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Are you a manufacturer that just wants to settle? Alternatively, are you a manufacturer that wants to take your supply chain to the next level?

For a long time, manual processes and little real-time information was good enough to keep manufacturing processes going, but now, it is becoming clear that manufacturing businesses must adapt to compete, or risk being left behind.

Getting smarter

To support this, IDC has predicted that by 2019, 50% of manufacturing supply chains will have benefited from digital transformation, and outdated business models or functional structures will hold the remainder back.

The ‘connected’ or ‘smart’ factory is on the rise, with many manufacturers understanding that transforming and developing is necessary. By using the latest technologies, they are connecting their factories and gaining real-time visibility into their supply chain, which allows them to address problems such as inefficiency; predict breakdowns and maintenance; as well as increasing all-important customer satisfaction and margins. Technologies enable improved visibility and access to supply chain data which can also help collaborative discussions and projects across production, supply, service, sales, and marketing.

Data, data, data

The key to taking your supply chain to the next level is all in the data. Real-time data to be specific.

Data from each part of your operations will help you to understand where you can make improvements, and how to get the most out of your current processes. Gathering data from your sales processes, suppliers, order fulfillment, product performance and customer service, all matters if you want to gain full visibility of your supply chain. This way, you can make improvements end-to-end.

Let’s start with the Internet of Things

Our physical ‘things’ are becoming more connected, with sensors, electronics, software and internet connectivity all built in! These ‘things’ will sense, and collect data and then communicate with other ‘things’ and computers.

Sounds great doesn’t it? It gets better.

By using the Internet of Things, you will have unprecedented visibility across your entire production line, and customized insights that feed right back into the management of the plant. Not only this, but the forensic and root cause analysis available with IoT can detect any bottlenecks, diagnose production problems, and has the ability to proactively identify opportunities for preventative maintenance – increasing the up-time of your supply chain.

Take the next step with Data Analytics

Powerful analytics is the next step to transforming your supply chain!

By using built-in analytics and machine learning you can quantify how daily production impacts financial performance with visibility to the machine level. Data analytics is that missing link which unifies daily production activity to financial performance as a manufacturer.

Being able to know to the machine level if the factory floor is running efficiently, production planners and senior management are able to determine how best to scale operations. By taking advantage of this ‘missing link’, manufacturers have a greater chance of profitably scaling up their operations.

The importance of mobility

Consolidating all this information won’t completely optimize your supply chain without the ability to easily visualize and manage it. This is why a real-time and mobile-delivered view is so crucial. What’s the point in spending time and money to capture data if it isn’t readily available to those who need it, exactly when they need it.

Decision makers on the factory floor or in global headquarters need instant access to relevant information, and the collaborative power to communicate with or work alongside employees anywhere in the world.

It’s this kind of investment in technology that really has the power to change how businesses make their decisions. It can save time, it can save money, it can highlight where best to invest and where to make product developments. Together, this can’t be overlooked.

Get the right tools with Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ends the artificial separation of ERP and CRM and makes it easy for employees to collaborate and even role-switch to engage customers or address supply chain issues. Only Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back office with a single end-to-end system for managing every aspect of your business, all backed by industry-leading enterprise cloud.

This means that manufacturers can develop at the pace and scale that’s right for them, while taking advantage of current investments such as existing productivity and technology stacks. 

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