Blog: Technology Consulting

Handling Manufacturing Challenges at the C-Suite Level

February 10, 2023 - by Synoptek

Steering a business in today’s uncertain economic and geopolitical era is a backbreaking exercise, especially for the manufacturing C-suite. The growth of technology has ushered in an unprecedented rate of rapid and constant change. But the many economic forces have made it difficult for leadership teams to sustain revenue and profitability. As the manufacturing landscape gets increasingly global and interconnected, there is a high demand for leaders who can combine agility with innovative thinking and pivot quickly with emerging challenges in the manufacturing industry. Maximizing your business value will come down to having IT support services ready to handle emerging manufacturing challenges.

What are the Biggest Challenges in Manufacturing Affecting C-Suite Leaders?

Leaders of tomorrow are constantly looking for ways to flourish in a global environment of heightened uncertainty and lightning-fast change. But many challenges make it difficult – if not impossible – for manufacturing C-suite to prioritize agility, drive intelligence, and overcome uncertainty. Let’s look at the biggest challenges in manufacturing that affect the C-suite:

1. The Growing Skills Gap

As the manufacturing sector grows more complex, competition is only increasing. With labor markets shrinking, finding (and retaining) skilled talent is a perennial challenge. How do you identify workers with technical and digital skills, knowledge, or expertise?

2. Running the Business at the Speed of Change

Market and economic forces are wreaking havoc on the business world. Running the factory in tune with evolving digital transformation trends is another widespread problem affecting today’s manufacturing C-suite. The inability to embrace changes causes manufacturers to miss out on new sales opportunities or new streams of revenue.

3. Incompatibility Between Technology and Business

Manufacturing businesses must constantly adopt the latest tech innovations to ensure relevance and drive value. Yet, in most organizations, the technology strategy is completely disconnected from the business strategy. This makes it difficult to synchronize departments, improve visibility, or optimize costs.

4. Addressing Sustainability Concerns

CO2 emissions are set to hit record levels in 2023. With industrial organizations still contributing the most to global carbon emissions, the manufacturing C-suite has a big responsibility at hand. To establish sustainable business practices that align with the latest digital transformation trends. But planning for production processes that are more environmentally friendly demands a complete rethinking. Running a manufacturing business in a way that causes lesser environmental impact is not easy.

5. Lack of Qualified Successors

Baby Boomers are retiring rapidly. Manufacturers are scrambling to identify Gen X and Millennial talent with the leadership competencies needed to step into senior roles. Given the massive demographic shift taking place, next-gen executive leadership is not being developed as quickly (and efficiently) as needed.

6. Accelerating Innovation

Building intelligent infrastructure where manufacturing and supply chains are in sync with customer demand is a prerequisite for the C-suite. Yes, delivering quality products to market quickly and efficiently is critical to success. But accelerating innovation faster than the competition, capturing market share, and delighting customers is often a Herculean task.

Why Are These Manufacturing Challenges so Difficult to Overcome?

For the C-suite, overcoming the biggest challenges in manufacturing is not easy. Smart manufacturing promises to improve leadership and management by streamlining communication throughout the organization. But manufacturing executives find themselves struggling to enable end-to-end visibility and transparency into their factory landscape for several reasons:

  • Manufacturing systems operate in a siloed fashion, making it difficult for leaders to get a real-time view of what’s happening.
  • Communication between different departments is sporadic, leading to low productivity and sluggish innovation.
  • Teams rely on manual efforts to collect information, build reports, and make inferences for decision-making, causing excessive burnout.
  • Lack of predictive or proactive maintenance of equipment puts not just production efficiency at risk but also employee safety.

How Can C-suite Leaders Conquer Evolving Manufacturing Challenges?

Manufacturing executives face several big challenges as they head into 2023. In today’s era, technology is no longer an enabler of business functions but also a critical driver of competitive advantage. Therefore, leaders will need to keep digital transformation at the top of the C-suite agenda. They will also have to adopt digital capabilities faster – and develop them with scale in mind.

That said, here are some ways C-suite leaders can conquer evolving challenges:

  • Conduct a detailed gap analysis to understand problem areas and curate a plan and roadmap to overcome these problems.
  • Build a business-driven technology strategy to adapt to today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, stay on top of the latest technology trends, and sustain revenue.
  • Establish goals and KPIs periodically and measure them continuously to pinpoint outliers and capitalize on opportunities.
  • Use technology as a strategic differentiator and not just as a tool to keep the business afloat or maintain the status quo.
  • Embrace manufacturing process automation to streamline mundane and repetitive tasks, minimize error rate, and avoid employee fatigue.
  • Invest in modern workforce productivity solutions to maximize efficiency across your geographically-dispersed teams.
  • Implement high-function business applications and a robust systems infrastructure to always ensure 100% availability of manufacturing equipment.
  • Partner with a competent and qualified Managed Services Provider (MSP) to outsource all aspects of business management, operations management, and service management.

What’s Next for the C-Suite in Manufacturing?

The demands of today’s global business can get extremely overwhelming, leaving C-suites in a tight spot. With an array of new and unheard-of challenges evolving, keeping the business operating on the day-to-day is a feat. Let alone strategically tackling the challenges of tomorrow.

If you want to sail smoothly through the rough seas, you need to develop a strategic plan. You also need to adopt the right advanced manufacturing technology and ensure business continuity well into the future. Simultaneously, you must establish yourself as a trusted business advisor, armed with deep knowledge of your industry, the challenges that plague you, and your competitive landscape.

Get in touch with us today and explore the various digital transformation solutions Synoptek offers for manufacturing customers.