OpenText Senior Industry Marketing Strategist Thomas Leeson says now is the time to migrate to the cloud and bring increased flexibility to the manufacturing sector, as production shutdowns and plant closures enforced on manufacturers to curb the pandemic curve has precipitated a global industry crisis on a scale not seen by the current generation.
By Thomas Leeson
It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way the industry operates forever. With the large majority of the workforce being asked to operate remotely, organisations must accelerate digital transformation in order to survive.
COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for many manufacturing companies, with over half (53%) of employees in this sector having no experience of home-working until the pandemic. In addition, the current situation has highlighted how poorly digitised many plants and supply chains still are.
The magnitude of the disruption is forcing companies to focus on resilience and adopt new ways of working. Manufacturers have little choice but to digitally transform and accelerate cloud deployments to react to an uncertain trading environment – needing to scale quickly and reliably, empower and secure a remote workforce, and provide supply chain flexibility.
A cloud-based integration platform, for example, can not only connect with suppliers and partners on a global scale to enable the real-time flow of information, which increases supply chain flexibility and robustness, but also ensures that remote workers can securely get access to and collaborate on business information to maintain – and even increase – productivity.
Business continuity management has never been so important, and any company that does not re-evaluate their IT infrastructure to create a more resilient business will ultimately fail. The good news is that manufacturers are up for the challenge – just look at how quickly a premium car company like Mercedes can turn itself into a medical device supplier.
An increased focus on digital transformation will enable more sustainable supply chain models
In addition to the economic, competitive, and regulatory pressures they have already faced for years, manufactures around the world have a new one on their list: the drive for more ethical and sustainable supply chains. In fact, an OpenText survey revealed that 92% of manufacturing companies consider their CSR reputation to be important for their overall reputation in their respective markets, which is why many organisations are already looking to digitise supply chain processes as part of environmental and social initiatives.
Delivering a sustainable supply chain requires extremely high levels of transparency and visibility into an organisation’s multi-tiered network of suppliers. Only by creating digital processes can important supply chain areas be properly monitored and managed at scale, such as workers’ contracts and conditions, the provenance of materials, environmental performance and financial processes. In addition, new digital tools offer the potential for organisations to quickly source new suppliers that meet their sustainability standards.
The value of using a cloud-based platform can drastically improve a manufacturer’s ability to be flexible and collaborative with its trading partners, maintain visibility into its operations and to capitalise on key data insights within its operations. Manufacturing companies that seize the opportunity of the cloud through its agile and flexible architectures can achieve a stronger market footing against competitors and continue to deliver, operate, and excel amid global disruption.
(Ed. OpenText Senior Industry Marketing Strategist, Manufacturing Sector Thomas Leeson directs and supports marketing related sales activities for manufacturing related customers in key regions including North America, Europe and ASPAC. Leeson says he has a Master’s Degree of Mathematics and Computer Science from Cranfield University, UK, Sponsored by British Aerospace Dynamics. For more information on how OpenText can support an ethical supply chain, please click here.)