Manufacturing Software Glossary | Mont Blanc AI

Machine Manufacturing Software
January 31, 2024 LUC ATANGANA

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One of our main goals at MontBlancAI is to help manufacturer improve the efficiency of their operations. We believe that different types of manufacturing software are essential tools in helping manufacturers achieve greater efficiency.

However, understanding manufacturing software is not always easy. So, we decided to create this glossary of most used manufacturing software terms/acronyms, to help manufacturers better understand manufacturing software.

We hope that the more manufacturers understand manufacturing software tools that can help them improve efficiency, the more likely they will be to use those tools to their advantage.

Key Activities related to manufacturing

For the sake of this article, I am also including some of the key activities related to manufacturing. I am doing so to highlight how each of the keywords we discuss is used in one of the key activities or relates to it.

  1. Design and Development: Before manufacturing begins, products must be designed. This involves conceptualizing, designing, and engineering products, often using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software.
  2. Prototyping: Creating a prototype or a preliminary model of the product to test its design, functionality, and feasibility before mass production.
  3. Material Sourcing: Identifying and procuring the raw materials and components needed for manufacturing the product.
  4. Quality Control: Quality control in manufacturing is about ensuring the products meet certain standards and specifications through testing and inspection at various stages of the manufacturing process.
  5. Maintenance: Regular maintenance of machinery and equipment to ensure they operate efficiently and safely.
  6. Process Improvement: Continuously analyzing and improving manufacturing processes to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and lower costs, often using methodologies like Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.
  7. Warehousing: Storing raw materials, in-process products, and finished goods until they are needed or ready for shipment.
  8. Order Fulfillment: Processing orders, picking, packing, and preparing products for delivery to customers.
  9. Customer Service: Providing support to customers before, during, and after the sale, including handling inquiries, complaints, and returns.
  10. Research and Development (R&D): Innovating new products and improving existing ones. R&D activities are crucial for staying competitive in the market.
  11. Environmental Management: Implementing practices to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing activities, such as waste management, recycling, and using eco-friendly materials.
  12. Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring that manufacturing practices comply with local, national, and international regulations, including safety standards, labor laws, and environmental policies.
  13. Workforce Management: Recruiting, training, and managing employees who work in various roles throughout the manufacturing process.
  14. Financial Management: Overseeing the financial aspects of manufacturing operations, including budgeting, accounting, and financial planning.
  15. Technology Management: Implementing and managing technology solutions, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, to integrate and automate various aspects of manufacturing and business processes.

Now that we have addressed some key activities related to manufacturing, below are some of the most used terms/words/acronyms used when it comes to manufacturing software, including a brief definition of each.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

A type of software used to manage and integrate the core processes of a business, including inventory, purchasing, finance, HR, and more.

Think of ERP as the brain of a company, coordinating all the different departments from inventory and purchasing to finance and HR, much like how the human brain processes and integrates information from various parts of the body to keep it running smoothly.

Key Activities: Order fulfillment, Workforce Management, Financial management.

MES (Manufacturing Execution System)

Software that monitors, controls, and documents the manufacturing process, ensuring that production is carried out efficiently and with minimal waste.

Key Activities: Production Management, Quality Control, Process Improvement, Maintenance

PLC (Programmable Logic Controller)

A ruggedized computer used for industrial automation, controlling various manufacturing processes and machinery.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Production Management, Maintenance

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition)

A system of software and hardware elements that allows industrial organizations to control processes locally or at remote locations, and to monitor, gather, and process real-time data.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Production Management, Quality Control, Predictive Maintenance

IoT (Internet of Things)

Refers to the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data, which in manufacturing leads to smarter and more efficient processes.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Predictive Maintenance, Quality Control, Inventory Management, Environmental Management

CAD (Computer-Aided Design)

CAD is software used to create precision drawings or technical illustrations in manufacturing, often for product design and engineering.

Key Activities: Design and Development, Research and Development (R&D)

CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing)

The use of software and computer-controlled machinery to automate a manufacturing process.

Key Activities: Production Management, Process Improvement

Lean Manufacturing

A methodology focused on minimizing waste within manufacturing systems while simultaneously maximizing productivity.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Waste Reduction, Production Management

Six Sigma

A set of techniques and tools for process improvement, aiming to reduce defects and ensure quality in manufacturing processes.

Key Activities: Quality Control, Process Improvement

Predictive Maintenance

Using software tools and techniques to predict when a machine or component might fail, so maintenance can be performed just in time to avoid downtime.

Key Activities: Maintenance, Process Improvement

3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing

Creating objects through a layer-by-layer process, controlled by software, allowing for complex designs and on-demand manufacturing.

Key Activities: Design and Development, Production Management, Research and Development (R&D), Inventory Management

CNC (Computer Numerical Control)

The automated control of machining tools by means of a computer, where software and code control manufacturing processes.

Key Activities: Production Management, Process Improvement, Quality Control


An inventory scheduling system that helps manufacturing teams manage their workflows and visualize their work with the use of boards and cards.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Inventory Management, Workforce Management, Order Fulfillment

Just-In-Time (JIT) Production

A strategy to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process.

Key Activities: Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management, Process Improvement, Quality Control

Supply Chain Management Software

Software that helps in managing and overseeing supply chain operations, from the flow of raw materials to the delivery of the final product.

Key Activities: Supply Chain Management, Inventory Management, Order Fulfillment, Customer Service, Regulatory Compliance

Quality Management System (QMS)

Software that helps organizations ensure that their products meet consistent standards of quality.

Key Activities: Quality Control, Regulatory Compliance, Customer Service, Process Improvement

Industrial Automation

The use of control systems, such as computers or robots, and information technologies for handling different processes in an industry without significant human intervention.

Key Activities: Production Management, Process Improvement, Maintenance, Quality Control

Digital Twin

A virtual representation of a physical object or system across its lifecycle, used for simulation, analysis, and control.

Key Activities: Design and Development, Production Management, Maintenance, Research and Development (R&D), Process Improvement

Machine Learning

A type of AI that allows software applications to become more accurate in predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed to do so, used in manufacturing for optimizing processes and maintenance.

Key Activities: Predictive Maintenance, Quality Control, Process Improvement, Supply Chain Management, Inventory Management

RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)

The use of electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects, commonly used in inventory management.

Key Activities: Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management, Order Fulfillment, Quality Control

BOM (Bill of Materials)

A comprehensive list of raw materials, components, and instructions required for the manufacture of a product, often managed through manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Inventory Management, Design and Development, Supply Chain Management, Production Management

IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)

Refers to the extension and use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in industrial sectors and applications, with a strong focus on the connectivity and efficiency of manufacturing equipment.

Key Activities: Production Management, Predictive Maintenance, Process Improvement, Quality Control

M2M (Machine to Machine)

Technology that allows both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same type, often used in manufacturing software for automation and process optimization.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Industrial Automation, Predictive Maintenance, Production Management

OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness):

A standard for measuring manufacturing productivity, typically implemented through manufacturing software to track and improve efficiency.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Production Management, Quality Control, Maintenance

FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis)

An approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service.

Key Activities: Quality Control, Design and Development, Risk Management, Process Improvement

APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning)

A framework of procedures and techniques used to develop products in industry, particularly in the automotive sector, often managed through specialized manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Design and Development, Quality Control, Process Improvement, Customer Service

Batch Processing

A method of manufacturing where the product is created stage by stage over a series of workstations, and in different batches.

Key Activities: Production Management, Inventory Management, Quality Control, Process Improvement

Continuous Improvement

A method to identify opportunities for streamlining work and reducing waste, supported by various manufacturing software tools.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Quality Control, Waste Reduction, Production Management

EAM (Enterprise Asset Management)

Systems that manage the lifecycle of the physical assets of an organization like plants, vehicles, and equipment, crucial in manufacturing industries.

Key Activities: Maintenance, Inventory Management, Financial Management, Regulatory Compliance

HMI (Human-Machine Interface)

A user interface or dashboard that connects a person to a machine, system, or device, particularly relevant in manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Production Management, Industrial Automation, Process Improvement, Quality Control

Lean Six Sigma

A methodology that combines lean manufacturing/lean enterprise and Six Sigma to eliminate waste of physical resources, time, effort, and talent while assuring quality in production and organizational processes.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Quality Control, Waste Reduction, Continuous Improvement

MRP (Material Requirements Planning)

A production planning, scheduling, and inventory control system used to manage manufacturing processes.

Key Activities: Inventory Management, Production Management, Supply Chain Management, Order Fulfillment

Process Automation

The use of technology to automate complex manufacturing processes and workflows, often involving advanced manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Production Management, Industrial Automation, Process Improvement, Quality Control

Root Cause Analysis

A method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems, a critical component in quality management within manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Quality Control, Process Improvement, Maintenance, Risk Management

Statistical Process Control (SPC)

A method of quality control that employs statistical methods to monitor and control a process, often integrated into manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Quality Control, Process Improvement, Production Management, Continuous Improvement

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)

A system of maintaining and improving the integrity of production and quality systems through machines, equipment, processes, and employees, heavily reliant on manufacturing software for tracking and analysis.

Key Activities: Maintenance, Quality Control, Process Improvement, Production Management

Value Stream Mapping

A lean-management method for analyzing the current state and designing a future state for the series of events that take a product or service from its beginning through to the customer, often facilitated by manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Waste Reduction, Design and Development, Continuous Improvement

Workflow Automation

The design, execution, and automation of processes based on workflow rules where human tasks, data, or files are routed between people or systems based on pre-defined business rules, extensively used in manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Process Improvement, Order Fulfillment, Production Management, Workforce Management


A workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain). This methodology is often incorporated into manufacturing software for process optimization.

Key Activities: Workplace Organization, Process Improvement, Quality Control, Safety Management

Gemba Walk

A management practice for leaders to observe the actual work process, engage with employees, gain knowledge about the work process, and explore opportunities for continuous improvement, often supported by insights gained from manufacturing software.

Key Activities: Continuous Improvement, Quality Control, Workforce Management, Process Improvement

Did we forget a term? If so, feel free to suggest below. We could add it to the list. If you would like us to reach out to you about your suggestion, feel free to also add your email below.

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