Manufacturing remains a critical force for both developed and developing countries, however, its role is changing and could play an even greater role in stimulating economies through the adoption of innovative technology. But the reality is that many manufacturing processes are still transitioning from traditional to modern practices that largely incorporate automation.
Manufacturing is not monolithic. It’s a diverse sector entering a new phase of automation. And with it, new opportunities are emerging for growth and employment. But to succeed in these uncertain times, manufacturers will need to invest in innovative technology in order to compete effectively in the global economy.
Automation in Manufacturing
A recent report launched by SYSPRO in collaboration with Strathmore University on the state of manufacturing in Kenya found that over 85% of the companies interviewed were either fully automated or semi-automated, with a majority still holding onto outdated production systems.
In fact, many manufacturers still rely on temporary manual labour to move goods instead of forklifts.
Clearly, there is a need to make new technologies affordable, as automation is critical in developing economies, especially in countries that face a shortage of skilled workers.
The fear of automation eliminating jobs is truly a misconception. Contrary to popular belief, modern technology is pathing the way to job creation. In the manufacturing industry, it’s carving out new disciplines that call for new qualifications and skills. In fact, by 2025, the fourth industrial revolution will see the creation of up to 130 million jobs across the globe.
Inadequate infrastructure and an inefficient labour force have been cited as a major hindrance to the manufacturing industry. However, this could all change if the industry were to focus on the implementation of ICTs, as well as stock and flow of skills. But the industry can’t do it alone, the support of government and aligning of agendas is needed if real change is to be seen, especially in developing countries.
The adoption of new technology in manufacturing can help eliminate factors that ultimately reduce competitiveness while ensuring the implemented strategies are effective to yield the desired results.
As the age-old African proverb goes ‘if you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go together’.
Downtime is the largest source of lost production time for manufacturers, with most operating far below capacity. Not conducive to today’s 24/7 business mentality. For example, in Kenya, engines typically run five days a week for less than eight hours, totaling 86 days a year. 46% run a full eight hours, while the rest run between six to eight hours a week. Even more alarming, 50% run three to five hours a week, severely derailing Kenya’s quest in becoming a 24-hour economy.
If manufacturers upped this to 24 hours, what they achieve in 12 months could be done in just three.
Most manufacturers are unaware of the gaps that exist in their production.
ERP Enabling Technology
So, what might the solution be? Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), allowing an organization to make use of integrated applications in order to effectively manage its business, while automating back-office functions. To gain that competitive edge, manufacturers need to be agile in order to respond to fluctuating market demands at all levels of operations without increasing costs and waste or sacrificing efficiency.
The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and automation has the ability to liberate the industry.
So, it’s time to connect machines and other devices to digitize your factory and gain that competitive advantage. With ERP solutions specific to the manufacturing industry, such as SYSPRO, you can run a wide variety of automated processes that save you time and money.
ERP allows manufacturers to plan, execute, and control production. All-in-all, providing you with optimum financial management and faster return on investment.
The benefits are infinite, offering industry-specific functions, providing you with the flexibility you need in an ever-evolving environment.