13th May 2024

How Technology Can Help Manufacturers Achieve New Performance Targets

How Technologies Can Help Manufacturers Achieve New Perfo...

Customers are more demanding than ever, holding manufacturers to higher standards for innovation, speed, quality, and support.

Watch the webinar below to learn how manufacturers can use new technologies across all aspects of the business – leadership, R&D, supply chain, manufacturing, sales, customer service, and support – to improve end-to-end functional collaboration, customer value, and profitability.


[00:00:03.780] – Arjun Bingipur

Good morning, everyone. We will start the webinar in about 30 seconds just to allow people to join. Thank you.

Good morning, and welcome to this webinar on how technologies can help manufacturers drive new performance targets. As we go through this webinar, if you have any questions, please type those in the Q&A box below, and then we will answer them at the end of the session. My name is Arjun Bingipur from Dassault Systemes, and joining me on this webinar is Thomas Grigg from Proximity Enterprise Solutions.

I’m based in Cambridge, UK, and work as an industry process consultant. My mission is to help manufacturers achieve the value of digital manufacturing solutions. Tom is based in Leeds and works as a Solution Architect for Proximity Enterprise Solutions. With this, let’s kick off the webinar.

In today’s webinar, we’ll be discussing some of the key challenges faced by manufacturers. And if you’re a manufacturer, how you can leverage new technologies across all aspects of the business, from leadership, R&D, supply chain to sales, and customer service to improve collaboration and profitability.

What we want to achieve here is to guide everyone on how to look out for these new technologies that can provide you with a competitive edge and also make you stand out from the competition. And in this journey, there is some information that you need to know about yourself and gather as an organisation and also ask meaningful questions to your vendors wanting to work with you in this transformation to ensure it’s more effective. With that, I’ll turn the mic back to you, Tom. Again, welcome to this webinar, and let’s hear from you about Proximity enterprise Solutions and your area of expertise within the organisation.

[00:02:27.330] – Thomas Grigg

Hi, everyone. My name is Tom Grigg. I’m the solutions architect over at Proximity. So Proximity is a certified VAR. So we provide support implementation services for a product called DELMIAworks, which is part of the Dassault Systemes portfolio. My role, so we’ve been working with ERP now since effectively 1989, but Proximity Enterprise Solutions, which is specifically focused on DELMIAWorks was established in 2007. So my role in the organisation really is to work with customers and prospects, really, to get an understanding as to how they work and ideally work with them to understand how technology can improve their business.

[00:03:19.880] – Arjun Bingipur

That’s great. Thanks, Tom. Thanks for joining us. I’m looking forward to this conversation! So over the next 30 minutes, we’ll be using the survey conducted by the MPI Group, an independent and global research firm, as a basis for this discussion.

On the screen here, you can see that manufacturers were asked to rate their company’s performance based on key parameters. Tom, to me, this survey is an eye opener as it appears that most manufacturers have massive room for improvements. Well, in fact, less than half of them rate any of their performances as excellent. Many performance measures, including profitability and revenue are rated excellent only by a third or even fewer. Employee satisfaction, as you can see, is rated fair or poor, approximately by one-third of the companies. Tom, from your experience talking with manufacturers, do you see any correlation with what we’re seeing on a screen to what manufacturers are facing?

[00:04:20.560] – Thomas Grigg

I mean, absolutely. And the key thing is that a lot of these manufacturers base a lot of assumptions based only on a small range of metrics. And the main reason for that is that a lot of organisations don’t really have any method of automating the capture of data. So data capture methods are often quite time consuming and very manually orientated.

[00:04:46.360] – Arjun Bingipur

That’s an interesting comment. As you say that most manufacturers still use Excel spreadsheets or another labor-intensive way to capture the data. To add on to that, what really stands out to me, or a couple of the parameters at the bottom of the screen, for example, manufacturing cycle time, capacity utilisation, cost control. Why do you think manufacturers are not making any performance gains in these areas?

[00:05:14.860] – Thomas Grigg

I think as I stated previously, because gathering accurate data can be quite time consuming and onerous for shop floor operators, what we often see is that manufacturing businesses tend to have a bias towards expanding capacity through acquiring new machinery or capital assets. However, really, to make informed decisions, it’s really important for businesses to obtain an accurate view of what their current resource utilisation is, and then try and take advantage of any optimisation and efficiency gains that can come from that and software can help with this.

[00:05:50.760] – Arjun Bingipur

Certainly. A system that can capture the data in real-time can help organisations with better decision-making capabilities. What are some of the main objectives or goals the companies are trying to achieve when they come and talk to you?

[00:06:06.040] – Thomas Grigg

The main one, I would say, would be increasing visibility, what’s going on throughout the organisation, the ability to streamline or to automate the metrics coming from the floor so organisations can improve decision making, optimise the flow of production. This enables the businesses to not only be more profitable, but also reduces quality issues and the likes. Ultimately, this in turn will lead to greater revenue as customers and prospects will have an increased confidence in the organisation’s ability to perform. Another one would be removing the disparate systems or data silos, and having one system to carry all of the business processes. What we find is that this can dramatically reduce administration, improve data integrity, and often simplify the management of said systems.

[00:06:56.810] – Arjun Bingipur

I agree 100% with data silos because that’s what we are discovering from all the conversations that we are having with manufacturers as well. Data silos are a huge barrier and challenge to break down. Let’s revisit this in a few minutes.

[00:07:14.930] – Thomas Grigg

Yeah, no problem.

[00:07:16.600] – Arjun Bingipur

Let’s look at some of the growth drivers and inhibitors. Manufacturers of all sizes face internal and external challenges that inhibit growth, especially with economic conditions and issues. Most of them are leveraging a variety of growth drivers such as new products, sales and marketing, new customers, and some of the top growth drivers.

If we look at the growth inhibitors, some of them are really obvious, with the cost of living crisis and interest rate increases. The economic outlook is not that great. As we just came out of COVID, there was huge disruption in the supply chain environment. But other interesting factors that the survey talks about are labour availability and production equipment capacity. Tom, what are you seeing and hearing from manufacturers in your discussion on these areas?

[00:08:09.780] – Thomas Grigg

I would definitely agree with the economic issues. The last few years have been very tough for all, but it’s really important that the manufacturers learn from this and try to improve. As I previously mentioned, when things are the most difficult, software can help create a more lean environment and ensure that you’ve got the correct level of supply chain engagement. This can be done through reducing scrap, optimising production, improved scheduling, and ultimately becoming more proactive than reactive as a business.

[00:08:50.250] – Arjun Bingipur

Again, a system that is capable of synchronising production schedules within entry, quality, and logistics in real-time can help manufacturers create that lean environment that you’re talking about. In a way, this is actually breaking down the silo between various departments. There are so many departments, cross-functional departments. To your previous point that manufacturers are in a rush to buy and invest in capital equipment when they have an opportunity in-house to leverage the software applications to monitor and streamline production capacity even better.

[00:09:28.200] – Thomas Grigg

Yeah, correct.

[00:09:31.220] – Arjun Bingipur

Let’s now look into how the IT and ERP landscape has an impact on performance.

Most manufacturers responding to the survey report that the IT systems and applications have improved manufacturing performance. Only a quarter report that there is no effect or even IT systems have somewhat hurt their performance. Many IT solutions are designed with a range of business in mind: retailers, service organisations, financial institutions, manufacturers, and so on. ERP systems such as these might not really align with manufacturer’s production needs, which explains why, as you can see in the top right-hand corner of the screen, only 40% of the plant managers get limited data and functionality required for manufacturing. But at firms where the plan managers get at least some required data, the performance measures are likely to be excellent compared to other manufacturers.

Tom, how can manufacturers use the latest IT and software application infrastructure to boost their efficiency and performance? I believe most of the manufacturers are hitting a roadblock in their digital manufacturing efforts, maybe because their existing suite of applications are not just gear enough for manufacturing. What are your thoughts?

[00:10:50.550] – Thomas Grigg

There are a few points here. Firstly, not all types of manufacturing are the same. Even when you’ve got two businesses that ultimately manufacture the same type of item, it doesn’t mean they’re following the same processes. They could have specific customer requirements, quality requirements, etc.

Manufacturing can be really complex. And having a system that’s versatile to meet multiple manufacturing needs is key. Firstly, the BOM or Bill of Materials/Manufacture, they need to accurately reflect the manufacturing process so that scheduling can be accurate. If it doesn’t, then really that can result in a considerable amount of customisation to the software to make almost the software fit to the environment that it’s been implemented in. This can make it really difficult to upgrade and support as well.

And secondly, the partner you work with, this can have a massive impact. They need to be experts in manufacturing to really be able to interpret your requirements. They’ve ultimately got to design and implement a solution that meets your needs. They can’t really do that unless they go through considerable training by yourselves, by manufacturers, ultimately to teach them what they’re doing. So effectively, if they’re experts in the area, they’re able to design and implement more efficiently and more specific to your environment.

[00:12:22.820] – Thomas Grigg

Finally, an ERP implementation needs to be followed after a go-live and treated almost as a continuous improvement project. This just ensures that the use of the software is expanded over time to cover all business areas and making sure that the business is using all of the available tools.

[00:12:41.350] – Arjun Bingipur

Well, that’s a great observation. The software can only do a limited amount in terms of if the implementation is not efficient or it fails, there is no much use of the software, even though how great that is. And also, again, to your point, which goes back to the data silos we talked about, because many of these manufacturing applications currently cannot communicate or integrate with other cross-functional teams within those organisations. And hence, for supervisors and production engineers, there’s no end-to-end visibility of the data of what’s happening on the shop floor.

I guess it’s the right time to ask our audience what they think about their IT landscape and what impact it has on their performance. So let’s take a quick poll to understand where your organisation is in terms of the software applications. Do you agree, disagree, neither agree or disagree, or don’t know? Let’s give it another 10, 15 seconds. If you want to share the results on the screen, it does look like most of them agree, or disagree, or don’t know, which suits the theme in this particular survey, so it’s pretty similar. Okay. Let’s now look at some of the statistics of companies where ERP systems are already in place.

[00:14:35.660] – Arjun Bingipur

Typically, what we see here is that only Bill of Materials and inventory levels are available, and they’re only found in half or more of ERP systems and critical production information, including maintenance schedules and material requirements, are just found in a quarter of ERP systems. I believe this has been a huge bottleneck and limiting factor for most manufacturers. For example, when the shop floor data just doesn’t flow to other corporate functions, there is no real time or end-to-end visibility of the manufacturing operations. Tom, how important is this for manufacturers when their ERP systems are only capable of processing limited manufacturing information or data?

[00:15:19.270] – Thomas Grigg

As I previously alluded, data is key to making any informed decisions in an organisation. When it comes to expansion or buying new equipment, all of those decisions should be off the back of data rather than just a feel for the shop floor. In truth, the above metrics don’t surprise me based on what we typically see. There’s still quite a large number of manufacturers using multiple systems, so different systems for different functions. And these systems are often poorly equipped. And what we often see as well is that a lot of organisations try to fill gaps in functionality with spreadsheets or custom databases, and that just creates more data silos that don’t share information across all the different functional areas of a business. And what we find is this often leads to data integrity issues and an overall distrust of the information that’s contained as well.

[00:16:18.380] – Arjun Bingipur

Yeah. And again, I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it does seem like the manufacturers that lack a platform for cross-functional communication and information sharing to and from the shop floor with all the corporate functions like suppliers and customers will be really challenged to efficiently find and address problems that ultimately lead to damaged performance and inhibit growth.

This now leads into a very important topic, what characteristics manufacturers should consider when choosing an ERP system. When choosing an ERP system, half or more of manufacturers rate all the characteristics listed as very important. The top three characteristics are security, service, and support, customisable, that is, if it can be configured to your own customers’ requirements. And the survey also points to the fact that where the plant management receives at least some limited information and data from their ERP systems, they are more likely to upgrade to their existing ERP systems, indicating a desire to keep the technologies up to date. Out of these, do any of the characteristics particularly stand out to you, Tom?

[00:17:39.620] – Thomas Grigg

Absolutely. So I mean, the first, firstly, the need for customization stands out. Customizations are often only required when a piece of software doesn’t really meet the needs of an organisation or it can’t be configured to perform the tasks that are required. It’s important to remember that the customizations are often difficult for a vendor to support. It also makes it difficult. So if you phone in with a quality issue with the software, it makes it very difficult for a vendor to replicate the issue and offer any guidance. What it also does is eat away a valuable implementation resource as they have to effectively develop functionality that doesn’t currently exist.

Secondly, I’m slightly surprised that the percentage finding the vendor familiarity to your industry, very important, isn’t significantly higher, really. I mean, ERP implementations can be very complex and can expose businesses to considerable risk, if not approached in the right way. Implementations carried out by vendors or partners that have knowledge and experience within the specific industry that you operate can be a lot more streamlined and risk averse. They often have a tried and tested methodology for implementing the software, specifically to your industry sector.

[00:19:02.610] – Arjun Bingipur

Well, I agree with all of the points that you said. Configurations are easier to maintain than customizations. Customizations, as we know, it’s more costlier, it’s time consuming, it’s not very efficient. And of course, to your point, vendor reputation. I mean, that is the skill set, what the vendor brings to the table and the relationships, what you have with your vendors, are really important in making sure all your ERP implementations are flawless.

Finally, as a takeaway, and to wrap things up, we would like you to think about these couple of questions. Is your company achieving required performance? Be it customer, financial, operational? That is really necessary to stay competitive? And does your company need a better shop floor, processes, and tools to grow? If you answer yes to any one of these questions, or either of them or both of them, please look up for DELMIAWorks on the web and find out how we can help you in this journey, or simply contact one of us, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

In a nutshell, DELMIAWorks provides an end-to-end ERP system with a strong shop floor focus. Our solution is especially tailored for manufacturers to increase efficiency and visibility and performance on the plant flow, and it streamlines processes across sales, water processing, finance, HR, planning, production, inventory, purchasing, and so on.

[00:20:32.840] – Arjun Bingipur

And the DELMIAWorks manufacturing ERP serves as your company’s backbone for visibility, execution, and communication of manufacturing activities and data throughout your supply chain. Thanks for your time and attention, and let’s jump into the Q&A. We do have a few minutes, so please type your questions in a Q&A box and we will answer them as we go. If we are in a lot of time and unable to answer your question, we’ll come back individually. Alternatively, feel free to email us directly or contact details are on the screen. So we do have a couple of questions popping in. So one of the questions is, what capability does DELMIAWorks have with regards to quality inspections, audits, and SVC? Is this part of the solution? So Tom, do you want to take this up and answer?

[00:21:26.950] – Thomas Grigg

Absolutely. As previously mentioned, DELMIAWorks is an end-to-end solution, and it does absolutely include all of the full quality suite, which allows you to perform inspections. We can link up to inspection equipment like scales, callipers, and the likes. We’ve got quality management systems from a perspective of SPC and control plans, PPAPs. It really is quite an all-encompassing piece of software when it comes to quality and manufacturing.

[00:22:04.660] – Arjun Bingipur

Okay, great. Next question we have is, what reporting methods does DELMIAWorks offer? Can dashboards be built specifically to monitor a certain activity or department?

[00:22:18.770] – Thomas Grigg

Yeah, absolutely. We’ve got a few different methods of outbound reporting. As you just mentioned, we’ve got dashboards which can be configured individually for individual users. The dashboards can be available to be displayed out on the shop floor or around the organisation. Important to note that they effectively don’t consume licenses as well. You could have screens dotted around showing key metrics in different departments so that you’ve always got the key information to perform your task at its best, really.

Then we’ve also got an interface with Excel, so an Excel add-in, which is called spreadsheets server, which basically allows us to interrogate the database in real-time, but in an environment that everyone’s familiar with Microsoft Excel. And then finally, we use Crystal Reports, which is extremely customizable. So any information, any data that is maintained within the entire system, obviously it’s complete end-to-end, can be interrogated into these reports as well.

[00:23:23.570] – Arjun Bingipur

Yeah, so there are multiple options, how we can get this reporting and dashboard functionality. So we have another question coming in. So what type of manufacturing is DELMIAWorks best at?

[00:23:36.200] – Thomas Grigg

So DELMIAWorks has what’s called manufacturing types, which basically change the structure of the bill of manufacture according to the industry type that we work, that we’re trying to make it fit to, effectively. We’ve got around 28 different manufacturing types at the moment. These include We’ve got manufacturing types, plastics processing, assembly type, compound manufacturing, metal sheetwork. So we’ve got quite a wide range of different types of manufacturing. But what we often find is that these manufacturing types can be also fitted to a range of different industries. If we don’t have a specific manufacturing type, there’s often a synergy with a different one.

Really, DELMIAWorks can fit into a huge range of different types of manufacturing. Historically, we would tend to veer away from engineer to order, configure to order. But obviously now with the link up with SOLIDWorks, we’ve got SOLIDWorks adding. We are now in a position where we can start even doing really quite complex assembly type manufacturing within DELMIAWorks as well.

[00:24:58.440] – Arjun Bingipur

Absolutely. So 28 manufacturing types is the key takeaway for me. Any manufacturers, I’m sure they’ll be within this 28 because it’s a very wide cross-section and we can still make use of those 28 types to configure whatever manufacturing types which are not available. Those would be the primary go-to. And then, as you said, in terms of the engineer to order and configurer to order, we have got multiple solutions within DELMIAWorks with the Dassault Systemes as well.

So there are multiple applications that we can make use to deliver that CTO and ETO functionality along with DELMIAWorks. And also we do have other partners as well that work with DRIVEWorks and so on. I think we are approaching the top end of the hour and no more questions so far. So thanks everyone for attending this webinar. So this will be distributed as a recording to you later on. And if you’ve got any questions or anything you want to find out more, feel free to contact us and we’ll be in touch with you. Otherwise, have a great rest of the day.

Thank you very much. Bye!

Posted by Joe on 13th May 2024.