5 Best Manufacturing Project Management Software

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Manufacturing businesses’ fast-paced operational speed means there’s no time for hiccups or unexpected roadblocks when it comes to planning and executing projects – and project management software can help. Read on to learn more about our top project management software picks for manufacturing.

Our PicksBest ForPricing Starts At
Oracle Project Portfolio Management Logo.
Try Oracle Project Portfolio Management
Best Overall Solution for Manufacturing$275 per user/ month

See details

clickup logo.

Try ClickUp

Best for Data Insights 

Pricing starting at $7 per user/month

See details
Zoho projects logo.

Try Zoho Projects
Best for Issue Tracking & ResolutionPricing starting at $5 per user/month

See details
ProjectManager logo.

Try ProjectManager
Best for Resource ManagementPricing starting at $13 per user/month*

See details
Microsoft Project Logo.

Try Microsoft Project
Best for Complex Project ManagementPricing starting at $10 per user/month

See details

*Indicates pricing when paid annually

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Our Picks: Top Manufacturing Project Management Software

Oracle Project Portfolio Management Logo.

Oracle Project Portfolio Management: Best Overall Choice for Manufacturing

Oracle Project Portfolio Management is a dynamic and feature-packed project management solution that enables teams to track budgets, automate work processes, track project progress, manage resources, and more.


Read more about Oracle products in Oracle NetSuite ERP Pricing & Features


Unlike other project management solutions, Oracle Project Portfolio Management can be paired and seamlessly integrated with other Oracle products, such as Oracle Manufacturing Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), to expand functionality and create a personalized experience tailored to manufacturing-specific needs. Specifically, users can link Oracle Project Portfolio to real-time data within Oracle Manufacturing Cloud to provide users on the project management end with relevant manufacturing updates that may affect project operations.

Example of a project dashboard with multiple project analytics shown. Source: Oracle, accessed August 2023.
Source: Oracle, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Manufacturing-focused integrations: Numerous integration options expand functionality and help connect your tech stack – including native integration to Oracle Manufacturing Cloud and Microsoft Project.

Resource management features: Enhanced resource allocation and tracking features for greater visibility. 

Digital Assistant: Oracle Digital Assistant features allow project managers and team members to chat with the AI-powered bot and automate workflows while gathering real-time updates in a conversational manner.
Time investment: The setup and training processes are extensive and involve a significant time investment. 

Expensive pricing: It is more expensive than other options, with a significant investment required to set up the software initially and maintain the system. 

Learning curve: There is a considerable learning curve due to advanced functionality, and it may require a dedicated professional on-staff to help onboard.

Why We Chose Oracle Project Portfolio Management

Oracle Project Portfolio Management is a great overall choice for manufacturing teams because of its data-focused dashboards, intelligent Oracle Digital Assistant capabilities, and extensive resource management features. Beyond helping manufacturers connect their existing tech stack and extend core functionality, Oracle Project Portfolio Management’s integration options with other Oracle products make it a more scalable solution for fast-growing companies with varied needs.

clickup logo.

ClickUp: Best for Data Insights

Compared to our other choices, ClickUp offers users more in-depth data insights, with over 50 unique widgets to choose from for visualizing and extracting data analytics within the dashboards feature. For manufacturers looking to increase visibility into daily operations, ClickUp’s enhanced data customization options are beneficial.


Read our complete review of Clickup here


According to McKinsey Global Institute, data-driven organizations are not only 23 times more likely to acquire customers, but they’re also six times more likely to retain customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable — and for fast-moving industries like manufacturing, data is all the more important.

Example of a customized dashboard, with widgets for specific data points.
Source: ClickUp, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Data reporting: It allows data reporting for outside sources (Google Docs, spreadsheets, etc.) that can make interpreting project data easier. 

Task tracking and dependencies: Easily visualize task hierarchy/dependencies/subtasks for easier task visualizations. 

Time metrics: ClickUp’s time tracking features, including estimates and reporting, make it easy to collect time-related data.
Reporting load times: Reporting load times can be slow, especially when processing large data sets.

Learning curve: It has a higher-than-average learning curve for a standard project management solution. 

Integration authorization: Integrations may require reauthorization from time to time.

Why We Choose ClickUp

ClickUp offers data-driven manufacturers multiple ways to view and interpret data analytics in real-time, even across multiple projects, which can help prevent costly errors and keep key decision-makers informed about key updates. Manufacturing teams tend to process enormous amounts of data, especially data pertaining to production line updates and manufacturing stats, and ClickUp can help teams organize that data while synthesizing it into a larger picture of how manufacturing processes are progressing overall.

zoho project logo.

Zoho Projects: Best for Issue Tracking & Resolution

Quick problem-solving is essential for manufacturers, and Zoho Projects is one of the few project management tools on the market that enables teams to track issues and problems in the workflow process from the first instance of documentation to resolution. Zoho Projects enables teams to manage projects at a micro and macro level while communicating with team members, uncovering data insights, and more.


Read more about Zoho Projects in Top Zoho Projects Alternatives & Competitors


Each issue can be independently created, labeled, flagged, and tracked, with the ability to assign issue-specific comments, tasks, and attachments directly beneath each issue description. With greater levels of organization-wide visibility overall, manufacturing teams can spend less time solving problems.

Example of the issue tracking interface, with customizable fields.
Example of the issue tracking interface, with customizable fields.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Native integrations: Easily integrate 50 native integrations and all other Zoho apps.

Automation options: Workflow automations are available on all plan types.

Task details: It allows a greater level of item-specific details than many other offerings.
Interface design: Some users find Zoho’s interface is dated and less appealing than other options, with a less than intuitive interface.

Add-on purchases: Some features are only available for users who purchase other Zoho apps, for example, advanced CRM functions. 

Customization options: Zoho Projects dashboard customization options are limited when compared to other vendors.

Why We Choose Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects emphasizes issue management and resolution, giving manufacturers the ability to monitor and address potential issues in the production line quickly while providing transparency to stakeholders at every level of the organization. For manufacturers with growing or unpredictable project management needs, Zoho Projects can also be easily integrated with other applications and Zoho software solutions, such as Zoho Creator, a low-code solution offering custom ERP solutions for manufacturers specifically — making it easy to focus in on project management needs that are unique to manufacturers.

projectmanager logo.

ProjectManager: Best for Resource Management

ProjectManager is a project planning and management system that enables manufacturing teams greater visibility into the supply chain pipeline, team workloads, project progress, and resources. Order management, SOP documentation, and production planning are a few of the manufacturing essentials supported in ProjectManager, with the standard project management features required to help project planning run smoothly.


Read more about ProjectManager in our full review


Within ProjectManager’s interface, teams can manage and allocate resources while tracking costs — making it easy to promote transparency across the manufacturing lifecycle from start to finish.

Example of resource management features, assigned per team member.
Source: ProjectManager, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Issue notifications: Real-time updates are delivered to stakeholders when issues are raised, making it easy to keep everyone in the loop.

Manufacturing templates: Numerous manufacturing-specific templates are included for expediting industry-related tasks and project setup. 

Multi-project controls: Powerful multi-project controls and dashboards (dashboard analytics; multi-project grouping/labeling; easy report generation for your portfolio’s status, tasks, and timelines; customized reports to highlight status, customer, priority, and more).
Limited views: It has limited project views (only calendar, board, list, and Gantt) compared to competitors. 

Difficult to Navigate: The interface is challenging to learn and less than intuitive.

Task linking: Linking tasks within the schedule function can be confusing and time-consuming. 

Why We Chose ProjectManager

For teams looking for a greater level of transparency into workflows, resource allocation, and potential roadblocks, such as manufacturing teams, ProjectManager is an excellent choice. Resource management features, including real-time workload tracking, make it easy to track team resources, even on large, complex projects. Compared to other project management solutions, ProjectManager provides a variety of manufacturing-specific features, such as risk management and production tracking templates and multi-project dashboards for managing multiple products, production lines, and projects.

Microsoft Project logo.

Microsoft Project: Best for Complex Project Management

Microsoft Project stands out as a top choice for complex project management, including resource-intensive projects that are common in the manufacturing industry. Multiple features support enhanced task details (from notes to task dependencies, duration, and more) and help provide clarity on project specifics. Its interactive Gantt chart views, calendar views, and list views help teams visualize project overviews easily.


Read more about Microsoft Project in our complete review


Microsoft Project is unique in offering users the ability to generate customized data reports, such as burndown charts, cost reports, project overviews, and work breakdowns. Additionally, its integration with other popular vendors, such as Oracle Project Management, makes it an appealing choice for manufacturers looking to connect data across multiple applications.

Image showing an example of a customizable project report.
Example of a customizable project report. Source: Microsoft, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Analytics features: Customized reports and powerful analytics functions make it easy for teams to identify data trends. 

Industry-compliant reporting: Emphasis on security and industry compliance — audit-ready records show when and where data has been distributed.

Data integration: It can house third-party information and integration data within Microsoft Project for unity across platforms.
Lack of training resources: The lack of support resources and training materials offered by many other solutions makes it more challenging than average to learn Microsoft Project. 

Pricing: Microsoft Project is more expensive than other options, with no free plan available. 

Usability: The interface is difficult to learn and can be too complex for smaller manufacturers to use.

Why We Chose Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is a feature-packed choice for manufacturing teams looking to manage complex projects with large amounts of data output. Customized reports allow greater insights into specific data points within individual projects or organization-wide efforts. Additionally, seamless integration options help break down silos while unifying work elements across the board, including those from third-party applications, which can be easily viewed in Microsoft Project.

Methodology

In order to compile this selection of the top project management solutions for manufacturing, I examined and researched 18 various solutions based on the following criteria:

  • Features and functionalities
  • Usability
  • Price
  • Customer reviews
  • Integrations

My evaluation process included a combination of primary and secondary research by way of industry research, vendor information and reviews, and hands-on testing.

FAQs

While there are a wide variety of project management solutions on the market today, it can be challenging to identify which solutions are best for manufacturing-specific needs. Here are a few of the top features manufacturers should look for in a project management solution: 

Integration options: Integration options allow teams to expand the functionality of a project management solution to more closely meet their organizational needs while linking other crucial components of their tech stack. Look for solutions that offer native integrations over third-party ones, as they directly link other applications without the need for a third-party connector, like Zapier. 

Data analytics options and dashboards: Manufacturers rely heavily on data to help gather insights about operational challenges and performance. Data analytics options, and dashboard views, make it easy to interpret data from every aspect of the organization. Bonus tip: Some software vendors include predictive analytics features that can help predict trends before they happen. 

Multiple project views: Flexibility is the name of the game for manufacturers tackling a wide range of project types. Ensuring that a project management solution includes multiple project views gives teams a variety of options for project planning, deadline forecasting, and more.

Manufacturing project management can be complex, resource-intensive, and fast-paced. Project management software can alleviate numerous pain points while streamlining work processes overall. Here are a few of the top benefits of project management software for manufacturing:

Project home base: Project management software creates a central source of truth for project info, work, and progress tracking (especially against relevant KPIs), updates, and even data tracking across platforms (in select options).

Enhanced collaboration: Collaboration is one of the most important components of a successful project. Project management software frequently offers collaboration features that make it easier for teams to connect and stay in the loop. 

Better resource management: Resource management is crucial for manufacturers, and project management software makes it easier than ever. Manufacturers can also identify resource trends over time and prevent any roadblocks before they occur.

While the needs of individual teams will vary, you can determine the best fit for your team specifically by following a few tips:

Take advantage of free trials: Most project management solutions offer a free trial, which can give your team a good idea of how a particular solution will function throughout day-to-day operations. 

Consider your existing tech stack: Before settling on a particular vendor, you’ll still want to consider how a new project management solution will pair with your existing tech stack. If your team is looking to make the switch to a new software solution, consider how easily your data can be migrated into a new application. 

Understand and prioritize team needs first: With hundreds of project management solutions on the market today, you’ll want to consider how each vendor’s unique features can pair with your business needs. For example, if your team manages a portfolio of projects, you’ll want to prioritize a solution with a reputation for strong multi-project views and management features. Identifying and prioritizing the unique needs of your team can help you settle on a better-fitting solution in the long run.

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