There is no doubt that, globally, these are uncertain times. From the UK’s surprise Brexit decision to the election in Australia and of course the Clinton vs. Trump campaign in the US. Whatever side of politics you find yourself on, there is no doubt that politic uncertainty and economic uncertainty go hand in hand. Macro-economic uncertainty then feeds down to company level and we get trading uncertainty.
For SYSPRO customers this plays out as new deals not being signed or contracts being delayed. In such times, reliance on business information is critical to enable companies to take advantage of the opportunities that economic uncertainty can bring.
Cash planning is important to any business, but in uncertain times it’s more important than ever. SYSPRO’s Cash Flow Forecasting module enables customers to understand the cash impact of a delayed contract or a lost order, and therefore be able to proactive plan cash requirements, avoiding excess charges.
In most Manufacturing and Distribution businesses inventory takes up a considerable percentage of working capital. Using modules such as Inventory Forecasting and Inventory Optimization helps businesses understand how to reduce inventory levels without impacting customer service, thus freeing up cash to keep the business running through the turmoil.
Customers still spend, even in times like this, but often spending patterns change. Those changes get reflected back through the supply chain and so sometimes Manufacturers and Distributers receive signals about customer behavior too late to make the necessary changes. Working in partnership with customers, and using Big Data technology such as Microsoft’s Cortana Analytics to analyze the demand patterns in your ERP systems. This can provide early insight into changing behaviors, enabling agile businesses that change their market offering quicker to gain competitive advantage.
Whilst many organizations are naturally cautious about spending in uncertain times (hence this blog) it’s actually a really good time to consider an investment. A drop in activity can free up time to properly implement new systems, new processes and new technology: from ERP systems, to robots, to new manufacturing processes like Fusion Welding or Additive Printing. Often grants and investment plans are available to support the capital outlay required, items can be purchased on consumption or subscription models, and government centers can help with implementation. Such investments increase productivity and put the business in the right place for when customer orders start flying in again. Finally, opportunities to buy competitors or companies in adjacent or complementary market segments often open up during uncertain times.
So, in uncertain times, like any other time, there is not only one best course of action. Each company should look to its own strengths and weaknesses, its own strategic plan and competitive strategy, and use the data, resources and capabilities at its disposal to achieve its potential.