Chad Gates, Managing Director / CEO, Pronto Software Ltd
The lessons of the pandemic have made real-time data more critical than ever in optimising manufacturing processes to minimise waste and maximise profitability.
The story of manufacturing has written significant new chapters during the past few years. Many have documented how the challenges of global supply chains have forced many industries to find new solutions closer to home.
How temporary will those changes be? Or will wider pressures encourage permanent rebalancing of when and where we produce what we need? We’ve seen many of our own Pronto Xi ERP customers in the manufacturing industry working hard to turn short-term challenges into long-term opportunity – and data is key to claiming every inch of advantage.
Physical to digital
Manufacturing closer to home has certainly been a rapidly rising business category. At Pronto Software we’ve seen manufacturing become the number one industry in terms of new customers over the past five years. Finding new ways to automate and optimise manufacturing processes is clearly key to seeing this growth, and watching the ways in which our customers have adapted has been exciting to watch.
We see some customers with product lines as long as 1.5km long who now interface with our Enterprise Resource Planning software at every stop of the line. IoT interfaces deliver data hooks throughout the production process, delivering real-time data that enhances their capacity planning, work order management and waste reduction strategies.
With highly complex bills of materials involved, making data-driven decisions has unlocked potential to achieve new optimisations for turning raw volumes into maximised output quantities. At Pronto Software, we’ve seen customers embracing our shop floor optimisation tools to help ensure their manufacturing processes are as efficient as possible.
We’ve even seen customers capturing all shop floor waste wood chips and unlocking new business opportunities, whether by feeding the waste back into the supply chain or finding new customers to sell to – it’s this type of innovation that sets our customers apart from their competitors.
Waste reduction has never been more important to achieving efficiency in manufacturing. With supply chain uncertainty leading to poor availability of raw materials and greater price volatility, maximising the output of every input is not just ideal but essential. And as cost-driven as these decisions can be, they also feed into a future where sustainability becomes a compliance question for the customers of manufacturers.
The Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 is also bringing significant new compliance demands to larger members of the industry. Securing manufacturing processes will be enhanced through deeper data integration, with visibility a key factor in ensuring systems are appropriately protected and are monitored in real-time for unexpected interruptions or modifications.
We feel strongly that our own cloud solution helps with security assurance for customers with high security requirements, using containerisation technology to keep every customer environment logically separated.
More broadly, in our recent survey of Australian CEOs we found that one-third of CEOs indicated cloud computing is an extremely low priority this year, while investing more in tools like Enterprise Resource Planning software are higher on the agenda. This feels like a reflection of moving beyond that ‘first step’ into transformation and toward the work of securing real value from data-driven systems now that the foundations are in place.
Data must be useful
All the IoT sensors in the world won’t deliver improved business outcomes if the data isn’t being put to work effectively. And for different members of an enterprise, what they need from the data captured across the business will be highly variable.
As workforces have made the hybrid shift in recent years, we’ve seen a need to make our Enterprise Resource Planning platform more flexible for not just the different roles within a business, but also the different devices it will be viewed on.
We’ve added more responsive interfaces to ensure every staff member can access what they need, wherever they need it. Whether that’s a sales executive on their phone on the road, a warehouse worker on a tablet, or a manager on a big screen at their desktop.
That flexibility also extends to a Software Solution Partner program that gives our customers confidence in a variety of third-party features and services that integrate directly into the Pronto Xi platform. From two-way integration with CAD systems and our Bill of Materials management, to e-invoicing, freight and more. We know we can’t do everything ourselves, so helping our customers get full value from the data they’ve captured in our Enterprise Resource Planning software is an important part of proving our commitment to being a true partner in their success.
We’ve grown closer to our customers than ever before through the challenges of the pandemic. It’s our great fortune to have built long-term partnerships with many of them through our 40 years, and we’re excited to see how manufacturing continues to evolve as a local industry through this period of rapid change.