Top Challenges Facing the Manufacturing Industry and How ERP Can Help


An expanding economy and retiring Baby Boomers are opening the door for US manufacturing jobs, which have been growing at double-digit rates since 2017. Emerging technologies and lean manufacturing processes are further priming the industry for innovation and change. The economic and job landscape in the United States today is ripe with opportunity—and with significant challenges for manufacturers.

Skilled labor shortage

The gap between manufacturing job openings and skilled workers is widening, with a projected 2.4 million jobs that will be unfilled between 2018 and 2028, according to findings from the 2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Skills Gap and Future of Work Study. Sixty percent of report respondents ranked the skills shortage as having a high or very high impact on productivity over the next three years. The inability to respond to new market opportunities, failure to support innovation and new product development, and struggle to maintain or increase production levels to satisfy growing customer demands are other effects of this significant labor shortage.

This intensely competitive environment requires agility for organizations to stay ahead of the game.

Learning from machines

The manufacturing industry is implementing smart technologies at a rapid rate. Devices are being powered by the Internet of Things, processes improved by automation, and applications transformed by artificial intelligence. These intelligent machines gather data that power predictive maintenance and productivity improvement. Many manufacturers struggle to aggregate, analyze, and make sense of such vast quantities of data.

With exponential change set in motion by machine learning, manufacturing requirements do not stand still, and systems must be flexible.

From lean processes to streamlined systems

Many manufacturing organizations have adopted lean processes, thereby eliminating waste and boosting productivity. Product timelines are tight, and projects are cost and quality sensitive. In this environment, manufacturers must be expert project managers. In many organizations, duplicate back-end systems derail efficiency because workers spend time entering the same data in several places. Manufacturers must prioritize the switch to a centralized system that helps to support task completion, rather than prohibit it.

The move to lean manufacturing requires real-time and accurate information from one streamlined system.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP for Manufacturing

To meet today’s manufacturing challenges, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft’s powerful Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, ensures companies can respond quickly to changing demands. This ERP solution provides the following benefits to manufacturing organizations.

  • Streamlines and integrates manufacturing management processes. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, reduce raw material inventory, close periods and production run preparation time, boost production without increasing overhead, and reduce operating costs by replacing highly disparate systems with a single unified platform.

  • Reclaims control of resource planning and scheduling. Manufacturers can automatically re-plan production sequences when sales demand changes, optimize use of raw material stock, operate master plans for agile forecasting and rescheduling on demand, and create on-the-fly bills of material and routes for sales and production variants.

  • Tightly controls costs. Organizations can view work-in-progress activities with actual costs and timelines, avoid potential delays and overruns, and reduce stock holding cost by applying just-in-time principles to warehouse.

  • Increases visibility and access to critical data. Using this software, optimize and automate vital purchasing, sales, and production decisions; advance, delay, or combine purchase orders and out-work orders dynamically as demand changes; and track sales and manufacturing order status in real-time to meet customer requirements.

With its focus on manufacturing, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a strong solution for today’s challenging industry landscape. Microsoft Gold-certified ERP software partner, BroadPoint, offers Microsoft Dynamics 365 with support from its team of expert consultants.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free consultation with BroadPoint’s Microsoft ERP experts today!

Zach Volpicelli