Businesses are never without their challenges — and strategizing to overcome them is what makes business so exciting. Some of these challenges are present across-sectors, while others are more niche to a particular industry.
This blog post from Kerridge Commercial Systems discusses the challenges big and small that operational directors in manufacturing are facing, and how the right ERP software solution can help overcome them…
Globalization is critical for manufacturers who want to grow their market share. It involves developing an international influence and expanding into global markets. This is a particularly pertinent issue for manufacturing amidst the uncertainty of Brexit; how will Britain’s trading relationships change once we leave the EU?
Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, it would be unwise for British manufacturing companies to close the doors completely to overseas customers. Rather, we need to focus on two areas: improving quality and lowering prices. Doing so will allow manufacturers to gain or even improve their competitive edge in a global market.
How can ERP software help? Think about your business now; how would you enter a new global market today? You may not even know where to start — and that’s okay. A huge volume of information is required if you are planning on making the shift to a new market in a different country, so the right ERP system will be intrinsic in organising this information and ensuring accordance with country-specific legislation.
A key challenge of moving into global markets is ensuring consistency between your operations. An ERP system that has been implemented correctly keeps all relevant information in one central database, ensuring divisions across countries can access the data they need in the format that suits them.
Of course, you may already be operating internationally and simply want to strengthen your competitive edge in the country. By delivering greater visibility of manufacturing’s core processes, you can identify areas of further refinement through your ERP software. Not only can this achieve process efficiencies, it can minimise the chance of production errors to improve the overall quality of the end product. If you’re able to produce more from the time and materials you have, you’ll naturally make cost savings that can lead to more competitive prices amongst global customers.
Now more than ever, sustainability is a huge focus for businesses. As awareness grows, customers are more conscious about working with businesses that minimise the impact their production processes can have and genuinely do all they can to go green.
And it’s not just the environment that operational managers have to think about under the umbrella term of sustainability. They must also consider the safety and welfare of the wider community, as well as economic sustainability.
How can ERP software help? As we’ve already mentioned, the right ERP software system can help drive efficiencies across your core processes. By altering processes to help machines work harder without increasing energy usage, you can keep the environmental impact of your efforts to a minimum, while also maximising productivity.
This also ties into the above point of globalization; different countries will have varying legislation surrounding waste and energy usage. An ERP system will help you manage these requirements to ensure your production processes meet with the sustainability requirement of the specific country, while you’ll have access to a huge bank of data which can support reporting to environmental organisations.
Communication is one of the biggest challenges businesses face across all industries, not just in manufacturing. However, given the number of different departments involved in the manufacturing process, ERP systems have been welcomed by manufacturers to improve communication business-wide.
Yet, surprisingly, some businesses are still struggling on, relying on inefficient communication methods to support their processes. This is despite the scale of the issues that can arise from ineffective communication, which can include inaccurate performance reporting, the production of incorrect items and wider process inefficiencies.
How can ERP software help? With ERP software, there aren’t multiple versions of reports or data sets; there is one true result. Make-shift spreadsheet systems rely on manual data input, leaving them vulnerable to human error. ERP systems eliminate the go-between; data is collected automatically, ensuring all teams are able to work with the most relevant, up-to-date information to remove the risk of errors.
ERP systems with integrated CRM functionality allow you to learn more about your customers. Again, this helps to improve overall efficiencies in terms of marketing communications, as you are able to tailor your messages accordingly.
With the right systems in place, you can successfully overcome these operational issues.