Fast tracking operational efficiencies with MOM and ERP, written by James Robinson, APAC Vice President for Services, SYSPRO

Australia’s manufacturing industry continues to adapt to an ever-evolving business environment. Despite challenges, the sector remains focused on meeting global demands while keeping costs low and waste to a minimum. One noticeable shift has been Australian manufacturers’ ability to seek out improved efficiencies and increased productivity through the adoption of advanced technologies designed for manufacturers.

According to the 2023 CommBank Manufacturing Insights Report, Australian manufacturers are prioritising investment in new technology as their top business focus for the upcoming year, with 87% of manufacturers planning to increase their technology-related spending. This inclination is even higher in regional locations, where 99% of manufacturers intend to boost their investments in new technology. Additionally, businesses in the manufacturing sector are looking to enhance efficiency, productivity, quality and capacity as key objectives in the next 12 months.

The Manufacturing Insights Report also found that manufacturers are not only focusing on established technologies but are also exploring emerging ones to drive efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.

The report also found that anticipated growth areas in technology adoption over the next two years include next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems at 31%, autonomous systems and equipment at 31%, and artificial intelligence at 30%. These trends underscore a commitment among Australian manufacturers to embrace cutting-edge technology to remain competitive and responsive to evolving market demands.

Manufacturing is undoubtedly a globally competitive field and it often grapples with market volatility and unpredictable conditions. For domestic manufacturers in Australia, maintaining operational efficiency can be a considerable challenge. However, there are solutions available that can provide a competitive edge by improving operational efficiencies.

To enhance operational efficiency in manufacturing, it is crucial for manufacturers to fully embrace connected and automated manufacturing processes. Digital transformation, involving the integration of machines to obtain real-time data without manual inputs, is a key driver of efficiency and transparency in managing operational performance.

In today’s manufacturing landscape, data is a critical asset. Many manufacturing businesses possess an abundance of data sources that can often operate independently. To harness the full potential of big data analytics and operational optimisation, it’s essential to ensure seamless interoperability between these data sources. Each machine theoretically generates megabytes of data that often go underutilised but when managed through one system, managers can make better data-driven decisions for the business.

The AF Gason Australian Success Story

AF Gason, renowned for designing and manufacturing top-tier broadacre farm machinery, industrial and wood-heating products, has made significant strides in improving its operations. In 2011, the business needed an enterprise system that could be used across the entire length of its supply chain to ensure one source of the truth. This Australian company has efficiently embraced modern technology by implementing SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), with SYSPRO Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), to streamline its manufacturing processes.

MOM focuses on plant-wide manufacturing lifecycle management, covering planning, scheduling, data collection, analysis and optimisation. Within MOM, the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) integrated with an ERP system ensures precise control over manufacturing operations, reducing costs and improving quality.

AF Gason achieved a remarkable 100% improvement in its results over the past few years. Job recording accuracy levels improved by more than 20% and shop floor efficiency increased nearly 50%. This success is attributed to the ability to harness data effectively, enabling better decision-making across the organisation.

The AF Gason success story is just one example that demonstrates the potential for Australian manufacturers to achieve operational efficiency and stay ahead in a highly competitive global market. This success story highlights the transformative impact of ERP systems and Industry 4.0 technologies, emphasising the importance of data-driven decision-making in today’s manufacturing landscape.

The key takeaway

According to ABS data, around 905,000 people were employed in the manufacturing sector in March 2023 – representing about one in every 16 Australian workers. The Australian manufacturing industry earnings grew 17.8% in 2021-22, representing a $7.6bn increase. During this same period, the industry value added (IVA) for manufacturing, which is the measure of the contribution by businesses to gross domestic product, increased by 15.2% (A$16.1bn). This is a positive direction for the industry and one that technology adoption will help to try to maintain.

As Australia’s manufacturing sector continues to evolve and navigate global challenges, digital acceleration, and Industry 4.0 technologies are becoming essential tools. By embracing these innovations and understanding the value of interconnectedness through an ERP system, manufacturers can gain the competitive edge needed to thrive in the post-pandemic world.

Implementing an ERP that has a MOM system will ensure effective execution of manufacturing operations to help improve efficiency. Only by understanding and harnessing the technologies driving Industry 4.0 and understanding the value of ERP, will manufacturers achieve the competitive edge they are seeking.