Manufacturers based in South Africa often face unique and intricate operational challenges. From labour unrest to an unstable electrical grid, water shortages, harsh conditions and asset risks, there are various factors to consider, and strategic management is essential. With the right technology, however, these challenges can be overcome for a profitable, seamlessly run manufacturing plant.
To achieve this, it is essential that systems are scalable and can be easily deployed to any new business units or ventures. The solutions should support the overall business strategy and promote lean, cost efficient operations. Effective software solutions deliver key business drivers, while upgrading business process management, enabling effective process standardisation and automation, removing customisations, and leveraging new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) functionality, while enabling modern ‘Digital Manufacturing’ principles.
According to Heilet Scholtz, executive at Softworx, Infor’s Master Partner in Africa, there are distinct challenges that continue to affect the manufacturing industry. For example, in the furniture and building industries, customisations and complicated business processes make it increasingly difficult to maintain industry best practices. ‘To succeed, manufacturers must aggressively simplify business processes and follow standard system procedures while eliminating functional customisations.’
With these adjustments user efficiency and experience is improved, overall operations are streamlined, and functionality is enhanced. ‘The key is to improve sales and distribution planning with a strong emphasis on warehouse controls and stock accuracy, incorporating barcode scanning,’ adds Scholtz. ‘By implementing intelligent management reporting with an industry-standard middleware layer and a common data repository, deployment can be phased in per division to reduce risk and achieve benefits as early as possible.’
To streamline business processes, warehouse and shop floor mobility, solutions should be deployed across manufacturing plants to increase visibility and automate outbound transactions and stock control within plants and warehouses. Scholtz adds: ‘This will reduce the time it takes to do cycle counts and stock takes and manage warehouse inbound transactions. These solutions ensure the close integration production control and finished goods stock control.’
When implementing solutions, flexibility is an integral consideration. Specific business requirements must be addressed, without complicating deployment through customisations. ‘Solutions must deliver parameterised configuration capabilities, such as scanning multiple stacks and accumulating the scanned quantities of the same product onto a stock take order; adding new items onto an existing stock take order, and so on. This makes transacting easy and efficient.’
Scanning outbound stock movements ensures the accurate dispatching of stock, correct loading of transport vehicles and reduces the requirement for credit notes. ‘With the right solutions, maintenance is made easier, upgrades are simpler and standardised processes have best practice considerations and functionality built-in,’ concludes Scholtz. ‘Improved user efficiency with automated, streamlined system processes, and ease of data extractions and reporting empower users to enjoy flexibility, configuration capabilities and exponentially increased management confidence.’