Three questions manufacturers in Egypt should address for Digital Transformation success

Three questions manufacturers in Egypt should address for Digital Transformation success

To learn more about how manufacturers in Egypt can leverage digital technology to drive greater operational efficiency, Kerry Koutsikos, Vice President and General Manager of Infor Middle East and Africa, suggests three areas to consider in achieving hyper-connectivity.

Kerry Koutsikos, Vice President and General Manager of Infor Middle East and Africa

Manufacturers face some tough challenges. In addition to ever-present competition, they must navigate soaring costs and supply chain issues that threaten to disrupt their best-laid plans. That said, advances in digital technology, from ERP solutions to AI and Machine Learning, hold the potential to transform operations and give manufacturers the ability to raise efficiency and operate smarter – potentially more than offsetting the current challenges.

This is especially important in the Middle East and North Africa, where countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have ambitious plans to grow their manufacturing bases.

Industrial production in Egypt is forecast to outpace economic growth in 2022, increasing by 5.1%, according to Research and Markets, and the government remains committed to expanding the manufacturing sector in 2022, targeting growth of more than 7%.

However, individual manufacturing players must ensure that new strategies and actions sync and align with and exceed customer expectations. It’s no easy task and many organisations struggle to find their Digital Transformation starting point.

As they work toward that Digital Transformation starting point, manufacturers should take a step back and ask themselves three questions before starting out on a potentially complicated journey.

1. Are we organisationally ready for significant change?

Organisations are only as good as their people, and manufacturers must look carefully at whether they have the right people and culture to support a different way of doing things. It is the people who will be responsible for implementing change, and they should be ready, committed and on board with any type of transformation plan.

An organisation’s culture can make or break a Digital Transformation project and ‘organisational change management’ is one of the key components of such a project. Organisations should aim for an inclusive culture where people feel like they are key contributors to the company’s future success.

To achieve this, management teams should encourage a culture of openness to help employees step forward with their ideas. All change and all transformation start with an idea – so it’s important for people to feel empowered to put their ideas out in the open.

2. What are we hoping to achieve and what is the outcome?

Delivering successful Digital Transformation projects is difficult, and if an organisation does not understand the destination, the chances of success are minimal. Organisations should invest time and effort upfront to understand exactly what they want to achieve from their Digital Transformation.

Ask the following questions: What do we need the change? Why do we need to change it? What is the anticipated impact?

No matter how many ideas an organisation has, they will fall into one of four categories: customer alignment, employee productivity, supply chain visibility, or operational efficiency.

  • Customers. Organisations should ask whether they are transforming the way they connect and relate to customers and whether they want to offer a new product, increase their level of service, or use data to create a new revenue stream
  • Employees. Organisations should ask whether they are providing capabilities that help engage the workforce and how digital solutions will help improve workforce productivity, empower decision-making and remove bottlenecks in processes
  • Supply Chains. Organisations should examine if they are simplifying complex supply chains and increasing visibility to anticipate issues and take steps to proactively resolve potential problems
  • Operations. When looking at operational efficiency, companies will benefit from asking whether they can streamline the way they operate as a business and if they are using technology to bring efficiency to their processes, predict issues and prescribe the next best action

3. Is our systems landscape digitally compliant and ready?

Before starting a Digital Transformation project, an organisation’s systems should be digitally compliant and highly flexible. Ideally, the organisation has a systems ecosystem where people can access their work, their data and their processes without barriers, at any time and from any location. Often having their solutions available in the cloud is the best way forward.

Also, organisations will benefit from solutions built for their specific industry with sector-specific capabilities built-in, not bolted on. Heavily modified applications will almost certainly impede upgrades and modernisation, introduce risk and hinder the adoption of advanced digital solutions.

Ideally, the organisation’s end-to-end systems and applications should be running on a common digital platform that provides integrated modern capabilities such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, mobility and predictive analytics.

An organisation’s IT landscape must support the concept of hyper-connectivity – not just connecting applications and digital capability, but connecting everything: their people, applications, devices, data, customers and suppliers.

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