A new year always offers the chance to take stock and refocus. Our movers and makers endured a tough 2023 and those that came out the other side are trying to prepare for what the next 12 months have in store. The latest report from Make UK suggests that manufacturers are now more bullish, and many are looking at how best to exploit a more favourable commercial landscape. Digitalisation has a key role to play in future proofing operations, helping them address ongoing challenges and stay ahead of the competition in embracing the opportunities ahead. It is a year when fit for purpose ERP will come to the fore in providing the agile digital infrastructure businesses need to succeed.
The Make UK and PwC’s Executive Survey 2024 suggests improved sentiment. The majority of Britain’s manufacturers (52.7%) now see the UK as a more competitive place to locate their activities, compared to just 31% a year ago. The survey sought the views of 200-plus senior manufacturing executives and found that more than 80% believe that conditions in the sector will improve.
These perceived green shoots are encouraging many companies to move back into growth mode. More than half of manufacturers reported that in the year ahead they plan to launch new products, more than a quarter are ready to expand into previously untapped markets and many say they are accelerating adoption of digital technologies to ensure they are geared up for more favourable conditions. Technologies like ERP will prove key to engineering their business for the future.
Building digital resilience
Be it eliminating waste, reducing costs, or supporting innovation, embracing the digital era is now mission-critical. Investing in adaptive ERP will ensure businesses have access to real time data, have full visibility of their operations and benefit from informed decision-making. With the right system in place, businesses will also be in a position to benefit from disruptive technologies like AI and IoT.
According to the Make UK report, the adoption of digital technologies is seen by 71.2% of manufacturers as a way to boost operational efficiency, while 52.2% see generative AI increasing workforce productivity.
For businesses that managed to weather recent storms, it is critical they take the time to learn lessons and make the improvements needed to remain competitive. Many realised they didn’t have the right digital backbone to pivot or couldn’t access the reliable data needed to drive efficiencies.
There is growing recognition that no business can afford to rest on its laurels. How can they work smarter, and what systems and processes will they require to ensure they can navigate an ever-shifting landscape?
Whilst contemplating that, many of the movers and makers we speak to are having to do more with less. Skills shortages remain a major headache, and rising employment costs mean that they are increasingly reliant on digital technology to improve performance without having to increase headcount. According to the Make UK report, “the balance between people and skills, and digitalisation and automation, will be key to managing costs as well as strategic direction.”
Selecting fit for purpose ERP
Despite the obvious advantages and return on investment, many businesses are still failing to fully embrace the digital era. The Make UK survey found that looking ahead to 2024 only 23% of manufacturers see opportunities in digital technologies and only 12.5% are making digital tech central to their strategies. The membership body’s previous research has highlighted that many hold back due to issues like lack of appropriate skills and workforce and cultural challenges.
This is backed up by recent findings from Gartner Digital Markets. Its 2024 Tech Trends Survey found that although business intelligence and analytics software is a top priority for manufacturers, identifying the right technology (47%) and compatibility with their existing systems (44%) are the biggest barriers to investment.
At NexSys we have the toolkit and experience to confront these challenges. We can help businesses identify the right technology and with the use of our system integration and data manipulation tool DataSwitch, we can integrate best of breed solutions with ERP. We take time to understand the business, identify its pain points and opportunities, and offer appropriate solutions.
SYSPRO provides industry-built ERP that can flex with the changing needs of its users, and our team at NexSys is always developing new capabilities. We have some exciting projects taking place during 2024 that will add to our already comprehensive service offering.
Whatever stage you are at on your digital journey, there has never been a better time to invest in the transformative powers of ERP. The year ahead offers companies of all sizes a chance to get back on track and build momentum. Keep one step ahead of the competition and ensure your business has the right digital drive infrastructure to achieve its goals.