epic ERP, a Southern African distributor for Epicor Software, hosted the Epicor Customer Summit 2019 where the highlight of the day was intense debate on how digital technology trends and relating disruptive technologies are in the space now to make or break business.
In South Africa, manufacturing only contributes 13% of the annual GDP. KPMG recently reported that two out of three manufacturing CEOs are anxious about their ability to keep pace with technology. If modern technology was embraced, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) prediction of South Africa reaching 1.4% in GDP growth in 2019 is a distinct possibility.
Andy Coussins, senior vice-president and head of international for Epicor Software, says: “Change is happening, and many South African companies now find themselves trapped with legacy technologies. In order to capitalise on future growth opportunities a change in mindset is needed. Adopting disruptive technology will allow companies to adapt to changing market conditions, gain competitive advantage, and improve overall operations and profits.”
Chantell Ilbury, a scenario strategist, sheds light on South Africa’s mind set when it comes to new technology adaptation that will be perceived as disruptive to the existing status quo.
Ilbury advises: “Most South African companies are afraid of change and would rather be locked into legacy systems to feel safe. But without becoming more agile and moving forward they are simply letting their business stagnate, they will soon find out that companies who have embraced and adapted to rapid market changes through technology will be successful.”
In order to enable digital transformation capabilities, companies need to realise that they have to overcome the barriers/processes that limit their IT infrastructure from digitising.
To do so, logic dictates that the necessary IT services have to be in place to facilitate rapid availability and scale. This will make it easier to deliver demand-oriented access to innovative applications at any time, whether for pilot projects or standard processes, allowing your company to embrace the advantages of ‘disruptive’ technologies and ensure sustainable growth and enhanced market relevance.
Some examples of advantageous disruptive technology include:
* Digital twinning – Digital twinning enables engineers to create virtual product prototypes and maintain virtual representations of these products, making necessary amendments to optimise its business performance. Digital twinning is valuable for product development and digital twins can be utilised to simulate an asset’s operations through the creation of digital simulations.
* Artificial intelligence for robotics and planning – Large manufacturing companies have already begun using AI to empower enhanced material purchasing and decision allocation. This will allow for more accurate prediction on delivery times and volumes based on capacity and planned and unplanned downtime. Others are exploring how predictive analytics and AI could enable them to reinvent capacity planning and achieve a more predictable performance.
* Real-time visibility for business decision making – Advance business analytics provide the visibility to make immediate and impactful decisions that drive bottom-line results. Having instant access to the data that underpins company performance allows for better planning, scheduling and resourcing as well as providing an actionable long term financial and operational outlook.
* Blockchain in the supply chain – Blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions. This uses cryptography to manage secure access to the enterprise blockchain ledger, and once a block of data is recorded on the ledger, it is extremely difficult to change or remove.
Implementing blockchain technology can revolutionise the supply chain, delivering the transparency, scalability, and enhanced security that makes it easier and safer for businesses to work together over the internet. When connected to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, this technology can also provide executives with real-time and robust data.
According to Hesham El Komy, regional vice president for Epicor Software in the Middle East, Africa and India (MEAI): “Legacy systems can lead to a data overload, making it difficult to manage a growing wealth of information – which includes details related to financial transactions, inventory and production processes. Information overload puts workers under pressure which can reduce their ability to make accurate business decisions. Transversely, modern technology, such as Epicor ERP, allows companies to be agile, adopt new technology and innovate at a greater rate than ever before.”
In its recent study, Deloitte observes that organisations from every industry face mounting pressure to transform and make the shift from product-centric business models to capture other sources of value. Interviews conducted by Deloitte with manufacturing executives highlight a worrying trend that interviewees expressed concern that their organisations are not preparing or moving fast enough to address future disruptions on the horizon.
“From this Deloitte study we can see that the trepidation around embracing digital trends comes with the literal fear of disruption to legacy systems that have created cemented processes that hamper a company’s growth,” says Stuart Scanlon, Managing Director of epic ERP South Africa.
“That being said, we are proud to showcase at our event today the number of South African businesses that have managed to be ahead of the curve and embrace digital trends that made them far more competitive on the local market.”