Searching for new manufacturing technology involves a lot of resource time and money…and if done poorly, a lot of headaches! Think about the number of discovery calls and in-depth discussions and demos that your team will go through. It can quickly become overwhelming.

It’s important to follow software search best practices to ensure that you don’t add unnecessary time to the project. Choosing the wrong vendor can cost your business. About 28% of software that has been installed in organizations across the U.S goes unused. This amounts to $30 billion in wasted IT dollars.

With over 20 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, our Smart Factory experts have guided countless manufacturers through the search process. Many manufacturers come to us without knowing their specific operational challenges or requirements around their machine and IT connectivity which slows down the process. 

To help software searchers, our experts created a comprehensive Smart Factory Software search requirements checklist which outlines the three phases of the search:

  • What steps manufacturers need to take even before speaking with vendors such as defining your operational objectives, functionality and technology requirements
  • How to evaluate products and vendors
  • How to make the final decision 

Factor in ROI

One of the most important factors to consider in your software investment is the level of profitability that the tool can offer. The checklist provides you with an interactive ROI calculator to get a clearer view of the potential software investment impact on operations. It factors in:

  • Estimated yearly investment per vendor
  • The number of scheduled weekly hours
  • Burden rate/hour
  • Number of machines in your facility 
  • Target improvement percentage per vendor


A few bonus tips:

  • Evaluating too many can lead to information overload and hinder the search process by making it difficult to distinguish between the functionality, costs, and fit of each. Make sure you limit the number of vendors to 4-5.
  • Waiting too long to involve decision-makers can hinder your software search process. Loop in appropriate stakeholders early on in the process to avoid duplicating work and sitting in on multiple demos and sales processes. 
  • Once a vendor has been chosen, begin the implementation process as soon as possible to avoid delays.  Keep in mind that vendors also have their own schedules and available timeframes for implementation.

Download the fillable template to coordinate teams, get decision-makers on board with digital transformation, and find the best digital solution for your operations!