What's new
What's new

ERP - JobBoss^2 vs. ProShop vs. Something Actually Good?

superbeau

Plastic
Joined
Feb 26, 2023
My company has been using E2 (then JobBoss then JobBoss^2) for many years. It's clunky and hard to use for new employees. I personally hate it. I'm starting to look at other options and have been sadly disappointed by what's out there. It seems like ProShop might be least bad option out there. Has anybody switched from JobBoss to ProShop? Any experiences or insights would be much appreciated. I've also heard good things about Statti and shopVOX. Thanks in advance!
 
I am also interested in this, I have yet to find a solution thats a good fit for my shop. How big is your company? Are you a jobshop? and are you ISO certified or similar?
 
Might help if you detail what your shop does, how your shop does it and what it expects from Software
 
Very interested here as well. Been using e2 for 16 years and would not recommend it to my worst enemy. Frankly I dont believe there is a "good" option out there for what we do, but Id love to be wrong. We have researched options a few times, had meetings, demos, ect, when the real questions come out, the salesmen always have the same blank stare.
 
FWIW, I had an absolutely awful experience with ProShop. Partially my fault - the software was so insanely time consuming that we never fully finished the implementation before I threw in the towel. All said and done, I had over 10k into the software to decide that it wasn't going to work well in a low volume, high mix environment.

"They" said we wouldn't be able to get through ISO900/AS9100 without an ERP. We did it, but it's not easy. I would love to find an ERP that was flexible enough to migrate everything over, but they all are just so damn big and clunky. Pretty convinced at this stage that we will either have to build our own ERP, or pay somebody else to do it.

I have zero interest in bringing in a full time employee just for data entry to keep the ERP happy, which seems to be how most bigger shops are handling this.
 
Last edited:
In the same boat. Low volume very high mix jobshop. Had e2 then job boss. Just bloated with a ton of stuff you pay for but don’t use
 
Pretty convinced at this stage that we will either have to build our own ERP, or pay somebody else to do it.

I have zero interest in bringing in a full time employee just for data entry to keep the ERP happy, which seems to be how most bigger shops are handling this.

With the amount of shops that seem to say this you would think that putting together a group, all put in the $10k they wasted and get a full time software guy for a year at $120k and let him build away with some upworkers etc.

The reason most ERP's are described at bloated or complicated or PITA etc is they start off from an idea, turn into a capability and then evolve into trying to do something to suit a customer they want to keep and before they know it they have evolved to a place they have no idea how to get out of. As they grow they take on more people, get more overheads, need more customers and get over whelmed.

Unless you build it yourself and limit it to exactly what you need then it pretty hard to stay in scope. I saw an article the other day about John Grimsmo who is some youtube knife guy and he tried to make his own ERP System with his dad who is some software development guy using developers etc and failed miserably BUT learnt enough about what he wanted to then turn around and get what he wanted from Upwork and Google Sheets, point is failure was the learning journey he needed to see see what he really needs and it was much simpler than he initially thought.
 
We also had a bad start with proshop, and ended up getting a refund. We have since switched to Realtrac, and have been loving it for the past year. We are 12 people, 18 machines, low volume high mix job shop.
 
Thanks for all of the feedback!

My shop is 30 people total and about 13 of those are ERP users like supervisors, office, QC, etc. We are a job shop with a relatively small number of customers that we fulfill contract orders for throughout any given year. We normally do $5mm+ in revenue. We're generally high mix low/mid volume on orders. We run complex parts that have to move from machine to machine to outside service to machine to quality to shipping. Our customers often ask to expedite orders so we're constantly trying to rejigger our schedule (Excel) to change one customers priorities without negatively impacting any other customers.

With JobBoss2 it feels like we're constantly having to create work-arounds and half-a$$ measures to sort of get their flow to work with the real world.

It's not a crazy idea to have a bunch of shops band together to get something good developed...
 
Our customers often ask to expedite orders so we're constantly trying to rejigger our schedule (Excel) to change one customers priorities without negatively impacting any other customers.

In a high-mix, low-volume production unit, without a good scheduling tool, it is not easy to assess the adverse impact of expediting a job on the progress of other jobs and find how to mitigate the impact. In-house Excel applications are generally not rigorous enough for this purpose. ERP systems are not intelligent enough for this purpose. Some best-of-breed scheduling software for job shops can meet the need.

It's not a crazy idea to have a bunch of shops band together to get something good developed...

It is a good idea in my opinion. A freelance software developer may come forward to develop the required ERP system for a group of job shops.
 
We switched from E2 to Proshop and would never look back. We are a high mix low volume shop with 51 employees and 22 machines. We grew 40% revenue in the past year and are averaging 95%OTD shipping out 170 orders a month. It's whatever you put into the software. Proshop is the best I've seen. Completely digital from setup sheets, work orders, quality module, employee training. It's all interconnected.
 
We switched from E2 to Proshop and would never look back. We are a high mix low volume shop with 51 employees and 22 machines. We grew 40% revenue in the past year and are averaging 95%OTD shipping out 170 orders a month. It's whatever you put into the software. Proshop is the best I've seen. Completely digital from setup sheets, work orders, quality module, employee training. It's all interconnected.
That's great to hear! How is its scheduling module?
 
What would examples of these be?

Scheduling software for job shops include:

Opcenter APS (Preactor APS)
Tactic (Waterloo Software)
Schedlyzer
Asprova
MangoGem APS Optimizer
Demand Solutions APS
Just plan it
Resource Manager DB
MaxScheduler
Optessa
Prestige Scheduler.

Some of them are relatively highly expensive. Many job shops may find simple tools like Schedlyzer Lite and an Excel-based tool, Resource Manager DB as very affordable. They enable fast and extensive what-if analysis and support dynamic capacity planning. Free trial copies are available for some of them with zero cost of evaluation.
 
That's great to hear! How is its scheduling module?

This question is about the scheduling module of Proshop. Based on some LinkedIn discussions on Proshop in the past, I got an impression that this vendor does not have much faith in software-enabled job shop scheduling. Therefore, I guess many Proshop users are not satisfactorily using its scheduling module.
 
What's your timeframe for switching? Is it merely "sooner the better" or do you have a hard deadline?

Eric here from Digital Factory. I'm best known around here as the founder of Orange Vise, which is still my daily focus.

Some may or may not know that I have a background in software engineering. I graduated from UCLA in '05 with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering, and my specialty has always been full stack web development (front and back ends). The majority of my career, however, has been spent in CNC manufacturing. I discovered the machine shop to be a more interesting environment, so writing software took a backseat.

Fast forward to 2023 and I'm now back at it, full force. In a nutshell, I'm developing a full-stack, cloud-based manufacturing app designed for small shops. The SBA defines "small" as 250-1250 max employees depending on industry, but my definition is more like 50-ish employees or fewer. My app includes ERP at its core, but it also integrates functionality from several other key apps from the manufacturing business "stack", including:
  • CRM (sales)
  • E-commerce
  • Accounting
  • ERP
  • MES (execution of ERP to the shop)
  • SCADA (monitoring and connecting MES to the machines)
  • Edge computing (PLC/Arduino/Pi)
  • WMS (warehouse/inventory management)
  • Shipping (direct API integration with shipping carriers)
A few key things have happened recently that convinced me to get back into software engineering and take on this ambitious project:
  1. I hit a dead end with commercially-available automation and software solutions. They're all grossly overpriced and underpowered, IMHO. The "state of the art" on display at IMTS2022 was rather disappointing to me. Lots of cool solutions no doubt, but mostly just slapping together expensive products to create even more expensive products. The small business is being neglected because it can't scale using products that are too expensive, difficult, and risky to integrate.

  2. IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is ready for primetime for small shops, thanks to the maturation of low cost hardware like Arduinos and various sensors. It's now easier and cheaper than ever to connect every piece of equipment, from your most advanced CNC machine down to your refrigerated air dryer, to the cloud for monitoring. Sample code is readily available everywhere, and AI can get you out of most stumbling blocks (see #3).

  3. The rise of AI - not only do I use ChatGPT-4 daily to assist me in the development of my app, but I'll be integrating AI directly into the software as it becomes available to assist users in eliminating repetitive tasks and interpreting large IIoT datasets. I think the writing's on the wall - AI is the future, and anybody not using software with integrated AI will be left in the dust by those who do.
My timeframe for rollout is just a guess at this point, but I'm aiming for closed-beta around Q3/Q4 of this year and open-beta in Q1 '24. I don't expect anybody to wait for me if they can't. But I'd caution anybody switching platforms in the next year or two to consider whether the new platform is future-proof, i.e. planned AI integration. Things are going to change very drastically in the coming years, and if you have to switch platforms more than once in a short period of time, you might burn yourself out.

TL/DR: I'm writing an ERP. Its tentative name is "Digital Factory One". The "One" in the title has several meanings - it's one integrated full-stack app, it's written by one person (me), and its target is the small shop that plans to utilize technology to scale and compete against much larger firms, i.e. one vs many. Pricing will be considerably more attractive than what's already out there. Like not even close.

Here's a teaser:
Screenshot 2023-04-01 at 11.31.33 AM.png
 
Last edited:
I would like some ERP,
I don't expect it to be free.

You run the software on your box,
I get to it through Firefox.

But here's what's mulling in my dome,
I want it running in my home.

I'll say the quiet part out loud,
I will not use it in the cloud.
 
I will not use it in the cloud.
That's definitely something that the industry as a whole is going to need to figure out or overcome.

Resistance to subscription-based software is kind of a dead end. I too like perpetual licenses with my CAD/CAM, but ERP is a different animal - data intensive, but computationally light. Half the features I'm working on wouldn't be possible on a desktop version, and cost would be significantly higher. I get that other companies are milking the crap out of their customers in subscription fees, but that's not the case here.

The ITAR issue can be solved through special hosting like AWS GovCloud.

Screenshot 2023-04-01 at 12.03.48 PM.png
 
That's definitely something that the industry as a whole is going to need to figure out or overcome.

Resistance to subscription-based software is kind of a dead end. I too like perpetual licenses with my CAD/CAM, but ERP is a different animal - data intensive, but computationally light. Half the features I'm working on wouldn't be possible on a desktop version, and cost would be significantly higher. I get that other companies are milking the crap out of their customers in subscription fees, but that's not the case here.

The ITAR issue can be solved through special hosting like AWS GovCloud.

View attachment 391839
The insurmountable problem, is that if I use your cloud based ERP, then I've hitched my company to yours, almost inextricably. If you get hit by a truck, get bought out and shut down, or simply decide you don't want to do that any more, then the ERP stops working and I can't count on being able to extract my data and transfer it to another system. I would also have to continually pray that you don't change the deal. This is why I will never use an Autodesk product.

Would you buy a CNC machine that has to call home for permission to run?
 








 
Back
Top