Manufacturing SMEs in the UK lack visibility of their business' performance
The “Top Floor” Perspective
As the Managing Director, Finance Director or Ops Director of a UK SME manufacturing firm it is crucial that you have visibility of the business performance in order for you to make informed business decisions. A typical example of what your performance monitoring and health checking reporting might look like at the moment:
This type of reporting is, of course, helpful as it allows you to review and monitor the overall performance of your business. What may concern you though, is the time and effort that is spent in preparing these reports and graphs. How much manual intervention is required from your team in order to present these stats to you?
From speaking with SME Manufacturing companies daily, we understand that many companies are working in environments where numerous systems are in play across the business. These systems serve their purpose, mostly, in the individual departments, but as a Manager, you need visibility across the board. Behind the scenes, someone in each department; Finance, Production, Dispatch etc. spends time stitching together data from these various systems and importing into Excel in order for you to have that visibility.
The problem is, all the time that is spent having to manually intervene to create these reports is detracting from the time that those departments should be spending on their core function; for example, managing sales orders, updating production plans, sorting out production execution issues, expediting deliveries.
In 2019 this isn’t right is it? Surely IT systems must be capable of capturing day-to-day transactional information and extrapolating that data into on-demand analytics and reporting? Enabling you to have visibility of the business in real time, at
Instead of departments extracting and correlating data, preparing Excel spreadsheets and graphs and e-mailing them round the organisation or sticking them on cork boards/white boards - these should just be there – in front of me – on my PC or my phone - now!
The “Shop Floor” Perspective
As a supervisor on the Shop Floor, in Sales, Procurement or in Dispatch of one of those same UK SME manufacturing firms, you may face similar reporting issues to your Exec team. What you need is focussed, real-time, exception-based analytics/reporting which highlights current or impending issues requiring your attention. Late raw materials deliveries which are going to impact the production schedule, behind schedule production orders, unfolding yield/scrap issues, high priority deliveries; this is the type of reporting that I need “live” – in front of me – on my PC or my phone - now!
What you probably get just now is ‘after the event’ reporting which highlights bolted horses and open stable doors...?
Why Is This?
So why, in 2019, are we still suffering 20th century business performance reporting?
The reason is IT systems which are not fit for purpose. IT systems which may purport to be ERP’s but which, under the hood, are loosely coupled separate products stitched together by acquisition hungry software vendors. These systems are also often running on databases which can’t handle real-time reporting and require you to buy additional data warehouse products to produce “old” reports.
Are there Solutions Out There?
Yes – there are 21st century business systems built for 21st century businesses!
As mentioned previously, firstly:
- You need a truly integrated ERP – one system holding one version of the truth for your business.
- Secondly, to support real-time reporting and graphical presentation you need a database and software capable of in-memory data processing – supporting serious live data crunching in the native source system not in some separate data warehouse solution.
These two key attributes have traditionally been associated with expensive ERP system options unsuited to the budgets of SME companies - deep pocket solutions with high implementation and running costs.
Fortunately, the advent of industry specific pre-packaged systems available in the cloud means that such systems have become affordable for SME companies.
For example, if you look on one of the major ERP vendors partner package solution finder such as SAP, you will find packages such as Absoft’s Adima, a system specifically pre-configured for UK SME manufacturing. Built on SAP S/4HANA, Adima is an integrated ERP running on the in-memory HANA database. Such pre-configured solutions have meant lower implementation costs and in tandem with options to host these solutions in Microsoft Azure/AWS etc have led to such systems becoming far more affordable for SME companies.
Learn more about Absoft Adima - the pre-packaged ERP for SME Manufacturers that gives you the insight you need into your business or contact Absoft to arrange a demo.
Navigate through the helpful articles below written with companies like yours in mind and to help Manufacturing SMEs tackle business challenges: