Manufacturing News

Business management solutions help manufacturers overcome challenges

For Australian manufacturers, while the current underlying global economic narrative is largely one of recovery and growth, the term ‘recovery’ can often mask an array of challenges faced by organisations as they try to expand their business.

Ageing infrastructure, high costs, reduced lead times and a need for improved visibility are continuing to make the environment a tricky one for manufacturers as the global economy tries to transition back into one of steady growth.

Add to the mix the introduction of new environmental and safety standards that require additional management and controls, not to mention pressure to improve customer satisfaction, and suddenly, the manufacturing story looks entirely different.

However, finding the right solution to manage all this change is just one half of the battle and experience suggests that success comes down to procuring the right software from the right provider.

According to Cateno Barberi, Product Management and Process Manufacturing expert at Sage, manufacturers need to use all their energy just to stay competitive in the mid-market space, as legacy systems, ageing infrastructure, customer demands and increasing production costs continue to create challenges.

“Customers quickly recognise that business management solutions can help them overcome the barriers they are likely to face in the future, but the key is finding the right one,” said Barberi.

“Be sure to look for a business management solution with a strong process manufacturing foundation that supports many of the best practices required to align business processes.”

Change management and the timeline of a project can also cause problems when it comes to adopting business management solutions.

Therefore, implementing any business management solution involves not only changes in the technology a business uses, but also changes for the people that will ultimately use it.

“This needs a shift in the attitude and behaviour of employees, moving from a task-oriented to a process-oriented approach,” said Barberi.

This human element adds a level of unpredictability and knowing how staff will accept changes can be challenging. Research from multinational human resource consulting Randstad showed that while 92 per cent of all employees say they will do anything to meet their job requirements, a third fear that as expectations change, they won’t be able to meet the requirements of their employer in the future.

It’s not surprising then that manufacturers could have a challenge on their hands when it comes to rolling out a new business management solution.

This is why it’s crucial to make the changeover benefits clear to workers and support them in the transition.

“The environment won’t get less challenging for process manufacturers any time soon, with ageing infrastructure, customer demands, rising costs, regulation and profit margins continuing to put pressure on firms – especially mid-market companies,” said Barberi.

“However, a business management solution can help and support growth, as long as the right one is implemented.”

Over the coming years, the story for many companies will be one of survival against the odds, and the manufacturers that thrive will be those that hone their internal processes – including their use of business management solutions to drive growth.

While it’s tempting to get swept up in figures showing rising GDP and output, many economists note that caution is advised.

Of course, there is growing optimism among Australian manufacturers and this confidence will ultimately help encourage the innovation needed to thrive in the modern, global marketplace.

For more information on how Sage business management solutions can help your manufacturing operation overcome the challenges in the post –GFC world, download our free white paper, Process manufacturing and ERP: Worldwide customer insight here.

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