The effects of the worldwide pandemic shook the manufacturing industry in 2020. The supply chain experienced major disruptions leading to market volatility. Businesses were forced to adapt as a result. 2020 Syspro research found that over half of businesses were impacted by supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19. Manufacturing management became challenging, as companies could not operate at the efficiency as before the pandemic due to operational inefficiencies and the need for more remote collaboration.
Manufacturers face multiple challenges to stay competitive in the face of these challenges and they continue growing. We have prepared a list of the major ones they face, along with some solutions.
- Manufacturers Must Transition to B2B e-Commerce
We live in a time where we can purchase almost anything with a click of a button. E-commerce platforms are now ubiquitous in the B2C space. The ease in which they provide in managing services or products is leading those in the B2B space to consider the missed opportunity. A B2B e-commerce strategy is therefore becoming increasingly necessary for manufacturing businesses that want to better sell their products or procure the necessary components for manufacturing them.
By establishing a B2B e-commerce system, manufacturing companies provide greater flexibility, better inventory management, and decrease the likelihood of human error. In fact, SYSPRO research showed that 67% of businesses that had the ability to initiate digital strategies such as e-commerce, digital supply chains, and remote working could continue to trade effectively during the pandemic.
With the rise of digital transformation, manufacturers can use ERP to implement their e-commerce strategies. With one universal touchpoint, businesses can have full visibility of inventory levels along with backend systems to handle the procurement and sourcing policy changes, distribution, and lead time planning as well as analytics providing data real-time to support improved decision-making.
- They Need to Step Up Their Customer Service Game
Manufacturing has remained incredibly analog as far as service goes, and the pandemic revealed that it was not as agile as it should have been. With a reliance on manual processes and legacy systems, manufacturers simply could not respond quickly enough to industry disruptions and customer requirements. In a SYSPRO-led research study, 37% of businesses agreed that their business systems lacked those basic planning tools that could adjust to day-to-day changes in the environment.
During the pandemic smaller, niche players that could address direct customer needs because of their ability to tap into emerging technologies and the right capabilities to compete in the marketplace maintained competitive advantage. Manufacturers now need to understand the market more than ever and replace systems to improve visibility of critical data, increase productivity, reduce waste, lower production costs, enable greater quality control, and improve the management of schedules and production rates. Having accurate and real-time visibility into inventory levels will provide additional advantages. An ERP system can support this by allowing businesses to analyze forecasted demand, accurately predict production targets and meet demand levels.
- Manufacturers Need to Lean on Their Data to Make Better Decisions
The manufacturing industry was not prepared for the pandemic. From our research, 29% of businesses felt that their business systems did not provide them with the availability and accessibility to manage the changes that the pandemic introduced and to predict future developments.
With the increasing use of the Internet of Things (IoT), the manufacturing industry is facing difficulties in aggregating and analyzing data. While many organizations may have smart machines already on their shop floor, they lack the systems to extract and analyze the data being captured by these systems. This forces manufacturers to miss out on quality. Therefore, manufacturers are facing the dire need to improve their data mining capacities to improve real-time decisions. In fact, 46% of businesses in our 2020 study felt that their systems lacked the insights that were needed to respond to the change. Instead, they relied on disparate systems and required manual interventions.
Adopting ERP systems makes it easier to leverage the deluge of data that’s coming in from connected sensors in their factories, inventories, and raw materials, and signals along the supply chain. By extracting actionable intelligence from new and existing data sources to predict future trends and behaviors, manufacturers can make smarter business decisions when it comes to machine maintenance, supply chain optimization, the quality of goods produced, and when consumers receive orders. Rather than going off a ‘gut feeling’ manufacturers can leverage KPIs to make informative decisions.
The pandemic has created multiple manufacturing management challenges. At the same time, it has created opportunities for businesses to take a hard look at the way they have always done things and make positive changes. Moving away from legacy technology and embracing new solutions for the digital era will help this sector be prepared for the post-pandemic era.
SYSPRO is an ERP solution developed for manufacturers and distributors. It is your scalable, cost-efficient solution that will help you optimize your operation, including manufacturing management, reports, and analysis. Would you like to discover how SYSPRO helps with e-commerce? Click here to view a webinar on the topic of “Integrated eCommerce for SYSPRO Users” to learn more.
Positive Vision understands that manufacturers are under particular pressures due to the pandemic. The right ERP software can help you continue to grow your business. Contact Positive Vision today to discuss your software needs with one of our experts directly.