium-sized businesses a cloud-based (SaaS) solution is the way to go. You won’t need to install anything on your computer, you’ll be able to access the software on the go, from any device, keep everything in sync, in real-time with other tools, and make use of automatic updates. You’ll pay a monthly fee, which in most cases is reasonable, instead of an expensive one-time payment, followed by additional fees for updates.
All in all, it’s vital to do your due diligence, analyze competing offers available on the market and make use of the free trials to test functionality and ease of use. The right manufacturing software will help you optimize your production, improve productivity, cut costs, minimize waste, and ultimately, increase profitability.