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High costs and limited resources have long kept small manufacturers away from cutting-edge enterprise technology. Fortunately, the barriers to digital transformation are eroding. Software vendors are developing ways to make innovative features user-friendly and accessible to organizations of all sizes. This gives SMBs the opportunity to invest in software, data analytics, IoT and other tools that can elevate business performance.
Still, many small manufacturers have their doubts. Are the latest enterprise technology trends full of empty promises? We’re here to prove that digital transformation and smart manufacturing are the way forward for SMBs.
Research is proving that smart manufacturing isn’t a passing phase. According to IDC, investment in digital transformation will increase from 15-20% between 2019 and 2023. Gartner also reported that 50% of CEOs expected their businesses to be digitally transformed by this year. Therefore, if you haven’t started modernizing your manufacturing technology, you’re already behind.
The latest digital innovations can open new opportunities to boost efficiency and improve customer experiences. IoT sensors, for example, can measure equipment performance and transfer this data to ERP applications. Visual interfaces and touchscreens can simplify access to these metrics, reducing training time. This information can help users detect machine defects, schedule predictive maintenance and reroute production lines. Additionally, AI chatbots and self-service tools give customers faster support and greater ease. SMBs who adopt cutting-edge technology can enjoy huge savings and greater productivity to increase their competitive advantage.
The manufacturing labor shortage is a major problem that is only expected to get worse. Deloitte predicts that more than 2.4 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled over the decade. Businesses are looking to technology to fill these labor gaps. 40% of SMBs are expected to adopt process automation solutions by 2023. With robots, AI, ERP and other tools designed to automate operations, small manufacturers can maintain high levels of productivity even if they are short on skilled workers.
Smart manufacturing technology can also optimize your work environment to help employees work more efficiently and even attract millennials to your enterprise. Cloud technology and social collaboration features enable greater mobility, so users can be productive and work as a team even if they’re remote. Software vendors have made great advancements in the user experience to reduce training efforts and help employees quickly execute tasks. Furthermore, simplified user interfaces and automated workflows and data analysis allow workers of multiple skill levels to master their job functions.
Leveraging data to make decisions is a common problem among SMBs. Simply collecting and storing data has been an expensive and tedious process for many small manufacturers. But as computing power has increased and capturing data has become easier and more affordable, SMBs can finally access actionable insights. ERP, CRM and BI solutions targeted to small and midmarket companies are designed to automatically collect and analyze data and simplify reporting.
Software vendors have capitalized on technology trends to make data even more valuable. Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM have both developed AI tools to optimize forecasting and predict the likelihood of a deal closing. Epicor ERP introduced an IoT feature that gives users real-time visibility into shop floor performance. BI applications can transform large datasets from across your enterprise into digestible insights presented in agile reports, tables and graphs. With any of these platforms, small manufacturers can make smart decisions grounded in reliable data and analytics.
You don’t have to be a large corporation to be a smart manufacturer. Businesses of all sizes have access to cutting-edge tools that can make them more competitive, productive and insightful. But you’ll need an expert to help you get started on your digital transformation journey.
Datix has served as a one-stop shop for enterprise software solutions and services for over 20 years. The only certified partner of Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Salesforce, we’re leaders in ERP and CRM consulting. We also offer eCommerce, systems integration, BI, cloud hosting and disaster recovery solutions to cover all your software needs. From start to finish, our consultants are committed to equipping you with the right software to meet your exact business goals.
Ready to transform your business through software? To get started, contact Datix today!