The time to modernize processes in your manufacturing business is now

The time to modernize processes in your manufacturing business is now

How much are outdated processes, inefficiencies and legacy applications costing your business? It’s hard to pin down numbers about bottom-line impact, but what we do know is sobering:

- Forty percent of manufacturers are concerned about lack of visibility into the supply chain.[1]

- Eighty-three percent of global manufacturers place operational complexity among their top concerns.[2]

- Poorly functioning IT systems have caused:

          - Lower employee productivity for 42 percent of firms2

          - Late product shipments for 42 percent of firms2

          - A rise in customer complaints for 38 percent of firms2

- More than half of business users who responded to a survey conducted by Harris Poll say that too much time is spent on managing processes (such as approvals, expenses and document management) versus conducting actual business at the workplace.[3]

These data points suggest that processes and technology, things that are supposed to simplify and enable manufacturing, are instead very often getting in the way. However, because inefficient processes and outdated technologies are often deeply entrenched in the organization, they can be very difficult to change.

Material requisitions got you down?

Take material requisitions as an example. This fundamental process is the one that gets materials from the warehouse (or suppliers) to the factory floor for production. Many organizations still use paper-based processes and manual workflows for material requisitions, despite the fact that these processes are error prone and known to cause delays. The paper forms must be routed around the office for approval, but the process sometimes stalls if an approver is on vacation or if a form gets stuck in an inbox that is too full. The requester often does not know the cause of the roadblock and has no way to predict when the required materials will arrive from the warehouse. This clunky process makes it difficult to commit to a production schedule, which can affect profitability and customer satisfaction.

Most manufacturers have a number of additional critical processes, many of which drain resources due to inefficiency. Think quality assurance, document management, product-design updates, price changes and other, similar processes. These processes often evolve organically as the business grows over time, so systems on which they depend become isolated, and workflows stay the same for years.

Get process out of the way of business

For some IT professionals, the term “modernization” calls forth images of a company-wide rip and replace of equipment and applications. They think that changing workflows and processes requires an unlimited budget and a small army of system implementers and application developers.

But modernization doesn’t have to be that way. You might already know that to stay current and competitive, manufacturers like yourself must trade out slow, manual processes and paper-driven tasks for automated workflows and digital forms. What you might not know is that this transformation could be within your reach — without an army of coders and without a dramatic overhaul of existing systems.

A business-application platform could be the shortest path to modernization. Business apps can integrate with your existing systems and provide digital forms, automated workflows and comprehensive insights to streamline outdated processes.

Business applications are an easier way

Business applications let you modernize while continuing to leverage your current IT investments. Because they connect to your line-of-business (LOB) systems and data sources, whether on premises or in the cloud, business apps can give greater visibility into internal processes. The right business-application platform uses the security architecture of the underlying systems and opens a secure conduit to information in real-time so that data never has to leave its system of record. Drag-and-drop visual tools allow you to create digital forms and automated workflows that can help reduce old bottlenecks, improving your overall manufacturing process flow and speed.

See how business applications could impact your business

K2’s latest on-demand webinar explores common challenges that can be resolved with business applications and takes a close look at two specific scenarios: price changes and material requisitions. Watch the on-demand webinar now to see K2 streamline these processes and to get a taste of how you can transform the way business gets done in your organization, or download the latest K2 whitepaper, “Modernization is no longer optional: how business apps solve manufacturing challenges,” to read all about it.


[1] KPMG. “Global Manufacturing Outlook 2014: Performance in the crosshairs.” May 2014.

[2] Ipanema Technologies. “The application gap in manufacturing.”

[3] Survey of business users conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of K2.