Tough economic times have an effect on all business arenas, and the manufacturing and distribution industry is no exception, says Neil Cormack, EOH Softworx supply chain director.
“It is important during an economic downturn that organisations utilise IT solutions that increase productivity, efficiency and reduce costs.”
Cormack says that the manufacturing and distribution industry should consider strategic use of IT solutions when considering ways to tighten their economic belts. An example is realtime integration of a barcode data collection system with an ERP system.
“This enhanced production and inventory visibility will drive more accurate scheduling. This then also enables the deployment of an advanced production scheduling tool, which can optimise production throughput and allow immediate response  to demand change or supply disruption.
“With demand, inventory and manufacturing plans in place, complex manufacturers strive to deliver that final ‘edge’ of performance by getting down to the details of intelligent production scheduling. The secret to success is for manufacturers to make full use of their production assets and meet demanding dispatch schedule times,” says Cormack.
Production planners require powerful tools and solutions that are integrated with the ERP system and assist in overcoming everyday challenges and changes such as change in demand or disruption in supply.
Cormack says that Infor’s supply chain management (SCM) solutions for manufacturing are functionally advanced and also constraint-based. Taking into account real world situations and providing planners with an off-the-shelf, but configurable and therefore tailor-made solution.
When considering scheduling tools companies should choose a solution that is able to intelligently schedule manufacturing across all production lines to meet customer deliveries, minimise lost time and lower manufacturing costs.
“Accurate and timely decision making is dependent on realtime visibility of the shop floor, tools that help create optimal manufacturing schedules by coordinating plant activities with market demand and production realities provide this insight.”
Cormack concludes that for companies to survive the current economic environment they are being forced to implement IT solutions that lower their downtime and overtime, resulting in higher throughput, lower costs, more reliable customer service and ultimately higher returns.