The manufacturing sector is constantly evolving, driven by ever changing customer demands and the fast pace of technology. Here we look at the top challenges faced by manufacturing businesses and identify if ERP Software can help plug the gaps.

Challenge 1 – Winning & retaining customers

Do you struggle to attract new customers due to an increasingly overcrowded marketplace? Do you find it difficult to retain customers? You are not alone! These challenges are being faced by many other manufacturers. To maintain that all important competitive advantage, it is increasingly important to get to know your customers better. By harnessing customer data it is possible to anticipate their needs and develop new, innovative services and products to satisfy them?

How ERP can help

We aren’t claiming ERP is a magic wand. But we do believe, an ERP solution will make achieving a competitive edge easier. It provides a single system from which you can manage all of business data. With central repository for everything you can analyse and interpret data from across your business at the click of a button, giving you powerful insight. If you are better informed you can be more agile and respond to market demands ahead of the competition.

Challenge 2 – Rising costs

Are you feeling the pinch as your costs rise? Is your bottom line suffering? Are you struggling to find money to invest in your business? Manufacturers are being hit by all angles – Not only is the cost of materials rising, so too is the cost of fuel used to transport goods. Added to this the new ‘living wage’ has increased labour costs – combined this makes competing with overseas manufacturers increasingly hard.

All is not lost, it is possible to make savings in other areas. By mapping your business processes, costs and profitability it is possible to identify inefficient processes and opportunities for savings and productivity enhancements.

How ERP can help

With all your business processes controlled by a single system it becomes easier to view end-to-end procedures to identify bottlenecks and where improvements made. Added to this it is possible to predict fluctuations to aid planning and stock management – resulting in savings.

Challenge 3 – Compliance

From health and safety, to energy consumption and waste management – the pressure is on to maintain compliance with new legislation and regulatory bodies.

If you are using disparate systems to manage different processes it can be really difficult to gain full visibility of your supply chain, and trace everything back to source. Accountability is no longer an option, therefore it is important to assess your business systems to make sure they can store all the information you need to retain.

How ERP can help

ERP software really is a massive advantage if traceability is important for your business. It enables you to collate data about all your materials and products from source, through your business and beyond.

Challenge 4 – Skills shortages

Do you find it hard to attract skilled workers? With skilled workers in short supply it can put your staff under extra pressure and impact on lead times, which can in turn impact customer satisfaction.
To overcome resource challenges it is important to find ways to do more with less – innovating with process as well as products. By streamlining and automating laborious administration it is possible to increase output from your existing pool of resources.

How ERP can help

While ERP software cannot make attracting new staff easier, it can help you to streamline your processes. With one system that controls everything is easier to identify new ways to improve efficiency and productivity, as well as measure KPIs.

Challenge 5 – Keeping up with the pace of technology

52% of manufacturers worry the current skills and technology in place cannot cope with more complex projects or increased demands. Using legacy technology can hamper productivity and output, preventing business growth.

While it’s easier to make do, by embracing new technologies it is possible to increase productivity and capacity, resulting in business growth.

How ERP can help

ERP software has come a long way in recent years. A good ERP system will arm you with the tools to work smarter, not harder, and easily accommodate more complex project and increased demands. It might not produce the goods, but it can make everything behind the scenes a lot slicker, giving you time to focus on your core business.

In summary… ERP Software involves a considerable investment if it is going to be executed well. Not just in terms of money but in terms of planning, training and roll out. That said, it can bring significant benefits and offer a sound return on investment.

Unsure if ERP is for you? Check out our free guide!

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