Agility in the face of complexity
17 May 2021
Chris Stock examines how manufacturers can achieve the agility needed to stay ahead.
There is little doubt that the events of the past year have exacerbated complexity for manufacturers. COVID and Brexit have converged to create some of the most challenging conditions some businesses have ever experienced, adding even more complexity for manufacturers who are already trying hard to navigate increasingly volatile global supply chains.
To address not only COVID-related complexity but to also stand businesses in good stead as they emerge from the global pandemic, agility has become the new currency of performance.
Agile businesses are proven to weather even the most turbulent of climates, able to respond quickly and effectively to rapidly shifting priorities and challenges. In many cases, this means adopting modern systems which can form the solid foundations of this enhanced agility.
By promoting live visibility, allowing decisions to be made on current, rather than outdated information, and simplifying complexity, the right solution enables manufacturers to respond and react to new threats and opportunities, all while minimising risk and maximising profitability.
What’s needed is a solution that simplifies complex manufacturing processes, not only by increasing automation but by boosting Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) to improve on time deliveries and optimise resource usage.
The benefits are multiple, with modern platforms able to centralise operations, including financial management, supply chain management and project management, improving processes and supporting operations in fast-paced, changeable and complex market conditions.
The right system can reduce operational complexity right across planning and production, unlocking efficiencies and improving quality, all while reducing costs.
It’s this efficiency which can boost customer service considerably, reducing lead times through a reduction in manual processes and time-consuming administrative tasks. What results are streamlined operations, using technological innovation to tame complexity and maintain that all-important competitive edge.
Hand-in-hand with this reduction in complexity goes the depths of organisational visibility that the right solution can provide.
All factors are considered, including materials, labour, machine capacity and tools, using a single planning engine to produce optimal plans with minimal planning effort. But, it’s the clarity and accuracy of the information, not to mention the timeliness, which makes all the difference, facilitating real-time visibility over all operations.
By providing the right information to the right people at the right time, the business can guarantee rapid, robust decision-making, the very cornerstone of the most agile businesses.
This access to timely, accurate information extends beyond the business too, helping to inform better customer communications.
Self-service access to project details such as costs, CAD drawings and project plans frees-up staff resource to focus on more value-add activities, rather than drawing them away to provide updates both internally and externally.
Not only does this represent a more efficient service but boosts customer relationships too.
It’s not just all about the technology, it’s about choosing the right technology to meet the specific and complex needs of the manufacturing business. Sometimes the only way to ensure this is right first time is by working with an experienced expert partner, one which not only ensures the best software for the task in hand, but one which can support the business at every step of the way, advising on implementation, training and ongoing support. This ensures the best solution for the manufacturer, optimised to meet the distinct needs of the business and guaranteeing a rapid ROI.
To embrace new markets and consolidate their position as we emerge from the pandemic, manufacturers need to embrace digital capabilities to drive transformation, turning to technology to unlock the levels of agility needed to survive and thrive in our global economy. The right systems, aided by the right partner, will enable manufacturers to manage complexity and growth while gaining those much-needed improvements in customer service, productivity and cost control, driving a culture of digital transformation and nurturing long-term success.