It’s an inescapable IT need of every modern-day business: system integration. Of course, every business is unique and approaches systems integrations with different needs. But in manufacturing, those needs are exacerbated by often antiquated processes and overly customized technology platforms. That may be why over 80 percent of surveyed manufacturing and plant organizations said integration management takes anywhere from a moderate to a great deal of time. At least half of manufacturers are actively using integrations for enterprise systems, plant, equipment, and IT data. But are they using these integrations as efficiently as they could be? More often than not, the answer is an exasperated no.
Integrations can get messy fast, and when you haphazardly introduce too many into the back-end systems of a manufacturing organization, the risks are even higher. Based on our years of experience implementing large-scale transformations for top-tier manufacturers, we’ve noticed a few repeating themes for the best way to approach integrations in the industry that we’d like to share.
Embrace fundamental process changes
This is perhaps the most critical thing your organization can do to handle system integrations with ease: manage change wisely and embrace the new processes and tools that will come along with it. In manufacturing, the back-end systems are often made up of various platforms and tools that have been piece by piece duct-taped together just to get by. On top of that, several of these tools may be several decades old and actually holding the organization back.
A thorough examination of manufacturing integrations and clean-up of those no longer benefitting the company for the long run will demand employees in every department to adapt. In the process of eliminating manual processes and archaic technologies, you’ll have to cut the status quo comfort of certain tools. Keeping Salesforce in line with back-office financial systems, for example, will require you to sync payments, credit memos, etc. with the back-office system and potentially get rid of other integrations no longer…
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