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What is Custom Software – And Why do Manufacturers Need It?

No two manufacturing operations are completely alike. From specific processes, to people, to supply chain and production demands, every manufacturer has a set of unique needs that can’t always be satisfactorily addressed with off-the-shelf software. 

You can’t always find an out-of-the-box software package that covers every base in your operation’s specific requirements. That’s where a custom software solution could be a difference maker – software developed with your operation in mind; its precise needs and contours considered; crafted to produce the results you specify. 

Custom software builds bridges between the machinery you utilise on the shop floor and your software systems. This allows you to pull data directly from your machines, granting invaluable insights into data points such as: 

  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) 
  • Production Efficiency 
  • Inventory Turnover 
  • Quality Yield / Defect Rate 
  • Supplier Performance 
  • Energy Consumption 
  • And more. 

Beyond these critical data insights, however, is the potential for custom software to be fit to the mould of any individual operation. This includes allowing existing software platforms to communicate with each other, but also to develop software solutions to digitise existing business processes that might be unique to your operation. 

As discussed in our previous piece on business processes’ and how they relate to a digital transformation, every business’ way of doing things is unique to that business. From the sales funnel to invoicing to stock control, processes are as varied from business to business as the people who comprise them. A custom software solution means that a manufacturer does not have to compromise on finding a platform that works for them. 


What is Custom Software Development? 

Custom software is software developed not for mass market retail, but with the specific needs of a single client in mind – you. Your manufacturing operation’s unique requirements can be tailor-made into a bespoke software solution designed by digital transformation experts with experience digitising business processes. It means making software work for your operation, and not the other way around. 

At its most fundamental, bespoke software can be harnessed to allow your existing software to communicate, both with each other (sharing data between systems, for instance), and with the hardware in operation on your shop floor (monitoring production efficiency and ramping up/ramping down production according to stock levels or order placements). But the potential to transform your business with custom software doesn’t stop at getting applications to talk to each other. Communication is just one of many ways custom software can be implemented into a manufacturing operation, including: 

  • Mobile apps 
  • E-commerce solutions such as fully integrated storefronts with automatically-updating stock and order trackers 
  • BOM management and automation tools 
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) 
  • Automated stock control 
  • Quality control 
  • Real-time cost adjustments 
  • And more. 

(But what value is all this adding to your manufacturing business? Check out our article on Calculating the Strategic Value of ERP in Manufacturing for an idea of just how custom software solutions add real-time value to your operations). 

All of these possibilities are tailored to your organisation following an exhaustive discovery phase, wherein tech experts comb through your existing operations, from processes to people to the technological solutions you already employ. Building a working understanding of your systems, these experts then suggest ways in which software can be implemented to fill in existing gaps in your tech infrastructure, and highlight ways custom software can improve the efficiency of your operations and open up new streams of data collection. 


What can Custom Software do for Manufacturers? 

By fitting itself to your unique needs and circumstances, custom software can energise your manufacturing operation like never before.  

Previously in this article we’ve outlined the general ways in which custom software can add value to your business; below you’ll find real-world examples of custom software solutions, and links to the specific case studies for further reading. 

Envirobuild – Target Integration’s custom software experts helped fine-tune Envirobuild’s existing ERP solution, unlocking its untapped potential by demonstrating the full range of its customisation options to streamline and simplify business operations. The need for third party applications to handle systems such as financing was thus also eliminated, as everything could be in-housed in a single software solution. 

Archway – Utilising Odoo, Archway Products was able to benefit from an Auto Replenishment feature that monitored its supply chain in real time and put in orders for goods and materials as they were expended in production. Their process for submitting BOMs to their manufacturing application was also automated, with BOMs being pushed at regular intervals into their amalgamated ERP system. 

KB Combustion – Target Integration implemented an all-in-one Odoo package for these boiler installers and suppliers. This collected all their major business processes on one convenient platform, allowing data and information to be shared seamlessly between teams in the field, inventory, invoicing and sales. 

Instant Upright – Once again utilising Odoo, scaffolding manufacturers and suppliers Instant Upright benefitted from an ERM collating Sales, Purchase and Inventory systems, maintaining real-time information all in one convenient location. Most crucially, this allowed them to also pull up previous sales and quotation histories for each order placed by a customer. 


Unleash Your Manufacturing Operation’s Untapped Potential 

The question isn’t if a custom software solution is right for your business; it is, rather, how can a custom software solution be implemented to fit your business? 

That’s where our team of expert consultants come into play. By working closely with your employees they can identify shortcomings and redundancies in existing processes and software solutions to highlight just where a bespoke software system could unlock bottled-up potential in your manufacturing operations. 

There is a solution for every business process, and an answer for every pain point – it’s only a matter of leveraging the technical expertise to discover it. 

That first step is only a click away – You can contact our teams right now to discover how a custom software solution might benefit your business, streamline your processes and drive productivity. 

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