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Nationalism vs. globalization: Software supports agile response to changing manufacturing landscape

January 31, 2017
Here's part 2 of a 2-part article looking at the impact of nationalism on US manufacturing. Read part 1.

In yesterday’s post, we looked at the issues emerging from the call for US manufacturers to keep facilities in the US in order to expand employment opportunities for the American workforce. Today, we turn to the ways software solutions make such pivots and responses to evolving market strategies possible.

Cracks in your crystal ball?
The international political climate is evolving quickly. The US outlook for manufacturing is also in the throes of political scrutiny and upheaval. Creating American jobs and keeping US plants on US soil are topics generating headlines and debate. The new administration’s call to rebuild American manufacturing even has skeptics. One thing is certain: Disruptive change has become the new normal for manufacturing.

How can executives create an effective go-to-market strategy when the ground under them is continually undulating? Should CIOs wait for the climate to settle before selecting and deploying software solutions? These are just some of the questions that plague manufacturers.

Forecasting the future

There is one answer: cloud computing. Modern ERP solutions deployed in the cloud bring many benefits to manufacturers that are contending with disruptive change in their industry, region, or go-to-market tactics. Here are 7 ways that cloud deployment helps manufacturers respond to the changing demands:

  1. Highly flexible. Infor CloudSuites are built on highly flexible architecture. Built on the language of the internet with loosely coupled data points, new divisions, product lines, partnerships, and revenue streams can be incorporated into the company’s financial systems with speed and minimal disruption. This provides the agility needed to cope with evolving market pressures. There’s no need for adding complex code or modifications.
  2. Vast storage. Many components of digitalization, such as predictive analytics, Internet of Things connectivity, and tracking of data from sensors, require the elasticity and vast storage capacity that cloud solutions offer. The built-in elasticity allows the manufacturer to expand or contract as needed.
  3. Network visibility. To compete in today’s global economy, manufacturers must take advantage of a smart supply network and integrated connection of vendors, suppliers, partners, and contractors. Cloud solutions make that visibility practical and easy to manage with far more agility than an on-premise solution. Portals, collaboration tools, and mobile connectivity help keep extended teams communicating.
  4. Expansion. The increase in acquisitions and divestitures is creating a need for rapid response and set up of new organizations. Manufacturers simply cannot go through a two-year implementation process to integrate the new organization to an existing on-premise ERP. Cloud solutions require months, not years, for implementation, supporting rapid change.
  5. Enhanced user experience. Because cloud solutions are continually updated by the provider, they tend to feature modern user interfaces and consumer-like usability. This helps recruit and retain right-skilled workers.
  6. Improved cash flow. The subscription model helps manufacturers today as they steadily work through replacing or upgrading in-plant equipment that has been pushed past its prime. The recent recession exhausted cash reserves causing manufacturers to delay investment in equipment. This makes cloud’s subscription model and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) attractive to cash-strapped manufacturers.
  7. Predictive analytics. Big Data and predictive analytics allow manufactures to anticipate changes on the horizon and maintain a proactive stance. Manufacturers can anticipate customer needs and be prepared with the right resources on hand.

Seize the opportunities
These are just some of the ways that cloud deployment makes it easier for manufacturers to respond with agility to today’s fast-changing environment. As market pressures mount and the competitive landscape escalates, the real test of a manufacturer’s fortitude is its ability to bend or go with the flow.

The highly flexible organization can benefit from the constant waves of change, as it pivots as needed to seize new opportunities, including ones with a brief window of relevance. Can your organization be that flexible and opportunistic? Having the right software solution deployed in the cloud certainly helps.
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