By Johan Du Toi
Following the disruptions brought about by the pandemic, deploying innovative solutions for businesses, including manufacturing, has gathered momentum. Industries have now fast-tracked the adoption of technology and firms that were quick to take this route are already reaping the benefits.
On the other hand, firms that were delaying in deciding whether or not to automate their operations before Covid struck have been awakened from their slumber and are now busy shopping for solutions that will transform their operations as they look to stay competitive, and ultimately afloat. It is worth noting that even before Covid-19 caused business and economic upsets across the globe, there were compelling reasons for manufacturing companies to find appropriate technologies for their business .
Enterprise Resource Planning Tools, popularly known in the tech and business world as ERPs, have been transforming the way business processes are run for a while, and firms whose top managers were visionary and flexible enough to appreciate the revolutionary impact of this kind of technology have invariably been ahead of the game, reaping rewards in form of reduced costs minimized risks and, more importantly, increased revenues.
The role of ERPs cannot be overemphasized in the modern era where innovation is a never-ending
undertaking for businesses keen to remain not only relevant but vibrant. Properly deployed, ERPs make it
much easier to coordinate virtually all processes ranging from production, human resource, accounting, and production. This brings about high levels of operational efficiency, resulting in the realization of such essential benefits as saving time and money, increased accuracy as well as enhanced production.
Machine Learning, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence, which are also increasingly becoming centerpieces in
business success, are being integrated into ERPs. These cutting-edge technologies leverage data in the management of critical aspects of the manufacturing processes such as resource utilization and in enhancing strategic decision-making. In a world where data has become the lifeline of enterprises, leveraging these new forms of technologies is imperative.
The biggest question that chief financial officers (CFOs) always ask is how ERP uptake will help their firms in boosting their margins. Well, it is easy to connect the dots. Since you can closely keep track of all the processes and are well-placed to carry out real-time data analysis to gain insights, you have the requisite tools to make quick decisions in tandem with industrial and market trends. Based on the insights regarding the happenings in your operations you will be in a good position to make critical decisions that could, for instance, nip in the bud any emerging risks that may push your business into the edge.
Take for instance inventory management. One of the biggest headaches manufacturing firms face is how to accurately determine the level of supplies they need to meet customer requirements. Having huge supplies at a time of low demand is likely to result in losses emanating from idle or even dead stocks. Also, under-stocking, when there is a high demand, means the firm is unlikely to reap maximum returns from available business opportunities.
It is worth noting that even before Covid-19 caused business and economic upsets across the globe, there were compelling reasons for manufacturing companies to find appropriate technologies for their businesses. Enterprise Resource Planning Tools, popularly known in the tech and business world as ERPs, have been transforming the way business processes are run for a while, and firms whose top managers were visionary and flexible enough to appreciate the revolutionary impact of this kind of technology have invariably been ahead of the game, reaping rewards in form of reduced costs minimized risks and, more importantly, increased revenues.
One of the key elements for a thriving business is being in a position to make informed decisions and choices. This capability is provided by ERPs thanks to access to real-time data, insights, and the ability to keep track of all processes. Due to close monitoring and accurate measurement of key metrics in all the processes as well as sales, manufacturers are empowered to make not only quick decisions but also accurate ones. Companies thrive on the basis of constantly making good decisions. On the flip side, companies encounter headwinds when they persistently make wrong choices.
Another important benefit accruing from ERP uptake is the synchronization of various departments and operations. Manufacturing firms usually have several departments working separately to achieve common goals. To achieve the overall desired objective, it is essential that all these disparate departments are properly coordinated through the adoption of appropriate digital systems. When all the units are operating as one and pulling in the same direction, wastage of time and resources are considerably reduced. With a smooth flow of operations and all parts working as a single entity, there is easy information sharing, high visibility, and significantly reduced scope for making errors.
Taming costs is one of the hallmarks of a healthy business. Leaving costs to spiral out of control is certainly bound to sound the death knell for even the strongest of firms. With time, the solid foundation of such firms will be shaken and if the costs are not reined in, such firms may come tumbling down.
ERPs are the saviour in fundamental ways. Automation of your processes means processes get more efficient and the required level or amount of resources, such as human resources and energy, will be reduced.
Digital processes significantly cut waste, maintenance costs, and scope of errors. All these and other benefits will favourably combine to bring about a substantial reduction in costs. A cost efficient operation means more profits. Adoption of resource planning tools can also go a long way in making your customer happy. How you may ask?
Reduction in time wastage coupled with a smooth flow of operations means meeting deadlines for deliveries. This leads to satisfied customers. You will not only retain these customers, but they will also most likely convert them into good ambassadors who will speak favourably about your product, helping you to expand your client base.
The writer is the Chief Sales Officer, SYSPRO Africa