Investing in innovation key to surviving future pandemic, report shows

A report released by Delaware has highlighted a greater need for investing in supply chain technologies in order to build resilience as the COVID-19 pandemic continues

A new report is highlighting that manufacturers need to move away from underinvestment and lack of adaptability, and towards thinking and acting quickly in building new business models and new ways of working that help them deliver during these difficult times.

The pandemic has exposed the need for manufacturers to develop smarter, more resilient supply chains, as well as highlighted the importance of far-reaching supply chain visibility, and how connected data across the entire chain is crucial for future-proofing operations. Real-time data forms the key foundation of the latest predictive analytics and forecasting solutions.

New working practices

There is no doubt that the ramifications of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for a long time. One of the greatest lessons to emerge is the need for long-term business resilience. Manufacturers must balance their short-term supply chain challenges with the need to innovate and develop long-term holistic risk management strategies for the future.

The global pandemic has exposed the need for smarter supply chains, meaning enhanced visibility across the entire chain is crucial. Limited visibility means that manufacturers are at risk of exposing themselves to supply chain disruption, which can have great impact on supplier inventory levels and product delivery.

Manufacturing businesses will need to move away from traditional siloed ways of working and focus on building closer links between all elements of the chain to deliver greater transparency across core manufacturing and supply chain operations.

Installing and enabling tech

Investment in technology and innovation, though often requiring significant upfront expenditure, is a great need for today’s most pressing challenges. Such solutions, especially those that can be implemented rapidly, can bring great efficiencies, reduce costs and simplify processes, enabling manufacturers to build a robust foundation for the future.

Organisations are increasingly enabling machine integration with business applications to achieve enhanced visibility and control across all their operational procedures and their entire supply chain, together with better data management and accuracy across their operations.

The growing use of AI, machine learning and robotic process automation to deliver operational efficiencies and improve and optimise processes are already apparent in the research.

However, overall, there is much still to do.

Before COVID-19, manufacturing was a sector on the cusp of technological change rather than one that had plunged wholesale into digital transformation.

As US analyst, CBInsights, highlighted in its recent research brief, Future Factory: How Technology Is Transforming Manufacturing, “Despite representing 11.6% of US GDP, manufacturing remains an area of relatively low digitization — meaning there’s plenty of headroom for automation and software-led improvements. In fact, in 2017, 76% of manufacturers reported having a smart factory initiative in the works.”

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