img Solutions

Discrete manufacturing

There is a misconception in industry that large organizations are much more sophisticated than smaller businesses. Whereas large businesses may have more resources, the reality in today’s dynamic, often global marketplace is that those differences are much smaller.

Manufacturers large and small have similar challenges in that they are driven to reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, operate globally (either sourcing or selling), and face the need to evolve their business model and meet new industry regulations.

Meeting industry challenges takes an advanced ERP system.

For decades, companies have been making substantial IT and operational investments in their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. For the most part, they have realized moderate benefits as a result of implementing those solutions because of the general nature of the functionality provided. However, to keep up with the fast pace of change that characterizes today’s business environment, it’s clear they need deep and specific manufacturing capabilities that can bring a high return on investment by improving efficiency and providing better decision support.

Based on research conducted by Infor, as well as direct feedback from our customers, market forces precipitating the need for an advanced ERP system include:

  • Margins are under constant pressure. Due to increased globalization and competition, manufacturers are under constant pressure to reduce costs to maintain margins. This leads to the introduction of lean practices throughout the organization (inside and outside the four walls) to reduce waste and increase collaboration. Production and distribution operations must be streamlined. Visibility across all functions, from finance to distribution, must be increased in order for manufacturers to improve the flow of goods, eliminate waste, and gain efficiency. And IT departments must handle increasing demands with the same (or fewer resources) to support the business, while facing shortening product lifecycles.

  • Customer service and loyalty (customer retention) need to improve. This is an area that is receiving increased focus. Manufacturers are finding they must make it easier for customers to place orders, offer customers more options, and provide them with better delivery promises. Often, this requires having the ability to handle multiple ways of manufacturing—including make to stock, make to order, and engineer to order—at the same time as warehousing and distribution. Manufacturers are working to minimize their market risk by growing and diversifying their customer base.

  • Customers are becoming more and more demanding. Last-minute changes to configurations and order quantities are becoming the rule instead of the exception. In the case of new demand, manufacturers must be able to respond immediately with available and capable to promise involving business partners in the supply chain in order to commit. Manufacturers are now challenged with highly variable demand volumes and specifications while dealing with increased complexity and customization.

  • New revenue streams require transition to total lifecycle value. Through aftermarket service management for new revenue streams (and delivery of new customer services) and rapid technological product evolution to counter reduced time-to-market trends for products and new product introductions, manufacturers are becoming providers of total lifecycle value to their customers.

  • Supply chain risk and global operations need to be managed. Also as a result of globalization, it has become necessary for manufacturers to improve information flow across the supply chain and collaborate for better decision making, link shop floor systems to enterprise systems, outsource, and manage the impact of all this on intellectual property and multi-site operations. In addition, overcoming inventory and capacity inflexibility by adapting more quickly to new opportunities through sourcing and supply chain collaboration is vital.

  • Regulatory pressures are increasing. From Sarbanes-Oxley to internal corporate governance requirements, organizations need the ability to enforce accountability, create audit trails, and instill compliance as part of their corporate and social responsibility.