Top Four Challenges Faced by CEOs of Manufacturing Companies

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In the manufacturing industry, every decision is important, because it can lead to a butterfly effect and positively or adversely affect your next steps for years to come.
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Manufacturing chief executive officers are facing a constantly evolving range of challenges which require an agile, customer-centric and highly adaptive mindset. Spurred on by a wave of technologies that have steamrolled and completely disrupted markets, CEOs now need to rethink strategies and operations and lean on previously untapped capabilities and systems.

This blog describes some of the most important issues recently faced by leaders in the manufacturing industry.

Taking the time to innovate

In a recent survey conducted by Miliken, a staggering 70% of U.S. based manufacturing CEOs claimed they spent most of their time firefighting instead of trying to devise a sustainable, long-term strategy for problem solving.

This is mostly due to the fact that publicly held companies have to be accountable to stockholders every 90 days, and privately held ones keep chasing short-term profits.

In order to thrive and truly conquer future markets, CEOs have to be aware of the sacrifice necessary to transform their business and invest in technology at just the right time. Exerting more effort now means reaping greater benefits further down the line.

By automating manufacturing processes and letting advanced tools do the hard work, manufacturers will be able to gain precise control over their assets and data and, even more importantly, save precious hours which can be used to look into the development of newer, better products.

Staying ahead of the competition

IIoTArtificial IntelligenceMachine LearningBusiness IntelligenceMixed RealityBig Data Analytics…the list goes on. With so many improvements to choose from, manufacturing CEOs are faced with a daunting dilemma: what’s really worth spending resources on if you want to keep up with the competition?

While there’s no one answer to this question, a couple of things are definitely worth noting when trying to stay ahead of the curve. There’s no use trying to copy everything your competitors do, as there will always be newer trends and technologies to implement in the future. CEOs have to be aware of the role their organization is trying to carve out in a specific niche and do a fit gap analysis to exactly determine how they’re going to accomplish their goals.

Staying ahead of the competition isn’t about splashing out on the newest technology, but rather finding an identity and building a long-term strategy around it.

Unifying everything into a single platform

In the age of real-time information and far greater levels of mobility and device flexibility, manufacturing CEOs have to make sure their companies are using solutions which can overcome data silos and end operational miscommunication.

In order for manufacturers to truly increase productivity, there has to be a seamless transition of information between workers, facilities and devices. This can be accomplished using a single, multi-functional platform like Dynamics 365.

Solutions for managing entire supply chains, handling inventory, forecasting customer needs and market trends and reviewing data using business intelligence are all part of manufacturers’ lives. Add to that a customer relationship management tool and you’ve got yourself quite a complex set of capabilities.

Manufacturing CEOs looking to unify these solutions and overcome operational challenges while staying under one roof need to take a really good look at potential solutions. Our Microsoft Dynamics 365 Upgrade page is a good place to start.

Lowering costs

In what has been a recurring motive for numerous C-level executives, manufacturing CEOs are tasked with driving change and innovation, but remaining cautious and smart about investments at the same time. This sounds like a contradiction, but it really doesn’t have to be one.

The new wave of enterprise solutions is built with an important idea in mind: enable flexibility and do things as cost- and time-effectively as possible. To do this, manufacturing CEOs have to shift their focus to long-term strategies and be ready to invest and sacrifice resources right now.

The future will bring even more disruptions and filter out manufacturers who haven’t figured out a sustainable business model. In order to lower costs, CEOs need to improve operations on every level and make sure they’ve got the tools to optimize overall efficiency. AI, Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics and other capabilities will play a crucial role in helping organizations lower operational costs in the future.


The difficulty of being a great CEO lies in finding the perfect balance between pushing innovation forward and remaining smart and rational about short- and long-term strategies.

In the manufacturing industry, every decision is important, because it can lead to a butterfly effect and positively or adversely affect your next steps for years to come.

When looking for an answer to various manufacturing challenges, you can rely on Merit Solutions to provide you with just the right solution at just the right time. Browse our website for more information on how to lead your manufacturing company to success.

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