How manufacturers can respond to rapid change with technology

Article by Jarrod Kinchington, Infor A/NZ Vice President and Managing Director.

Change is the only constant in construction today. Disruption, innovation and constant refinement in shop floor processes are factors in today’s complex market landscape.

Whether a business makes commercial aircraft, office furniture, or industrial valves, it is important to stay on top of trends and adapt. New strategies and actions must coordinate and align with customer expectations. This is no easy task.

There is some good news though. Building the right ERP software helps. Modern, assembleable ERP solutions with built-in last-mile functionality providing the capabilities needed to address today’s most pressing challenges. By using a modern manufacturing ERP, it is easy to update the entire organization from new product introductions to operational efficiency – one step brings many benefits.

Here are three tips for adapting to changing demands:

improve supply chain agility

Disrupted supply chains have been a major headache for most manufacturers. This is an understatement for many. Trade tariffs, bottlenecks and delays, the war in Ukraine, chip shortages, unavailability of cargo containers, and high fuel costs have turned procurement into a game of chance – with unfavorable odds.

Modern software with Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered analytics and complete supply chain visibility can provide relief. Smart solutions will help make smart decisions – anticipate risks, make strategic choices and forge new partnerships. Data insights help plan for contingencies and manage expectations. Organizations will know when and when the required stock is expected to arrive.

Manage the complexity of the shop floor

Manufacturers must meet customer demands for highly personalized products. But, they still need to control costs and improve margins. In many industries, traditional mass production is being made the new normal by mixed-mode manufacturing with highly configured products, engineer-to-order, and assemble-on-demand operations. Modern manufacturing software is essential for change. It helps streamline processes, address gaps, and keep workflows synchronized. The latest Industry 4.0 technologies provide critical tools – such as smart sensors – for tracking machine performance, output, quality control and optimizing resources. The tools also help in managing the existing workforce, who must not work hard to get the job done but in a better way. Data insights help keep shop floors running with systematic accuracy, because every part, every machine and every work cycle counts.

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Leveraged Data Insights

Responding to consumer demand for new and personalized products, manufacturers must strive to simultaneously improve productivity, increase efficiency, automate processes and strategically plan resource use. They have to take tough decisions. Modern ERP software helps to capture, track and leverage data across the organization. Using facts, not emotions or hunch, manufacturers can build a better rapport with customers, launch new product introductions, design and source appropriate parts and components, and track all costs. New strategies can now be planned and executed with long-term goals and a balance of short-term capacity and cash flow restrictions to stay relevant and grow the business. Data insights are key.

The right tools for operational efficiency and innovation

To avoid threats to market share and profitability, manufacturers must remain vigilant and always stay on top of evolving trends. They need to turn to technology to help them adopt modern, data-driven processes and introduce new products. When inefficiencies are eliminated, teams have more time to innovate.

Technologies, such as modern cloud-deployed ERP solutions, help organizations adapt quickly to change, including starting new branches or divisions. This agility means they can focus on green initiatives, offer new services or manage logistics. It even becomes easier to build hubs closer to the end customers. Manufacturing is being redefined, and software plays a major role in supporting the new era – from go-to-market strategies to supply chain planning and store operations. If organizations start in the right place it can be easier than it sounds.

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