What is cloud manufacturing software?

Affordable, modular software is available to small manufacturing businesses looking to overhaul their processes, reduce costs and minimise risks. 

Cloud manufacturing software is an excellent solution for decreasing confusion and manual effort at your firm, while enhancing customer satisfaction. 

But how can you decide on the most suitable cloud manufacturing software for your business?

We’re no longer in the era of ‘one-size-fits-all’ platforms 

Different firms have different business processes. This means they need the most appropriate types of software for their needs. A standardised platform that requires major customisation and significant reorganisation in order to lock its complete functionality is simply no longer good enough. 

The range of types of manufacturing company out there – with their varying processes and demands – further complicates the task of coming up with the right software to cater to these needs. 

At a high level, a cloud manufacturing platform should: 

  • Provide information about current orders 
  • Enable the planning and execution of manufacturing tasks 
  • Allow the tracking of time, materials and activities for each order 
  • Forecast material needs and issue purchase orders 
  • Schedule production 
  • Monitor wastage and problems in relation to delays and defects 
  • Connect to other business processes like sales, stock and finance 
  • Provide all-round visibility of your firm’s manufacturing operations 

Choosing a cloud solution grants you further advantages such as ease of access, an intuitive interface, and integration with other platforms like finance or CRM. Flowlens software, for instance, combines CRM and manufacturing platforms within one solution.

Pick the software that caters to your firm’s manufacturing style 

Various forms of cloud manufacturing software exist to suit different styles. Lower-volume manufacturing businesses naturally differ from high-volume businesses in their requirements. There are also differences between the requirements of equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and component manufacturers, unless the former produces everything in-house. 

The Flowlens cloud manufacturing platform is largely geared towards the needs of small and medium-sized equipment manufacturers and dealers. This focus enables us to provide the most capable and relevant possible product for these businesses. 

While there is other cloud manufacturing software on the market that is said to support multiple manufacturing modes, you will often discover that even these platforms originate from one specific process. – Read more

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Business Process Continuity Action Plan

My Post (9).pngBy now you will have taken action on short term cashflow risks to secure your business, and done your best for you team.

Process continuity risk should be next on your agenda.

For many small manufacturing businesses, Coronavirus has highlighted how risky their current processes are.  Our small business continuity action checklist below can help you address this.

Is this your business?

If you are like many who haven’t introduced formal business process systems, there are probably one or two people in your business who hold 80% of the critical information. This could be in their head, or in spreadsheets and systems they control.

Suddenly you are working remotely and trying to get reliable intelligence to make decisions for the future. Key people may be unavailable for work, or you’ve sadly had to let them go. Sales, Manufacturing and Service processes rely on this critical knowledge that is no longer available.

Don’t Panic!

In business we know that panicking gets us nowhere. Business adapts well in times of crisis, but without the correct information, confusion sets in, and things just get worse.

It’s all very well having a work from home policy, but what if your business process system is on premise, or simply in people’s heads?

Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say. And perhaps with some extra time on your hands, plus the motivation to do something about your risks, now is the time to take action.

Successful business continuity separates people from processes and systems.

Business Process Continuity Action Plan

What are the steps you can take NOW to address the risks?

  • Map out your key business processes from end to end. Note roles and key responsibilities.
    • Enquiry to Quote to Order
    • Order to Build to Dispatch
    • Purchasing and Materials Planning
    • Customers & Service
  • Identify critical information bottlenecks.
    • Which stages are dependent on one or two individuals?
    • Where is the information they hold? Is it structured?
  • Identify potential process failure points.
    • Where is your data/information?
    • How could you execute this process remotely?
  • Apply the 80/20 rule and prioritise action:
    • Customers – Who are our customers, and how can we keep them informed of our mitigation plans?
    • Suppliers – Where are the failure points? How can we help them prepare for ramping up again?
    • Bill of Materials – What are our products made of and where is this information? Could we put an order into production if key people aren’t available?
    • Stock Availability and Purchasing – What materials and components are outstanding, and where can we source alternatives if need be?
    • Resourcing – Where is the schedule and break down of tasks and skills?
    • Sales Pipeline Forecast – What deals / quotes can we chase? What orders can we bring forward, and which are at risk?
    • Sales Efficiency – How can we shorten our sales cycle, or prepare for a downturn with longer cycles and less demand?
  • DELEGATE
    • You can’t own all of these priorities, share the challenge by empowering colleagues to take these business continuity risks seriously and work together to overcome them.

Forewarned is Forearmed.

These steps will give you clarity over your risks, and help prioritise action to mitigate in the short and longer term. – Read more

Learn More About Flowlens