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Understanding the real value of technology in manufacturing

Technology in manufacturing and business management

In the competitive and quickly evolving manufacturing sector, how can you grow your business, while managing risks and costs and boosting profitability?

The manufacturing industry has always been competitive. Since the days of the first industrial revolution, manufacturers have always sought to improve on processes and products in a way that gives them a competitive advantage.  Whether it is the task of fine-tuning the production process or the challenge of keeping costs down, manufacturers have always explored how they can do things better than their competitors.

Being an industry driven by customer demand and technology, manufacturing is constantly evolving to keep pace with demand. And as manufacturing businesses grow to a certain size, globalization becomes a factor. Interacting with the world offers lucrative opportunities – a higher demand for products and sources of cheaper raw materials could make significant improvements to the supply chain.

Globalization can also mean complex challenges – a crowded global market means more competition and a rapidly accelerating rate of change. To stand out manufacturers need to be able to compete with low cost overseas competitors, taking control of data for better customer insight is key – it will enable manufacturers to anticipate customer demands and become more agile.

Delivering the right product, at the right time and at the right price requires manufacturers to take total control of their product development process, from initial design to final production. Use of specialist technology will help shorten the time-to-market for products, improve product quality, and increase customer satisfaction.

The advent of the digital age has certainly helped many manufacturers with addressing some of these challenges. New technologies are helping manufacturers to meet the challenges of today’s business world, helping them to accelerate collaboration and reporting, providing real-time insight into costs and operational performance, and enabling companies to make smarter and faster business decisions.

Better business management – better business

Technology to manage resources can be of great help to manufacturers, supporting businesses to enhance efficiency, diminish costs, increase sales and profitability but most importantly, enable the organization to make accurate, informed and strategic decisions. It can be a real game changer, helping manufacturers meet the evolving challenges of today’s business world.

According to a recent Forrester report, manufacturers can realise up to 218 per cent return on investment (ROI) within four months by implementing effective business management solutions. The report also found that, as well as receiving significant ROI within a short amount of time, manufacturing organisations reported strong improvements in: financial management; purchasing; sale management; inventory management; and customer service.

Next generation business management systems will enable a company to optimise the end to end manufacturing process – including production planning, project management, process scheduling, compliance, and mobile supply chain management, whilst reducing overall total manufacturing costs.

Revolutionising the way a business works, removing much of the heavy-lifting and mundane tasks that can slow down productivity, stifle flexibility and inhibit growth can be a game changer. Whilst improved visibility between the front to the back office will lead to better insight and improved decision making across key company operations.

In today’s competitive business world, manufacturers cannot afford to be inflexible or static. Consumer demands are dynamic and adopting the right technology could be the difference maker in the challenge of meeting these needs and achieving loyalty.

An investment worth making

Next-generation business management solutions take the complexity out of running a manufacturing business, simplifying operations to allow enterprises to grow faster and stay agile. With minimal IT investment and resources, companies can enjoy rich, integrated functionality to support all core business processes. And they’re easy to adapt to fit unique processes, roles and preferences.

Automated systems and consistent processes lead to time and cost savings, easier collaboration and faster outcomes. Integrated reporting allows regular and real-time operational insights, enabling better, quicker business decisions. The right solution will allow manufacturing companies to consistently deliver and take advantage of new commercial opportunities.

The efficient, streamlined processes that stem from the right business management solutions enable improved productivity and profitability – and accelerated growth.

James Reid is the Vice President of Enterprise UKI at Sage.

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