Change isn’t for everyone. In long-standing businesses who have enjoyed many years of success becoming masters of their trade, there is a reluctance to move away from familiar ways of working and embrace new systems. The rationale is, if it’s worked for us for this long, why would it stop now?
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In the fast-paced world of manufacturing, staying up-to-date with industry developments is essential. Just like fashion brands will fall out of favour if they don’t keep up with the latest trends, you need to be fully aware of where your industry is heading if you’re to continue to innovate.
While employees may dread their annual stock checks, there’s no denying that stock control is crucially important to manufacturers. Without an effective stock control system in place, you’re blind to the assets you have. You’re not ignorant of how many employees are on your payroll, so why would you ignore the stock levels within your business?
Acronyms are designed to speed up communication, but if you don’t know what they mean, they can be more of a hindrance than a help!
From ERP to HCM, MES and CRM, manufacturing and software is a minefield of shortened terms and phrases. They can often put the most experienced minds to the test, so to help I’ve compiled this brief glossary of key manufacturing software terms. Make it your bible!
For many businesses, investing in ERP software is not a decision that is taken lightly. From considering the initial outlay to adapting working practices to accommodate for new systems and processes, implementing ERP software is something many businesses only want to do once.
Your supply chain is a complex network of people, processes and technology that play a fundamental role in the operability of your business. Without it, productivity would cease — but is your current supply chain putting your business at risk?
With technology rapidly impacting all areas of our lives, it was naive to believe that manufacturing would be exempt from the digital revolution. We’re officially in the midst of Industry 4.0, dubbed the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ — but has it lived up to expectations?
Here, I take a look at how the current manufacturing landscape has been shaped by Industry 4.0:
Industry 4.0 termed “the fourth industrial revolution” is set to transform manufacturing over the next few years. Not a new technology in itself – instead, Industry 4.0 is a fusion of a number of significant and emerging technologies: Big Data, advanced analytics, the Internet of Things, digital modelling, additive manufacturing, computer-integrated manufacturing and so on. In short, these various technologies can come together to enable manufacturers to do things they couldn’t do before.
Manufacturing is big business, contributing £6.7 trillion to the global economy. While misleading figures place the UK way down the list of manufacturing powerhouses, UK manufacturing statistics show that we are the 11th largest manufacturing nation, directly employing 2.6 million people.
When it comes to stock levels, manufacturing businesses face a double-edged sword. Keeping a high volume of parts and products in stock means there’s little chance of running out of an item that could severely delay or halt the production process. This helps to keep costs down, as expensive emergency supplies are not required. While it may seem like the most logical option, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Supply chains have always been present. As far back as we can remember there has always been supply and demand — from the farmers growing crops to the marketplace sellers and eventual end consumers.
In any business, efficiency is key. As the saying goes, time is money, so the more time your business loses through time-consuming processes, the less time you’ll be able to spend on the things that matter — driving sales, maximising profits and ultimately strengthening your business.
Most manufacturing businesses have too much cash tied up in excess inventory—finished goods, raw materials, and work-in-progress. What’s more, most manufacturing businesses know that they have too much cash tied up in inventory.
A recent Oxford study estimates that by 2034, 47% of all jobs will have been taken over by a robot—either in the form of a physical robot on the factory floor, or a robot in the form of a computer program, or a combination of the two. Far-fetched? Far from it: this, say experts, is likely to be the future of manufacturing.
Few commentators were prepared for the scale of the “Leave” vote in June’s Brexit referendum. Both politicians and the manufacturing industry were undeniably shocked at the outcome, and the Bank of England lost little time in slashing interest rates to a historic low of 0.25%, and taking steps to bolster domestic demand.
For manufacturers, innovation is crucial. Innovation drives sales, productivity, process performance, new product introductions—and ultimately, job growth and profitability. But innovation in the manufacturing industry isn’t easy. It takes time, resources, and skills, and can’t always be driven along predictable paths.
Finding the right ERP system and the right ERP vendor can be challenging. Once found, implementing that ERP system is an expensive proposition; not just in terms of budget, but also in terms of time and resources. It’s crucial to make the right ERP choice that fits your business.
Growing a manufacturing business isn’t easy. And rarely is the challenge harder than it is for smaller manufacturers, where hard-pressed senior management must spread themselves thinly across multiple activities—handling finances, marketing, product development, quality control, human resources and much more.
According to experts, manufacturers are leading the way with Software as a Service (SaaS) adoption. Despite this, there is still some confusion about SaaS deployment options.
So how does SaaS ERP measure up to the more traditional ‘on-premise’ model? And what exactly are the benefits for your manufacturing business? Here’s a rundown:
A lot of the time, supply chain management success strategies are ‘top down’ affairs, and very—well—strategic. ‘Be a low-cost producer,’ for instance. Or ‘achieve a fast time-to-market.’ Or ‘respond quickly to changing fashions.’
For any field service business, its engineers are clearly a vital resource.
And most field service businesses, it’s fair to say, have KPIs in place for monitoring and measuring performance. But are they the right field service engineer performance KPIs?
Technology isn’t standing still. But while all of us are used to the rapid pace of change of information technology—IT, in other words—it might be a surprise to realise just how much ordinary manufacturing technologies are changing, as well.
Here’s a thought: how competitive would your business be if it had to rely on an ERP system that was 15-20 years old? You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the answer is “probably not very competitive”.
Pokémon Go has been the gaming success of the summer. Within days of its release, it had been downloaded 50 million times, and soon overtook popular dating app Tinder. According to analysts Techcrunch, in July 2016 it had overtaken Twitter in terms of daily users, and people spent more time on the Pokémon Go app than they did on Facebook.
This year, it’s been impossible to miss the buzz surrounding Industry 4.0, the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. And while the world of business is full of fads and fashions—anyone remember Efficient Consumer Response?—most observers agree that Industry 4.0 has undeniable substance. But talking about Smart Factories is one thing, and building them quite another.