What is the purpose of production control software?

I am going to be somewhat controversial here, so those of you of a nervous disposition – look away now. This is a personal view based on over twenty years experience with small manufacturing operations.

The software available to manufacturers fall into two categories – feel good and useful.

The feel good variety are full of the latest ‘innovations’ and ‘fashions’. They look pretty and may make you go “wow” when you view the screens. But do they actually do anything? For the most part all they provide is a different medium to do the same old thing you’ve always done – fire fight.

The useful variety are far less numerous. The focus with these is to actually help improve your operation. Improving doesn’t just mean doing what you are doing now but faster. It means improving your processes. This means doing things differently, to achieve more with less.

The main purpose of production control software is to help you get more work through your facility with lower administration costs. This means more people making stuff and less people running around fire-fighting.

Now comes the plug: Match-IT is useful, don’t fight it!

The planning system within Match-IT is very sophisticated, its aim is to automate the production of work-to lists that minimise costs and maximise throughput. Its not perfect but it gets close enough for most practical purposes. The costs and stresses involved in trying to ‘improve’ on it will typically be greater than the savings you might achieve by fighting it.

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