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Integrate IT & hammer inefficiency

Improving manufacturing efficiency is a top challenge for nearly half of the companies that responded to a Supply Chain Management Survey carried out for Access. Yet the survey also finds that even more admit that their supporting IT isn’t up to the task. Access has launched a new white paper on the issue, titled: ‘Integrate IT & hammer inefficiency’.

While 44 per cent of companies ranked achieving manufacturing efficiency among their most critical challenges, 52 per cent believed themselves to be lagging in this area of IT infrastructure.

The survey also revealed that 48 per cent of companies use nothing more sophisticated than Excel spread sheets for Supply Chain Management (SCM) while only a third use ERP or SCM systems. 23 per cent don’t record cycle time data, and a very large proportion of what is recorded is done manually. Firms in the survey express a desire for integration with warehousing and financial systems, adaptability to last minute changes, and up to date shop floor data: multiple site operation and ‘what-if’ simulation. The ability to cost new jobs on the basis of past jobs is also important to significant numbers of companies.

As the white paper goes on to explain, forecasting is vital for efficiency in manufacturing supply chain management yet many manufacturers work on bad forecasts, or even an absence of any meaningful forecasts at all.

“Sound forecasting and production scheduling, linked in to all the other tools in the business and manufacturing systems, allow companies to hold just sufficient raw material stocks to start manufacture as soon as an order is received,” said Ian Roper, Director of Access. “And with confidence that outstanding requirements can be satisfied by the supply base in good time.”

He added: “Achieving efficiency requires the proper integration of manufacturing operations with a host of supporting business processes. The lack of real time shop floor data integrated to sales, purchasing, forecasting, scheduling and other support systems, revealed by this survey, is costing companies dearly in in terms of both cash and customers. Supply Chain Management solutions can change the climate of manufacturing efficiency – offering high yield, low risk efficiency benefits for all types of manufacturers.”

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