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Katana MRP Pros and Cons: Analysis of a Leading Inventory Management Software

Category: B2B News
What are the pros and cons of Katana MRP?
The pros and cons of Katana MRP revolve around its role as a materials requirement planning software aimed at small- and medium-scale businesses. The multi-tiered pricing allows for flexibility in terms of the number of locations and users. It can be integrated with popular online business systems, though it might need to consider adding other third-party apps to the list.

If you run a business, then you know you must constantly play an inventory balancing act to maintain a healthy bottom line. Having too much inventory is costly. Having too few is inconvenient. This is where effective inventory management is crucial. That is what inventory solutions like Katana MRP are for. But is it right for you? We look at the pros and cons of Katana MRP to help you determine if this is the case.

In this article, we analyze Katana focusing on how its features measure up when put to good use. By weighing its pros and cons, you can evaluate whether this is the inventory management software just for you. 

katana mrp pros and cons

Are your current inventory management practices making the grade?

Businesses point to forecasting as the most important inventory management practice for good reason.

The manufacturing process depends on a sales forecast to come up with the production schedule. This is usually gathered from last year’s sales data or calculated based on the company’s sales personnel’s quota. Inventory and sales software are also dependent on forecasts.

Most Important Inventory Management Practices

Forecasting

%

Warehouse Management

%

Logistics

%

Back-End Technology

%

Training Data Scientists

%

Returns Management

%

Data Interchange Technology

%

Sensor Technology

%

Training Retail Staff in eCommerce

%

Retooling DCs

%

Refitting Stores to Have Warehouse Capabilities

%

Source: Statista 2017

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Creating a forecast from employee’s sales quota is far from accurate. This can lead to either an over-supply of finished products or an excess of materials.

Either way, you will not like the outcome: wastage and increased inventory costs.

Help through item-level tagging

One course of action that you can take is to resort to item-level tagging. Why? Because those who have done so found that item-level tagging increased their inventory accuracy from an average of 63% to 95%.

That jump is no mean feat. And businesses are taking notice. In fact, 57% of them have been implementing RFID, the technology behind the item-level tagging practice.

With precise input from this technology, you should have better numbers to work with to coordinate with your other processes.

Katana as a production record keeper

In the area of keeping production records, Katana keeps accurate records of previous years’ production. It does the same for the materials used.

Katana automates the forecasting process. It does so by creating an accurate schedule of the supplies needed and when they are needed.

Will your manufacturing process benefit from Katana’s MRP procedures? Let’s find out further.

What is Katana MRP?

katana dashboard example

Katana is a web-based MRP system tailored for small to medium-sized businesses. It is an effective tool for production planning, scheduling, inventory control, and manufacturing process management.

It incorporates a visual dashboard that provides a comprehensive view of the company’s manufacturing processes, job orders, and deadlines.

If you want to investigate the features closely, you can easily do so when you sign up for Katana free trial here.

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The dashboard serves as a real-time snapshot of the production. This affords managers a glance at the current state of production. The up-to-date information helps users make quick business decisions. This positively impacts the business.

The software focuses on materials flow and the processes which use them. It allows the user the flexibility to sort the job orders depending on the materials used. For good measure, it also considers any agreements with clients.

Katana is integrated with other manufacturing and accounting apps like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Xero, and Quickbooks.

Small and medium-sized companies which use this software will find it easy working between Katana and this other software.

Key features of Katana MRP:

  • Manufacturing Grid
  • Material Availability
  • Production Planning
  • Sales Grid
  • Sales and Purchase Order Management
  • Automatic Inventory Management
  • Real-time Inventory Control
  • Stock Level Optimization
  • Production and material Cards
  • Variants
  • Production Recipe (Bill of Materials)
  • Production Operations (Routing)

Katana Advantages and Disadvantages

Real-Time Inventory Management

Inventory and manufacturing information is accessible and fed on real-time. Finished products and raw materials are included in inventory transactions. From there, the entries are automatically updated.

Katana lets you control the inventory volume for supplies in various levels of use. This includes on-hand and committed stock amounts.

Reorder points for each supply item are necessary information. This provides accurate purchasing decisions based on historical production data.

Visual Production Planning

katana visual production planning

Katana’s visual dashboards allow for flexible planning, getting every order and process properly organized.

With the data collected, the software can forecast the production and the necessary supplies needed. The visual dashboard makes it easy to monitor prices from the suppliers.

Visual elements allow even non-technical employees to operate the application. By taking a page from UX design best practices, Katana gives users a pleasing experience while running the program.

These features help to keep costs down with the timely purchase of materials at their best prices. This impacts on the timing of the manufacturing process, for items made for stock.

For items made to order, the accurate costing of materials before their purchase helps with the product pricing.

With an accurate forecast, the whole manufacturing process can be optimized to meet the job orders. If necessary, workers can be asked to render overtime to complete the job orders. In sub-assemblies, workers can put more time into important parts which are in short supply.

Materials do not have static prices. The prices of materials can increase depending on the time of the year. Adequate planning for purchases can catch when these materials would have a lower price.

Control of Manufacturing

As with many powerful ERP software solutions, Katana gives you the flexibility to prioritize individual tasks or job orders. This moves the supplies around to the necessary job orders. This is especially useful for priority or rush projects where the client has special instructions. The same goes for special clients.

This flexibility is particularly useful when there is a limited amount of supply of material. It’s also handy when items are below reorder values and the re-supply will take some time. The management can decide which jobs to prioritize.

A material or part might be used in the manufacture of several products. Management can choose which product to produce in the face of dwindling supply.

Alternatively, among several projects in the queue, the smaller job volume may be given priority to close out more tasks or job orders or to release finished job orders.

Allocating the resources to the largest job order may result in no finished job order. Finished job orders get paid within days of delivery. Job orders would be paid only after these are completed and delivered.

Sales Order Fulfillment

katana order fulfillment

Katana makes it easy to process orders or stop operations when there is no outstanding order to fulfill.

There are two types of manufacturing—make to stock and make to order. When manufacturing is for make to stock, there is no outstanding order to fulfill. Instead, Katana puts the products in stock as inventory for future orders or store sales.

Companies will commence manufacture if there are actual orders for the specific items. Typically, these are buyers who have paid a downpayment. In some cases, they will immediately pay upon delivery of the items. 

Katana differentiates between two types of manufacturing for their inventory and supply control. One type is the made to order. These are priority projects where supplies have to be on hand for continuous production.

On the other hand, you can opt for make to stock at any time without detriment to any customer. The relationship between the customer and the manufacturer is also different.

Flexible User Access

Katana is accessible via the cloud. This provides the flexibility of access from anywhere in the world. You can access and use it from the factory floor or the manager’s desk.

Since it operates from the cloud, any person, team or specific roles can access it without issues. 

Critical Integration

katana integration

Katana works well with Shopify, WooCommerce, Quickbooks. Not shown are Xero, BigCommerce and Shipstation.

Katana works well integrating with ecommerce software vendors like WooCommerce, Xero, BigCommerce and Shipstation.

For those operating online shopping cart software solutions like Shopify, Katana provides a convenient integration that you can complete with a few clicks.

Businesses needing to integrate accounting programs can easily pull in Quickbooks to work with Katana MRP.

The integration helps the user with their inventory management and materials required for manufacturing. Katana pulls the data directly from the third-party inventory management software.

The integration is seamless and helps to manufacture control inventory levels. In this instance, MRP acts independently of inventory management. However, it shares the data for improved functionality. Unfortunately, it does not integrate with other third-party B2B apps.

Customer Support and Onboarding

MRP is not a trivial task. Katana supports the client with videos, tutorials and other customer learning tools. Outside of the website resources, Katana provides live chat. It also provides email and phone support.

The support is provided to all Katana customers. This ensures that the client learns how to use the software at speed.

Katana’s end-to-end approach and unique software philosophy can be overwhelming for some users.

The easiest way to understand the software for convenient data entry is to start with the sales step. This requires the user to think of the sale as the source of data. 

Should your company purchase Katana?

If your company has a variable or seasonal production line, or it has a made to order production line, Katana will fit your requirements well. However, if it has a continuous production line for made to stock items, then you might not be able to take advantage of Katana’s benefits. 

Maybe you have a large volume of historical data regarding your production line. In that case, Katana could use this to forecast the future needs of your production line.

This can lead to improved production management. Katana would not only be able to provide a picture of the future resource requirements, but it can also accurately forecast the production volume.

The biggest advantage of using Katana is the ability to sort and classify forecasted capacity. This would allow you to plan the flow of materials for production. If you want to know more about the features, you can easily sign up for Katana free trial here.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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