Can SMB Manufacturers ignore them?

Top Six Technologies Small and Midsize Manufacturers Can’t Afford to Ignore

Pratima Harigunani
New Update

Anish Kanaran


INDIA: The last two decades have seen a dramatic shift in use of technology to drive improvements in manufacturing operations. Just twenty years ago, many small and midsize manufacturers in India relied on paper-based systems to run their businesses. These systems offered little business-wide visibility to aide customer support and required duplication of manual effort many times over.

The Indian Economy is expected to grow by over eight per cent per annum until 2020. Industry experts believe it would not be possible to achieve this without the active participation of the SME sector. The SME sector has the potential to spread industrial growth across the country and can be a major partner in the process of inclusive growth.

Here is a list of the top six technologies small and midsize manufacturers cannot afford to ignore in order to grow in this challenging environment.


1. Respond Faster, Go Paperless

Everyone in the business has those watchdog reports that you run every night or throughout the day that offer the status of production on the floor, purchases expected for delivery, quality events, and more. Without them, we are lost. What if we could have this information available to us online and have the latest information at all times.

User-based exception dashboards enable users to do just that. It’s a slice of your data with your applied filters that remove the “data noise” and focuses on the problems so that you can focus on them too. It might be the “late jobs” or “purchases received today” or “quality incidents today, this week, this month.” You can easily configure the dashboards one time, using your data, and continue to use them on a daily basis.


2. Tailored Business Processes That Execute Your Value Stream

Each manufacturer has developed their own set of personalized business processes that provide a competitive edge in their business. Some of these processes may be industry driven, customer driven, or driven from within the business based on the goals and strategies of your management.

For example, you might need to track on the order “new information” your customer needs and be able to include it in documentation that goes with the shipment of the order. This new information can be tracked in the system alongside the other data and used in printing, look-ups, anywhere your data is accessed. In using embedded customization to tailor the system to meet your customer’s requirements, you able to easily fulfill their requirements for data and can also respond quickly when their needs change.


3. Highly Productive, Satisfied Employees

Moving away from legacy systems provides huge productivity gains for employees, who no longer waste valuable time finding and sourcing information. With increased functionality and accessibility, the systems makes users more productive by providing them with the information they need at their fingertips and allowing them to make sweeping changes across multiple records more easily. Users can also access the software through various means, from standard forms created on Office applications to mobile devices

4. Worker on the Go, Data on the Go


Access to your business data when you need it, where you need it, is a critical business advantage. It can help you respond quickly to business events and be able to communicate with a higher level of knowledge in front of customers, suppliers, and on the shop floor in contrast to “I’ll get back to you on that.” In addition, the young workforce coming into the business today are tuned for mobility and expect that instant access to information is available.

5. Bowling with the Bumpers Up

Your sales order person has accidentally chosen the wrong year for a release date, making your order late. These are the types of things we can’t predict, but perhaps we can control for the future. Business Process Management (BPM) allows you to put in a rule that allows you to:

• Flash a warning message and ask if the operator really wants to do this

• Prevent the entry of an order release that far into the future

• Send an e-mail to a manager to confirm the order release date


6. Opportunities to Drive Business Growth and Be Ready

As your business grows, it’s important that the technology you deploy is agile and scalable to move to what you need. With today’s latest technology, upgrades of functionality provide easy transitions between versions and provide a seamless experience for end user: same interface, same terminology.

In addition, many manufacturers today are looking outside the box to markets and geographies that offer enhanced profitability. Whichever markets your business is interested in,technology can help you meet the needs of the new market, and can reduce risk and profitability in a new venture.

With the right technology, businesses are equipped to handle larger or more complex business models and compete in a more challenging environment. Growing the business becomes significantly easier to manage and sustain. If your current solution isn’t keeping pace with technology,it’s time to look to leveraging technology to drive growth, improve profitability and serving your customers better.

(Anish Kanaran is Channel Director - Middle East, Africa & India at Epicor. Views expressed here are personal.)