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The manufacturing and IT industries are set to become even more intwined

says Dave Worsman, MD, Ochiba Business Solutions

Why are Ochiba backing the Manufacturing Management Show?

We believe in the UK manufacturing industry. We’ve spent the past ten years tailoring SAP Business One software to the needs of manufacturing companies. It’s been enhanced to create a leading ERP solution.

The Ochiba OPTIONS range has been developed to answer specific manufacturing needs, such as Engineer to Order, Configure to Order and Projects. We find that most manufacturers can increase productivity and reduce costs by developing their IT systems. With initial investment going into plant, machinery and R&D, we can prove the benefits of investing in IT and what it can deliver.

What are the key challenges facing the UK manufacturing industry?

Manufacturing has changed considerably in the past 20 years. This is mainly due to changes in the supply chain. As well as customers who want tailored products and short time scales. Most sectors have already embraced the lean techniques. However, there are now challenges to ensure systems are driven with the correct forecasts. Especially where end products are hugely configurable.

You either need highly skilled sales, office and technical staff to ensure orders taken are technically possible. Or you need to build the intelligence into your IT systems. By using intelligent forecasting and rules based order entry, your staff and customers become the key to bringing responsive and flexible products to market.

Who is your manufacturing hero?

As an IT veteran of 30 years I would have to say Oliver Wight has been the biggest influence on both IT and manufacturing. His principles educated manufacturers in the 80s and 90s. While some of the techniques he preached have moved on, the knowledge he provided to developers in IT was invaluable. He viewed MRP not as ‘getting software running on the computer’ but as using programs to run the business.

What will the industry look like in 20 years’ time?

The evolution of manufacturing techniques and equipment will define how manufacturing will look in 20 years. There is no doubt that the world of ‘Big Data’ and the ‘Internet of Things’ will accelerate the need for product changes. While actually shortening the gap between product designers and consumers. This will put more pressure on delivering these changes to market to gain the competitive advantage. A lot of UK companies that have relied on design skills and off shore manufacture may well be forced to bring some of the manufacture back in-house.

Ochiba will be exhibiting at The Manufacturing Management Show, Ricoh Arena, Coventry – 22/23 November 2017

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