Solutions to manufacturing firms’ most common IT challenges

Solutions to manufacturing firms’ most common IT challenges

Disruption in the manufacturing industry has become more significant because of technological advancements like the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, and artificial intelligence (AI). Despite that, some small- and medium-sized manufacturers still face challenges in leveraging a wide range of technology, mainly due to limited budgets.

Fortunately, managed services providers (MSPs) have made technology solutions more cost-effective. In this short guide, we present some of the most common challenges that MSPs can help you solve.

Forecasting customer demand

Forecasting future demand for products remains one of the main challenges of many manufacturing firms. It's especially challenging for those that lack the tools to estimate customer demands and behavior. This lack often results in lower sales because customer demands for products will not be met.

There are reporting tools that can help manufacturers more accurately estimate which items to produce and in what quantities. With an excellent sales management system, you can analyze consumer behavior and find out which products customers are most interested in when they usually buy them, and how many they buy at certain times, just to name a few insights. Meanwhile, SpectrumWise’s material requirements planning (MRP) will allow your firm to identify fast- and slow-moving products based on customer demand.

In addition, your sales and marketing teams should always be up to date on external factors that affect production and consumer demand. These include currency exchange rates, rising fuel prices, current market trends, and other key factors.

Managing inventory

All leading manufacturers employ automated solutions to streamline and simplify inventory management. However, smaller firms still rely on managing inventories manually. This time-consuming process is fraught with inefficiencies and errors, leading to inaccuracies, shortages, overstock, and other damages.

To overcome this, you need better inventory management strategies, ones that employ technology and software. Small manufacturers can have access to an affordable cloud-based solution, such as an MRP. This solution will allow their inventory managers to ensure that sufficient raw materials are ready for the production and delivery of finished goods. It helps keep firms continually up to date with inventory levels and alerts them when levels are critical, thereby allowing them time to repurchase and reorder raw materials.

Improving production efficiencies

When manufacturers need to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, they often resort to bringing down production costs by reducing product quality. Sadly, this often results in profit loss due to a damaged reputation and customer dissatisfaction.

Instead of sacrificing the quality of production, you can modernize processes and systematize workflows. Consider strategies like minimizing time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks, reducing material waste, and simplifying supply chains. Your firm can identify and automate these strategies through an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

Acquiring skilled labor

Amid tech advancements in robotics and automation, manufacturers today face a common threat — the lack of skilled labor or human capabilities in analysis, problem-solving, and management in their workforce.

To overcome this, companies in all sectors have taken a more creative approach to recruitment. Manufacturers now take advantage of various online platforms to post job openings and find qualified prospects. Paired with human resource management (HRM) software, these tools allow employers to be more selective when screening and choosing candidates.

But it does not end there. As a manufacturer, you need to continually train talent to increase their potential and value to your company. HRM and competency management software can help identify skill gaps and automate various aspects of the training process.

Recognizing and prioritizing sales leads

Manufacturers often treat all sales leads in the same way when each sales lead should be managed and prioritized according to character, preference, and need. Neglecting the analysis of promising sales leads may result in lost opportunities.

To truly understand your leads, you must have a greater grasp on information about them. A customer relationship management (CRM) system is specifically designed to make it easy to keep, manage, and track your prospects’ information. With the help of its centralized database, you can identify qualified candidates, focus on the best opportunities, and distribute leads to the right salespeople with ease.

Capitalizing on advanced technology

Like many businesses, manufacturers have to adapt to changes to thrive in competitive markets. You won’t get anywhere by avoiding trends and changes in technology. The dilemma, however, is knowing which tech to invest in and which ones to weed out.

To make sure you make the right technology investment, discuss crucial points with all of your stakeholders. Ask employees what difficulties they face on a daily. Look into your budget to determine if you are ready to invest in technology. A technology or IT consultant like SpectrumWise can take a look at these factors and carefully weigh them with your needs, goals, and current technology in mind. Working alongside a team of expert consultants can help you develop a technology strategy that is right for your firm.

Here at SpectrumWise, we’ve helped Charlotte manufacturers achieve cost savings and overcome other production challenges. Find out how our customized manufacturing solutions can benefit you.

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