Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace—and manufacturers are keeping up, each at their own pace. It’s unrealistic to expect that any one manufacturing company can (or even should) adopt every single bit of new technology available to the industry. But there is indeed a banquet of options for organizations looking to gain competitive edge, meet the changing needs of customers, optimize production and distribution, and more, using today’s latest-and-greatest technology.

In a recent Manufacturing Business Technology article, Gavin Davidson of Oracle NetSuite poignantly says of the rapid industry change, “It’s no longer simply about survival of the fittest. It’s about survival of the fastest and most flexible.” And this, of course, is where cloud computing fits into the mix. In fact, cloud-based ERP, CRM, and BI solutions are a great way for manufacturers to start leveraging cutting-edge technology that’s both affordable and scalable while making a big impact on costs and profitability.

Let’s take a look at the what’s trending in manufacturing circles today and how to start taking advantage of opportunities that move your company technologically forward

Getting Strategic—But How Disruptive?

As noted in an Association of Equipment Manufacturers blog post, “Companies are beginning to recognize the value of thinking strategically and operationally…gathering operational data, analyzing it and leveraging valuable information gleaned from manufacturing processes to spark transformative organizational change.”

When it comes to choosing technology to drive this change, the sky seems to be the limit. The core technologies reshaping the future of manufacturing, according to Deloitte’s Exponential Manufacturing report, include artificial intelligence, robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles, synthetic biology, digital fabrication, nanotechnologies, big data, smart sensors and networks, and machine learning.

But let’s take a step back. If organizations need to analyze operational and financial data before investing in the most disruptive technologies, don’t they need a way to collect, analyze, and access their data in the first place? Having the right foundational business systems in place to help them unify and manage their data is essential.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons Deloitte says that advanced analytics and modeling and simulation tools are among the top technologies enabling transformational growth in manufacturing by helping companies achieve greater agility and unlock new forms of value.

Harnessing Big Data First

If big data needs to be harnessed before nanotechnologies, let’s examine how manufacturers can benefit immediately from the adoption of today’s cloud-based ERP, CRM, and/or BI solutions:

  • By Transforming Your Approach to Data Management
    If your IT environment is running different systems on various machines, it’s likely you have data silos that are difficult to sync up without time-consuming, costly, and manual intervention. This makes the collection and analysis of your operational, customer, and financial data ineffective and at least somewhat unreliable. With the right systems to integrate data and deliver insights, manufacturers can move away from paper-based and manual processes and lean into more informed, real-time decision making, from the back office to the plant floor to the sales field.
  • By Accommodating New Business Requirements
    In Manufacturing Business Technology, Oracle NetSuite’s Gavin Davidson predicts that for many manufacturers, direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales will continue to rise thanks to their focus on diversifying revenue, elevating brand profile, building consumer intimacy, and cutting out middlemen costs. Additionally, he expects more B2B and industrial manufacturers to expand their service offerings. Unified cloud platforms, of course, are helping to make this possible by providing the diverse functionality and integrations support required to run businesses more efficiently in an omnichannel marketplace.
  • Delivering a Seamless Customer—and Employee—Experience People have increasingly rising expectations for ease of use, on-demand access, anytime/anywhere productivity, and more. By using cloud-based business systems to power operations and drive the decision-making process, manufacturers can ensure customers (and this includes vendors and business partners) benefit from faster communications, more relevant products and services, and tech-fueled self-service options. And thanks to a combination of cloud computing and modern communications technology, employees at all levels can access their productivity tools and data from any connected device, which enhances collaboration and remote-working opportunities.

If your manufacturing company is looking to upgrade from yesterday’s technology and get on the right path toward innovation, contact us to learn more about our cloud computing solutions.

And don’t miss How Strategy Can Ensure a Secure and Efficient Move to the Cloud.

Additional Resources:

Consider the Customer When Implementing New Enterprise Technology

Dashboards Elegantly Reveal The Truth Behind Your Data

5 Mobile Office Productivity Statistics You Need to Know

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