Your business has well-defined objectives, strategies, and processes designed to grow profit and serve customers. No matter what industry you’re in, your efforts to reach those goals likely hinge on your software solution.
The right software can help you support customers, improve interactions, streamline processes, and facilitate information sharing and data management. Ultimately, it can help you make more money.
The question is: How do you find software that can help you reach all those goals?
In this post, we’ve put together a quick rundown of specific software needs for five industries. These technology solutions are intended to cut waste, boost productivity, and grow profit. Whether you need one or all of them, these ideas serve as starting point to build out your requirements list as you look to innovative using software.
Document Management—Going paperless can save time, boost productivity, minimize human error, and improve overall operations. Doing it effectively means you’ll need a searchable document management solution that integrates into your workflow and is available across all departments.
Compliance Management—Your software must facilitate compliance with government regulations and precise internal standards. Products and parts must be completely traceable so you can pinpoint and correct problems quickly. To make that happen, you will need to extend traceability through every project phase, from supply chain to delivery.
Real-Time Data and Reporting—Reporting capabilities should have access to data in any department at any moment. That means you’ll need data storage solutions that prevent data isolation so you can access real-time metrics to identify small problems and risks before they escalate.
Quality Control—Quality control depends on having access to the right data at the right time. Your ERP should integrate quality functions with supply chain management so you can view performance across the entire production process.
Integrated Financials—Automotive companies need the ability to trace costs both at the project level and at the individual parts and raw materials level. Data should flow seamlessly between production and accounting to prevent discrepancies among reports generated in different departments.
Inventory Optimization—Excess inventory costs money. Your software should be able to track and plan materials, containers, production processes, and shipments. Effective inventory optimization can boost profits by reducing the cost of storing excess inventory or parts while also making sure all required parts are on hand when needed.
Tooling and Maintenance—Tracking software manages tool usage and maintenance protocols to keep machines functioning efficiently. It can also monitor production rates to determine when to replace or adjust equipment.
Materials Requirement Planning (MRP)—MRP software manages key manufacturing processes such as production planning, scheduling, inventory management, and purchasing. The software saves time and reduces the risk of insufficient or excess inventory by monitoring current inventory levels and upcoming sales.
Traceability—Traceability is a key component in all manufacturing processes, but government regulations and compliance standards will vary based on your industry segment. The key is implementing software that can identify problems or risks at any stage of the manufacturing process before it causes compliance violations.
Supply Chain Management—Effective supply chain management is one of the most important functions of manufacturing ERP software. The software should be able to monitor every detail of the supply chain from the moment materials enter the warehouse to the time products are shipped out to customers. This includes warehouse management, inventory, distribution requirements, materials management, and more.
Quality Control—Breakdowns in quality assurance can result in huge costs to the company, not only in dollars lost but also in customer satisfaction problems and even fines. Quality control software will monitor each stage of the project to identify problems with quality standards early, before losing too many parts or materials.
Materials Management—As the foundation for logistics functionality, materials management needs robust, integrated software that includes a master materials database, purchasing oversight, inventory management, and accounts payable.
Sales and Distribution—This component includes customer order processing, sales, pricing, distribution logs, shipping, driver management, and delivery stats.
Plant Maintenance—This function will track maintenance records and monitor preventive maintenance schedules for tools and equipment. This is one area where advances in IoT technology can improve service protocols by predicting maintenance needs before problems occur. In some cases the issue can be diagnosed and resolved remotely, reducing equipment down time and boosting overall productivity.
Production Planning—Production planning includes materials requirement planning (MRP), production scheduling, and shop floor functions required to create the finished product. Software should integrate each of the various components to keep the production process flowing as smoothly as possible.
Warehouse Management—Warehouse management software should monitor inventory and storage, and can also improve productivity by developing protocols for placing and removing materials more efficiently.
Analytics—Look for full reporting and analytics capabilities that will track KPIs like buying and usage patterns, delivery times and arrival dates, inventory accuracy, stocking cycle times, and on-time shipping percentages.
Electronic Health Records—The shift from paper to electronic records has revolutionized the healthcare industry. Keeping records up to date in a centralized database makes it easy to look up patient records, manage patient information, make updates, and share information with other physicians.
Medical Billing—Medical billing software can help you avoid billing errors, reduce paperwork, and minimize claim denials. It also creates a streamlined office that can improve eligibility verification, create customized billing forms, facilitate electronic remittance, and provide payment reminders.
Patient Communications—Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms automate routine patient communications such as appointment reminders, service updates, and treatment availability with emails or text messages.
Health and Safety—Manage employee health and safety incidents and reduce risk with software that can track safety protocols, monitor incident reports, and analyze past occurrences to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
Healthcare Analytics and Research—Transform your reams of healthcare data into actionable insights with business intelligence software designed for the healthcare industry. Look for functions like information visualizations, predictive analytics, and medical research analytics.
Patient Relationship Management—Facilitate collaboration among healthcare providers with software that helps you manage care transitions, track in-network referrals, and manage patient outreach campaigns.
Transportation Management System (TMS)—TMS software manages logistics of the transportation industry such as scheduling, routing, carrier selection, and shipment consolidation. The right system can help you reduce freight costs, streamline shipping, and connect freight with drivers to minimize the impact of driver shortages.
Data Management—Storing data in spreadsheets and on paper can cost money. Transportation companies need instant access to information like how much they spend on each load, when customers receive their shipments, and other metrics that facilitate better business decisions.
Business Intelligence (BI)—The goal of BI software is to help companies make better decisions based on data. Use it to run reports on key metrics and consolidate data into actionable insights with information like carriers used, shipments by zone, shipment weights, costs, and much more.
Additional features to look for include carrier management, load management, load board integrations, and insurance integrations.
Choosing the Right Software Solution
The right industry-specific software can help you achieve your next business goal, whether that’s profit growth, market expansion, customer engagement, or employee satisfaction. But what if your software isn’t cutting it? Is it time for an upgrade?
If you’re not happy with current functionality, you may get the results you need with a new application or a system upgrade. But if your software is underperforming across the board, a new ERP or CRM might be in the cards. Think through requirements for your industry like those we’ve listed above, plus any additional needs your company has. Make sure whatever software you choose fits together with your existing tech stack and other software you plan to add.
Then you’ll be ready to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and decide whether a new software investment is the right move.