During my 25 years of selling and implementing business systems, I have had the opportunity to interact with hundreds of Canadian manufacturing companies. It’s well-documented (and hotly debated) that Canadian manufacturers could be doing more to improve productivity within their organizations. In an article published in the Globe and Mail, Barrie McKenna states:
“…weak productivity growth and lack of competitiveness is costing the country more than $70 billion a year in exports.”
In his article, McKenna notes that Canadian manufacturers have historically depended on the low value of the Canadian dollar to maintain price competitiveness. Manufacturers in Canada rely on acquiring innovation from the United States, while investments in technology and equipment by U.S. companies enable them to produce more with fewer workers. In turn, Canadian manufacturers are able to remain globally competitive.
This article closely mirrors what I see in the marketplace. Canadian companies are investing too little in technology that will help make them more competitive in the global marketplace. Many of the companies we are speaking with have not done any significant business system upgrades since Y2K. FYI, that was 16 years ago!
I strongly encourage companies that are looking to upgrade their existing business systems to take a look at how Microsoft’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) offering, the new Microsoft Dynamics AX (aka AX 7) will help Canadian companies close the productivity gap by providing:
- Improved agility and time-to-value
- Improved business insight
- Improved user adoption through a modern user interface
- Reduced labour costs
- Reduced transportation costs
These are all important considerations for a Canadian manufacturer looking to implement a new business system to improve productivity.
Improved Agility and Time to Value:
A recent study by Richard Forster, a Yale professor, noted that we are living in a world of unprecedented change. To illustrate this he conducted a study that looked at the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500.
- Back in the 1920s, the average company lifespan was 67 years.
- By the 1980s, this was reduced to 25 years, and 15 years in 2010.
- By the 2020s, he predicts that only 25% of the companies on the S&P 500 today will exist and 75% will be companies that are not on the index today.
This is driven largely by the inability of these companies to transform themselves quickly enough to adapt to changes in the marketplace. Business transformation is often hindered by the ERP systems they are running which, in effect, act like cement shoes.
A key design focus of Microsoft Dynamics AX 7 enables companies to redesign business processes faster and speed up the deployment of these changes.
The new Dynamics AX, with a cloud deployment and an HTML 5 browser, provides significant benefits, including:
- No hardware to procure or setup
- No server software to install
- No client software to install
- Access to full capabilities of the solution on any device from any location
- Disaster Recovery and Data Backup is managed by Microsoft, thereby reducing IT costs
- Performance scales up automatically to accommodate for spikes in application usage
- Fast deployment of other Microsoft components that integrate with Microsoft Dynamics AX, e.g.
With no hardware to procure or setup, and no software to install, a subscription license model and fast deployment of solutions, such as Power BI, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, can cut about 2 months off your standard implementation time, while eliminating significant CAPEX costs.
Improved Business Insight:
In any business or organization, access to information can be critical to meeting personal goals, accomplishing team objectives, and achieving overall business success. Yet across the organizational spectrum, from the individual worker to executives steering overall strategy, people today often feel engulfed by information — too much of it, stored in too many places, with no efficient process for pulling it together, extracting what’s needed, and making sense of the results.
ERP systems have historically been great at capturing data but the ability to turn this into actionable information is where the challenge lies.
By moving to a single Microsoft Dynamics AX solution, we empower people to quickly find and understand the data they need, which will help them better manage the business.
Within Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft has done a great job of surfacing relevant data through the use of:
- Power BI
- SSRS for reporting and 20+ SSAS Data Cubes
See how the new Microsoft Dynamics AX will help increase user adoption within your manufacturing business, as well as reduce your labour and transportation costs in part two.