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IT News Africa | 28 February 2023

Change is the only constant in manufacturing today. Disruption, innovation, and continual refinement of shopfloor processes are driving factors in today’s complex market landscape. Whether an organisation makes commercial aircraft, office furniture, or industrial valves, they must stay on top of trends and adapt. New strategies and actions must sync – and align with customer expectations. It’s no easy task.

“There’s some good news, though. The right manufacturing ERP software helps. Modern, composable enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions with last-mile functionality built in provide the capabilities businesses need to address today’s most pressing challenges. By modernising manufacturing ERP, it’s easier to update the entire organisation, from new product introductions to operational efficiency. So, one step leads to many benefits,” says Paul Bouchier, Sales Director at iOCO, within iOCO Software Distribution, an Infor Gold Partner.

Bouchier offers three tips to help enterprises adapt to changing demands.

Improve supply chain agility. The disrupted supply chain has been a major headache for most manufacturers. That’s an understatement for many. Trade tariffs, bottlenecks and delays, the war in the Ukraine, chip shortages, unavailability of cargo containers, and high costs of fuel have turned procurement into a game of chance – with unfavorable odds. Modern software, with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven analytics and full supply chain visibility, can provide relief. Smart solutions drive smart decisions. Anticipate risks, make strategic choices, and forge new partnerships. Data insights help plan for contingencies and manage expectations, with visibility into the stock needed and when it’s expected to arrive.

Manage shop floor complexity. Manufacturers must meet the demands of customers for highly personalised products, while controlling costs and improving margins. In many industries, traditional mass production is being replaced by mixed mode manufacturing with highly configured products, engineer-to-order, and assemble-on-demand operations becoming the new normal. Modern manufacturing software is essential for the transformation. It helps streamline processes, close gaps and keep workflows synchronised. The latest Industry 4.0 technologies provide critical tools, like smart sensors, for tracking machine performance, output, quality control, and optimising resources. Tools also help manage the existing workforce which must work smarter, not harder, to get the job done. Data insights help keep the shop floor running with orchestrated precision, because every part, every machine, and every work cycle matters.

Leverage data insights. While answering consumer demand for new and personalised products, manufacturers must simultaneously strive to improve productivity, boost efficiency, automate processes, and strategically plan the use of resources. There are tough decisions to make. Modern ERP software helps capture, track, and leverage data throughout the organisation. Using facts, not feelings or hunches, manufacturers can better align with customers, launch new product introductions, design and source appropriate parts and components, and track all costs. New strategies for remaining relevant and growing the business can now be planned and executed with a balance of long-term goals and short-term capacity and cash flow restraints. Data insights are key.

Seek the right tools to improve operational efficiency and foster innovation.

“To avoid threats to market share and profitability, manufacturers must stay alert and on top of the ever-evolving trends. They must adopt modern, data-driven processes and turn to technology to help them introduce new products. When inefficiencies are eliminated, teams have more time for innovation,” concludes Bouchier.

“Technology, such as modern cloud-deployed ERP solutions, help organisations quickly adapt to change, including starting new branches or divisions. This agility means you the business can focus on green initiatives, offering new services or managing logistics. Even creating hubs closer to end customers becomes easier. 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 shop floor operations.”

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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