Manufacturing’s New Frontier: Building an Adaptive Enterprise

Industry volatility and risks are increasing. From geopolitical developments to supply chain shortages, customer demand changes, and worker attrition, manufacturers have navigated incredible turbulence over the past few years.

Manufacturers must increase their ability to anticipate and respond to sudden or longer-term shifts that impact their business. This trend is called creating an adaptive enterprise. 

An adaptive enterprise can interpret trends in real time, evolve its response, and even change business models to capture more demand and operate efficiently. During the pandemic, manufacturing companies used analytics and digital processes to meet growing demand and develop new products and services, increasing revenues.

“An adaptive business initiates change; an agile business reacts to it,” says Jim Stoneham, CMO of Stripe,in a Forbes article. Companies with advanced adaptive business processes grow at 3X the industry average because they identify and capture more opportunities. For example, when scientists accidentally discovered that human brains responded to high levels of GLP-1 by eating less, drug manufacturers rushed to create highly effective new weight-loss drugs. This new market could reach $100B in sales by 2030.

Characteristics of an Adaptive Enterprise

So, what do adaptive enterprises look like in practice? Deloitte provides a simple framework that leaders can use to build an adaptive enterprise. These companies should be:

  • Built on meaning and purpose: Deloitte recommends that companies align around mission and incomes, balance efficiency with adaptability, and design for more than profit. By doing so, they can tap into workers’ desire to do work with meaning and purpose and accomplish goals that contribute to the betterment of society.
  • Organized for effectiveness and efficiency: Adaptive companies reduce organizational complexity, costs, and service delivery models, according to Deloitte. As a result, they create scalable platforms that enable faster decision-making and growth.
  • Optimized for the future workforce: Adaptive companies study industry developments, technology trends, and customer needs to create staffing models and skills-building programs. These firms create sense-and-learn capabilities to keep pace with external developments and leverage employees and flexible talent pools to accomplish work.
  • Designed for human-centered reality: Adaptive companies consider human needs as they design and deploy new solutions, seek to empower workers with key processes, and give them the tools and technology they need to own outcomes.

How Companies Can Create Adaptive Enterprises

So, how can manufacturing companies become more adaptable? They:

  • Democratize data: Manufacturers are putting data and analytics in workers’ hands so that they can see trends and anomalies and make faster decisions. This typically means breaking down data silos, deploying digital tools, and surfacing real-time insights so teams can act on them quickly.
  • Become digitally resilient: Manufacturers leverage cloud services, automated processes, and digital technology to interpret and respond to changing business decisions. These tools also enable teams to create a culture of continuous improvement, where they identify and mitigate process flaws or weaknesses on an ongoing basis.
  • Continually update operations: Manufacturing leaders know that lagging processes, equipment downtime, scrap, and quality issues harm margins. As a result, they seek to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), productivity, and other metrics, using data to benchmark their starting point and assess ongoing progress.
  • Speed time to value and increase impact: Companies can quickly increase business impact with sense-and-respond processes and scalable infrastructure. That enables them to outmaneuver less nimble competitors.
  • Upskill and re-skill workers: Adaptive manufacturers attract top talent who want to work on critical business problems. These workers are also committed to updating their skills, whether learning new technology or processes, spearheading new initiatives, or moving into new business areas. Companies can create a learning culture by providing employees with digital learning packs and the tools to create and share content.
  • Use sustainability and compliance for competitive advantage: Customers want to reduce their environmental footprint and meet critical regulations. Manufacturing partners can provide transparency into production and quality processes, providing metrics others can use. Manufacturers can also use digital technology to spot quality defects and solve root causes, minimizing the number of defective items that reach customers. Finally, manufacturers can issue fast, focused recalls when needed, minimizing business harm.

QAD’s Vision of an Adaptive Enterprise

QAD provides solutions for manufacturers seeking to build adaptive enterprises. The company’s website states, “If you don’t know what the future will look like, but you know it will be different, the best thing you can do is develop a capability for your business to be adaptive today.”

QAD’s solutions include effective enterprise management, integrated supplier management, digital manufacturing, complete customer management, and connected supply chains.

Manufacturing leaders want to see their business as an end-to-end value stream. With the latest updates in process intelligence modeling, QAD customers gain real-time insights into how their processes in manufacturing, supply chain, and general enterprise operations are flowing and performing.

In 2022, QAD acquired Redzone to extend its vision of enabling adaptive enterprises. Manufacturers that deploy the QAD Redzone Connected Workforce Solution empower workers to solve production, quality, and maintenance problems and win the day.

Use This Roadmap to Get Started

If your company struggles to become more adaptable, the good news is that you can make changes in weeks to drive business outcomes.

  • Start where you are: Our coaches help you deploy QAD Redzone to fix problems on a focus line, a production line that generates significant revenues for your company. As a result, you’ll be able to increase buy-in with senior leaders to continue driving change.
  • Engage workers: Production workers have great insights into why problems are occurring. QAD Redzone harnesses their collective genius by using Huddles, chats, videos, Kaizens, and other tools to capture their ideas. As workers see their ideas deployed, they are motivated to offer even more.
  • Solve the worst pain points: QAD Redzone coaches help teams hold Kaizen events to collect and prioritize ideas for improving processes. By solving problems at scale, manufacturers can unlock significant business value.
  • Add rapid value: Manufacturers that deploy QAD Redzone achieve an OEE uplift of 14 points and boost productivity by 29% within just 90 days, on average.
  • Build on success: Companies can drive further gains by deploying the QAD Redzone Compliance, Reliability, and Learning modules, optimizing multiple business areas.

Learn more about QAD Redzone.

2023 Productivity Benchmark Report

1,000 Factories’ Productivity Data: The Largest Dataset of Its Kind ...

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