Overcoming Operational Challenges with Manufacturing ERP
The Canadian manufacturing sector plays a critical role in the nation’s economy. According to the BDC, this industry accounted for 10 percent of Canada’s GDP in 2017 alone, and even after the recent uncertainly of pandemic pressures manufacturing firms have continued to make economic headway — as reported by Canadian Manufacturing, sales rose 0.9 percent in December 2020 to reach $54.2 billion.
But challenges remain for Canadian operations. As noted by a recent report from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, potential problems persist around competition, technology and labor — and overcoming these issues is critical to ongoing success.
Key Manufacturing Challenges
While Canadian manufacturing firms have made significant market strides both at home and abroad, many still face familiar operation challenges, such as:
Continuing use of legacy tools
Despite the availability of newer and more advanced software solutions and services, many manufacturing firms lean on legacy tools for day-to-day operations. It makes sense: These tools were often purpose-built to work within specific manufacturing environments and may lack the connectivity and interoperability required for integration with new software for manufacturing companies.
The problem? While these legacy tools offer the benefit of familiarity they’re not capable of meeting the new needs of manufacturing firms, such as the ability to handle large volumes of unstructured data or track inventory levels in real-time.
Increasing global competition
As noted by the Government of Canada report global manufacturing competition is increasing, especially as developing countries gain economic ground. As a result, Canadian firms must cultivate best practices and processes that allow them to effectively compete locally, nationally and internationally as the manufacturing industry diversifies.
Shrinking pools of skilled labour
Two labour issues are now critical for Canadian firms: The past and the future.
Past problems occur when skilled staff familiar with legacy tools retire and companies can’t find replacements with similar skill sets — if outgoing employees haven’t trained their peers to use aging systems, they often sit idle.
Future issues arise as digitally skilled labour pools struggle to match growing demand. As firms embark on digital transformations, they need staff capable of effectively managing these moves — and software tools that reduce the complexity of operational shifts.
Emerging compliance and regulatory obligations
As consumers look for more detailed information about product origins and the manufacturing process itself, and as international supply chains struggle under the weight of pandemic pressures, new regulatory expectations have emerged. Lacking compliance can lead to both revenue and reputation loss — as a result, firms need tools capable of streamlining their regulatory reporting to limit overall risk.
Streamlining Operations with Manufacturing ERP
To improve process consistency, reduce production delays and better manage employees at scale, the right manufacturing ERP solution is essential. Cloud manufacturing software deployments from Sage offer key advantages to help streamline operations, including:
Agile asset management
From on-demand inventory transparency, demand forecasting and production downtime estimates, cloud manufacturing software from Sage gives your team complete control over critical assets wherever, whenever.
On-demand order tracking and monitoring
Where are your product components? Are customer orders delayed? Rerouted? Integrated, on-demand tracking and monitoring tools are critical to ensure your business is never left in the dark. This is especially critical as companies struggle with skilled labour shortages — there’s no time to waste tracking down missing orders or searching for specific components.
Enhanced process automation
The volume, variety and velocity of manufacturing data including customer transaction histories, maintenance reports, production time estimates and predicted supply timelines make it impossible for legacy systems to keep pace. At best, these tools require manual data collection and input from users to maintain the status quo — at worst, they introduce costly errors into your manufacturing process. Next-generation ERP solutions solve this problem with automation for key functional and financial operations, in turn reducing error rates and improving overall efficiency.
Data-driven decision making
Trends in manufacturing now happen in real-time. From growing global economies putting increased pressure on Canadian manufacturing firms to supply chain shifts that demand immediate response, companies need accurate and actionable insight to help drive better decision making. With Sage ERP for manufacturing, your firm is never in the dark about data.
Complete supply chain visibility
Competing on the global stage requires total supply chain visibility — firms need to know where supply chains are solid and where they’re experiencing challenges to identify more efficient operational processes. Cloud-based ERP tools can help close the gap between supply chain speculation and certain knowledge.
As the Canadian manufacturing sector both strengthens and diversifies, enterprises need agile and adaptable ERP deployments to both address ongoing issues and embrace new expectations. Cloud-based, on-demand manufacturing software solutions — including the Sage300 cloud and the Sage X3 Business Cloud — empower manufacturing firms to overcome key operational challenges and take their place on the world stage.
IWI Consulting Group is a certified Sage partner with more than 20 years of experience helping Canadian manufacturing companies streamline critical processes and improve operational outcomes.