In the digital era, manufacturers are realizing that “data gaps” present in their supply chains can hurt the organization’s ability to stay competitive. Up until relatively recently, fragmented, inconsistent, or even inaccurate data was seen as a necessary evil due to the sheer complexity of manufacturing supply chains and the amount of data that needed to be collected. A patchwork of localized solutions and manual processes worked well enough to keep production going and that was really all that was important.
However, an increasing number of companies started to see this as an opportunity for growth. Focusing on better understanding their organizations through data collection initiatives, these manufacturers were able to locate inefficiencies and make smarter investments. According to IDC predictions, by 2019, 50% of manufacturers will leverage digital technologies to improve their supply chain visibility.
These companies understand the necessity of digital transformation and don’t allow themselves to be slowed down by outdated technology. And manufacturers that are able to achieve deep supply chain visibility can better utilize data gathered on the plant floor to eliminate inefficiencies and positively influence their client relationships and profit margins.
Optimize operations to achieve maximum productivity
It’s hardly a surprise that managing a system as complex as a manufacturing supply chain is no easy task. Effective supply chain management requires organizations to be able to extract various data sets and consolidate them to create actionable insights. Sales orders, supplier availability, warehousing, order fulfillment, quality control, product performance and customer service are all data points necessary to consider when trying to fully evaluate a supply chain. This undertaking requires a system capable of collecting this data through a network of IoT devices that can then be fed into a centralized location where it can be processed and finally visualized and presented.
Since these initiatives are entirely data driven, the first thing that needs to be focused on is IoT. End-to-end integration of internal processes on a single IoT-enabled platform allows organizations to effectively lower production costs. Historical data gathered from IoT sensors in combination with AI and machine learning allows manufacturers to run accurate simulations to test new designs and performance of various components in different environments prior to them ever being implemented. This can lead to the design team better defining component requirements and finding more cost effective solutions than the ones currently used.
Data analytics takes the gathered data and uses it to influence the execution of tasks along the supply chain. A powerful supply chain management system can autonomously make adjustments based on incoming information. Manufacturers can dramatically improve their order fullfilment times by having a system that is able to influence procurement and production based on incoming purchase orders while simultaneously managing their distribution. Enabling distribution to automatically locate opportunities to combine shipments means that products will get delivered faster and more cost effective, lowering the shipping costs for the customer.
Ultimately, gathering all this data and consolidating it into a single source won’t bring much change without the ability to extract information from it. In order to be able to locate and resolve issues quickly, it is crucial that decision makers have a real-time, on-the-go view of the entire organization. Not only does a centralized end-to-end system help in early detection of issues, it also provides a platform where employees can work together on their quick resolution. Not having to consult disparate systems speeds up the process of pinpointing the problem and making sure all assets that will be necessary are available at the right time. Investing in these technologies allows manufacturers to be proactive and flexible, putting them in a position to easily adjust to any future business challenges.
Get the tools to transform with Microsoft Dynamics 365
The obvious benefits of a platform that combines all these capabilities is driving digital transformation at a pace that’s the fastest we’ve seen to date. Manufacturers that prioritize digital transformation will be able to achieve a faster time to market as well as a lower cost of entry into new markets or new lines of business.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 ends the artificial separation of ERP and CRM and makes it easy for employees to collaborate and even role-switch to engage customers or address supply chain issues. Only Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back office with a single end-to-end system for managing every aspect of your business, all backed by an industry-leading enterprise cloud.
Merit Solutions approaches deployments with a lean mindset, enabling you to quickly get up and running with minimal investments while expanding at your own pace with either a cloud or a hybrid model. That shortens deployment considerably and ensures you get the solution that fits the current size of your organization while being fully optimized for future growth.