3 Types of Software that Give Manufacturing Firms a Competitive Edge

In many developed countries, the manufacturing sector is a significant contributor to total GDP and is a large employer of the national workforce. Manufacturing firms increasingly need to compete with overseas companies that are in the same sector, but this may be difficult in circumstances where a competitor benefits from lower labour costs or other economic advantages. The manufacturing sector in the developed world will typically need to pay higher wages to its staff than in a developing economy and must therefore look for other ways to stay competitive.

Thankfully, many modern manufacturing firms are incorporating the latest technology to allow them to remain competitive. Often, this comes in the form of software packages and platforms that can help to streamline various processes and manufacturing activities.

In this article, three types of software packages will be discussed that are commonly used in manufacturing. Each of these will allow the firm to gain a competitive edge over its rivals.

Inventory management solutions

It is recognized that most manufacturing firms, regardless of their size or scope of operations, will hold high levels of inventory and specialist equipment. Efficient control of your inventory can be challenging; however, software solutions are available to streamline this process.

For example, manufacturing firms can use software that produces a bar code generator. All inventory can then be cataloged into company IT systems with information on the locations of each asset. This is incredibly important to ensure that efficient inventory management takes place and that a firm has a comprehensive picture of the stock and equipment that it holds.

Manufacturing firms that operate from multiple sites can use a bar code scanning system to ensure that inventory does not get lost or misplaced when it moves from location to location.

CAD platforms

Computer-aided design (CAD) has helped to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. One of the key advantages of this software is that it can save time in the design stage of product or component manufacture.

Traditionally, skilled technical drawing staff were required to create accurate prototype sketches, and this could be a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. Today, the design is created on the computer, with changes or modifications not requiring a complete re-design.

When the prototype design is approved, it can be sent from the CAD platform to various machinery or even a 3D printer to create a working model. Put simply, CAD platforms save time and money for manufacturing firms whilst ensuring that the final product is produced to exact specifications.

Predictive maintenance algorithms

Briefly, it is important to understand that factory production lines will need to be maintained and upgraded, occasionally requiring new parts. Previously, managers would only know when maintenance or repair work was needed when a component failed and halted the production line process. However, today predictive maintenance algorithms are increasingly used to determine when routine maintenance will be required before there are any production delays. This allows a firm to plan for downtime on its lines and ensure that operational efficiencies are maximized.