According to Gartner’s Digital Transformation in Manufacturing report for 2020, 36% of CIOs in the heavy manufacturing sector have recently faced disruption, which has made their competitiveness and operating costs fall behind their peers.
In a time when rapid technological advancements aren’t sparing heavy manufacturing companies, small- and mid-sized enterprises also must leverage these new technologies to compete in an increasingly digital market. The swift pace of digital transformation in the manufacturing industry has paved the way for Industry 4.0, transforming it with the help of new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), etc. In the past decade, these technologies have made inroads into the everyday business activities of every conceivable manufacturing enterprise.
How can manufacturing SMBs be a part of Industry 4.0?
As a mid-sized manufacturing company, dealing with disruption along with limited resources can be challenging. Investing in the right technology can optimize your crucial processes, helping you retain your competitive edge.
An ERP solution is the backbone of your operations—end to end—since it helps you improve your transaction accuracy and process efficiency. A connected ERP enhances those benefits by harnessing the power of smart technologies like IoT, AI, and ML to provide intelligent insights into your business processes. An ERP solution also streamlines complex processes, manages the supply chain efficiently, provides visibility across operations, reduces costs, shortens process cycles, and improves customer experience.
Benefits of ERP with modern technology
Industry 4.0 has raised the stakes for enterprises like never before. To compete adeptly with your peers, you will have to keep up the pace of innovation and growth with technology. With modern ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365, which include various intelligent tools, you can boost the productivity of your manufacturing operations while maintaining quality.
Here are a few specific benefits modern ERP offers to manufacturers:
ERP leverages automation to improve accuracy and minimize human interference in error-prone processes. Some operations can even be carried out with zero-touch automation. Apart from enhancing accuracy, automation also frees up your team’s time so they can focus on other productive tasks.
With a modern ERP, you no longer need to transfer data from one function to another. An ERP solution seamlessly connects your crucial processes and integrates the data to reduce your processing time and eliminate data transition errors. Integrating data can give you a unified overview of your operations and enable rapid decision-making in ways that were previously impossible.
AI-powered business insights help you make informed decisions and frame long-term business strategies. ERP integrations provide a holistic view of your business—combined with intelligent insights, you can draw inferences by making efficient connections between the problems and/or opportunities of various business functions.
For manufacturing companies, machinery is a significant asset and the engine of the business. Safeguarding machinery/equipment from breakdowns is essential for the seamless continuity of the business. An ERP solution’s smart features and tools will help you streamline and schedule your preventive maintenance measures effortlessly.
Plan for technology advancements
According to Gartner’s Digital Transformation in Manufacturing report for 2020, 36% of manufacturing companies reap above-average value from their IT investment in digitalization than their competitors who don’t.
To be in this top 36% bracket, your IT strategy needs to be capable of sustaining innovations and IT-related developments. You can do the following things to ensure you have an efficient plan ready for such technology advancements:
- Identify the most crucial needs of your business that you want to address; primarily due to high competition, reduced efficiency and/or customer demands
- Use the right customizations and applications to enhance your existing manufacturing ERP solution to support critical areas of improvement
- Adapt new-age technologies like ML, AI, and IoT to boost the performance of your core functionalities
- Invest in a cloud infrastructure which will future-proof your business-significant technological advancements to prevent any future compatibility issues
- Keep track of the trends and changes in the industry and IT ecosystem. Ensure you implement changes that will suit your business needs
According to the ERP Software Market Outlook 2026 report, small and medium businesses have the potential to contribute an estimated CAGR of 7.9% to the ERP market between 2014 and 2020. This increased investment is due to the incredible benefits that ERP solutions provide. If you haven’t implemented a cloud ERP solution yet, now is a good time to start considering doing so. You can partner with an expert ERP service provider to ease the implementation process.