Manufacturing complexity has increased in the last five years, and is expected to continue to rise over the next three years, according to a global survey of 378 manufacturers in the automotive, aerospace, high-tech electronics, and industrial equipment industries, undertaken by IDC Manufacturing Insights and sponsored by Infor. Conducted in October 2011, the white paper, In Pursuit of Operational Excellence: Accelerating Business Change Through Next Generation ERP, highlights the need for manufacturers to not only confront the complexity challenge but to embrace the opportunity presented by rapid innovation to secure competitive advantage. However, manufacturers across all industries and all regions claim that they are not equipped with adequate tools to achieve this goal.
According to the white paper, manufacturers recognise and acknowledge the increase in complexity and strategies to manage it vary widely across industry sectors according to their unique industry challenges. Automotive and aerospace look toward improved demand planning (60 percent and 57 percent, respectively) to improve operational efficiencies; while high-tech electronics opts for increased sourcing from lower cost countries (49 percent) and better alignment of IT with the business (49 percent). Meanwhile, the industrial machinery sector is seeking to adopt strategies focused mostly on improved customer fulfilment (53 percent). However, the common denominator, according to two-thirds of manufacturers, is that business processes and IT systems fall short of dealing with current levels of complexity.