With the start of a new year there is always a flurry of activity within companies as they set priorities and look for new opportunities in the year ahead. With the disruption of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 there will be a heightened focus on how manufacturers can seize opportunity to get their growth plans back on track and strengthen how they operate.
For manufacturers to make the most of what is ahead of them, they need to adopt an agile and flexible way of working. Covid-19 has caused great disruption with different speeds of recovery within the manufacturing sector. Some companies have been working non-stop to meet demand whereas others are left with huge drops in revenue.
No matter the side your company falls on, it is important to have infrastructure in place to be flexible. We have likely not seen the end of disruptions yet, so the ability to ramp production up or down easily is vital. In future years, this will also be beneficial to make the most of growth opportunities by already having the processes and systems in place.
Getting this type of fast thinking in place can also help in other areas of the business, such as R&D. Rapid trial and error of new products can lead to break throughs that produce new ideas and first to market products. These types of successes can change the future of a company but for this to happen there has to be an agile culture.
It is all well and good knowing you want to be agile, but how do you know when it is time to flex in either direction?
To make informed decisions in any area of your business you need to utilise a range of data sources. This is especially true for companies that want to be agile or to achieve fast growth.
Having a well-integrated ERP system is a great starting point to using data within your company better. An ERP should be the backbone of your organisation, connecting departments and allowing information to be held in a central location. It should bring together information from a variety of systems and allow the information to be displayed on dashboards with KPIs relevant to your business.
For companies with a complex supply chain investing in SCM software could be a great way to make life easier to manage. This system can help you to better control costs across your supply chain as well as help to mitigate risk. Systems are so advanced now that they can use historical data alongside latest trends and even weather forecasts to better help your company make informed decisions.
Finally, for companies focused on growth, the insight of a CRM can be invaluable. Not only can you keep track of new leads better, but the service you can offer to existing customers will improve too. Have full oversight of all interactions with a customer allows for any issues to be tracked and resolved quickly, helping to ensure they feel valued when purchasing from you.
There is still an incredible amount of uncertainty around so manufacturers may want to hold off spending on new systems. In this case, manufacturers can seize opportunity that exists within their own business already.
Over the past two years it is likely that disruptions have altered how your company works but have you considered if the underlying processes have altered too? If your processes have not been changed then there is likely room to improve how your company operates.
To address this, start by looking at how things are now, known as your “As Is”. This includes how information flows through your business, how departments interact with each other, sales procedures, and a host of other key areas. You want to create a clear picture of your organisation and the processes that hold everything tother. Then you want to consider your “To Be” future state, which is the best practice for your industry, with respect to the size of your company. This will allow you to see what areas have the most room for improvement and make an informed decision on the best approach for your company.
If you would like some help and support in making your 2022 the best year possible then get in touch with our team today.