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Exploiting Digital Technology – Manufacturing Sector

manufacturingIf you run a small manufacturing business you should consider the range of benefits that digital and cloud-based tools and solutions can deliver.

According to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the United Kingdom is currently the eighth largest manufacturing nation in the world, with the sector accounting for 18.57% of the nation’s GDP, employing 2.6 million people and being responsible for 44% of total exports.

Within this sector there are a myriad of small and micro businesses, each adding value at various stages of the supply chain. Inevitably, though, many suffer from a lack of time and money to fully capitalise on their skills and know-how. However, with the advent of Superfast Broadband delivering high speed communications and underpinning access to a growing range of tools and services in the cloud, these companies can streamline their operations and take advantage of a range of exciting new opportunities.

  • Streamlined processes – business apps increasingly offer integration capabilities, allowing access to software systems and business applications to work together. Saving time and facilitating a range of efficiencies. For example, integrating an e-commerce site with credit card processing and online accounting software, whilst automatically generating invoices, text messages and emails to customers.
  • Improved collaboration – cloud-based apps can bring everyone in your team together, no matter where they are, to discuss progress on projects, resolve problems or develop new business opportunities. Whether the team includes suppliers, engineers or the production team, collaboration using a single platform on a local or global scale delivers efficiencies.
  • Getting closer to customers – cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solutions manage the entire customer journey on a single platform, providing a single repository of information where all customer details and contacts are recorded. This ensures that everybody dealing with a customer has access to their full profile, to ensure responsive relationship and improves sales opportunities.
  • Integrated supply chain –incorporating supplier, producer, logistics and distribution channels allows a small manufacturer to have greater visibility of stock and production planning to be able to meet customer demand for delivery deadlines. Sharing data with customers and suppliers in real-time delivers added value and can be a real selling point to new customers.
  • Traceability – audit trails are increasingly important for manufacturing companies, particularly in areas such as food processing and pharmaceuticals. The ability to integrate the audit management system with other business modules delivers essential visibility and control into processes as well as saving significant amounts of time.
  • A joined-up view of your business – Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications help to closely coordinate sales, purchasing, production and inventory. Access to the latest cloud-based ERP systems provides tighter control of manufacturing costs, whilst also helping to improve material requirements planning (MRP) and project planning and control.With the appropriate digital solutions in place you really can increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, speed up the innovation and cycle times of new products, accelerate time-to-market and streamline collaboration processes between your own staff and your business partners and suppliers.

Flann Microwave is a great example of how an already successful company has used digital technology to help take their business to the next level.

Angela Harvey, Head of Operations and Finance at Flann Microwave, comments

“As our business is in a very exciting period of growth it was important that we had streamlined and efficient systems digital technology. We worked with Superfast Business Cornwall to help us “get there faster.” We have used digital tools to facilitate collaboration across the business, vital as our worldwide business grows, this has had a real impact on effectiveness and productivity. Implementing an online time recording system has significantly reduced time spent on admin, as well as delivering substantial improvements in accuracy.

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Created for small to medium sized businesses based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, this practical bank of information contains free to access in-depth guides, top tips, case studies, videos, blogs and more. The content is impartial and written in plain English.

The benefits of adopting digital technology

Funded by ERDF, Superfast Business Cornwall provides a fully funded programme of support to help businesses understand, adopt and exploit digital technology for growth. Delivered by a small team of experienced Digital Business Advisers, the service offers 1-2-1 impartial advice, website reviews, workshops for small groups and advice on connectivity to Superfast Broadband. Grant funding may also be available for new digital projects which help businesses grow and create jobs.

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