Manufacturing: The importance of speaking your language
As the manufacturing world continues to evolve to meet new challenges, there’s a step-change in innovation for the products and services that are delivered and supported. Many industry insiders are expressing the need for a focus on driving sustainable (and profitable) business growth. Deloitte suggests digital investment and supply chain resilience as the key pillars. Partnerships are also increasingly important to achieving sustainable business growth, whether that’s upstream or downstream within your supply chain or enabling partners such as application and technology providers.
In all of those partnering scenarios, it’s important to have a common understanding of your desired outcomes, so you can ensure you’re all speaking the same language, which helps shorten the time to value. Manufacturing is shifting towards industry-specific applications and these applications are now nearly always delivered in the cloud to maximize adoption, flexibility, availability, and security, as well as reducing through-life cost of ownership. In fact, Gartner forecasts end-user public cloud spending to grow by 18% through 2021.
Horizontal versus industry-specific applications
If you consider yourself a well contained, low risk, low complexity organization with customers who will continue to remain happy with the status quo and you see no real threat of disruption, a horizontal, one-size fits all approach to ERP may still suffice. However, most companies need to simplify the management of their complex business and are looking to differentiate through the application of technology.
Horizontal applications can manage a particular business function: typically finance and procurement but with everything else just bolted-on. Organizations that I speak with are coming to the realization that industry-specific capabilities and new technology are needed. The old ways no longer fit their purposes. Industry-specific cloud ERP offers capabilities that match the way that you do (or should do) business. You can do things right and operate in real time to unlock your business’s potential. It’s also faster to implement, so you’ll see success more rapidly. Camatic as an example, quickly stood up a new manufacturing facility in Malaysia—local requirements included.
An industry-centric, single view or digital twin of your business helps you identify variations to expected operational performance early, so they can be analyzed and managed long before your finance teams would typically become aware of them. The finance role can then transition to focus on strategic operational and financial improvement, fostering a continuous improvement mentality.
As Jim Collins talks about when referring to the “flywheel effect,” good-to-great transformations are unlikely to occur in a single step. A clearly articulated and communicated strategy that results in measurable, incremental improvements is key to successful, long-term transformation.
Unsurprisingly, when it comes to triggering organizational change, the business drivers are often a complex mix of customer expectations and demands for a better experience, a focus on operational effectiveness, and the need to meet stricter industry regulations and operating conditions. That’s why it’s important for your applications software technology vendor to speak the same language as your business. As an example, optimizing the order to delivery process in an engineer-to-order or configure-to-order environment demands a single view of the product from concept through quote to build, delivery, and then on through life support. Anything less adds risk to the whole process.
As the old saying goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Organizations that have traditionally been slow to move still have time to catch up. The challenge is often creating the internal momentum—the first push on the flywheel. In true partnerships, when everyone speaks the same language, multiple stakeholders come together to create a more powerful outcome.
Don’t wait too long. Early adopters are now more agile, flexible, and efficient—and they could already be making inroads into your share of the market. The right partner, with the right industry experience and knowledge, will understand the value you can gain by helping you solve your challenges. They can assist your organization in defining a roadmap to success.
If we’re speaking your language and you’re ready to get started, or you just want advice on how to turn the flywheel faster, explore Infor’s manufacturing solutions.