Our experts in digital technology for SMEs took part in discussions on the importance of industry 4.0 for manufacturers in the UK, at the recent Northern Powerhouse Advanced Manufacturing Conference.
The conference, organised by Insider magazine, took place on 27 June in Greater Manchester and was opened by presentations from Barry Leahey, Managing Director for Playdale Playgrounds and Richard Hagan, Managing Director for Crystal Doors. Both SME owners spoke about their challenges in adopting industry 4.0 principles and practices within their organisation. They shared their journey on how these transformations had led to opportunities within their business, organisational culture and people.
In recent years both businesses have been on incredibly challenging journeys to shift the mindset of their people towards embracing the use of technology, automation and data within the workplace. Emphasising how crucial these changes have been in their business’s success, both leaders spoke in detail about the need to transform and adopt technology in order to grow and remain competitive in their respective markets.
During their Q and A session both business leaders highlighted the importance of collaboration and empowering their people to have ownership of their work and results. They explained how having a central ERP system that allows this cross-department collaboration and brings together a range of business processes such as financial performance data, stock control, CRM and business intelligence was a crucial piece in their journey.
Adam Rawlins, SAP Business One consultant and digital transformation specialist, emphasised this point and said: “Having an ERP system means that businesses can automate many processes that previously may have been done manually, such as stock monitoring and order processing, raising orders, processing payments etc. The ERP system is the central hub, the first step in the transition for businesses adopting industry 4.0. It allows business leaders to share and manipulate data across departments in real time, giving them accurate business insight to make decisions about their organisation’s future direction and trends.”
The conference provided positive networking opportunities for manufacturing business owners to share ideas and make contacts with organisations such as Made Smarter and Growth Hub, who are supporting SMEs with funding projects to encourage digital transformation.
As main sponsors, digital transformation experts Gary McKnight and Adam Rawlins from DCS were on hand during the day to speak to businesses about the essential IT infrastructure a business needs to have in place in order to encourage collaboration and start using data analytics to make decisions.
Other speakers at the conference included: Raam Shanker, Equitus Engineering; Rob Childe, Pinsent Masons; Tahir Mahmood, Prevayl; Philippa Glover, CNC Robotics and Martin Leeming, TrakRap. The event was held in association with the Department for International Trade.
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