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Today, manufacturers face several complex challenges that individually and together impact their operations, competitiveness, and ability to grow. With ongoing supply chain issues and pent-up customer demand, manufacturers want technology to deliver greater visibility, control, and agility. Even when supplies flow freely, manufacturers want to improve operational efficiencies and mitigate labour shortages continually.

30% of manufacturers have visibility challenges into inventory, raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods inventory in the distribution network.

Source: Forrester Research survey for Microsoft, March 2022

To accelerate growth, manufacturers need ways to easily integrate mergers and acquisitions, as well as capture new business opportunities. And to gain competitive advantage, manufacturers seek new ways to improve the customer experience. However, most manufacturers face one major barrier to addressing these challenges: Trying to run their business with an outdated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Many of these legacy ERP systems have become deeply entrenched and highly customised over years of use in one company or manufacturing operation. Now as companies change and grow, it’s clear that traditional, on-premises technology cannot meet a manufacturer’s current needs nor support new business activities. These issues with legacy systems prompt manufacturers to consider migrating to a modern, cloud-based ERP system. This shift is especially true for manufacturers of discrete products and consumer packaged goods.


Held back by Legacy ERP

Legacy ERP systems have often been cobbled together with years-old technology that has been highly customised. Now, these systems cannot adapt easily to new acquisitions or business processes, incorporate new integrations, or scale dynamically. Additionally, many traditional ERP products are no longer supported by the vendor, which increases system risks and limits improvement options. Staff who know how to keep the system working are retiring, and younger employees are not interested in maintaining old technology.

Cloud-based, modern ERP solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 lower costs and provide higher yields, improve outcomes, increase revenue, optimise supply chains, enable mobility, transform safety and security, and improve customer engagement. A modern ERP also enables high-performance customer service, data-driven operations, smart products, and outcome-driven service models.

A third of manufacturers are struggling with analysing and applying data to drive business and process improvements.

Source: Forrester Research survey for Microsoft, March 2022

The use of a data model designed for manufacturing offers several benefits:

  • Accelerates migration and time-to-value for the new ERP system
  • Simplifies deployment because standardised data requires less system customisation
  • Improves data to help business leaders drive outcomes faster, optimise business functions and activity, and release innovation

A common but flawed approach is to focus on migrating the ERP with all data as is, which just moves old data problems onto a new system without any resolution. Instead, the Hitachi Solutions approach is to create a data-first migration plan. This plan creates a new data model for use in Microsoft Dynamics 365 to improve the new system design, ease the migration, and provide new business insights before the transition.

The combination of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Hitachi Solutions consulting services offers a comprehensive ERP solution for manufacturing operations. Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides a cloud-based ERP with manufacturing-focused solutions for supply chain management, customer insights, order and operations management, finance, and more. Services from Hitachi Solutions focus on a data-first strategy that is flexible and scalable to manage the large number of processes, templates, and integrations that must be improved and then deployed at scale in an ERP migration. These services streamline and standardise business processes, prioritise functionality, remove customisations, and eliminate technical debt.

To talk to one of our Industry 4.0 experts and to understand how modern ERP solutions can positively impact your organisation, please get in contact below.