To deliver goods to market on time, manufacturing teams have to consider the supply chain, inventory management, resource planning and production planning, to name a few. Managing this juggling act requires production scheduling software that’s flexible and powerful.
The following is a list of the best production scheduling software in descending order. These 11 production scheduling software tools for manufacturing help you manage the production cycle, manufacturing operations, production capacity and much more. If you’re looking for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that can also manage your product scheduling, you’ve come to the right place.
What Is Production Scheduling Software?
Before we list the best production scheduling software products, let’s define the term so we’re all on the same page. Production scheduling software is a tool for manufacturers to help them plan and schedule production activities. It assists with resource utilization, managing the availability of raw materials, avoiding bottlenecks and more.
While spreadsheets have been used in the past for production scheduling, it’s a manually intensive process that slows down production. Production scheduling software ensures that delays are minimized by streamlining tasks, creating effective production workflows and allocating and optimizing resources that lead to an efficient production schedule.
There are many types of production scheduling software, from cloud-based to on-premise. There are also many features that you’ll want to consider when making your decision, such as automation, capacity planning, material requirement planning (MRP), reporting and more.
1. Best Production Scheduling Software for Manufacturing
Now that we understand the meaning and scope of production scheduling software, let’s look at the top 11 options.
- Best production scheduling software for manufacturing projects
- Workload charts for accurate resource utilization
- Real-time dashboards for cost and time tracking
ProjectManager is award-winning production scheduling software. It’s cloud-based, which means there’s minimal installation required. The software is well-designed with powerful scheduling features that placed it at the top of our list for the best production scheduling software. Manufacturers will appreciate the full suite of tools for planning and scheduling, managing and tracking production in real time.
Manage Resources and Costs in Real Time
ProjectManager has powerful Gantt charts that are an essential tool for production scheduling. It links all four types of task dependencies to avoid costly production delays and bottlenecks. Both human and nonhuman resources and associated costs are captured in the Gantt chart as well. Once you’ve created a production schedule, the software allows you to set a baseline. This means you can now track the planned schedule against your actual schedule in real time to catch anomalies and reallocate resources to get you back on track.
Another plus is ProjectManager can create custom workflows that help move one activity into another and keep the production line moving. To further efficiency, there are automated workflows. You can add as many triggers as you want to automatically change the status, assignee and more.
Of course, quality control is an issue with automated workflows, but ProjectManager has added a task approval setting so that an authorized individual can inspect and approve the work before it moves forward in production. You can view the production workflow on kanban boards. ProjectManager has multiple project views so the schedule made on a Gantt chart reflects across all other views, such as the kanban, list, calendar, etc.
Managing resources is key to production scheduling software. ProjectManager makes it easy to onboard your workers, list their skills and availability, such as PTO, vacation and even global holidays for manufacturers with a large footprint across time zones. Secure timesheets streamline payroll but also capture how complete each worker’s tasks are in real time. For a closer look at resources, toggle over to the color-coded workload chart. It makes it easy to see who is overallocated and managers can reallocate work right from the chart to balance workflow and keep everyone working at capacity.
Those are the features that make ProjectManager the best production scheduling software, but we didn’t even touch on how it excels at task management and risk management, including its real-time dashboards and reporting features. Check out those and more by getting started with ProjectManager today for free.
- Team plan: $13/user/month
- Business plan: $24/user/month
- ProjectManager has a 30-day free trial
- ProjectManager has a mobile project management app available for Android and iOS
- Best production scheduling software for collaboration
- Easy-to-use task management boards
- Workflow tools for manufacturing projects
Monday.com promises to increase efficiency and accuracy while making it easier to manage internal and external orders. They have customized workflows that allow users to add and remove steps and add assignees. Workflows can be tailored to meet your production scheduling software requirements.
It allows users to manage all manufacturing processes in one place, adding visibility and notifications. There are features to track production processes, capture customer orders and requests, and even reporting tools and a variety of templates to help you get started.
Monday.com’s cost has been increasing and it’s getting to the point where it might no longer be worth the expense. Onboarding and training are difficult and customer support is distant. This gets worse the larger the project. Even the reporting features are limited. It’s really a task management tool and its automation, which is critical for production scheduling software, is confusing.
- Basic: $8/user/month
- Standard: $10/user/month
- Pro: $16/user/month
- Monday.com has a 14-day free trial
- Monday.com has a mobile project management app it’s available for Android and iOS
- Best production scheduling software for risk protection
- Monitors workflows and activities
- Tracks progress
Wrike has a project schedule template that can break down larger jobs into small actionable items. Then you can assign due dates and track progress. It’s not necessarily the go-to tool for manufacturers; it’s more of a fit for marketers, digital agencies and professional services. However, it’s simple, effective and collaborative.
What Wrike does have in its favor is a built-in chat function, risk protection, and, in terms of production scheduling software, it monitors workloads and activities. It’s also easy to track progress, bill and invoice.
However, Wrike has features, such as its Gantt chart, that aren’t intuitive. The kanban can only view tasks, not projects, and there’s no portfolio-level reporting for manufacturers who are running multiple projects. It mostly leans on its lists, but still requires a lot of time to understand how to use the production scheduling software. The automation features are poor, there aren’t many integrations and data and tasks can be hard to find.
- Team plan: $9.80/user/month (2-user minimum)
- Business plan: $24.80/user/month (5-user minimum)
- Wrike has a 14-day free trial
- Wrike has a mobile project management app available for Android and iOS
- Best production scheduling software for scheduling tasks
- Batch-scheduling features
- Manufacturing workbench configures work
Netsuite is production scheduling software with a task scheduler that has drag-and-drop scheduling capabilities. You can automatically schedule work orders as they’re created or when they reach a specific status. A manufacturing workbench is a single place to configure work, such as setting up runs, lag and hold time batch configuration, etc.
If you’re a manufacturer who makes products in batches, the tool has batch scheduling. A shop calendar defines when resources are available, but all this comes at a steep price that’s likely outside of what a manufacturer can afford to spend.
Not only is the pricing high, but it’s subject to change and that often happens just as you’re about to renew. For such complicated software, there’s little support. Of course, you can get additional support for an additional cost. If you want to customize reports, that’s not something that you can easily do. It might be all-in-one in terms of production scheduling software, but can you afford or even understand it?
- Contact for quote (average $99/month)
- Netsuite has a 14-day free trial
- Netsuite has a mobile project management app it’s available for Android and iOS
- Best production scheduling software for procurement
- Tracks customer information
- Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero
MRPeasy is production scheduling software with planning and procurement features. It’s built for small to mid-sized manufacturing companies and helps to allocate their resources. The software helps plan costs and production, with administration and bill features. It tracks serial numbers and works well with lean manufacturing.
You can keep track of your customer information, including history and account purchases. It integrates with QuickBooks and Xero, with APIs for third-party applications. There are four pricing tiers, but there’s no free or even affordable option.
The problem is, if you buy the cheapest version of the software, you’ll only be able to do straightforward activities. Even some of those more expensive tools don’t live up to the price tag, such as limited customization on its dashboard, reporting and statistics. You can’t even print the statistic graph if you need it for a presentation.
- Starter $49/user/month
- Professional $69/user/month
- Enterprise $99/user/month
- Unlimited $149/user/month
- MRPeasy has a free trial
- MRPeasy has a mobile project management app available for Android and iOS
6. Katana MRP
- Best production scheduling software for materials requirement planning
- Automated workflows
- Visibility into the availability of raw materials
Katana MRP is production scheduling software that focuses on materials requirement planning for small and medium-sized manufacturers. It also has inventory management tools. It can automate workflows, prioritize orders and provide visibility into the availability of raw materials and finished goods.
Its dashboard provides a real-time picture of production. It has a shop floor control function that lets users see the manufacturing order and ingredient list for tasks. There’s a visual planning tool that allows you to view supplier prices.
But surprisingly, it doesn’t allow you to track shipping supplies. It’s also not the easiest software to learn how to use, plus you have to create ingredients for each product, which is time-consuming. There are a lot of features, but you’ll be paying top dollar for them. User permissions also need improvement.
- Essential $99/user/month
- Advanced $299/user/month
- Professional $599/user/month
- Enterprise, contact sales
- Katana MRP has a 14-day free trial
- Katana MRP doesn’t have a mobile project management app
7. Visual Planning
- Best production scheduling software for enterprise resource planning
- Flexible, customizable and easy to use
- Drag-and-drop features
Visual Planning is production scheduling software for enterprise resource planning. It’s applicable to businesses of all sizes. Included are features for HR, inventory management, supply chain management, manufacturing and more.
It has been used by defense and aerospace industries and has capabilities that include activity management, document management, collaboration, issue tracking, resource management and budgeting. The software is fairly easy to use but expensive.
It takes a long time to set up and isn’t viable for smaller manufacturing businesses. Users have complained about its look, which is old-fashioned and it doesn’t integrate with many third-party apps. There’s also a steep learning curve to get the full impact of the software.
- VP Go $15/user/month
- VP Portal $35/user/month
- VP Desk $55/user/month
- Visual Planner doesn’t offer a free trial
- Visual Planner has a mobile app available for Android and iOS
8. Fishbowl Inventory
- Best production scheduling software for warehouse and manufacturing workflows
- Tracks inventory and gives stock alerts
- Has maintenance capabilities
Fishbowl Inventory is flexible ERP software that provides users with visibility into warehouse and manufacturing workflows. It integrates with Xero, QuickBooks and Reckon Accounts. The software is essentially made up of two plans, one being Fishbowl Manufacturing, which is used for assembly, disassembly, repair, replacement and other jobs.
Fishbowl Warehouse works to track inventory. It gives stock alerts, reordering, receiving and shipping goods data. This wide range of features is very costly. You have to buy both plans, which costs thousands of dollars.
The high up-front cost is painful enough, then there’s the limited customization. Even the touted shipping features aren’t all they should be. You’d think customer support would fill in these holes, but it’s unreliable. Plus, product costs are averaged from past purchases so there’s no first in, first out (FIFO) or last in, last out (LIFO) support.
- Contact for quote (starting at $4,395)
- Fishbowl Inventory has a 14-day free trial
- Fishbowl Inventory has a mobile project management app available for Android and iOS
- Best production scheduling software for e-commerce
- Brands merchandise
- Has desktop versions for Mac and Windows
InkSoft is a bit off the production scheduling software target of this list, but it’s included because the software bills itself as an all-in-one e-commerce platform for branded merchandise. Therefore, it might be part of the production schedule in terms of ordering and delivery of your product.
In that regard, it gives users tools to sell customer-branded merchandise and is marketed to print shops, apparel decorators and promotional product distributors. It’s desktop-only software, but it does have versions for Mac and Windows.
The software is really only viable for U.S. markets as it doesn’t support Canadian taxation rules and likely other countries’ regulations. It’s also difficult to use and users have complained that some features can be glitchy.
- Contact for quote (starts at $299/month)
- InkSoft Inventory doesn’t have a free trial
- InkSoft Inventory doesn’t have a mobile project management app
10. QT9 ERP
- Best production scheduling software for automating
- Integrates data from multiple sources
- Has shop floor management
QT9 ERP is an automating business primarily for aerospace, food, manufacturing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and plastics. It helps integrate data from multiple systems, locations, departments and employees. In terms of production scheduling software, you can automate your manufacturing, bill of materials and shop floor management.
Inventory control helps you optimize your inventory. Purchasing management helps with planning, inspections, MRP and supplier management. This can lead to confusion for users and that’s understandable. This is complicated and overwhelming software.
That steep learning curve with an opaque pricing structure will alienate a lot of potential buyers. Then when they find out the price it’s not going to help sweeten the deal. Add to the difficulty of configuring custom reporting and many will pass.
- Contact for quote (starts at $299/month)
- QT9 ERP has a 30-day free trial
- QT9 ERP doesn’t have a mobile project management app
11. M1 ERP
- Best production scheduling software for connecting business operations
- Shares data with sales, inventory, shipping and more
- Has regulatory compliance
M1 ERP is software for manufacturers that helps them connect business operations in one centralized system. You can share data from sales, inventory, scheduling, production, shipping and more. It’s used primarily at job shops, fabricators and manufacturers who do made-to-order and discrete work.
For those who have to maintain regulatory compliance, the software is compliant with the international traffic in arms regulations (ITAR). That said, customers have complained about poor support.
It’s not user-friendly, with data buried and a lot of clicks and screens to get to it. There’s a quoting module, but it uses estimates, and you can only reconcile accounts on a monthly basis. It’s also difficult to find and correct any mistakes. There’s no customization so this might not be a good fit for everyone.
- M1 ERP has a free trial
- M1 ERP doesn’t have a mobile project management app
What’s the Best Production Scheduling Software?
We’ve researched 11 of the most popular production scheduling software products on the market, and the clear winner is ProjectManager. It has a price point that doesn’t break the bank, automation, visibility, secure timesheets, multiple project views and much more. Manufacturers are one of the top users of this app and you can see why.
ProjectManager is online production scheduling software that empowers everyone to plan, manage and track their production run in real time. It gives manufacturers automated and custom workload, task approval, filtered reports and much more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.