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02-15-2017, 06:57 PM #1
Small machine shop software recommendations
Hello, we are a small shop with only 3 people and 2 lathes. We are extremely busy and finding it very hard to keep up with the orders that we need to machine as all of our orders are machined when ordered.
I have been looking for software for years. Tried a few that didn't work out either because they were too complicated, too much going on or just didn't fit our needs. I couldn't even come close to affording most of them out there anyway.
All I'm looking for is something simple that we can record the customer info, order info and status/progress. I don't care about accounting, invoicing, job costing etc at the point I just need something to keep a record of the orders so we can schedule them and get them done.
Any recommendations? I'm sick of hand writing everything and papers getting lost.
02-15-2017, 07:32 PM #2
You need to first look at simple "task list" software on the web. Something like Trello would probably work. It is very simple and if you are just keeping lists of orders for scheduling. You might have a board for each lathe, and each board would have categories for the various order / scheduling phases. I use it for my small shop and it's free.
02-15-2017, 09:44 PM #3
If you are setting something up, you should have it do shipping and invoicing too. No reason to set up a system that won't integrate in your accounting software.
If you don't have an accounting system, you are doing business wrong.
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02-15-2017, 10:05 PM #4
02-16-2017, 09:25 AM #5
We use quick books and that's what my accountant uses so I don't want to stray from that program for our accounting / invoicing needs.
02-16-2017, 09:26 AM #6
02-17-2017, 10:34 AM #7
Consider AllOrders. They were the first QuickBooks gold partner providing an add on solution for the stuff QB doesn't do. We are a startup and this is the second company I have set up to use AO. The last company has about 14 seats of AO and 2 of QB. We currently have 4 seats of AO and 2 of QB.
We buy absolutely everything using AO. That includes stuff like paper towels, rubber gloves, you name. This lets you find a product you like and continue to use it. We print a PO for the guy going to Home Depot with their SKU number and nothing gets forgotten and they bring back the right thing.
It does work orders for the shop, sales orders for jobs, purchase orders for vendors, and inventory if you want. We don't use inventory as we operate with the least amount of inventory that is practical and keep it to a minimum using an AO generated Pick List. Materials for multiple jobs get ordered by Work Order or Sales Order and a custom reciever we created tells the shop what jobs get what materials and how much of each. Another custom label printing routine prints bin labels for the recieved materials.
They are a very responsive company too. Our manager just got back from a 3 day AO retreat to get him totally up to speed and he raved about how useful it was.
02-17-2017, 10:50 AM #8
What about just using Google Sheets? You can have access to it anywhere on any computer. Make multiple tabs; quoting, active jobs, secondaries, completed jobs. You can also use color coding for whatever situation you may need.
We use this so anyone in the company can see what stage a job is at, at any given time.
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02-17-2017, 12:32 PM #9
Everything based on spreadsheets suffers from the same problem. Spreadsheets are single user oriented. As soon as you have two or more the data isn't shared and then you waste time or make mistakes. A multi-user system built on a relational database (sql) means all data is used and stored once. Updating anything updates everything! When we buy materials costs get updated directly from the POs. When we pull up an old qoute to do the same job again it applies all the new costs automaticly. We can see exactly where we used something and how much we used, and where it came from.
02-17-2017, 12:49 PM #10
02-20-2017, 09:42 AM #11
Things that make orders: labor, materials, machinery & tools.
Things that make those other things more efficient: Stuff like the software you're considering.
Either you don't really need it or you're just not doing the math (or maybe doing it correctly). If that software makes you 5-10% more efficient, you'll soon wonder why you ever waited so long to get it. Three people = likely at least $150K in wages and then there's the value of your machines running. A 5% improvement would possibly get you about $10K more of "input" every year or about $40-50K in sales. Now how does that $2K look?
The only "flip side" to all of this is to make sure and do your homework that this will do the trick. Too many people buy software thinking it will be easy to use or they buy the wrong software for what they need.
02-20-2017, 06:01 PM #12
I am not pushing AllOrders here, I'm pushing integrated software that multiplies your effectiveness. I did it with spreadsheets 30 years ago. Then I wrote my own system in Borland Paradox. Then I used Parts&Vendors at two companies which worked well, but has been discontinued. Finally AllOrders at two companies. This isn't doing the same thing over and over expecting better results. This is about actually getting those results!
02-20-2017, 06:40 PM #13
the pricing. So...I'll ask you....
What IS the base price, and does the 'base package' have enough functionality to actually be useful?
Many of the ERP/MRP packages flash a 'basic system' or entry level price point, and then it turns out it's pretty much useless without additional modules.
Also, what are you using beyond the base package if any?
And finally, what version of Quickbooks are you using it with?
Just curious...if you don't mind.
02-20-2017, 08:19 PM #14
Why not just use QuickBooks as your scheduling software? The features aren't explicit but you can create custom fields for dates and such for tracking. You can't really schedule that I'm aware but it's easy enough to setup a spreadsheet as a Gantt chart.
Edit. Didn't mean use QuickBooks for your scheduling as I later mentioned but can use it to keep track of due dates.
Last edited by Jay Fleming; 02-21-2017 at 07:52 AM.
02-21-2017, 07:36 AM #15
Schedlyzer Lite for optimally scheduling high-variety production in job shops which employ multi-functional machines and multi-skilled workers. See whether it can sufficiently meet your requirements using a free trial copy.
A brief YouTube video on this tool is available to know more about its functionality.
02-21-2017, 07:53 AM #16
Enter multiple PO;s as incoming sales orders, and than print an 'open sales order' report and there are your multiple overlapping part orders listed by part number in chronological order. SO if you have 4 PO's for the same part with overlapping delivery dates they are right in front of you.
You could build inventory parts with parts required for the job but I have never done that.
Enterprise is built as a multi user software, but there is a single user version if you search for it
02-21-2017, 08:24 AM #17
Realtrac ERP Performance Software. We had tried one other ERP before. I find Realtrac a lot simpler than many of the ERP and the price point was fairly affordable.
02-21-2017, 11:42 AM #18
02-21-2017, 11:46 AM #19
02-21-2017, 04:45 PM #20