Process Manufacturing Software
Process manufacturing software, product manufacturing software, and JIT manufacturing software are three types of software modules that can be run on an integrated enterprise resource planning module and can revolutionize the scheduling and assembly operations of increasingly smaller manufacturing firms. In the early 1990s, the first ERP systems were developed for use in the manufacturing sector and were known as MPR, or manufacturing resource planning systems. These large server architectures were designed to run applications related to odering, shipping, database management, and a variety of other back office functions, and included early versions of process manufacturing software. These new models were cumbersome and expensive, but they allowed large manufacturing firms to free themselves from isolated, outmoded software systems that kept different departments from sharing information without complex data conversions.
Running process manufacturing software and other software modules on an ERP infrastructure proved, in time, to increase efficiency and reduce error rates, and productivity began to rise among firms that had installed these systems. Eventually, the bottom line benefits made up for the high cost of installation, but the systems still required improvement in order to be commercially viable. Large providers began to streamline their ERP models and offer better services, and flaws in the employee training process were ironed out, which meant that business owners who installed new ERP systems could realize faster returns on their investment. By the end of the previous millennium, demand for ERP systems had grown very high, even though these systems were still only affordable to very large firms, government organizations and universities.
Process manufacturing software programs run on an integrated ERP architecture had nearly saturated the highest end of the process manufacturing sector by about 2005, and large providers began to turn their attention downstream to satisfy demand at the smaller business level. This shift in market focus is still underway, and providers like SAP and Microsoft are still searching for ways to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded field of process manufacturing software providers. Independent providers can offer scaled, affordable process manufacturing software products with industry specific features, and hosting solutions can allow small business owners to run process manufacturing software applications in a rental capacity using space on a collective multi-tier server architecture. This can allow manufacturing firms to side step the cost of ownership and maintenance for their own server systems, and can help them realize faster returns on the adoption of integrated process manufacturing software. If strategic partnerships form between hosting solutions, process manufacturing software providers, and smaller process manufacturing business owners and CIOs, then all three can stay competitive and retain solvency during a difficult economic climate. When market conditions improve, these firms can emerge ahead of their competition.