It's time for SA's electronics industry to switch to modern systems to stay current
The global marketplace is dominated by constant innovations in technology, business processes, and business management systems. Now, more than ever, companies have to keep up with the rapid pace of technology to maintain a competitive advantage. New electronic components are required, manufactured and introduced to the market on a daily basis and competition among suppliers and manufacturers is rife. Small and medium manufacturers in the local electronics industry need to switch to the right business management systems to ensure their businesses stay current.
"Accurately keeping track of stock, parts, and industry regulations, whilst managing the entire supply chain from design through to delivery, can be a real challenge for SMEs", says Craig Johnston, of Bluekey Seidor. "Fortunately, the advancement of business management technology has made it possible for SMEs to do just that with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, such as SAP Business One."
Johnson explained how implementing an integrated business management system will help local electronic components manufacturers effectively address some of the main challenges that these businesses face on a daily basis.
"Considering that a PC board can be made up of a thousand different components, it is very easy to understand how arduous stock takes and inventory tracking can become" he said. "Having complete visibility over stock levels improves cash flow, as procurement and production can be scheduled to match demand and supply." According to Johnston, most companies can't afford the financial burden of carrying excess stock for extended periods, nor holding stock that is not selling.
An integrated management system ensures that businesses can adhere to strict quality and safety requirements, as well as industry best-practices, through automatic alerts and approvals. Processes can be standardised and automatic alerts can be set up to quickly respond to predefined triggers and situations. In the event of recalls, stock can be traced from the design phase all the way through to the finished goods being sold.
Supply chain visibility
An integrated system streamlines inventory management and optimises purchasing to ensure that project budgets and manufacturing timeframes can be met. Knowing the lead times of your suppliers for ordering parts and having real-time information about stock levels means that management are able to make informed decisions around procurement. For example, managers are now able to make more profitable decisions to capitalise on discounts, and could place bulk orders at a reduced price to match demand. This level of supply chain visibility and real-time insight may have a positive effect on profit margins.
Streamlined processes will inevitably enhance employee and operational productivity which leads to an overall increase in efficiency. "With an integrated business system, data only needs to be captured once and processes can be standardised to ensure the accuracy of information that can be shared across all departments." Johnston said. "This not only reduces the possibility of human error, it also saves valuable time to allow employees to focus on the tasks at hand and growing the business instead of manually consolidating Excel sheets or transferring data from one system to another."