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Home / Insights / Blog / Solving Your Top Manufacturing Challenges with Dynamics 365
February 12, 2021 - by Synoptek
As recently as a few years ago, manufacturers viewed optimizing productivity and increasing customer satisfaction in isolation. However, digital disruption is fundamentally changing the way manufacturers do business, requiring them to use modern technology to drive transformational change across the organization. In turn, this enhances manufacturing efficiency, improves the quality of products, optimizes inventory, accelerates time-to-market, and meets the fluctuating needs of customers.
Dynamics 365 FO (now offered as two separate applications – Dynamics 365 Finance and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management) is a popular choice for manufacturers to drive end-to-end business process efficiency. With features built using rich analytics, embedded intelligence, and modern reporting, it offers manufacturers the convenience of unifying all aspects of their supply chain using a single, comprehensive system. Read on to learn more about the top manufacturing challenges facing the industry and how Dynamics 365 helps in overcoming them with speed and precision.
Before we fully delve into the top manufacturing challenges of today, let’s take a look at a few facts and figures to help us paint a better picture. First off, by the year 2025, there will be roughly 2-3.5 million unoccupied manufacturing positions. This upcoming labor shortage is sure to impact the industry across the board, and manufacturers must view today’s challenges through this lense. However, with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) on the rise, manufacturers will also have to think about how some of the skills gap can be accounted for through technological advancements.
Further, as we look to the future, we can’t ignore the impact that yesterday and today’s manufacturing challenges have made. In fact, 60% of manufacturers say the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their business. This pandemic has and will continue to shape the way manufacturers conduct business, and it’s important to reflect on what worked and what did not work during these trying times.
Finally, consumers have certainly not stopped consuming. In the United States alone, shoppers spent a whopping $431.6 billion on e-commerce. This means that no matter the circumstances, people will of course continue to consume. With this combination of accelerated technological advancements, the navigation of the new normal, and continuous demand, manufacturers will have a lot to overcome in the coming years. Let’s take a look.
Improving visibility while increasing efficiency and lowering costs are key concerns for manufacturers. In the absence of the right data, it becomes difficult to enable greater productivity and profitability to meet strict delivery schedules and deadlines. The presence of siloed departments and isolated legacy systems further adds to these woes, as manufacturers don’t have the visibility they need across functions such as finance, sales, customer service, and supply chain operations. Here are the top challenges that manufacturers face today:
Visibility into the entire manufacturing process is what drives business excellence. However, manufacturers often struggle to collect, integrate, and visualize global supply chain data worldwide, and have poor or no visibility into end-to-end operations. Without easy and timely access to supply chain data, there is no way manufacturers can improve communication between production, supply, service, and sales. Poor collaboration across departments and poor integration between different business systems means poor insight into company-wide production metrics.
As the global workforce gets increasingly demanding with respect to the experiences they enjoy at their workplace, empowering employees is one of the first steps in building a great manufacturing organization. Yet, in a complex manufacturing setup, where every function works in complete isolation using department-specific tools and systems, providing the workforce with the right tools and right data greatly impacts productivity and efficiency of everyday tasks. With no access to role-specific tools or a 360-degree visibility of your business, employees find it difficult to keep up with the pace of manufacturing while always relying on error-prone, time-consuming manual tasks to carry out day-to-day activities.
Productivity is not just about doing more, it’s about creating value in whatever you do. Manufacturing productivity comes from having a consolidated view of operations and access to mobile and virtual reality tools to monitor and resolve issues remotely. But if the workforce can’t intelligently coordinate tasks between different functions, productivity enhancements cannot be achieved. The lack of intelligent tools means employees have no way to prioritize workloads, generate customized reports, or view relevant information – leading to poor efficiency and costly engagements.
In an industry where technicians spend a majority of time on the field, using policies and workflows that are configured towards specific business needs helps in supplying the right product at the right time to the right field service agent. But in the absence of modern field service capabilities, field agents find it difficult to standardize workflows, cater to customers, and get timely approvals. Agents also struggle to manage resource assignments across multiple work orders and organizations fail to assign the right field service agent with the right job skills to the right location at the right time – impacting issue resolution. Lack of real-time updates and personalized interactions further impact visibility and an accurate view of the buying cycle to ensure procurement always stays within indicated quantity and price levels.
For any manufacturing business to be a success, providing customers with more visibility and trust through personalized customer service is key. But delivering value-added customer service through self-service, community, or social channels without intelligent analytics in place means the workforce has to manually track customer interactions across every touchpoint to enable seamless and consistent omnichannel experiences. Such manual approaches need employees to be on their toes 24×7 and they cannot take out time to focus on high-value interactions. In addition, in the absence of standardized workflows, employees also struggle to have a 360-degree view of each customer’s journey, making it difficult to anticipate needs, personalize interactions, and deliver value at every touchpoint.
For manufacturers, Microsoft Dynamics 365 FO ends the divide between siloed enterprise systems, offering an array of rich capabilities across analytics, embedded intelligence, and automation along with the convenience users expect from modern technology. It connects every aspect of the manufacturing supply chain with a unified, end-to-end system that helps facilitate efficient management of the business at a pace and scale that’s right for that organization.
With Dynamics 365, manufacturers can optimize processes across the supply chain while laying the foundation for connecting advanced technology in the future. Here’s how Dynamics 365 FO works to solve your top manufacturing challenges and transformed the overall processes:
Dynamics 365 FO integrates the sales and purchasing processes with logistics, production, and warehouse management to provide visibility and management throughout the supply chain. The inter-company and multi-site capabilities help drive streamlined vendor collaboration and manage distributed organizations with ease. Using Dynamics 365 FO, manufacturers can:
In the manufacturing landscape, empowering employees is important for improving production efficiency. Dynamics 365 FO, with its intelligent machine learning, collaboration, and analytics capabilities, offers employees all they need to do their tasks quickly and efficiently. It is only when employees are empowered can they deliver personalized service and recommendations to customers, and turn relationships into revenue. With Dynamics 365 FO, it’s possible to can:
Not too long ago, optimizing manufacturing productivity and increasing customer satisfaction were viewed as two separate endeavors. However today, with digitization eliminating the boundaries of space and time, organizations are looking to engage with the always-connected customer through innovative means including social networks. Using Dynamics 365 FO, manufacturers can:
With visibility into business operations becoming the single most important element for improved decision-making, Dynamics 365 offers real-time information on almost any device, at any time through its built-in analytics. The unmatched, rapid and scalable deployment options offer the best of both worlds (cloud and on-premises) to meet global business requirements of today and have the flexibility and ease to change as business needs evolve over time. Using Dynamics 365 FO, manufacturers can:
Across every industry, business leaders have come to realize that customer satisfaction is the top priority for any business. Companies who are looking to build customer-centric strategies are focusing on revamping their customer value propositions and changing modus operandi to stay relevant. Businesses have always looked at new information and digital technology in terms of what it can do for them, e.g., enable greater profitability and expand customer reach through new business models. With customers having a range of new choices, making decisions about what to focus on or buy through various channels, the digitization of manufacturing requires a shift in the way businesses operate – from a siloed approach to a more streamlined, connected one.
In the new era of manufacturing, organizations need to work faster and smarter to remain competitive. Microsoft Dynamics 365 FO fills the gap between CRM and ERP systems giving manufacturers the tools they need to increase their speed of doing business and launch better products, faster. By uniting several aspects across the manufacturing lifecycle, it supplements necessary capabilities with rich analytics, embedded intelligence, and the convenience people expect from consumer apps on their phone or tablet. Digital transformation isn’t accomplished overnight; therefore, leveraging a unified system like Dynamics 365 can be a key component for improved outcomes. Manufacturers can enable robust project management, get visibility into operations, empower employees, improve business productivity, and deliver personalized service.
Ready to learn more about how Dynamics 365 can help solve your top manufacturing challenges? Contact us today to find out how Synoptek can support.
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