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Manufacturing and Service Industries are Blurring

Across industries we are seeing consumers become more demanding of personalised products and services that meet their needs, and this is now expected. While some industries are quicker to respond to this, research by SAP, the Manufacturing Success report, found that manufacturers are falling behind, with 80% agreeing they could be more customer-centric with their approach and product development.

Traditionally, moManufacturing SAPst supply chains were designed from the factory outwards and focused on optimising supplier operations, particularly in terms of cost and efficiency. The rules of competition are changing though – customers are more demanding, products are more easily copied and markets are commoditised.

UK manufacturers are still grappling with this increasing customer complexity and changing competition. In order to truly succeed and grow therefore, embracing customer demands, and putting them at the heart of everything manufacturers do is key.

Here are three things which manufacturers must do in order to succeed in the customer driven economy.

Better understanding of customer base

If manufacturers are to effectively serve customers beyond core products they offer, they must look to build a better understanding of their customer base.

It’s not just about understanding the customer themselves – what they do, and the challenges they face – but it’s also about having deep knowledge of the industry in which they operate.

This will not only help to solve short time crises but through a consultative and integrated approach, this will also mean they can better support in the long term, planning for growth and strategic change. At Invenio Solutions for example, we have extensive knowledge of SAP solutions which enables us to provide tailored SAP support.

Add value

The SAP research highlights one of the biggest shifts that manufacturers expect to see in customers over the next two years is demand for added-value services (67%).

Can you quickly adapt products to meet customer needs? Do you have the expertise and knowledge to make recommendations? Are you available to support 24/7? These are all worth considering when taking a customer first approach – by being flexible, available and positioned as the expert, customers will feel that they are getting an added value experience.

Increase transparency

Customers demand supply chain transparency according to the research which highlights that almost half of manufacturers are expecting this to be a number one priority as we move through this year.

By consolidating suppliers, and being more open and transparent, manufacturers will quickly build trust with customers. Fewer, better relationships mean a value-added consultancy service can be provided which shifts away from the commoditised, ‘race to the bottom’ model which fewer demand.

By creating whole new systems of value for customers that will help secure long term relationships and provide competitive differentiation, the lines between manufacturing and service industries are blurring.

If you would like more information about Invenio’s SAP solutions call us today on +44 (0)330 440 1800, or complete our online enquiry form for further information.

UK manufacturers must take note of the focus on innovation following Sturgeon’s announcement

Following the news that Nicola Sturgeon has committed to a centre of excellence for manufacturing in Scotland, manufacturers in the UK as a whole should take note of the focus on technology and innovation to increase growth and narrow the current skills gap.

Partho Bhattacharya, MD and President of Invenio, has commented on the importance of addressing new technologies to get ahead in manufacturing:

“With recent data from the Office for National Statistics having shown that UK industrial output suffered its sharpest monthly drop in three years, manufacturers need to constantly evolve operations to achieve growth. Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment to launching a manufacturing centre of excellence in Scotland is a great way to drive innovation and address the skills gap currently affecting the sector.

“In an increasingly volatile climate, manufacturing companies who do not utilise the advice and technology available to modernise operations will quickly fall behind. It is therefore reassuring to see that the Scottish Government is implementing a strategy for the manufacturing sector which focuses on working with companies to assess the benefits of new technologies, and encourage their take-up.

“Whilst this initiative is focussed on Scotland, manufacturers across the UK should always seek to achieve constant innovation, whether that’s driven internally or through partnering with third party experts. Whilst it’s not possible for centres of excellence to be launched everywhere in the UK, with the right knowledge and advice, expert partners can help manufacturers to utilise technology to drive efficiency and growth.”

To read the full article, please visit: http://www.manufacturingglobal.com/peopleskills/677/UK-manufacturers-must-take-note-of-the-focus-on-innovation-following-Sturgeons-announcement

Media Contact

Silviya Savova

+44 7833445335

125, Wharfedale Road, IQ Winnersh

Reading.

RG41 5RB

silviya.savova@invenio-solutions.com

How technology can help manufacturers during a skills crisis

According to data released by the Automotive Council and SMMT today, the success of the UK manufacturing industry is being threatened by a lack of skills. Partho Bhattacharya, MD and President of Invenio, comments on how technology and innovation can help manufacturers maintain productivity and growth during a skills crisis:

“The data released today by the Automotive Council and SMMT demonstrates that the current success of the UK car manufacturing industry is hinging on a serious lack of skills. While upskilling the workforce and ensuring the right education is key and needs to be addressed quickly, this is not going to help manufacturers who are struggling right now. To maintain productivity and growth during a crisis, businesses need to look for alternatives and lean on third-party experts for guidance. With the right know-how concerning technology and innovation, manufacturers can help minimise the impact of these kinds of pressures.

“Implementing the right technology to drive efficiency within manufacturing organisations regardless of the skills challenges experienced is essential. By putting the right technology in place to manage R&D spend, improve visibility and enhance customer service, manufacturers can better equip themselves against resource or skills shortages. Intelligent use of data and analytics is also integral to future-proofing businesses against unexpected changes in industry. By tackling these issues head-on and ensuring technology plays an important role in driving operational efficiency, car manufacturers will be able to meet demand and remain competitive as it continues on its journey to upskill the future workforce.”

Lessons from Redcar

The news that the coke ovens and blast furnace at the Redcar steelworks will close because there’s ‘no realistic prospect” of a sale was finally confirmed yesterday. The loss of 2,200 plant jobs and thousands more in the supply chain is a profound shock for the North East of England. As Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar, said: ‘I feel the government has thrown the towel in. I cannot believe the government has allowed 170 years of steelmaking to fade away with no fight, no determination and no understanding of what this means to our area, to people’s livelihoods and to the British economy.’

It is now unlikely that steel production will resume at Redcar. Partho Bhattacharya, MD and President of Invenio, however, believes that there are lessons to be learnt from the Redcar debacle: “The recent news that Redcar Steel Plant is to close is another sad chapter in the UKs manufacturing sector, the ramifications for the Teeside community are of course far reaching. Much of the attention for the reasons why the plant ultimately proved unviable focuses on external factors, such as the global price of steel, cheap Chinese imports and access to raw materials. There has also been criticism of the government for failing to act to minimise the impact of these factors and help to keep the plant competitive.

“Whilst these are all valid points, UK manufacturing organisations must also continue to look internally and review their own procedures, processes and business planning capabilities to ensure they are as efficient and lean as possible. The deployment of business analytics and planning software should be a central component of this. In today’s complex global environment organisations need to future-proof operations by implementing technology that can; better manage R&D spend, improve visibility through integrated planning and enhance customer service through better use of data and analytics.

With a transparent end-to-end view of the organisation and its supply chain, business can have a clearer view of their operations and finances. Business leaders can’t necessarily prevent the external factors attacking their business but with this transparency and intelligent use of technology they can develop more accurate modelling to understand what the impact of external factors will be and what proactive steps can be taken.”

Media Contact:

Silviya Savova

+44(0)330 440 1800

125, Wharfedale Road, IQ Winnersh

Reading.

RG41 5RB

silviya.savova@invenio-solutions.com

 

How to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Only last Manufacturing SAPyear, industry body EEF found that more than a quarter of UK manufacturers lagged behind rivals because they invest less in innovation. This has resulted in them struggling to remain competitive, particularly in today’s globalised economy.

With that in mind, it’s great to see that one year on, the manufacturing industry is taking steps towards changing this. EEF’s research from June this year found that it is now investing more heavily in technology and skills to help boost productivity. The idea behind this investment is to drive competition today, and secure future growth in the industry.

While this will have a positive impact, there is a lot more manufacturers should be doing. By following the below three steps, they can make this development faster, smoother and more effective.

  1. Forge relationships

In today’s global economy, markets are complex and barriers to smooth operation are endless – language, legal and consumer preference to name a few. Industry knowledge and understanding of each of the markets is important for manufacturers who want to continue to grow.

Having all this expertise in house is almost an impossible task and so forging the right business relationships is key. Partners who have specific tech know how can help remove any headaches that arise as a result of changing legislation for example. By building the right relationships, complexity can be eliminated, enabling manufacturers to concentrate on increasing productivity.

  1. Understand your customers

If manufacturers are to effectively serve customers beyond the core products they offer, they must look to build a better understanding of them. Knowing their customer, understanding what they do and the challenges they face is a good starting point. But this should be extended to include having a deep knowledge of the industry in which they operate.

This will not only help to solve short time crises but through a consultative and integrated approach, this will also mean they can better support in the long term, planning for growth and strategic change.

  1. Simplify the supply chain

Traditionally, most supply chains were designed from the factory outwards and focused on optimising supplier operations, particularly in terms of cost and efficiency. The rules of competition are changing though – customers are more demanding, products are more easily copied and markets are commoditised.

This has resulted in increasing customer complexity and changing competition, presenting UK manufactures with a new challenge. In order to truly succeed, manufacturers need to reduce the number of suppliers. By consolidating these and being more open and transparent, manufacturers will quickly build trust with customers which will help them increase productivity.

The increased investment in UK manufacturing is a step in the right direction and will undoubtedly result in greater productivity. However, there is still a lot more they can do. This development will be a lot more effective if they review how they do business. Forging the right business relationships, gaining an understanding of the pain points their customers face and making the supply chain as simple as possible will future proof the UK’s manufacturing industry.

We can help

If you would like more information about Invenio’s SAP solutions call us today on +44 (0)330 440 1800, or complete our online enquiry form for further information.

Manufacturing and Service Industries are Blurring

Across industries we are seeing consumers become more demanding of personalised products and services that meet their needs, and this is now expected. While some industries are quicker to respond to this, research by SAP, the Manufacturing Success report, found that manufacturers are falling behind, with 80% agreeing they could be more customer-centric with their approach and product development.

Traditionally, moManufacturing SAPst supply chains were designed from the factory outwards and focused on optimising supplier operations, particularly in terms of cost and efficiency. The rules of competition are changing though – customers are more demanding, products are more easily copied and markets are commoditised.

UK manufacturers are still grappling with this increasing customer complexity and changing competition. In order to truly succeed and grow therefore, embracing customer demands, and putting them at the heart of everything manufacturers do is key.

Here are three things which manufacturers must do in order to succeed in the customer driven economy.

Better understanding of customer base

If manufacturers are to effectively serve customers beyond core products they offer, they must look to build a better understanding of their customer base.

It’s not just about understanding the customer themselves – what they do, and the challenges they face – but it’s also about having deep knowledge of the industry in which they operate.

This will not only help to solve short time crises but through a consultative and integrated approach, this will also mean they can better support in the long term, planning for growth and strategic change. At Invenio Solutions for example, we have extensive knowledge of SAP solutions which enables us to provide tailored SAP support.

Add value

The SAP research highlights one of the biggest shifts that manufacturers expect to see in customers over the next two years is demand for added-value services (67%).

Can you quickly adapt products to meet customer needs? Do you have the expertise and knowledge to make recommendations? Are you available to support 24/7? These are all worth considering when taking a customer first approach – by being flexible, available and positioned as the expert, customers will feel that they are getting an added value experience.

Increase transparency

Customers demand supply chain transparency according to the research which highlights that almost half of manufacturers are expecting this to be a number one priority as we move through this year.

By consolidating suppliers, and being more open and transparent, manufacturers will quickly build trust with customers. Fewer, better relationships mean a value-added consultancy service can be provided which shifts away from the commoditised, ‘race to the bottom’ model which fewer demand.

By creating whole new systems of value for customers that will help secure long term relationships and provide competitive differentiation, the lines between manufacturing and service industries are blurring.

 

We can help

If you would like more information about Invenio’s SAP solutions call us today on +44 (0)330 440 1800, or complete our online enquiry form for further information.

Casting a Wider Net

Profitable overseas expansion

‘Traditional’ trading partners in the US and the Eurozone make up the majority of British overseas trade – which today stands at some 64% of total exports. But developing economies may provide an as-yet untapped source of revenue for many British manufacturers. The potential (and the reluctance to invest in these markets) has been the subject hot debate in the past few months, with many industry commentators weighing in with their opinions…

Jim O’Neill, the economist accredited with coining the “BRIC” acronym, told the EEF manufacturing conference in March, that while Europe will remain Britain’s biggest export destination, the country could not “afford” to maintain these links at the expense of emerging markets. He said “While our position with EU and Eurozone is of number one importance, we should not get blindsided as that being the key thing for our export future. Our big future for exports this decade… is going to be other parts of the world, particularly China.” Mr O’Neill said he believed that western economies still “underestimate the scale of the growth” of the BRICs together with the next big four emerging markets of Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, South Korea. He concluded: “This decade, those eight countries will contribute as much to the dollar value of world GDP as that of the US and euro area put together, twice.”

It seems however, that British Manufacturers are making a few tentative steps into these markets, with The Independent reporting that British companies have more than “doubled their exports to the fastest growing emerging nations in a bid to cash in on the rapid expansion in the developing world”. Figures released by The Office for National Statistics showed that exports to Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa more than doubled from £12.7bn in 2007 to £27.1bn in 2012. This means that the BRICS now account for 5.56% of total UK exports, compared with just 3.34% in 2007.

What’s holding us back?

Manufacturing firms are reluctant to invest in emerging economies is another point for debate. A viewpoint put forward by Martin Weale, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, is that businesses have been suffering from “heightened uncertainty” about the economic outlook which may have been “putting them off” making investments in overseas markets. In a speech at the Warwick Economics Summit, he argued that a lack of confidence has been blamed for the relatively low levels of business investment since the end of the recession, and this explanation could be extended to manufacturers’ overseas ambitions. He says “The costs which need to be incurred in entering new markets are a deterrent, not because businesses expect new sales not to be worthwhile he said, but because … at a time of heightened uncertainty, the risks involved may be putting them off,” he said.

Despite this reluctance to invest, the recent flurry of positive news stories coming from UK Manufacturing sector means that overseas growth is firmly back on the agenda. The EEF Executive Survey 2013 puts “Increasing Demand for products in Emerging markets” at number 2 in their top 5 of manufacturing opportunities – just behind “the commercialisation of new technology and product development”.

Preparing for expansion

Of course any company considering entering a new market must not only ensure that they there is the right level demand for their products, but that the business has achieved a level of operational readiness that allows them to fully exploit new market opportunities. Preparing the company from an operational perspective is something that can be ably supported by the implementation of robust ERP system designed handle the demands of a truly global operation.

One recent success story is that of SPP Pumps – a manufacturer with British heritage – who are making it big on an international stage. SPP Pumps is a multi-award winning engineering firm who design and manufacture industrial pumps for a global client base and their equipment is found across all continents – covering a diverse range of industries. In 2008, the company opted to implement SAP, with the firm’s Managing Director, Graham Terry saying: “A defining characteristic of SAP is that it supports a global, growing business. Companies that are seeking to develop new service lines or explore new markets will find that SAP gives them the scope and the flexibility to do this”. Since the SAP implementation SPP have cited numerous benefits of SAP within a global context including:

  • Improved financial processes with “Up-to-date financial information combined with extensive reporting and drill-down capability gives us a fast, comprehensive view of what’s happening across the global operation”.
  • Improved business planning: “A clear – and often overlooked – benefit of SAP is its potential; we can confidently plan our future knowing we have the supporting systems in place to facilitate international growth”.
  • Improved productivity and expansion without adding extra headcount: “The implementation of SAP means that we can now effect major international expansion without having to increase operational headcount to cope with the additional volume of work.”

With the right technologies in place you can equip your people with the tools needed to support international business growth. For a deeper understanding of how technologies such as SAP ERP can increase your chances of success when competing in a hypercompetitive global market please contact us.

KBL Bags 2011 SAP ACE Award for "Best-Run Manufacturing Organisation"

Invenio Customer wins prestigious SAP ACE Award
Kirloskar Brothers Limited bags SAP ACE Award for “Best Run Manufacturing Organisation.

Invenio are pleased to announce that Kirloskar Brothers Limited (KBL), a leading global fluid management company, and valued customer of Invenio, was awarded the prestigious SAP ACE Award in the “The Best-Run Manufacturing Organisation” category.

The SAP ACE awards are an industry benchmark that serves to recognise the best of the best-run businesses in the Indian subcontinent, and serves as SAP’s tribute to the many customers who have used, learnt, innovated and leveraged the power of SAP solutions. Currently in its 5th year, this year’s SAP ACE nominations were hotly contested with 300 companies competing across 42 categories.

The award ceremony, held at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, recognised KBL’s performance by improving key processes through IT implementation. Speaking on the occasion Chaitanya Wagle, Associate Vice President said, “It is indeed a matter of immense pride for us to have bagged this award. On behalf of KBL I’d like to take this opportunity to thank SAP and the jury for recognising our efforts. The alliance with SAP helps various critical business processes across the organisation to achieve operational excellence that leads to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

Sanjay Hiranandani, CEO, Invenio concluded “This is a thoroughly well-deserved acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication shown by the KBL team in achieving operational excellence through SAP. It gives us all immense pleasure to see one of our most valued customers being formally recognised for their achievements by receiving this prestigious award”.