Technology

Unlocking firms’ potential with right tech solutions

solutions

Summary

  • The accelerated tech adoption is certainly a good thing as this will enable firms to address many of the challenges that confront them.
  • Faced with global operations, and market expansions with stricter regulations, local enterprises are being overwhelmed by massive amounts of information coming from the different suppliers.
  • Data management and integration through a portal or portal dashboard has been a huge gridlock in Kenya.

Kenya’s manufacturers have joined the mass exodus from traditional business processes to modern ways of doing business in the post-pandemic period.

The accelerated tech adoption is certainly a good thing as this will enable firms to address many of the challenges that confront them.

What are some of these challenges?

Faced with global operations, and market expansions with stricter regulations, local enterprises are being overwhelmed by massive amounts of information coming from the different suppliers and customers.

Along with this, they contain both internal silos – supply chain and procurement, for example – as well as external silos between companies and their supply network.

Also, manufacturers and distributors often struggle with the visibility of raw materials into production, meaning they are unable to manage resources efficiently and streamline production processes.

Consequently, according to Paulo de Matos, Chief Product Officer at Syspro, each moving part of the supply chain must be thoroughly assessed and painstakingly monitored to ensure that the product is being brought to market with both speed and effectiveness in mind.

This is the manufacturing challenge, he says, but having insights across the supply chain can help improve the whole business process.

“Improving supply chain performance requires a single view, connected to the relevant systems and accurate up-to-date data. This should also be accessible to all stakeholders,” he explains.

Data management and integration through a portal or portal dashboard has been a huge gridlock in Kenya. If manufacturers adopted it, it would mean achieving the much-needed visibility and control over all their supply chain processes such as procurement, manufacturing, storage, and logistics.

“A supply chain portal also provides the ability to engage, communicate and connect with colleagues, suppliers and customers while giving manufacturers the control and agility they need to deliver on changing needs and demands, ensuring shelves are stocked and ready to serve the market.”

But building a digitalisation strategy, de Matos expounds, requires support from top management to ensure collaboration and success from transformation initiatives.

The 2021 Syspro CFO 4.0 Survey reveals that 70 percent of manufacturing CFOs in Kenya plan to invest in enterprise technologies such as business intelligence, enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise risk management and related systems in 2022, and 49 percent believe that predictive models supported by meaningful measurement and reporting are needed to ensure the business remains competitive.

However, factory leadership will have to set clearly defined strategies, goals and key performance indicators addressing business-specific pain points to ensure that the necessary return on investment is achieved.

“Information in a digital format is the defining force within the supply chain. A connected supply chain driven by smart technology such as automated warehousing, cargo tracking and remote fleet management is transformative,” he notes.

So what should companies do to build more resilient supply chains?

“They should consider investing in technologies that involve all stakeholders including internal teams, suppliers, trading partners and end customers,”de Matos notes.

While enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is key to the digital transformation journey, organisations need more than that - a robust business strategy that underpins their supply chain strategy.

Change management also plays a crucial part in engaging the staff and ensuring that the

digital transformation efforts deliver the required results. To drive customer satisfaction and business success, organisations need access to accurate, real-time, and actionable data.

A fully integrated ERP solution with embedded analytics is required by manufacturers and distributors to tackle the immense challenges they face by optimising their business operations, satisfying customer demands, while increasing factory output.

“Without it, companies may remain in reactive mode. With it, however, there is a competitive advantage with more control over business operations.”

According to Ryan Hall, manager of Vertical Solutions Marketing, ERP is responsible for the information flow between business functions and manages connections to external stakeholders.

“From a company’s financials to the supply chain, to human resource activities, and everywhere in between, ERP keeps up with the fast-paced business environment and the constantly evolving demands of the manufacturing industry,” Mr Hall says.

It is in manufacturing that machine learning can help companies in collecting data via robots or other types of smart equipment which helps to identify and anticipate the factors that impact daily operations, such as the speed and quality of assembly lines.

“Machines use different algorithms to predict wait times, shipping times and suggest the best course of action for employees, which would be too tedious of a task for employees to conduct by themselves,” observes Mr Hall.

Machine learning algorithms along with applications and platforms, also assist manufacturing companies by finding new approaches to go about their work, fine-tune product quality, and optimize their daily operations.

Increasing ROI (return on investment) is also a challenge for the manufacturing industry every year.

Every company wants to increase their ROI, which makes the industry increasingly competitive but one quick fix to this is updating marketing strategies with lower cost but high return digital efforts or exploring more cost-effective production, shipping, or packaging options.