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If 2020’s proved anything, it’s that you really can’t predict the unpredictable. COVID-19 has majorly disrupted supply chains and so will other types of uncontrollable events such as natural disasters, political changes and financial crashes…unless your manufacturing business has embraced digital innovation.

The more digitised and automated your operations are, the better prepared you’ll be to handle crises - even if you can’t predict them. Here are three solutions you should invest in to improve your manufacturing supply chain.

  1. Automation
  2. AI analytics
  3. A connected ERP system

1. Automation

Benefits of automation for manufacturers

Shortages in the labour market and rising wages were already affecting manufacturers. Now there’s social distancing restrictions caused by COVID-19 and for UK businesses, the potential impact of Brexit to contend with. This is why the case for investment in automated technology is becoming increasingly attractive.

Here are some benefits of replacing your manual processes with automation:

  • Reduces the number of repetitive tasks which boosts productivity and efficiency
  • Empowers your team to perform better and with a higher sense of worth
  • Reduces the number of people needed to perform a particular manual-heavy task
  • Frees your team up to perform higher value-added work
  • Helps you get the right work to the right people at the right time
  • Increases visibility of your business processes if you can turn your data into a report

Once your business matures, the possibilities for automation deepen. For example, you can use machine learning and machine vision to enhance your predictive data capabilities even further.

2. AI analytics

Manufacturing AI technology

Natural disasters, health emergencies and other geo-political problems can easily disrupt your sourcing operations and labour plans in a matter of hours. You might not be able to predict the unpredictable but you can use technology to increase your visibility of your operations and market. This can increase your chances of assuming ‘business as usual’.

Let’s say there’s a national flood. This would lead to towns and villages being cut off from the road network and impact your supply chain. You can mitigate the impact by consulting data feeds that are available online. Analyse this data alongside your customer and vendor data, and you end up gaining a few days’ early warning. Perfect for making a mitigation plan!

3. A connected ERP system

Why manufacturers need an ERP

The right ERP system sits at the heart of your technological transformation. This is because of its ability to integrate with multiple systems and consolidate data from different sources to create a single view of your business.

Here are some main benefits of an ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations:

  • Improves sales demand forecasting - Azure machine learning analyses your product sales histories and trains itself to select from five sophisticated statistical forecasting models
  • Facilitates more efficient constraint management - the ERP comes with tools that can help you identify physical capacity constraints and plan their use so you can maximise throughput and minimise cost
  • Unlocks proactive supplier collaboration - your suppliers will have controlled remote access to your ERP
  • Sets dynamic safety stocks - rather than the blanket approach, the ERP provides automated methods for dynamically calculating appropriate statistical safety stock levels for individual products and groups of products
  • Helps you achieve effective customer demand management - D365F&O sales order processing offers ‘available to promise’ and ‘capable to promise’ functionalities so your sales administrators can generate realistic confirmed ship and receipt dates against sales order lines

Learn more about the benefits of Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations for your supply chain here. We also have a factsheet that covers the features and functionalities of D365 Supply Chain Management which you can read below.

The benefits of D365 Supply Chain Management

The industry is digitalising…is your business keeping up?

Digitalisation is slowly sweeping through the manufacturing industry but it’s no longer a choice - as the recent pandemic has proved. The businesses with the best chances of survival are the ones who have already futureproofed their operations.

In short, if you want your business to thrive in these uncertain times, you need to be digitalising and innovating - and fast!

This is what we cover in our industry report. We examined the current state of the industry, from what manufacturers are doing compared to what they should be doing, exclusive insights from industry experts, innovations to embrace and more.

Check it out below.

This is what manufacturing will look like...

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