SaaS Solutions to Innovate the Manufacturing and Engineering Sector

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 21/11/2022
saas for manufacturing and engineering

In this article, we want to bring to the attention of manufacturing and engineering sector business owners that they can no longer postpone the digitisation of the industry. SaaS solutions are essential to running a business that flourishes and scales moving forward. We will share a recommendation for where to start with the process. 

The introduction of heavy machinery to handle physical labour has changed the world, building the society we know today. The manufacturing and engineering sector takes credit for that. However, while it was capable of starting an industrial revolution, nowadays it is falling behind in terms of innovation. The main reason is its interest in remaining focused on the automation of physical labour, therefore neglecting the back office processes. 

Digital transformation is a bit of a taboo in the industry, mostly because many businesses that tried to adopt it have failed tremendously, damaging their budgets. Today we would like to talk about how to avoid such scenarios and what are the first steps to take in addressing the issue. We will also explain the role of SaaS solutions in the process of digitisation, as well as educate you on their unique qualities. 

Get Ahead of Your Competitors

While the lack of innovation in the manufacturing and engineering sector is a huge flaw, it can work to your advantage. There are very few companies that have fully embraced digitisation, and many that still stubbornly refuse to innovate. You reading this article indicates you’re looking for ways to kickstart the process and that puts you ahead of the game already. However, it’s too early to rest. It won’t take long till your competitors start waking up to the realisation innovation is necessary to scale and prosper in today’s world. 

If you adopt and start utilising SaaS solutions as soon as you can, by the time they start exploring their options, your processes will already be built and effective. Since most of the automation solutions become more efficient the more you use them, utilising the data they collect for learning, time is a big factor here. In other words, by being an innovator, you will be steps and then miles ahead of your competitors. And, who knows, maybe you’ll be paving the path to the new industry’s best practices? 

Benefits of Introducing SaaS to the Manufacturing and Engineering Sector

You might still be on the fence about whether now is the right time for making such impactful decisions. We insist there’s no time better than now, not if you’re looking forward to a prosperous future. Of course, we, as a SaaS vendor are slightly biased. So, let’s talk business and allow us to convince you of the urgency with actual evidence. 

Back Office Automation

The manufacturing industry is one of the sectors that are well aware of how crucial automation is. If anything, the very core of it is trusting machines with the labour humans are either incapable of or prone to errors at. However, this logic seemingly only applies to the execution of on-field tasks and barely stretches to the back office. This is understandable - back in the day, introducing automation to manufacturing led to an industrial revolution, and since production has always been the key priority, bureaucracy was less of a focus. Unfortunately, in the era of digitisation and growing demands, this mindset is no longer applicable. 

SaaS solutions are essentially the heavy machinery for the back office. They are created to help your workers automate their processes, although are focused on admin tasks rather than physical labour. Even for office workers, day-to-day work life in the manufacturing and engineering sector is packed with repetitive tasks. Those prevent them from working on progress-driving functions that require human judgement. SaaS technology is there to take over those maintenance-oriented tasks: invoicing, expense management and holiday allowance, to name a few.

It’s Stackable

While you will likely need different solutions to address different elements of the business, the era of them being siloed is over. A not long time ago most software solutions were CD-bound. Once installed, they would run independently, without communicating with other software you have or may purchase later. SaaS solutions, on the other hand, are on the cloud and are therefore web-based. Not only it means they won’t require additional hardware or computer memory, but also that they can all become cogs in your powerful business machine.

Most SaaS platforms can be easily linked with one another through integrations, allowing them to freely exchange data and tailor workflows with more automated steps. Even if the software of your interest has no integration you’re looking for, you can get in touch with the vendor and ask if they would be willing to create an API key for you. The purpose of SaaS is to help the user create a centralised software hub that contains different solutions, and therefore most vendors will be happy to help.

Timesheet Software is a Good Start

With SaaS being the fastest-growing market and the fact there’s a solution for virtually anything and everything, it’s perfectly understandable if you’re at a loss for where to start. Again, we may come across as biased, but we believe timesheet software would be a perfect foundation to start building your tech stack on. Now, let us elaborate. 

It’s More Than Time Tracking

Although recording time is the cornerstone of digital timesheet tools, it’s far from being a limitation. In fact, a lot of processes the software assists in optimising use time tracking as a foundation. Such would be client billing, invoicing, expense management, holiday management, attendance tracking, correct payment calculations that involve differentiating rates and many more. In other words, when you adopt a time tracking platform, you cover your basis for multiple areas at once. Sure, the stretch of the tool’s functionality will depend on the developer, as well as whether you will have to pay extra for additional features. 

What it means to you is that by making timesheet software the basis of your tech stack, you might significantly cut costs on other solutions you thought you will be needing. While requesting a demo prior to making a software purchase is in general a way to go about things, it’s also a great opportunity to gather information on what processes will it assist you with. Most solutions offer a package-based pay model, where the extent of functionality will vary based on the price of the plan. At Timesheet Portal, however, we allow our clients to build their own package of relevant functionality and only charge them for their chosen features.

Look Out for Integrations

We’ve discussed that SaaS solutions are built to be stacked - and this is done through integrations. However, given how huge the market for digital tools is, it would be foolish to expect you can connect any app to the other on the whim. This is why when you start searching for the right solution, it’s best you have a list of your existing software. Simply put, what seems to be the best tool you’ve come across, may not be compatible with your, let’s say, accounting package. This means one of the two will need to be replaced, leading to further search and costs.

Most software providers are happy to flaunt their extensive lists of integrations as it’s a strong selling point. You should therefore always check them for both the software you own and the tools you are considering. Don’t get disheartened if it’s not there, though. Instead, ask the vendor directly - sometimes, only the big solutions get listed. Or, as we have previously recommended, inquire about an API key. If there are no options for connecting your tools, unfortunately, it most likely means the software you’re interested in is not the right fit. Integrability is a huge factor and you shouldn’t take it lightly. 

Innovate with SaaS Technology

As you might have gathered, similar to how the industrial revolution was impossible without heavy machinery - digitisation is impossible without SaaS solutions. It doesn’t just support the innovation, it is the innovation itself, igniting its spark in every industry it gets to. It’s about time the manufacturing and engineering sector takes this modern technology on board - the future of our civilisation’s progress may depend on it.  

Begin Your Journey Today 

We will repeat once more that there’s no time better to embrace business digitisation than now. While most industries have long since adopted the approach and late bloomers are at a massive disadvantage, the manufacturing and engineering sectors are still in their sprouting period. It takes courage to take the risk and step into unfamiliar territory, but success will undoubtedly turn you into a thought leader and a trendsetter. Not to mention, you will be well ahead of those who start their journey later down the line.

Most digital transformation projects fail due to a lack of clear objectives, poor planning and trying to get everything done in one go. For someone inexperienced, you should aim for taking baby steps that, in retrospect, will have more impact than ambitious yet difficult strides. This is why we recommend starting with Timesheet Portal. Although a powerful platform, we value simplicity and are very user-friendly, merrily providing guidance for those who are only starting the process of digitisation.


Despite its very core being process automation, the manufacturing and engineering sector is behind in terms of automating the back office. This puts a significant strain on the workers, especially project managers. Not only can this cause burnout in the long run, but will also severely affect the overall business performance and make it inferior to the competitors that have turned their focus to digitisation. With it being a continuous progress-driving process, time plays an important factor. 

SaaS solutions are the necessary tools to get the ball rolling. They are stackable and their functionality grows when you integrate them with one another, although we understand that the size of the market might make taking the first step in the right direction daunting. This is why we recommend starting your journey with a timesheet solution - something both workers and the back office will benefit from, without overwhelming you.

So, are you ready to begin the journey? Let us accompany you.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.