Business process improvement - the process of analysing and evaluating business processes - can help manufacturing companies to address the many challenges they face, from global competition to economic pressures, enabling them to improve the value they offer, reduce their costs and increase their all-important speed to market.
As global manufacturing emerges from the economic downturn, there's never been a greater need for generating opportunities to grow revenue while also maintaining control over costs. The impacts of globalisation and expansion may be taking a toll on your business, resulting in an over-complicated supply chain, antiquated or redundant systems and processes and a lack of transparency and versatility to adapt to the new market climate. It can be hard to know where to begin, with the task of improving performance seemingly impossible with so many complex factors at play.
Business Process Management (BPM) codifies the issues, aiming to improve and optimise your organisation's business processes, supported by the appropriate technology - which could include CRM and ERP systems. Addressing the full gamut of factors, including competitive challenges and economic pressures, BPM is designed to facilitate reduced costs and improved value creation to help the business become more resilient and flexible to the changing forces that surround it. For instance, a manufacturer could use business process improvement tactics to automate its paper-based processes for procurement, shortening the Supply Chain Management (SCM) approvals cycle. Another example could be using BPM principles to increase efficiency whilst decreasing costs by streamlining the document management processes used in different departments.
Making sense of complex data
The best way to identify where improvements and efficiencies can be gained is to look closely at the data your business generates. By sharpening your business' focus on analysing relevant data, you'll decrease the amount of downtime associated with things like inefficient or inactive equipment. Business intelligence will help you to put individual processes into the bigger picture, allowing you to make improvements at every level of the process, including on the factory floor.
Analysis made easier
The majority of large manufacturing businesses are likely to be early on in their implementation of BPM systems and processes - predominantly at an individual process level, rather than using it at its full potential as a driving force for enterprise-wide transformation. It does, however, appear to be reaching a tipping point where businesses are starting to wake up to the idea of how it can truly deliver on its potential - that is, to help businesses improve.
The length of time it takes to gather business data for a process review is also a key indicator of whether current business systems need to be reviewed as it should be easily accessible. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems exist to provide manufacturers with better access to business intelligence, helping you to mine and interpret the wealth of data at your disposal. Reliant on a single database, it acts as a central source of information, from which different departments of the business can be analysed and monitored for their efficiency, which also has the added benefit of decreasing business silos and improving communication between departments.
Allowing data to flow in real-time, the business can make immediate changes or choose to harness its 'big data' facilities to help drive towards longer-term goals. The production process can be improved for order completion and delivery, including product and sales data to contribute to accurate, fast commercial decision-making.
WinMan ERP software has been designed to help manufacturers fulfil their objective of becoming as lean as possible, by unlocking the door to data which could transform the life of your business.