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Top game-changing trends facing 'complex businesses'

Supplier: Cincom Systems of Australia By: Maria Mourikis
02 December, 2014

During the 40 years Cincom Systems has operated in Australia, they've developed a solid foundation helping businesses solve their complex business problems with IT.

They often find themselves telling people they are specialists in complex enterprises. But just what are 'complex enterprises'?

The official answer given has been: "businesses that sell make manage and service highly engineered products or services based on customer-specific proposals, contracts or projects."

The simple answer however, is if there is something non-transactional, not straightforward about the way your business operates.

Complexity can occur in configurable and custom products and services, areas of high regulation and compliance standards, multinational organisations with various processes, businesses that structure work around projects or contracts and more.

In Australia some of the common industries that feature complex businesses include: industrial equipment and machinery; high technology, electronics and medical devices; construction and HVAC; defence and ship building; infrastructure services and utilities; and financial services.

According to our latest survey of complex businesses in Australia, they found the following top game changing trends facing complex businesses:

3D printing

This is not a new technology, but over the past few years 3D printing has developed into a real alternative to the traditional casting or machining of parts and now has a real potential to disrupt many of the notions we have about manufacturing and plant operation.

Some high-growth industries for 3D are: medical devices, automotive, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and aerospace markets – all part of the complex manufacturing landscape.

Incorporation of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) sales functionality into traditional ERP systems

Advanced configuration guides designed specifically for complex, customised products – coupled with  dynamic, real-time pricing calculations tied directly into company financial systems extend traditional core ERP functionality and ensure fast, accurate quotes.

CPQ capabilities integrated with ERP functionality provide customers with exactly what they ordered in a much more timely manner than with traditional, siloed systems.

Mobile device use for operations and warehouse functions

Mobile is already in ERP. Smartphones are connecting field sales to back-office apps, and tablets are being used in field service to help with diagnostics, part inventory and schematics for complex products. But what about on the shop floor?

Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, cites three specific areas where mobility delivers potential advantage: 1) safety, quality or compliance; 2) information delivery; and 3) approvals and routings.

More and more, workers are being asked to perform multiple duties that require multiple applications and wide-ranging data access. Together with ERP, mobile devices are maximising the effectiveness of the employee and consequently the entire manufacturing operation.