At the Infor seminar that took place on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 in Johannesburg, Craig Simpson, the lead analyst for manufacturing insights at IDC, CEMA, commented on the largest survey into global discrete manufacturing ever undertaken in partnership with Infor.

“Revenue, profitability and raw material costs remain three of the main concerns for manufacturing companies in 2010 and 2011, with energy and fuel cost concerns skyrocketing to the top of the list,” says Simpson.
“According to the research findings, South African manufacturers are embarking on a more aggressive and risky approach that is focusing on extending into new markets and finding new customers.
"The third world market is also actively developing innovative products and developing new services in the face of adapting to an ever changing market. The first world manufacturing market is a vastly different playing field, with manufacturers following a more conservative route that focuses on retaining and growing existing customers and improving productivity,” says Simpson.
Arsenin Rodriguez, the strategic solutions director for Infor, says that innovation has become a core activity for manufacturers.
“Innovation is the key to how manufacturers plan to meet their strategic objectives. Support is, however, needed to ensure that their investments match their ambitions,” says Rodriguez.
The availability of skilled resources is ranked as the top inhibitor to innovation.
“The prevailing lack of skills in South Africa is a very real threat to the intellectual property that we offer to customers. Many companies are outsourcing key functional aspects of their business to outside providers that are essentially diluting the unique product offering that you give to the end-user, and that is something we need to guard against,” concludes Simpson.