-James Robinson, Vice President of Services for Asia Pacific, SYSPRO
The Industrial Machinery and Equipment (IME) industry is an important sector within the global economy, encompassing a wide range of products such as heavy machinery, construction equipment, agricultural machinery and more.
There is a growing list of challenges facing IME manufacturers, but delivering products faster while coping with ever-increasing volume demands stands out as the primary one. Additional challenges include inaccurate inventory forecasting, supply chain disruptions, and disconnected legacy systems.
To succeed in this highly competitive industry, IME manufacturers need to find ways to provide more accurate price forecasting, implement strong financial controls and have full traceability, so they can implement warranties on the industrial equipment they make.
The level of precision required to provide more accurate costing requires a complex Bill of Materials (BOM), unique scheduling, end-to-end supply chain visibility and integrated Quality Management capabilities.
Complex Bills of Materials and accurate costing
One of the fundamental challenges faced by IME manufacturers is the highly complex specification and production required for their products. Their machines often consist of thousands of components, sub-assemblies and materials, which all need to be accounted for.
This intricacy extends to the bills of materials (BOMs) required to assemble these machines. With an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system tailored for manufacturing, IME producers can excel in managing the accuracy of their BOMs, while providing precise costing information on demand in real-time.
Unique scheduling and resource management
IME manufacturers frequently deal with custom orders, specialised machinery and unique production schedules. A standard ERP system may not be equipped to handle these intricacies effectively.
To manage their unique scheduling requirements better, ensuring efficient resource allocation, meeting lead times and minimising downtime, they should consider complementing their ERP system with a fully integrated Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solution.
MOM provides plant-wide manufacturing lifecycle management from planning, scheduling, publishing, collecting, tracking and analysing to optimise and improve end-to-end manufacturing operations. It offers a unique level of delivery, cost and quality control of operations for job shop, batch production, production line and mixed mode environments.
End-to-End supply chain visibility
A robust supply chain is the backbone of any IME manufacturing operation. Manufacturers in this industry must have complete visibility into their supply chain, from raw material procurement to finished product delivery. Without this visibility, it becomes challenging to optimise processes, mitigate risks and meet delivery deadlines.
An ERP solution tailored to manufacturers will help IME producers to source the right materials at the best prices from reliable suppliers. This will give them a competitive edge and will enhance their reputation by improving the customer experience.
Integral Quality Management
Quality control is critical in the IME industry. Any defect or subpar component can have severe consequences, including safety issues and costly recalls. An ideal ERP system for IME manufacturers should incorporate integral quality management capabilities, ensuring that every product meets the highest quality standards.
The role of ERP and AI in addressing IME challenges
To overcome the many challenges and deliver products faster while managing volume demands, IME manufacturers require a specialised ERP solution that is designed for manufacturers. This will provide detailed and real-time costing information so they can provide comprehensive quoting.
This enables IME manufacturers to analyse costs at every stage of production accurately. With precise costing data, these companies can identify cost-saving opportunities, optimise both resource allocation and inventory management and make more informed pricing decisions.
Managing complex BOMs becomes more straightforward with the right ERP system. Manufacturers can track the usage of materials, components and sub-assemblies efficiently, ensuring that all necessary parts are available when needed. This reduces production delays and minimises the risk of costly errors resulting in wastage, whilst also alleviating their scrap management challenges.
IME manufacturers can also leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to get rich insights, unidentified trends and anomalies in their business. By integrating AI technology with their ERP system, manufacturers can leverage AI technology to identify potential downtime and accidents by analysing the sensor data.
AI systems help manufacturers forecast when or if functional equipment will fail so its maintenance and repair can be scheduled before the failure occurs.
In the highly competitive world of IME manufacturing, the ability to deliver products faster and cope with volume demands is essential. With an ERP integrated with a MOM system that are both designed specifically for the manufacturing sector, IME manufacturers can connect machines and other devices to digitise their factories and gain competitive advantage.
This will help them to streamline their operations, reduce costs and meet customer demands with absolute precision.
To stay ahead of the curve, it’s essential to gain a competitive edge. Forward-thinking IME manufacturers should consider shifting their perspective from looking solely at past performance to incorporating predictive modelling and data insights into their decision-making process.
By doing so, they can position themselves for success in the future and thrive in an increasingly competitive market with growing demands.