Digital transformation in manufacturing has been a hot topic for several years now and the experts don’t anticipate this to change any time soon. Yet the thought of digitalising an entire business can be overwhelming, causing many to put the idea on the backburner. The good news is, by taking planned small steps, it is possible to digitally transform your manufacturing business and reap the benefits digitalisation offers.
 

What exactly is Digital Transformation?

 
Let’s get back to basics. Digital transformation is the process of replacing traditional business processes with digital technologies, to improve, advance or streamline ways of working. By adopting new technologies, businesses can become more efficient and profitable.

Digital transformation is also often seen as a solution that can help manufacturers remain competitive and effectively futureproofs their business. It offers big advantages, including

productivity improvements
better customer service
increased scope for innovation
in-depth data to help identify market opportunities
higher quality output
greater agility to react to change, and even capitalise on it – consider those organisations who were able to swiftly pivot in the early days of the pandemic.

So with all these benefits, why isn’t every company leaping onto this bandwagon? Unfortunately, digital transformations require time, resource and money for successful implementation. Trying to implement everything at once is generally too much for most organisations, especially SMEs who have limited resources.
 

How manufacturers can develop a digital transformation strategy

 
To avoid being left behind, companies need to develop a strategy to gradually implement a digital transformation over an extended period of time. A good starting point is to develop a clear understanding of your business’s current situation, so the company knows where it is, how it got there, and where it needs to go.

The next step is to identify what needs to be changed, which should be based on your company’s goals. From there, you can determine what actions are needed and how digital transformation will help you reach your goals and objectives. By identifying the key areas to target and prioritising these in bite-sized sections, you can start to work towards transforming your processes and operations.

To be successful in this, it’s important that everyone in the company understands the necessity of the changes and what the company aims to achieve from them. Digital transformation needs to be a whole of company approach, with buy-in at all levels, otherwise it will be a rocky path. It shouldn’t be seen purely as an IT project and will require (very vocal) senior management support on a constant basis.
 

Why start your digital transformation with ERP?

 
Implementing an ERP system is the natural starting point of taking your operations and processes digital. As we’ve defined above, digital transformation is the process of replacing traditional business processes with digital technologies, to improve, advance or streamline ways of working. An ERP system takes into account your whole business, from estimating, sales, inventory control, operations, purchasing and finance, and aims to improve the processes involved in each of these functions, to make them more streamlined and efficient.

But that’s not all. There are other ways in which starting your digital transformation with ERP offers significant advantages. These include:

– Creating standard operating procedures
Simplifying your core systems and bring them together into one single system
– Using data collected from this one system to identify areas of waste and make better informed decisions
Improving your performance – an ERP increases performance by reducing duplication and automating processes
– Ability to scale your business – as your business grows, modern ERP systems like E-Max are designed to grow with you
Gaining a competitive edge by placing your business in a position to take advantage of new opportunities

 

Conclusion

 
Implementing an ERP system as the first phase of your digital transformation will futureproof your business by making you more agile and helping your business realise its potential. The savings that ERP can generate can also be ploughed back into the business and used for future digital transformation projects, whether that be robotics, advanced automation solutions or even AI.

 

If you’d like to explore more on how E-Max ERP could be the first step in your business’s digital transformation journey, please contact our team on 0808 109 2035drop us a message  or visit some of the other areas of our website. We’d also be delighted to take you through a simple demo of E-Max ERP at a time convenient to you so you can see how our solution can benefit your business.

 

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please take a look at Digital Transformation Helps James Aiken Engineering Work Smarter