On-demand Manufacturing: A Formula for the Perfect Lean Market, and an Imperative in Today’s Economic Climate

For today’s small to medium manufacturers, increasing the bottom line while optimizing efficiency poses an increasingly difficult challenge, especially in our current economic crisis. This, coupled with competition in a global environment, puts manufacturers in a tight spot. Discover the key challenges facing small to medium manufacturers, and the on-demand solutions you can leverage to sustain and win business.

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Introduction

For today's small to medium manufacturers, increasing the bottom line while optimizing efficiency poses an increasingly difficult challenge, especially in our current economic crisis. This need, coupled with competition in a global environment, puts manufacturers in a tight spot. Manufacturing has become a global activity, new methods of production have developed, and global sourcing has become a crucial element for a manufacturer's survival. The time for execution of best practices at the lowest total operating costs possible is now. 

There are a number of challenges facing today's small to medium manufacturers: 

  • impaired growth due to small IT infrastructures 
  • environmental pressures 
  • compliance issues 
  • minimal global visualization in the supply chain 
  • decreased information flow among manufacturers, suppliers, and business partners
Due to the complex nature of the global manufacturing environment, manufacturers must find a way to overcome these issues and better compete in order to survive in our current economic climate.

Today, the Internet has grown into a collaborative tool for manufacturing organizations, and many firms can now access vital information using the Web. New tools and techniques are being used to move many existing enterprise applications onto a Web-based platform and migrating them to a more service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Because of their limited resources, it can be difficult for small to medium businesses (SMBs) to communicate with global suppliers and distributors. The introduction of new on-demand manufacturing solutions can help small to medium manufacturers—which often do not have the large IT infrastructure that bigger manufacturing firms have— to both grow and focus on their core business, as well as compete with their larger counterparts. On-demand manufacturing solutions allow midmarket manufacturers to concentrate on the future growth of their operations, without having to invest heavily in large IT infrastructures. 

Leveraging on-demand levels the playing field and allows best practices in manufacturing to become attainable for midmarket manufacturers. Deployment and preservation of capital is key in these economic times, and leveraging a tier-one on-demand infrastructure without capital outlay will greatly help midmarket manufacturing to sustain and win business now. With the potential for slower growth in orders in the foreseeable future, applying lean principles to IT and your supply chain becomes an imperative, not a nice-to-have. 

On-demand software alternatives, along with supply chain management (SCM) software, can facilitate collaboration among players in the supply chain, accounting, human resources (HR), and financials. This collaboration with multiple suppliers and distributors—as well as easy access to information—will provide the competitive edge SMBs require.

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