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  • Tech Tools Every Manufacturer Needs

The 6 Tech Tools Every Manufacturer Needs to Boost Their Bottom Line

 Build efficiency, drive revenue, and get the competitive advantage

December 19, 2023

In the digital world, manufacturers need cutting-edge technology to optimize, grow, and profit. Without technology and modern data analytics, manufacturers would not be able to glean the information necessary for success. However, even with some systems in place, companies may miss the forest for the trees—focusing on the wrong areas while ignoring real-time opportunities to enhance their bottom line. Most important, many businesses do not realize how much money they lose due to a poor understanding of day-to-day operations, and a lack of clear, actionable intelligence. The key lies in discovering the right solutions and insights to get your manufacturing business where it needs to be.

Fortunately, there are ways to navigate this complex world. Today’s manufacturing technology isn’t just about getting data for the sake of numbers and reports. It’s about leveraging sophisticated yet easy-to-use systems to help solve daily business challenges.

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ)

Configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions digitally revolutionize the selling process, establishing a seamless connection between your customers and the shop floor. Utilizing cutting-edge visualization technology along with intuitive clicks instead of complex coding, CPQ helps ensure an engaging buying experience anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

CPQ is critical in today's dynamic sales environment. It gives you a streamlined and visually intuitive sales tool that integrates with crucial business systems. Manufacturers at the forefront of competition recognize the need for a comprehensive sales solution catering to intricate, customized products. Such a solution must efficiently unite sales, engineering, and manufacturing processes—making it ideal for Engineer-to-Order (ETO) manufacturing.

CPQ is perfect if you are facing these common challenges:

  • Breakdowns in communication between sales and engineering
  • Tedious and error-prone quoting systems
  • Difficulty in conveying complex product lines
  • Manual workflows adversely impacting sales and production

Demand Planning

Make-to-Order (MTO) manufacturers grapple with daily demands, from navigating supply chain complexities to meeting diverse customer needs and overcoming in-house hurdles. In response to these challenges, businesses are increasingly exploring solutions that go beyond traditional approaches. For example, with accurate forecasting of sales trends, seasonality, and event-driven demand emerging as a key strategy, businesses can now turn to SmartForecasts™.

This statistical forecasting solution can be a game-changer for your business. Imagine minimizing backorders and lost sales, optimizing inventory planning to unprecedented levels, and achieving a remarkable return on investment. This versatile solution revolutionizes sales planning, budgeting, production schedules, orders, and inventory management.

In complex markets, demand planning is necessary to avoid common pitfalls:

  • Inaccurate forecasts and mistaken predictions
  • Spending too much time classifying and configuring forecasting rules
  • Difficulty comparing statistical, customer, and sales forecasts

Inventory Management

Going beyond the basics, this powerful tool offers a suite of features designed to elevate your inventory management experience. Imagine effortlessly updating and maintaining raw materials, work in process (WIP), and finished goods with precision. With real-time insights into inventory quantities, costs, and on-hand requirements, inventory management isn't just a tool; it's your key to unlocking efficient supply chain operations.

When supply chains are dynamic, the success of manufacturers hinges on the seamless integration of connected supply chain management tools with crucial business systems. Forward-thinking manufacturers recognize that a comprehensive SCM solution is not just a technology add-on—it’s a true strategic advantage. Imagine mitigating the daily challenges of material shortages, production delays, and excess inventory. Picture a scenario where your manufacturing process is more than efficient; it’s a driving force that enables you to stay ahead in crowded markets. Discover the transformative benefits of a connected SCM solution—the key to maintaining your competitive edge in the modern manufacturing landscape.

Supply chain solutions like inventory management are key if you are facing challenges like:

  • Wasted space on excess inventory
  • Spending too much money overbuying
  • Misinformed MRP suggestions
  • Underestimating actual cost

Engineering

Engineer-to-Order (ETO) manufacturing companies face unique challenges in overseeing engineering change orders (ECOs) and approved revisions due to the customized and project-based nature of their operations. Staying on top of these complex operations requires a robust engineering management process, effective communication channels, and a range of tools tailored to the unique needs of engineer-to-order manufacturing companies.

Engineering management is more than just an end-to-end solution—it's a strategic path to navigating the intricacies of custom manufacturing. Picture a scenario where material demands seamlessly align with production scope, traceability is a given, and resource allocation is optimized to exceed customer expectations. Engineering management is not just about meeting demands; it's about setting a new standard for operational excellence. Ready to elevate your engineering management?

The right solutions can help you overcome existing barriers to success:

  • Difficulties managing product complexity
  • Breakdown in communication among engineering, production, and sales
  • Increased production cost due to ECOs
  • Incorrect or outdated documents that impact product quality

Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)

Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) is a versatile and scalable solution designed to meet the diverse financial needs of your business. Whether you're looking for straightforward entry-level financial reporting or sophisticated fiscal statements, budget planning, and consolidated reporting, FP&A has you covered. You’ll experience a significant reduction in the time spent on financial reporting, monthly closing, and budgeting thanks to our solution's out-of-the-box reports, budgets, actuals, and live forecasts. With advanced analytics and intuitive features, FP&A empowers your financial teams to make informed decisions quickly and efficiently.

Financial experts in today's dynamic manufacturing environment face the ongoing challenge of comprehending, planning, and effectively managing the financial flows within their organizations. After relying on Excel-based programs or solutions like QuickBooks for years, companies are actively seeking new opportunities for improvement. Our solution offers more than just an upgrade—it accelerates the time-to-close periods, provides intelligent financial reports for strategic insights, and facilitates the sharing of trustworthy financial data with key stakeholders. Empower your financial team with tools designed to meet the evolving demands of modern manufacturing.

FP&A can help you transform the way you handle these common roadblocks:

  • Long and tedious closing periods
  • Too many individualized financial reports
  • Irrelevant or inaccurate financial statements
  • Lack of collaboration among stakeholders

Document Management

Document management systems capture, store, and manage any document or file easily, irrespective of location or device. With powerful integrations spanning ERP, accounting, intelligent data capture, and other business applications, the system delivers a robust ROI. Imagine streamlined approval workflows, reduced document retrieval times, and seamless compliance—all contributing to deeper business insights. The right solution paves the way for smart and trustworthy decisions that positively impact your bottom line.

In today’s intricate global economy, proper document storage is no longer optional. Industries, business partners, and customers alike require diligent record-keeping. Many companies experience high levels of waste and double handling with paper, poorly maintained online folders, and never-ending email threads. These poor practices are a threat to any modern business and result in lost business, quality claims, and unfriendly audit experiences.

Document management is essential when seeking to avoid these pitfalls:

  • Downtime due to poor record retention
  • Wasted time due to inefficient document processing
  • Incorrect or outdated records

Conclusion

Every day, you seek to exceed expectations and deliver results for your customers while increasing your bottom line. You want to see the big picture but remain nimble and adaptable in changing markets. As part of a trusted partnership, the right technology solutions will support you with new ways to improve key processes, analyze data, and balance inventory. With years of industry experience, we know your business like nobody’s business. Let’s get started.