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Cloud-Based Manufacturing Solutions Must Interface with QuickBooks, Shopify, Xero, WooCommerce and BigCommerce

by Thomas R. Cutler   |   October, 2019

Fast-growing smaller manufacturers require scalable, robust and effective production planning, scheduling, and inventory control systems to help manage manufacturing processes. Often less than a dozen employees are attempting to take on the same challenges as very large manufacturing enterprises.

Founder owners of these manufacturing firms are simply trying to make and ship product on-time at a profit. The top consideration is still price for these new or growing smaller firms. The only viable option is a SaaS (Software as a Service) pay-as-you-go monthly service fee. All operations and information must be packaged into a single, unified system that presents users with relevant manufacturing data such as materials, productions, warehouse status, sales and purchase orders.

eCommerce heavily represented by small manufacturers

Nearly 80% of small manufacturers operate in the B2C (business to consumer) online retail environment so inventory control solutions must offer integration with well-known manufacturing apps such as Shopify, Quickbooks, Xero, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. This is vital since small manufacturers are using these solutions currently for their operations. Katana cloud-based manufacturing software seamlessly syncs work information and processes with the aforementioned programs.

Solutions must contain inventory control features which manage small manufacturing companies' SKUs (both raw materials and finished products), schedule manufacturing orders, and implement production operations and subassemblies when the need arises.

Thomas R. Cutler
Because many functional areas require access to needed data from operations, purchasing, and of course, it is best to have a highly visual dashboard interface, so even unfamiliar users can follow the operation. Small manufacturers globally have identified Katana as the best-of-breed solution because users are able to rapidly capture real-time and comprehensive views of the business. Managers and business owners observe which areas of their operations are running smoothly, and quickly focus on specific areas requiring extra attention and improvement.



Optimal cloud-based manufacturing solutions for small manufacturers must solve of the pain points, challenges, and opportunities faced by the unique group of business owners. Solutions must contain inventory control features which manage small manufacturing companies' SKUs (both raw materials and finished products), schedule manufacturing orders, and implement production operations and subassemblies when the need arises. Too often to meet promised delivery times, accurate pricing decisions are ignored. Pricing must be based on actual product margins.



Say good-bye to spreadsheets

Small manufacturers, particularly in the first few months of their operation, often keep information on spreadsheets (Excel, Google Sheets, for example). The migration to a scalable cloud-based inventory and production management software must provide an intuitive platform for owners who wish to graduate from cumbersome spreadsheets and multiple traditional control systems that hamper operations and are costly to maintain.

One of the favorable features of the cloud-based Katana manufacturing solution includes an automated booking engine that allows users to drag-and-drop orders and automatically re-allocate inventory and production according to order priority. Such automation helps with weekly or monthly shipping schedules and reaching target production and sales quotas.

Access on any device meets the 24/7 reality of small manufacturers

Finally, as every small manufacturer knows first-hand, the company is a 24/7 consideration, not just on the production floor or plant. Only with a cloud-based platform, can the owner, founder, or key principals gain access to the company data on any device. Management takes the business wherever they go - accessing inventory any time and make critical adjustments on their phone.

A 14-day trial is a smart way to test the efficacy and suitability of this solution.

Thomas R. Cutler is the President and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., celebrating its 20th year. Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 7000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler authors more than 1000 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler can be contacted at trcutler@trcutlerinc.com and followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler. See More Details.

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