The Best Manufacturing Software of 2021

Our manufacturing software reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 100+ manufacturing software companies from across the web. These reviews and our manufacturing software guide help small businesses and startups find the best manufacturing software for their business.

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How We Chose the Best Manufacturing Software

There are hundreds of manufacturing software solutions available, but we’ve boiled it down to just over a dozen providers that cover most scenarios. While reviewing the best software providers for manufacturing in particular, we assessed each one as an overall package — including cost efficiency, support, and competitiveness — and focused on the following three industry-specific elements.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Features

Having the right ERP tools is a must for manufacturing businesses of any size. These features help make better use of the data that’s collected at every conceivable stage of the production process, which in turn leads to greater efficiency and more hands-off automation. Almost all of the manufacturing software on this list provides ERP, and this includes the components traditionally available in material requirement planning (MRP) systems. Most of the listed products also cover the bases of a manufacturing execution system (MES) to varying degrees.

Integrations

Manufacturing software needs data to inform its calculations, predictions and other functions, and it performs best when integrated with as many sources as possible. Common integrations include access to the email system for online ordering, customer relationship management (CRM), HR and workforce management systems.

Reports

The reporting capability of manufacturing software varies greatly. The majority of systems here include financial reporting tools, although basic in some cases, and can also be integrated with third-party reporting solutions.

The 13 Best Manufacturing Software Programs of 2021

CompanyPriceFree Trial / DemoMore
E2 Manufacturing SystemCustom quoteFree demoVisit E2 Manufacturing System
EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP SoftwareCustom quoteFree demoVisit EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP Software
Epicor ERP$175+/month/userFree demoVisit Epicor ERP
Fishbowl Manufacturing$4,395/one-time payment14-day free trialVisit Fishbowl Manufacturing
Global Shop SolutionsCustom quoteFree demoVisit Global Shop Solutions
JobBOSSCustom quote30-day free trialVisit JobBOSS
NetSuite ManufacturingCustom quoteFree demoVisit NetSuite Manufacturing
Prodsmart$999+/month14-day free trialVisit Prodsmart
ProShop$500+/monthFree demoVisit ProShop
Q.ShopCustom quoteFree demoVisit Q.Shop
Sage ERPCustom quoteFree demoVisit Sage ERP
SAP Manufacturing ExecutionCustom quoteFree demoVisit SAP Manufacturing Execution
WorkClout$25+/month/userFree demoVisit WorkClout

E2 Manufacturing System

E2-Manufacturing-System
E2 Manufacturing System covers a lot of ground with a set of ERP tools that are industry specific and appropriate for most business sizes. The ERP has integrated financials to cover the accounting process, as well as other tools for job costing, estimates and quotes. In these few areas alone, most businesses gain more than enough in efficiency and profitability to justify the cost of manufacturing software.

One of the main areas of interest in E2’s MFG software is the set of order processing tools that can be implemented at each step. For example, the software generates sales by giving customers accurate, data-driven estimates and quotes. This helps businesses remain competitive in crowded markets.

E2 software is designed for businesses of all sizes, particularly for those that have few preexisting systems in place and need a full ERP suite. Integrations with Tactic and Fulcrum are officially supported and documented.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree demo>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Material requirements planning (MRP)
>More features at E2 Manufacturing System

Pros & Cons of E2 Manufacturing System Manufacturing Software
E2 Manufacturing System does a good job of providing what the name implies — it’s an overarching system that performs well when it can manage multiple areas of a business. The software collects relevant data to make profitable predictions and quotes.

ProsCons
>Full-featured ERP solution
>Data collection and analytics
>Accurate quotes and calculations
>Pricing isn’t listed online
>No free trial

What Customers Are Saying
A customer in automotive manufacturing rates E2 highly, and in particular notes the software’s “ability to bring everything together in one place.” Another reviewer found the inventory tracking very useful, and also says, “Searchable criteria in MFG is quite robust.”

EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP Software

EnterpriseIQ-Manufacturing-ERP-Software
EnterpriseIQ is another popular hybrid solution that brings together elements of material execution system (MES), manufacturing and other software. The result is a relatively fast and flexible enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that can predict and act in real time.

The software can be self-hosted, which is useful for larger businesses that can manage server hardware and network connectivity and wish to keep data within reach. Self-hosted servers give businesses more control and are generally easier to integrate with legacy systems. It’s also available as a Windows installation or straight from the cloud to any modern web browser.

The developer of EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing — IQMS — is one of the largest software providers in the manufacturing industry and also one of the oldest. EnterpriseIQ is the main product sold by IQMS, which means it receives more frequent updates and better support than many of its competitors.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree demo>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Accounting and financial management
>More features at EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP Software

Pros & Cons of EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP Software Manufacturing Software
EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP Software is one of the most extensive systems of its kind and can cover many bases within a business. The self-hosting option provides further flexibility and can simplify compliance issues. However, it has relatively few shipping management tools compared to competitors.

ProsCons
>Extensive ERP tools
>Self-hosted server option
>Limited shipping management
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
Many customers praise the software for its ability to manage a wide range of business functions in a single package. Comments on performance behind the scenes are positive, with one in particular saying, “Solidly designed back end (tables, queries, indexes).”

Epicor ERP

Epicor
Epicor provides enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution system (MES) capabilities that are implemented as individual modules. The modular framework allows for a more tailored approach to serving each business, while still maintaining connectivity between the various functions for data collection and other purposes.

The planning and scheduling modules available in Epicor ERP make it the better choice for many businesses. It’s a particularly strong option for those that have no current systems in place to handle in-depth forecasting, demand planning and other scheduling functions based on predetermined rules.

Via the modules, this ERP can provide a higher level of financial reporting and accounting tools when compared to most competitors — many of which require integrations with third-party systems to provide similar functions. Epicor ERP can manage large businesses across multiple jurisdictions, and the software makes it easier to satisfy the financial requirements of each market.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$175+/month/userFree demo>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Material requirements planning (MRP)
>More features at Epicor ERP

Pros & Cons of Epicor ERP Manufacturing Software
Epicor ERP deserves a place on this list for its relatively in-depth approach to serving individual businesses with modular functionality. The system in place for API and integrations is also more flexible than most competitors.

ProsCons
>Modular service plans
>API access for third-party and custom integrations
>No free trial

What Customers Are Saying
A customer of over two years is still impressed with Epicor ERP, and says, “Epicor is extremely flexible right out of the box.” One newer user is also enjoying the flexibility of a modular system and comments on the support, saying, “Responsive, knowledgeable and helpful consultants.”

Fishbowl Manufacturing

Fishbowl-Manufacturing
Fishbowl Manufacturing provides a wide-ranging package of tools and services for the manufacturing industry and the businesses it serves on a minute-by-minute basis. The software includes enterprise resource planning, manufacturing execution system and material requirements planning features as part of its base product, and it’s offered for a one-time fee, as opposed to the monthly rates from most competitors.

Integrations with the most popular third-party services are available, such as QuickBooks, eBay, Amazon, Salesforce and Mailchimp, although some have additional costs.

The company behind this software has a track record of almost 20 years, and its products have improved processes for the U.S. Army and Air Force, as well as brands such as Lowe’s and Mercedes-Benz. Fishbowl supports a network of consultants across the U.S. to provide in-person assistance from people who know the area and the product, and the manufacturing software is also available in Canada and Australia.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$4,395/one-time payment>14-day free trial>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Material requirements planning (MRP)
>More features at Fishbowl Manufacturing

Pros & Cons of Fishbowl Manufacturing Manufacturing Software
Fishbowl Manufacturing is a good package that covers the most useful planning features that we assess, and it also has fairly easy integrations with the most popular services. However, the add-on system must be carefully studied to make sure all necessary features can be acquired within budget for any organization.

ProsCons
>Planning features (ERP, MES, MRP)
>Popular integrations (Salesforce, Mailchimp, etc.)
>No core reporting features without add-on
>Add-ons required for many other features

What Customers Are Saying
One Fishbowl Manufacturing user of over two years says Fishbowl Manufacturing is “effective and affordable inventory and order management software.” Others simply like how easy it is to integrate with other products, even if they needed customer support, and the inventory-specific features are also popular.

Global Shop Solutions

Global-Shop-Solutions
Global Shop Solutions is a software and service provider with a specific focus on manufacturing. The tools available as part of the overall enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can handle businesses from small to enterprise size. When purchased as a modular system, businesses can pick and choose between various tools that meet current needs and can scale for growth.

Some of the modules available in the Global Shop Solutions ERP are rarely given much attention by competing brands — such as the CAD interface, advertising and learning management systems (LMS).

Global Shop Solutions is more appropriate for small and medium-size businesses when put up against many of the others on this list, and the ready-to-go integrations are also more suited to these businesses. The integrations available in the ERP include Microsoft 365 plans and Xero, which is a popular online account system operating from the cloud.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree demo>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Material requirements planning (MRP)
>Accounting tools
>More features at Global Shop Solutions

Pros & Cons of Global Shop Solutions Manufacturing Software
Global Shop Solutions has been around longer than most, and in that time it has built up a large selection of tools specific to manufacturing. The ERP can be purchased as a package deal or in modules, although reporting remains limited without third-party systems.

ProsCons
>Wide-ranging capabilities
>Available as a package or modules
>Limited reporting functions without integrations
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
One user who manages an electrical manufacturing business and has used Global Shop Solutions for a decade says it’s “a highly developed ERP tool with some very sophisticated functionality.” He also praises the customer service, saying they are, “always professional, and highly competent.”

JobBOSS

jobboss
JobBOSS is a manufacturing software package that can be hosted on premise or remotely as a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. It covers important functions such as data collection, quoting and ordering, payroll and inventory management. It’s tailored toward medium-sized and small businesses, and it’s a good fit for those that need an overall system that can provide accurate, real-time information to staff in various roles, such as delivery crews and support staff.

The core software includes cost analysis tools that assess the profitability of previous jobs as well as jobs that remain in the production stage. When used correctly, the JobBOSS ERP tools, and the data it collects, can help analysts improve profitability by a significant amount due to spending less time and resources on jobs that lose money.

Whether JobBOSS is installed at the physical location of the business or hosted in the cloud, each component relies on a centralized, trusted source of data.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quote30-day free trial>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Material requirements planning (MRP)
>Shipping management
>More features at JobBOSS

Pros & Cons of JobBOSS Manufacturing Software
JobBOSS is a more focused ERP suite that can be powerful in the right situation. This approach also means that it lacks many functions commonly found in manufacturing software, even with the purchase of add-ons. It’s available for on premise installation and works well with QuickBooks and Fulcrum.

ProsCons
>Self-hosted server option available (Windows)
>Easy integrations with QuickBooks and Fulcrum
>Core ERP lacks functionality without add-ons
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
Most reviewers say JobBOSS is a cost-effective solution that’s highly capable of handling the various functions they purchased it for. One user in particular likes the compatibility with his current systems, saying, “It stores all of its data in a SQL format that works well with Microsoft products.”

NetSuite Manufacturing

NetSuite
NetSuite is a cloud-based business management solution that can handle even more functions and manage more parts of a business than a typical ERP. This makes it a good choice for managers and analysts who prefer a standardized approach to workflows and systems, rather than connecting various software from multiple providers.

The ERP package includes financial planning and management, end-to-end inventory management with real-time responsiveness, as well as supply chain and distribution management. NetSuite also allows for a great amount of optimizations in procurement and product management, which in turn provides a boost in profitability for the business.

NetSuite Manufacturing is an even more attractive option for businesses that could benefit from the ready-to-go integrations. The officially supported third-party connections include the popular human resources software, Ascentis, and the automated accounts payable solution, Tipalti. Mavenlink is also supported, which provides additional project and resource management functionality.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree demo>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Material requirements planning (MRP)
>Accounting tools
>More features at NetSuite Manufacturing

Pros & Cons of NetSuite Manufacturing Manufacturing Software
NetSuite covers much more ground in financial management and reporting functionality, as opposed to many ERP solutions that assume businesses will use third-party systems. The ERP software isn’t as easy to put in place and use, although 24/7 support is available.

ProsCons
>Large set of financial tools
>24/7 support
>Pricing isn’t listed online
>No free trial

What Customers Are Saying
One recent user of NetSuite likes being able to tailor the system, saying, “The ability to customize just about anything your organization wants is rewarding.” He also says it’s possible to run parts of the business in “semi-autopilot mode” when using the appropriate integrations.

Prodsmart

Prodsmart
Prodsmart is a focused and powerful manufacturing execution system (MES) that doesn’t spread itself too thin by attempting to manage too many tasks. This simplified approach is useful in fabricating and manufacturing, as it’s designed for use by analysts and nontechnical staff alike. As a result, employees can do more with data — whether they’re on the shop floor or connecting via phone or tablet — and they can do it without asking the tech crew in many cases.

As it’s not a typical wide-ranging ERP, smaller businesses that have fewer requirements may benefit the most from Prodsmart, as well as larger organizations that have most bases covered already.

The Prodsmart MES is provided as a subscription-based service and hosted in the cloud, which means it’s compatible with any modern operating system and browser on mobile devices and desktops. Functionality can be extended even further by integrating with third-party systems, such as QuickBooks, Oracle, Salesforce, Shopify and Magento.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$999+/month14-day free trial>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Material requirements planning (MRP)
>Quality and safety compliance
>More features at Prodsmart

Pros & Cons of Prodsmart Manufacturing Software
Prodsmart MES doesn’t charge customers for operator accounts and station tracking — only higher-level system manager accounts attract a fee. In spite of any related limitations, the basic plan can be a cost-effective solution for scheduling and material requirements planning in cases where simplicity is highly valued.

ProsCons
>Unlimited shop floor operator accounts on all plans
>Basic plan is a useful and simplified alternative to larger ERP solutions
>API access only available on most expensive plan

What Customers Are Saying
Prodsmart users generally agree that it’s a relatively straightforward system, with one in particular saying, “The user interface both for operators and supervisors is simple to use, and requires minimum interaction.” Others point to the real-time functionality as the most useful inclusion.

ProShop

ProShop
ProShop is designed as an all-inclusive enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that provides all typical functionality by default, with no need for paid add-ons. This also applies to the manufacturing execution system (MES), nonconformance reports (NCR) and other quality management functions. This pricing model gives the business a monthly cost based on the types of users who will be interacting with it — with three tiers of functionality at increasing costs, ranging from shop users to managers and executives.

Business users can alternatively choose to purchase ProShop outright, which theoretically eliminates ongoing costs. However, in reality most businesses choose to continue paying to receive updates and support, albeit at a much lower monthly rate. Increased flexibility can also be gained via on-premise hosting rather than cloud-based, and in either case, ProShop ERP offers web-based access from any modern device.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$500+/monthFree demo>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Nonconformance reports (NCR)
>More features at ProShop

Pros & Cons of ProShop Manufacturing Software
ProShop differs from the vast majority of its competitors by allowing businesses to buy the software as a one-time purchase, with the option of paying annually for support and updates. It integrates easily with accounting tools.

ProsCons
>Available to buy outright or as a subscription
>Integrates with QuickBooks, Sage or other current accounting systems
>No free trial
>Minimal support outside regular business hours

What Customers Are Saying
A user of ProShop sums up his review with one word — visibility — and then expands on the point, saying, “I can see from multiple dashboards what is ready for outside processing, ready to inspect, ready to ship to the customer and what has been invoiced.”

Q.Shop

Q.Shop
Q.Shop is a manufacturing software package that does a good job in the areas of a business that it’s intended to cover, in contrast to the majority of listed competitors that enjoy control over many systems within a business. In particular, this software is intended to help manage and optimize shop floor processes for manufacturers and similar service providers, such as maintenance, repair and overhaul shops.

The software provides data collection, which can then be viewed in real time by employees or automatically relayed to the appropriate function or area of the business. Q.Shop ensures that everyone and every system is working from the same data, with no manual intervention required beyond the initial setup to allow communication from A to B. Automated processes for collecting, analyzing and sharing data can provide many improvements in efficiency for data-driven businesses that rely on speed and accuracy.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree demo>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Quality control
>Forecasting
>More features at Q.Shop

Pros & Cons of Q.Shop Manufacturing Software
Q.Shop is a good choice for the types of businesses that it directly caters to, and it provides useful features such as multiuser editing of inspection forms and other documents. However, the streamlined approach means that Q.Shop is the right fit for fewer businesses when compared to an extensive ERP.

ProsCons
>Streamlined and powerful for its purpose
>Multiple staff can work on the same document simultaneously
>Pricing isn’t listed online
>No free trial

What Customers Are Saying
A shop supervisor reviewed the software positively, saying he appreciates the features that detect uncalibrated instruments and send alerts, and also added, “Tools calibration is much easier with Q.Shop.”

Sage ERP

Sage
Sage is a software provider that offers enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools in three main variations — Sage 100cloud, Sage 300cloud and Sage X3. In general, the size and specific needs of a business dictate the ERP that’s best suited to the task.

The 100cloud system is the most affordable and also has the fewest features, as it’s dedicated to financials. The 300cloud system expands to offer business management features and other tools typically associated with an ERP. The Sage X3 system is a true ERP, with end-to-end visibility and many additional features that cater to large and well-established businesses.

Sage also offers many features specific to individual types of manufacturing businesses. These features include global compliance and optimizations to the supply chain in chemical enterprises, improved processes in discrete manufacturing, as well as custom management tools for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree demo>Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Accounting and financials
>More features at Sage ERP

Pros & Cons of Sage ERP Manufacturing Software
Sage is among the leading names in manufacturing software and ERP solutions, and that means it receives more support and compatibility with third-party systems. The 100 and 300 package deals are good value for many small and midsize businesses. Sage ERP is comprehensive but lacks safety management.

ProsCons
>Well known and supported by more externals systems than most alternatives
>100cloud and 300cloud offer cost-effective solutions
>No safety management features available
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
A customer who recently switched to Sage says of the learning process, “As you get more and more used to it, it can be very resourceful and more powerful than other, more conventional ERP systems.”

SAP Manufacturing Execution

sap
SAP offers a suite of the brand’s manufacturing execution system (MES) tools aimed at businesses seeking to digitize and automate data collection, consolidate data storage and reduce waste from failed or defective products. The system is designed to be used by employees of varying roles, including nontechnical, via role-based dashboards and a UI that shows workers what they need for the job and eliminates clutter.

This MES includes a relatively strong set of error discovery, tracking and reporting functions that can be fine tuned with custom rules. In high-volume processes that typically have even a small number of defects, the cumulative benefits of optimization via SAP’s integrated tools can be quite significant.

SAP Manufacturing Execution handles data collection throughout the business to make sure materials are routed efficiently, based on real-time production data, and monitor production processes for errors. The software can also handle nonconformance reports (NCR) if requested.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree demo>Manufacturing execution system (MES)
>Quality control
>Nonconformance reports (NCR)
>More features at SAP Manufacturing Execution

Pros & Cons of SAP Manufacturing Execution Manufacturing Software
SAP Manufacturing Execution offers many powerful tools, such as custom APIs and a robust SDK, that can greatly improve efficiency when implemented properly. Data security and compliance are taken seriously.

ProsCons
>API and SDK provide great opportunities for advanced and custom management
>Attention to compliance and data security
>Pricing isn’t listed online

>No free trial

What Customers Are Saying
A recent review from an SAP customer in the medical devices field says the system filled in gaps between processes, and adds, “All the manufacturing facility members and the quality inspection specialists use this application for their day to day work.”

WorkClout

WorkClout
WorkClout is fairly unique when compared to the rest of the list. It’s a manufacturing software package that leans heavily toward safety management — including notifications, monitoring and reports on incidents, inspections, process failures and more. These scenarios can be defined as needed and set to trigger actions by the software or the appropriate employees.

This software is also more involved in the management of employees and teams when compared to many other manufacturing solutions. It’s designed in a way that makes it easy to pick up and use by just about anyone, which is one of the positive aspects of dealing with a newer company in this category of software. All important dashboards and displays can be monitored via mobile device.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$25+/month/userFree demo>Quality control
>Safety management
>Employee/team management
>More features at WorkClout

Pros & Cons of WorkClout Manufacturing Software
WorkClout is intended to be used throughout a business — not reserved for those with technical knowledge and experience with similar systems — and the intuitive UI helps accomplish this. The software includes API access for custom integrations.

ProsCons
>Modern, user-friendly design
>API access
>No free trial

What Customers Are Saying
The reviews are very positive for WorkClout, with one user noting that the automatic scheduling of tasks is a great feature, and adding, “It’s made it a lot easier for me to manage and prioritize my jobs and finish them in a timely manner.”

What Is Manufacturing Software?

Manufacturing software is a set of tools that help businesses run smoother and more efficiently via automation, better organization, and networking capabilities, as well as offering insight into future events. Inventory management is critical in a manufacturing business of any size and many of the software providers on this list have dedicated, industry-specific improvements to processes at every stage.

The software can come in many shapes and sizes, including:

  • Windows or Apple packages: This is what most people imagine when they think of software. It must be installed on each PC, computer or other device compatible with the manufacturing software.
  • Browser-based (Cloud/SaaS): No apps or installs. Users can access the software from any modern browser on smartphones and computers. The software itself is hosted in the cloud, which relieves that responsibility (and some control) from users.
  • Mobile apps: Some manufacturing software providers have custom apps for Apple and Android devices, although browser-based cloud alternatives are becoming more common.
  • Self-hosted server: This option is for companies that need full control and have the appropriate staff and hardware on premises — including on-site tech staff for the manufacturing software server.

Benefits of Manufacturing Software

Manufacturing software is a necessity for most companies of substantial size, and the benefits include in-depth tracking capabilities, planning, and enhanced communication. Some options have more of a focused approach to management and will require integration with other preexisting platforms, while other manufacturing software is capable of taking on more responsibility.

  • Inventory management: Most of the software on this list provides a full suite of inventory management and tracking tools. Large and/or fast moving inventories can be tamed with the appropriate software and skills.
  • Automation: Communication is greatly improved when more pieces of a business and the industry in general are connected via the internet. This opens up many possibilities for automated processes. For example, production scheduling and material requirement planning (MRP) features can be used to implement algorithmic changes to the production process. This allows for quick, automatic changes due to resource cost, product demand, staff availability and other factors.
  • Powerful planning: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software enables in-depth, real-time data collection, and normalization across all connected processes. This data can be sent wherever it’s needed, such as third-party reporting and analytics tools, and the ERP software ensures data integrity at every step.

Must-Have Features for Manufacturing Software

When assessing the software available, we based judgment on how well they cater to the needs of small to medium-size businesses in manufacturing. Each business will approach the deal with its own unique issues, but there are some features that none should go without.

  • Core function control: A good manufacturing execution system (MES) should be part of every IT system in the industry, and it’s usually found working alongside and in conjunction with other management solutions such as enterprise resource planning. The MES can handle a variety of functions depending on the business, with benefits commonly found in regulatory compliance, improved supply chain and manufacturing cycle efficiency, as well as higher uptimes with critical components.
  • Key integrations: The best manufacturing software is often one that works with the applications already in use at a particular company. Popular integrations include QuickBooks and other financial applications, as well as eCommerce providers, shopping carts and employee management.
  • Reporting capabilities: Businesses that don’t already have other software for the automation of reports may find it useful to have their manufacturing software handle it. However, the standard reporting features are no match for third-party integrations in large and complex situations.

The Cost of Manufacturing Software

Manufacturing software can cost as little as $25 per month, and even these options on the low end can bring powerful change if used correctly. The cost can quickly multiply based on the complexity of a business and its processes, and some software providers charge an additional fee per authorized user. Therefore, businesses with complex and unusual requirements will generally pay more and may need to pursue a custom plan.

Businesses with many employees who need secure, account-based access to the software should consider the possible fees when comparing providers. However, the cost per user is generally low for the applications on this list, and it shouldn’t be a barrier for the majority of businesses.

It’s rare to find useful, up-to-date manufacturing software that’s sold outright, with one flat fee and no recurring payments or strings attached. Most modern business-related applications are sold as part of ongoing plans, typically on a monthly or yearly basis, and it’s the same scenario when looking at manufacturing software providers.

There are more positives than negatives involved in these subscription-based options — known as Software as a Service (SaaS) — such as a much longer lifespan, more frequent updates and easier access to support.