Manufacturing Company Inefficiencies 3

Efficiency in manufacturing is straightforward: You need to produce more faster. But doing so while maintaining quality output can be a challenge. 

Even with the best intentions and the latest technology, including SAP ERP and supporting applications, you could find several factors are working against you. These roadblocks can hinder production quality, ramp up costs and even lower customer satisfaction. Read on to learn about six common obstacles to optimal manufacturing efficiency and how to overcome them.

1. Manual processes and human errors

Manual manufacturing processes are a liability. They’re time-consuming and can lead to costly mistakes with long-term repercussions. One wrong entry or miscalculation can cause delays, errors and a cascade of issues that disrupt your entire operation.

Consider a scenario in which an operator might mistakenly schedule two critical production tasks at the same time. Machines sit idle waiting for materials that aren’t ready, workers stand by with nothing to do and your production timeline stretches further than planned. The financial impacts of such errors accumulate quickly. When there’s chaos on the shop floor, your profit margins erode.

Solution: Automation is the key to mitigating these risks, but robotic process automation (RPA) is limited. Automated orchestration and data processing removes the human error component from the equation. Leveraging sophisticated time- and event-based triggers and real-time data, your workload automation solution can ensure optimal production schedules and allocate your resources efficiently. 

2. Lack of real-time data integration

Operating without real-time data is like driving a car while looking through the rearview mirror. You’re always reacting to outdated information. Disjointed systems and delayed data flows mean your production adjustments are always a step behind. Imagine you’re preparing for a major order, but your inventory data is lagging. You might overestimate your stock levels and end up with a shortage of materials. On the other hand, if you underestimate and over-purchase, you tie up capital in unused inventory. 

Solution: Real-time integration of workload automation (WLA) with your SAP solutions transforms this scenario. Data flows seamlessly across systems, providing you with up-to-the-minute insights. You can make decisions quickly and confidently, become more agile with production plans and be more precise about procurement. 

3. Inefficient resource allocation

When you have to distribute resources manually, you expend excess time and effort. Wasting resources inflates costs, and overlapping jobs create machine downtime and labor inefficiency. Picture a situation where multiple jobs are scheduled on the same machine. The results are bottlenecks and underutilized human capital. 

Solution: Automated resource planning and dynamic load balancing functionality are the answer. By analyzing and allocating resources without human intervention, your automation solution applies all of your assets where they work best. Your machines can be scheduled for maintenance at the right times, and your production will flow smoothly with minimal downtime. 

4. Inconsistent orchestration

If not orchestrated correctly, the wrong execution of background processes and transactions can create bottlenecks that ripple through your production process or cause inconsistent business data. Ad-hoc or only time-based scheduling makes your supply chain delivery timelines unreliable at best. Trying to meet a critical deadline and finding out key jobs were scheduled haphazardly is more than frustrating — it can block your value chain and even tarnish your reputation.

Solution: Adopt a more systematic approach with end-to-end orchestration. That way, you can prioritize individual jobs and transactions based on predefined criteria such as deadlines, resource availability and production requirements. With high-priority tasks completed on time, you don’t have to worry or guess about your operational efficiency.

5. Poor visibility and reporting

Without clear visibility and robust reporting, your team will have trouble identifying issues and optimizing business processes. If decision-makers fly blind, they can’t make informed choices about how to improve operations. Not knowing where bottlenecks are or which machines are underperforming can put a major dent in productivity.

Solution: Advanced reporting tools integrated with your WLA software provide detailed insights into every aspect of the production process. A consolidated solution provides a single pane of glass from which to generate comprehensive reports highlighting key performance metrics and inefficiencies. With better visibility, you can make data-driven decisions and stay proactive.

6. Scalability challenges

As your company grows, so do your production demands. Peak seasons could be particularly complicated. Keeping up with market demands and maintaining customer satisfaction is essential, and siloed automations simply won’t work when you need to accommodate higher volumes without compromising efficiency or quality. Ramping up production for a big order isn’t possible if your existing processes can’t handle the increased workload.

Solution: End-to-end process automation is scalable — so long as you streamline your workflows. Automation solutions can handle increased production volumes, optimize resource allocation and maintain high levels of efficiency even during peak times. Scalability is crucial for meeting market demands and driving growth.

Workload automation: The efficiency booster

Even if you have an ERP system and dedicated manufacturing solutions in place, you might still be losing time and money if your processes are siloed. A robust WLA solution that works across on-premises, hybrid and cloud environments is the secret weapon because it optimizes every aspect of your supply chain management and supports better decision-making.

Automation transforms manufacturing operations for SAP users

With Redwood Software’s portfolio of automation fabric solutions, including SAP’s #1 job scheduler, the manufacturing industry is experiencing big wins.

  1. Table and kitchenware manufacturer WMF optimized its order-to-cash processes across its global subsidiaries. Head of IT Infrastructure Helga Freund refers to RunMyJobs by Redwood as the “orchestration engine” of the organization.
  2. Daikin, a European air conditioning sales and manufacturing company, needed to run 4,500 processes per day, some across legacy systems and partner applications. Using RunMyJobs, the organization reduced overnight processing time and integrated data into one system. 
  3. Leading biotechnology company Genentech reduced stress and delays and achieved 88% process automation with Finance Automation by Redwood.

Download our latest guide on how to maximize the return on your SAP investment with an automation solution built to drive results for manufacturing businesses. 

About The Author

Devin Gharibian-Saki's Avatar

Devin Gharibian-Saki

Devin Gharibian-Saki brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise on enterprise IT, the SAP ecosystem and business process automation to his current role as SVP of Business Development and Strategy at Redwood Software. Experience within product marketing, product management and enterprise software sales enables Devin to drive strategic initiatives and alliances for the organization and unlock new business models and go-to-market strategies. Acting as an executive advocate for the customer, Devin is passionate about delivering the best solutions to make the most out of a customer’s environment. His approach centers on connecting with customers, prospects and partners to better understand how Redwood can help their digital transformation initiatives, improving their automation roadmaps by leveraging a combination of his SAP and process optimization proficiencies.

Prior to working for Redwood, Devin was an SAP Technology Consultant, working directly at SAP and at EnBW, the 3rd latest utility in Germany. Devin holds a diploma in Mathematics from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany and as well as two patents.