So, you have decided to invest in an inventory-management software solution in order to increase the flexibility and efficiency of your machine shop, but now you have to work out which system will suit your needs. Here, experts at the award-winning software provider CRIBWISE outline a strategy for decision making that you can use to select the best tooling inventory-management software for your business in 2022.

All manufacturers must put effective systems in place to manage their inventories and they are increasingly turning to cloud-based solutions to assist them in these efforts. Indeed, the choice is no longer whether or not to turn to technology, but which provider to choose. At CRIBWISE, we suggest that those wrestling with this decision look at ten key criteria across three broad aspects of these software packages. Doing so will make the process of choosing the right solution much easier.


The software

The first aspect that you must consider is the software itself, and how your machine operators will interact with it. You must ask yourself:

  • How easy is it to use the software? How does the user engage with it, what is the interface like and how complex is it to navigate? Further, can it be accessed remotely, and from which devices?
  • What reporting can it carry out? What type of reports can it produce, and how useful would they be for the management and control of your inventory, and for streamlining your processes?
  • How automated is it? Can you automate your purchasing of new inventory, for instance?
  • How functional is its connectivity? Does it provide access to (online) supplier catalogues for data and inventory items, including spare parts and assemblies, location information and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, and other business systems?


The hardware

The second aspect to consider is the hardware options you could have to complement the software. What sort of storage options will you have? You must weigh-up:

  • How secure you want the storage systems to be. Options range from open enclosures to those that restrict access and allow you to completely control who access it and for what.
  • The variety of the storage options to you. You might want enclosures with single-dispense functionality, small and individual compartments, drawer and lid configurations and lockers or large bins.
  • The capacity of the storage options. Enclosures can offer a discrete number of places for lower overall inventory needs, or greater numbers of storable items, and feature configurable cabinets and the ability to link additional units as needed.



Finally, you need to consider the ways in which the software can be installed:

  • Off the shelf. You could opt for pre-packaged combinations of hardware and software to meet specific needs.
  • Cloud. Data resides in the cloud for secure access anytime and anywhere, including remotely, with multiple devices by authorised users.
  • On-site. Intra-system data availability provides maximum security and protects sensitive company data. 



Evaluating the options

As you can see, there is much for you to consider. As an exercise, let’s see how this decision-making process can be used to evaluate the merits of the award-winning CRIBWISE solution. CRIBWISE features a logical human interface with access controls set by company management. The system can be accessed by multiple devices (securely) to monitor tool usage and consumption, connect to supplier catalogue data, provide location and user information, generate reports for management and process improvement, connect to business systems, including ERP software, and automate order levels and purchasing functions.

Seven different hardware solutions from four inventory management makers are offered within the CRIBWISE package, and there are three options for installation, depending on your needs. Uniquely, CRIBWISE uses ISO parameters and is completely brand agnostic, meaning customers can purchase and store whatever items best suit their needs. So effective is the system that it was recently deemed worthy of a MaschinenMark Award at the 2021 (seventeenth) China International Metalworking Summit.

To find out how CRIBWISE could help your business or to discuss your needs with one of our team.