A recent post from Industry Week shared some key predictions for manufacturing in 2015 and the trend is overall very positive. After years of difficulty due to the recession and then the recovery from the recession, it looks like manufacturing in 2015 will be poised for steady growth.
Among the top six predictions included in the article were a couple that really stuck out to me:
81% of manufacturers feel big data has a positive effect on production and efficiency (CSC Global CIO Survey) – Like all industries, manufacturing is working to harness the tremendous amount of data that it creates and consumes. While most companies are already leveraging technology on some level to organize their day-to-day data (an ERP or SCM tool, for example), the next step to really making data and technology work for you is to connect your platforms and make them–and all your data–available from anywhere. This is where the cloud is so powerful. It can not only help your platforms work together, it can empower faster, better decision-making from anywhere. Big data absolutely has a positive effect on production and efficiency, but only when it’s properly leveraged and understood.
Manufacturing revenues are expected to increase in 15 different manufacturing industries in 2015 (Institute of Supply Management) – It’s difficult to see a downside with a statement like that, but the fact is that growth can be stressful on your business and your team if you don’t have the infrastructure to support it. With all the end-of-year reports seeming to point in the direction the manufacturing industry being poised for growth, now is the time to assess if your systems are going to be able to keep up and ensure you make the most of it. This doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything you have, but it does mean that you should take a look at what’s working and what’s slowing you down, including answering questions like:
- Can I give my teams full access to customer information, quoting/estimating tools, and critical dashboards from anywhere on any device?
- Do I have to log in to multiple systems to get a true 360-view of my customers? And do I get different answers in each location depending on what data has been updated where?
- Am I relying on add-ons or under-performing modules to handle critical functions (inadequate quoting platforms or the CRM module of an ERP platform, for example)?
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, good news about growth can be as much of a challenge as it is an opportunity (here’s a previous post I wrote with three ways manufacturers can keep up with growth) but with all indications of a positive manufacturing outlook for 2015, now’s the time to make a resolution to be part of it!