Complexity of ops big issue for discrete manufacturers

Posted on 12 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

A new report by Infor and IBM surveying 722 senior manufacturing executives has found operational complexity one of the biggest challenges faced by discrete manufacturers.

The survey of 722 senior executives across automotive, metal fabrication, industrial machinery and equipment, and high-tech electronics industries, found that 52.8% declared their operations to be more or significantly more complex than five years ago.

Authored by IDC Manufacturing Insights and sponsored by Infor and IBM, the white paper is the largest global survey into the discrete manufacturing sector. Amongst those surveyed included CEOs, COOs and CFOs from the UK, US, Germany, France, Benelux, Japan, China and Brazil.

The automotive and high tech industries reported the greatest acceleration of complexity reporting 55.2% and 56.1% respectively. Driving down costs and achieving profitability tops today’s business concerns but customer fulfillment is heralded as the most important business initiative in achieving these challenges. This marking a significant change from manufacturers’ sole focus on cost cutting at the peak of the financial crisis in 2009.

The report also revealed a significant difference in the way in which different economies are attempting to combat the recession. In Western Europe and the US, a conservative ‘back to basics’ strategy of customer retention and productivity ranks high on the agenda.

This contrasts with Japan and China where innovation and development of new products and services rank highest – a much more aggressive, expansionist strategy.

Better demand planning and forecasting presents the biggest gap in improving operational excellence when respondents were asked to rank current performance against desired performance over the next two years.

For additional resources on this subject, see the white paper Beating Complexity, Achieving Operational Excellence (IDCWP15S, July 2010) via the link below