Since our specialty is implementing ERP for manufacturers in particular, we thought we’d share another provider’s thoughts on some of the traits of successful manufacturing companies, versus those not quite so successful. The opinions come from a recent article from Panorama Consulting Solutions. We think they ring true and are worth a recap. The original article can be found here.
Panorama starts by noting that the benefits of technology, ERP and automation solutions are not evenly distributed across the manufacturing landscape. Yet regardless of industry niche, it seems the most successful manufacturers are better able to handle five key challenges better than their counterparts:
- More flexibility. Buyers have come to expect flexibility, and those manufacturers who can provide it win. More modern systems, whether they be workflows, equipment, educated people or the software that runs your business… all can and should contribute to that enhanced flexibility.
- Better integration of data. We’ve been collecting data for years. Only lately have companies demanded, and ERP vendors provided, better tools to leverage this data, and thus turn data into verifiable conclusions leading to meaningful action. The most successful manufacturers figure out how to do this. It needs to be well-defined, repeatable and scalable. Panorama gives the example of demand forecasting and advanced planning processes, which are much more effective when they effectively integrate inventory and sales information. In other words, real
- Leveraging the “Internet of Things”. The IoT is a common buzzword these days. We’ve written about it several times here. It’s all about “leveraging data from multiple sources and devices.” Tablets, scanners and all manner of remote communication devices will increasingly become a part of the fabric of manufacturing data and manufacturing execution systems. Companies who do it sooner and better will be the winners, both more flexible and better integrated to the benefit of their customers.
- More clearly defined business processes. This is business process reengineering. We preach this constantly, and find that it’s a critical component of an ERP implementation. Successful companies take this stuff seriously and pay attention to it as a matter of continuous improvement. Laggards fumble their way through but too often fail to leverage new technologies in meaningful ways.
- Better use of organizational change management. “New business processes means lots of change for employees,” notes Panorama. Most people don’t take well to change. There are many tactics and tools that can and should be used to leverage positive change and new systems into better operations. Organizational change – all too often ignored or swept under the carpet unfortunately – is an enabling tool for companies who wish to succeed. It’s one more way in manufacturing of separating winners from also-rans.