The Cloud Holds the Answer to Business Optimization | Automation.com

The Cloud Holds the Answer to Business Optimization

The Cloud Holds the Answer to Business Optimization

By Mark Humphlett, Director of Industry and Solution Strategy, Infor

In the world of manufacturing, the first to market wins. Customer demands are shifting, the market is constantly evolving, and product innovation is coming more quickly than ever before. Today’s customers want the power to purchase at their fingertips, and have come to expect a hyper-personalized shopping experience. The total output of U.S. manufacturing has increased by more than 250% in the past 25 years, and this growth is expected to continue. In this environment, manufacturers must be proactive about simplifying complex supply chains, or risk falling behind their competitors.

To compete in today’s complex, global environment, manufacturers need solutions that provide the functionality necessary to adapt quickly and run efficiently. According to McKinsey, companies that are quick to implement digital strategies are more likely to have “disproportional gains” over those who do not. But manufacturers need not be daunted by the task of “going digital”; cloud technology can provide them with the always-modern functionality and flexibility they need to react quickly to changing market conditions, cut hardware costs, and use data-rich analytics to strengthen customer relationships and better manage their businesses.

End-to-End Visibility

A smart network of vendors, suppliers and partners supported by Cloud deployment’s flexible architecture, allows manufacturers increased visibility into every step of the supply chain process. With 7.3 million fewer factory hands than in 1979, technology can help manufacturers continue creating goods at a high volume. Cloud technology and its flexible scale and scope allow manufacturers to integrate with partners and maintain a constant flow of communication with their extended teams, and keep track of products at every point along the supply chain. Modern ERP solutions deployed in the cloud bring increased flexibility and interoperable functionality to manufacturers contending with disruptive changes in their industry, region, or go-to-market tactics. End-to-end visibility and Data Science empower the manufacturer with the actionable insights needed to make strategic decisions that benefit customers and the bottom line.

Even the most successful companies are not immune to the ever-increasing speed of the supply chain. Take, for example, Apple’s decreased speed-to-market during the release of their wireless AirPod earbuds. Customers were forced to wait at least six weeks before the earbuds became available. Apple attributed this delay to its product not being “ready” for shipping. Google, experienced a similar issue, with a three-to-four-week delay in shipping for its Pixel smartphone. To prevent customers from taking their business elsewhere, manufacturers across industries must be prepared to prevent these kinds of delays, or to resolve unexpected issues as promptly as possible.

Increased Flexibility

In an era of uncertainty about foreign policy and international trade, it’s important for manufacturers to have increased flexibility in the supply chain. Cloud solutions with vast storage abilities allow manufacturers to leverage Internet of Things technology and predictive analytics to help manufacturers anticipate the market’s changes and cope with evolving market pressures. Companies that can adjust to market shifts will avoid decreased speed-to-market and inventory shortages. And when problems arise within the supply chain, cloud-empowered manufacturers are more aware of options for handling the issue.

For example, if a customer goes to purchase a product and finds it is out of stock, manufacturers armed with data collected from sensors about locations of shipping containers and alternative resources available, can help the procurement team decide the best way to stay on schedule, get the product to the customer quickly, and have the best chance of retaining that customer’s business.

Interoperable Functionality

Long gone are the days of using out dated and heavily modified applications to run your business, and worry about upgrades. Cloud solutions provide the manufacturer with always-modern functionality needed to remain competitive. Manufacturers can engage with innovative technologies with vast storage, visibility and reporting abilities. The modern capabilities also help manage forecasting, demand planning, tracking and traceability within one uniformed platform

Manufacturers can’t afford to get left behind. In today’s marketplace, a failure to meet customer demands could lead to a decline in business. By making the move to the cloud, manufacturers will reap the benefits of end-to-end modern functionality free of cumbersome modifications and flexible architecture for improved connectivity and visibility into their entire supply chain—cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and gaining the flexibility required to make the best decisions for their global businesses.

About the Author

Mark Humphlett is the Director of Industry and Solution Strategy, responsible for Infor manufacturing. He has more than 20 years of experience in technology, and more than 30 years in the manufacturing and distribution industry.

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