How to Choose Stock Software?

The most important part of the software selection process is defining the processes within your organization and determining functionality that is critical to your operation. If you are a manufacturer, manufacturing is your core business function and you should be looking at packages that have been designed specifically for manufacturers. Don’t expect an accounting package with a little manufacturing module tacked on to be very functional. In addition, you should be focusing on the specific type of manufacturing you are conducting. Software designed for make-to-stock manufacturers may not work well for a make-to-order manufacturer. Software designed for electronics manufacturing may not work well in a machine shop. Software designed for discrete manufacturing may not work well for process manufacturing. If you are in the distribution or fulfillment business, you’ll want to focus on functionality related to order processing, warehouse management, and transportation management.


Does it work and can you use it?


In addition to functionality, you also need to consider usability. Functionality answers the question “can it do something?” while usability answers “how does a user get it done?” Try and get a demonstration of the kind of tasks you normally do in the warehouse and see whether it is easy to use. It’s unlikely that the software package will do everything you want it to do, so be prepared to compromise on some of the functionality. Shortcomings in functionality may mean process changes, software modification. Some stock software can be tailored or adapted to provide additional reports on the things you need to know.


Browser-based applications - "The Cloud".


The ability to access your stock software from any location that has internet access seems attractive, but there is also a downside. The applications tend to have lengthy user interfaces and slow response times. Anyone that shops online should be familiar with using a program within a browser to place an online order and having to go through three or more screens to place your order and the delay as you wait for each page to load,. In addition, these applications tend to be built around drop-down selection lists and mouse clicks. These can be cumbersome when trying to do high-volume data entry.


Is Bigger Better?


For large organizations, expensive complex software is necessary. However, for a small company, even if the supplier were to give you the software for free, you probably won’t have the resources to implement and maintain it.

July 17th, 2017