Manufacturing: Cloud Software

How Cloud ERP Software Can Help Manufacturers Succeed Post-Brexit

As manufacturers continue to rebuild and re-adjust against a backdrop of uncertainty, enhanced flexibility and real-time transparency are key to delivering both the very best service and very best products, whatever stage of the cycle
Ian Robertson at BrightBridge
From Brexit to the global pandemic, organisations from across the pharmaceutical sector continue to face their fair share of challenges stemming from the repercussions of recent events, prompting many to rethink their strategy altogether. Whether that be price inflation, chemical raw materials and skills shortages, or logistical delays brought on by supply chain setbacks, manufacturers without a holistic view risk losing sight of the many moving parts. Not only can this lack of control pose short-term problems, but as the landscape continues to rapidly shift, the very future of the business itself is jeopardised, with any growth plans firmly off the table.

So, how can solutions like cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) software help manufacturers hit reset, and re-adjust their priorities against a backdrop of ongoing uncertainty? For companies seeking to thrive (and not just survive), cloud ERP offers real-time transparency and enhanced flexibility for those wishing to ensure the very best service, and the delivery of the very best products at whatever stage in the cycle.

By utilising an integrated software as a service (SaaS) solution, manufacturers can receive an all-encompassing view with enhanced control over key processes. As a result, this can also help companies meet the sky-high expectations of customers as businesses navigate their way through the always-on digital era. As one of the most scalable platforms for high-growth manufacturers, here’s some of the many useful ways cloud ERP could streamline your business.

Obtain Business Intelligence in Real Time

When it comes to ensuring data remains reliable and timely, a cloud ERP solution provides an all-important single version of the truth. Not only can this drive smarter forecasting, budgeting, and decision-making, but it also ensures all parties across an organisation remain both aligned and collaborative across company-wide operations in real time.
To ensure this process is never compromised, cloud ERP offers peace of mind with enhanced transparency across key business functions at any given moment. Business intelligence features, such as built-in, real-time dashboards paired with reporting and analysis tools, equip manufacturers with the comprehensive view they need. Without the demand for inhouse specialist tech resources, this enables users to identify issues and act swiftly, with the ability to drill down into specific transactions. To help avoid duplication, multi-subsidiary customer features can prevent replication by providing a concise view of clients across multiple subsidiaries. What’s more, on-the-go access also allows teams to check in whenever – and wherever – they happen to be operating.

Streamline Supply Chain Management With the Bigger Picture

With sector-wide supply chains across the globe under increased strain, cloud ERP capabilities, such as manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain management, help organisations to streamline that process, with improved visibility so as to regain control at a time of change as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Regardless of where in the world a product happens to be made, cloud ERP makes it easy for those businesses working across multiple continents and time zones – empowering key decision makers to drive action where it counts. Whether it’s reducing lead times or reducing cost, features including optimised delivery plans and the ability to act on discrepancies give manufacturers great and small real-time visibility over supply chain status. From planning through to execution, teams can also progress with comprehensive support every step of the way. With many solutions also offering enhanced supply chain visibility, a supply chain ‘snapshot’ can offer businesses granular control over processes, and, therefore, access to the bigger picture as a whole.

Perfect Your Procurement With Future-Proof Processes

With a sleek procurement solution, manufacturers can wave goodbye to the time- and resource-sapping process of yesterday; long gone are the days of manually processing requests via outdated catalogues (or even fax machines!). With cloud ERP, configurable procurement dashboards enable businesses to fast-track their processes.

From a purchase requisition that’s customisable to a company’s specific policies, to comprehensive order management for managing new and open orders, businesses can accelerate their operations, while continuing to buy goods and services at the very best cost; with pre-approved suppliers and pre-agreed contracts in place, all purchases can also be directed accordingly. When it comes to the procure-to-pay process, key transactions are linked for even greater accuracy, while further supporting internal controls and compliance requirements. This reduces the procure-to-pay timeline and, most crucially, can bolster cashflow as a result. With native requisition and request-for-quote tools to help manage vendor selection, the quality of products can also be improved, offering manufacturers the most holistic, future-proof solution they may have seen yet.

Unify Your Warehouse Operations

Looking to optimise your warehouse and distribution operations? With cloud ERP solutions designed to complement warehouse functions of various shapes and sizes, pharma manufacturers can gain full visibility over all aspects of their warehouse processes – from fulfilment down to shipping costs – with realtime traceability of inventory movements and transactions.

With the combination of Brexit and COVID-19 further stretching supply chains, cloud ERP can empower manufacturers to restructure warehouse operations in the most efficient way. Having full trust in the company’s inventory data is crucial to the smooth operation of a business’s processes, with cloud ERP also giving managers full control over the inventory asset. With a specially-designed warehouse management system and packing station solution like the functionality offered within Oracle NetSuite, cloud ERP can support warehouse leaders by providing the critical functions that give control over every step of the cycle; from open purchase orders to overseeing a more efficient pick, pack, and shipping process. Inventory management capabilities that offer native tools to track inventory in multiple locations can also ensure that the service level expectations of both internal and external customers are always met.

Exceed Expectations With an Evolved E-Commerce Offering

With customer loyalty high on the agenda for organisations industry-wide, prioritising company growth means embracing and investing in an e-commerce strategy so as to future-proof operations; yet another area within which cloud ERP can lend some manufacturers a helping hand.

Designed to deliver a slick, information-rich journey for customers at every stage of the lifecycle, companies can engage with buyers using ecommerce capabilities built into the majority of leading cloud ERP. By integrating e-commerce capabilities with back-end operational systems from a centralised location, manufacturers can transition to high-growth businesses – with the capabilities to explore additional revenue opportunities as and when they come along. To ensure fulfilment excellence, order management features can help drive the omnichannel experience and exceed expectations (boosting loyalty in the process). Enabling manufacturers to scale more effectively, this capability can also help deliver a flexible customer experience designed for omnichannel engagement.

Hone Your Business Results With the Right Technology

With events of late throwing up multiple distractions – paired with the time and money spent on reviewing processes (and adopting temporary solutions that fail to deliver) – it is easy for manufacturers to lose sight of the end goal: the business results. Yet with every new layer of software integrated within a business, the infrastructure becomes harder to change – especially given the ever-changing landscape and targets that move with it.
Arming manufacturers with the know-how to keep pace with evolving technology and changing customer priorities, an all-encompassing cloud ERP platform offers a flexible, agile, always-on solution. Without the overhead of underlying technology maintenance to worry about, cloud ERP software equips manufacturing firms with the tools to remain on track. By streamlining processes via an integrated ‘mothership’, businesses are also given the space to consider how they might approach tasks more efficiently. With technology that is hardworking, reliable, and that fully integrates every aspect of business data, companies are better placed to seize the right opportunities, as and when they come along, whatever the future may bring.

With every growth journey comes an element of uncertainty – something that rings true for all businesses sector-wide, now more than ever before. While cloud ERP may not be high on the agenda for manufacturers recovering post-pandemic, it is certainly something to consider; with complex, un-integrated business processes guaranteed to hinder productivity, a lack of SaaS could, as a result, stifle growth, while attentions are focused elsewhere.

Instead, cloud ERP delivers a powerful solution that can help to streamline and evolve manufacturing operations – enabling them to function far beyond the immediate future. From reducing the time to market of new products (and delivering better ones) to eliminating the need for costly IT support, cloud ERP works to complement the majority of businesscritical processes for an even slicker output.

With cloud ERP solutions like Oracle NetSuite designed specifically to fit around a business’s unique requirements, the earlier the adoption, the more likely manufacturers are able to effectively futureproof their operations. In a post-Brexit world, now is the time for manufacturers, large and small, to take back control, take flight, and finally look to the future.
Ian Robertson is the Sales and Marketing Director of BrightBridge. He has over 30 years of experience in ERP and customer relationship management implementations. Prior to forming BrightBridge, Ian worked for a major US IT corporation, where he acquired a depth of knowledge around time-saving efficiencies through technological integration automation.