Silje's top 10 tips for
choosing welding software
«In my experience and from speaking to our customers, there are a couple of fundamental things you need your welding software package to do, particularly if you are looking to move towards industry 4.0
I have tried to summarise these below, adding links where you can delve a bit deeper. Hope you find it useful!»
Silje Holvik, Solutions Sales Manager
Top 10 tips for choosing your welding management software
1. Write your wish-list before going online
It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to get sidetracked by fancy features and gizmos.
Decide in what areas of the weld-reporting you are spending time that you know would be better used elsewhere. List your must-haves and your ‘nice-to-haves’.
2. Determine areas of improvement in your welding process
Time, quality and cost – which areas could you and your team make improvements through digitalizing the process? Go through from planning to final documentation package.
Time – are you spending it running around the production halls gathering crucial data rather than analyzing it? Get the software to do the data-gathering for you.
Are you waisting time looking for the right procedure?
How much time is spent in status meetings, or collecting data to report to management and customers?
How much time is spent filling in the same header information again and again in and endless amount of NDT reports?
Quality – are there errors creeping in that could be eliminated, for instance, double-entry of data, using welders that are not qualified for the procedure or relying on the wrong revision?
Cost – factor in you and your team’s time both gathering, double-checking and analyzing the data. What could you save if your welding management software did some of these jobs for you?
3. What existing software does your organisation use?
You will want your new welding software to integrate to some extent with other software packages currently in use, for instance, your ERP system.
Why register the same data in two different systems, opening up for discrepancies in your data, not to mention using your valuable resources for duplicate, unnecessary work? Let the software do the work for you.
"Consider the welding software in light of the whole organisation’s needs.
Software today is rarely a stand alone system, and neither should it be!"
Wish-list in hand, off to the internet we go...
So having armed yourself with a list of must-haves and would like-to’s you are ready to see what is out there!
4. He´s checking it once, he´s checking it twice....
Make sure you refer back to your list and stay focused. Having said that, keep an open mind – a good welding management software company has the benefits of experience from working with different types of organisations and industries and often have to implement systems to fit in to industry needs rather than the off-the-shelf solution.
The software company might have new ideas that even your brilliant team has not yet though of : )
Use their know-how to expand your wish-list.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations
Pick up the phone, check social media and speak to your colleagues.
Most social media platforms have private messaging options if you don’t want to or can’t ask on an open thread.
Using LinkedIn for instance, ask colleagues in other locations or connections in other industries for feedback on their experience with welding management software.
6. Involve the right people, and enough people in your project!
Implementing a welding management software requires several functions and departments to be involved, depending on the size and complexity of your company of course.
If you want to get it right the first time, make sure you have all the data you need, from the people who know what they are talking about. Show them what digitising the welding project from beginning to end will mean for them and find out what their sticking points are.
In my experience, key people who could be useful to talk to are:
Welding manager/foreman – this is pretty obvious to most.
NDT manager – NDT is a time consuming activity where digitalisation can offer huge benefits so be sure to involve this department!
QC/QA Manager – A must.
IT Manager – To ensure you choose the right solution for your company, Cloud, Local installation, Corporate cloud and also to ensure security requirements are met.
Senior Management Team – obviously a huge advantage to involve management as early in the process as possible.
Good welding management software removes the need to
race around the manufacturing halls collecting data.
Let the welding data come to you.
Getting down to business...
Having made a shortlist of your potential weld software suppliers, it is time to make contact. The process of elimination will be a lot quicker for you if you have done the groundwork as above!
7. Ask for a demonstration
Make sure you explain what your requirements are prior to the demo – ask if it can be tailored to showcase what you need it to do. Definitely ask about integration with your existing software, you don’t want that to become a time-consuming issue down the line.
8. Invite other stake-holders to the demo
…and you don’t have to get stuck trying to present a newly learned software solution to the stake-holders, potentially bogging down the entire decision process.
On the runway and ready for take-off...
9. Implementation, implementation, implementation
This can not be said enough.
Don’t take your foot off the pedal once the product is chosen and/or purchased.
Now comes the critical part – you guessed it – implementation!
Some companies offer implementation or workshops even before purchase, to make sure your wish-list or must-haves are covered, before the final decision.
Take the time to get it right, it will pay off. Always keep in mind that this is not a software programme like Excel that offers one solution for all, but a bespoke set-up that needs to work for you and your organisation.
and finally... it's not just for Christmas!
10. Training and follow-up
Remember, your new welding software is not just for Christmas, but for the duration!
Make sure every user gets training. If not properly trained they will easily revert back to their spreadsheets and handwritten notes that needs to be entered again and again and again…..
And haven gotten this far, that is NOT what you want.
A good software company will keep developing the system and offer updates and additional features. Ensure new and existing users take advantage of training and workshops, which should be offered throughout the year.