Compare Manufacturing ERP Pricing & Costs with our Pricing Guide
What Are Some of the Main Differences Between Cloud and On-Premise Software?
Many cloud manufacturing ERP vendors will boast the fact that their solution is available both on-premise or via the cloud. But how does deployment method actually affect day-to-day operations? Here are some of the key differences between on-premise and cloud manufacturing software that you’ll want to consider before making a software selection:
The upfront cost of on-premise versus cloud manufacturing software can be a determining factor for some companies. On-premise software has a higher initial price than cloud-based software due to installation costs. However, the cost of cloud-based manufacturing software compared to an on-premise solution evens out over time, meaning that if your company prefers an on-premise solution and can afford its initial cost, it might be a beneficial option for you.
On-premise software is only available on specific devices, meaning that if you get whisked away on a business trip where you don’t have access to your desktop computer, you may not be able to use your manufacturing software. On the other hand, a cloud-based solution is available anytime and anywhere due to its mobile accessibility. Because the program isn’t directly installed on your device, it is accessible even when you’re not in the office.
Maintenance and updates for cloud-based software may be more simple than with an on-premise solution. This is because on-premise software may need to be updated by support staff from your manufacturing vendor. There is also a higher likelihood that cloud-based manufacturing software can be updated automatically and with minimal need for vendor support.
On-premise and cloud solutions both do a great job of protecting information. However, companies that have incredibly private or secure information might prefer an on-premise system due to concerns about data ownership or about a vendor’s potential ability to view secure data.
What Are the Hidden Costs of Cloud Manufacturing Software?
After you look at the base cost of a cloud manufacturing ERP, you need to also consider additional expenses that might come up. These costs include maintenance, training and integration. Some vendors will cover or offer these services in your base package, but others may require that you use a third-party vendor for assistance, pay additional fees or purchase a premium support package.
Depending on the vendor that you go with, maintenance costs may or may not be included in the price of your base package. Therefore, when you are considering different cloud manufacturing software options, you should ask vendors about these costs. Some updates may be automatic and not cost you anything, but it’s best to ask before making the assumption.
Some vendors do not conduct training and instead require customers to get support from a consulting firm for implementation and product knowledge. Some vendors do provide online education or knowledge portals that can be helpful. However, upon initial implementation, it can be incredibly beneficial to have someone knowledgeable of the product guiding you along.
The inclusion of additional modules or the coupling of your manufacturing solution with other software systems is an additional cost to consider. For example, if you currently use FreshBooks for your accounting needs and want to retain and integrate that functionality with your new system, you will need to discuss the potential for integration along with the actual cost of integration with your manufacturing vendor.
What Are the Current Industry Trends for Manufacturing Software?
As you already know if you’ve gotten this far into the article, cloud-based manufacturing solutions are on the rise. Manufacturing software, like other software categories, got its start exclusively as an on-premise solution. However, as more companies migrate to the cloud for business functions such as accounting and customer relationship management, it’s a natural next step for more complex business processes such as manufacturing to become cloud-based as well.
Many vendors still offer on-premise solutions, but the accessibility and 24/7 availability of software that’s located in the cloud is increasingly attractive to businesses. After all, if you need to check on a crucial Saturday shipment to see if it was completed, you don’t have to worry about making plans to go into the office to use your desktop computer or about bringing your work laptop home to access that information.
Internet of Things (IoT) is an increasing presence in ERP and manufacturing software. IoT is the connectivity of physical devices such as machines to the internet so that functions can be scheduled and observed in real time. For example, IoT could be leveraged to tell you how many machines are currently “in production” and how many are sitting idle.
IoT data can also help gather insights about how your manufacturing facility functions. The tool could show you when devices need to be repaired or when a part of the product lifecycle is incomplete due to technical issues.
Automation is an important feature that has the actual impact of streamlining operations when implemented and used correctly. For example, if you have a forecasting tool included in your cloud manufacturing ERP, your solution might be able to automatically use that data to schedule material orders based on anticipated demand.
However, with the initial introduction of automation tools, you need to confirm that nothing is falling through the cracks. Additionally, if you’re using a forecasting tool to support material ordering and product production, you should make sure that its technology pulls from historical demand data to ensure the highest likelihood of success and to reduce spoilage. Automation can have a huge benefit on your company, and as its capabilities become more advanced and more easily integrated, its prominence and importance to the manufacturing industry will continue to skyrocket.
Compare Manufacturing ERP Pricing & Costs with our Pricing Guide
Cloud manufacturing software is on the rise and for good reason. Its clear benefits, range of features and the variety of solutions available make it a viable option for companies looking for manufacturing software. Its accessibility and relatively low initial cost of ownership are arguably its most attractive features. Because it is a newer deployment method than on-site solutions, it often contains the latest and greatest technologies, which users can also benefit from.
Because there is such a wide variety of features available from different manufacturing vendors, it’s essential that you create a list of your “must haves” when considering different solutions. After all, you don’t want to go with a system that isn’t robust enough for your company, therefore leading to manual workarounds for your staff. A bigger system than is necessary can also be detrimental as it can confuse your team and cost you extra money for features that you don’t care about or that you won’t use.
Our list of the best cloud manufacturing software vendors on the market right now was compiled by our industry analysts, who looked at various factors to deduce which solutions come out on top. What cloud manufacturing solution is your favorite, and what do you like about it? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!