The Manufacturer's dilemma


“Simplifying business is difficult but essential. Eliminating complexity that does not add value requires some tough decisions.”

As manufacturers become larger and more complex, efforts to improve strategic, financial and operational planning and performance management processes do not always achieve desired results.

Despite significant investments in business capabilities and enabling technologies, the key challenges
with effectively planning, managing and governing outcomes remain. This happens because these
challenges become highly interconnected as complexity rises.

In the challenging times of Covid-19 the world becomes even more complex. Companies’ ability to react and adjust quickly is crucial for survival and the ones that have the strength to keep on investing in operational excellence will have an invaluable head start when coming out on the other side.

Cost optimization and future proofing

Today manufacturers often experience capability gaps in traditional financial and operational planning and performance management systems. What is needed is a system support that is tailored to the manufacturer’s need of fully integrated business planning and performance approach. With that type of integrated applications the manufacturer can achieve amazing results:

  • Resolve critical capability gaps in these processes

  • Reduce the cost of these processes dramatically

  • Improve profits by several percentage of sales

  • Self-fund the investment in these processesinvestments within 6

“Applications deserve to be complex when they deliver rich customer and employee experiences, but not to complicate things.”

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The Business Leader’s challenges

Leaders within the manufacturing industry put a lot of effort into improving strategic, financial and operational planning and performance management processes. The following challenges are most often on top of the CEO’s and CFO’s agendas.

Strategic Challenges

Strategic Challenges

  • Drive Operational Excellence

  • Customer Relationships

  • Profitable Growth by Eliminating Functional Silos

  • Aligning Targets and Resources

  • Promoting the Right Decisions

  • Behaviors and Culture

  • Product Portfolio Management 

 Financial Challenges

Financial Challenges

  • Cash Flow Forecasting

  • Rolling Forecasts

  • Driver-Based Planning

  • Scenario Planning

  • Profitability Management

  • Risk Management

  • Working capital management

  • Integrated Financial Planning

Supply Chain Challenges

Supply Chain Challenges

  • Profit-Based Sales and Operations Planning

  • Rolling Forecast Integration

  • Scenario Planning

  • Inventory and Profitability Accountability

  • New Product Development

Integrated business planning and performance

Many manufacturers experience capability gaps in their traditional planning and performance management software, since they don’t support the fully integrated processes that are needed. However, the investments in these software tools have often been significant and they have created a complex web of information flow which means replacing them is normally an option of last resort.

Introducing Simplexity via tailored applications on top of legacy

“Nature is pleased with simplicity”, Newton once claimed. At Flowfactory we live by that maxime – that striving towards simplicity is a natural tendency which brings clarity and measurable results.
A way to solve the manufacturer’s dilemma is to place the Flowfactory low-code platform on top of all necessary legacy systems and build a Business Planning and Performance application perfectly tailored to the organization’s needs. By doing so the manufacturer can address the capability gaps, while continuing to leverage existing software tools.

Show me a real world example

A global powerhouse focusing on the areas of power generation and distribution, intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems, and automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries, faced a

They had all the systems and supportive infrastructure you could imagine – but, as a global organisation they set out to simplify global operations within their Order 2 Cash process. What they wanted to accomplish was this:
  • Gain transparency with "one-click"

  • Make sure the same approach was used for all countries

  • Provide solutions with un-paralelled speed (since time is money)

  • Be fit for the future, whatever it entails

Show me a real world example
Figure 1. From a technical perspective - the solution was to bring in Flowfactory as an agile layer on top of “legacy” which includes global Product Master Data, SAP in several clusters around the globe together with SalesForce CRM.

One key process to address was the creation of Quotations.
In this organization, quotations are quite complex because they need to consider product margins, historic purchases, local and sometimes global agreements with pre-negotiated prices.

Previously – the organization had many tools in use for different aspects of the agreements and quotations. This was slowing down the processes and making it difficult to plan and analyze results. Some of the key functions that where tailored to address these problems where to create:
  • Central and digitalized internal communication

  • Relevant interfaces to master data and ERP systems

  • Approval workflows customizable by business

  • Document sharing and archiving

The Flowfactory platform enables organizations to achieve integrated and streamlined processes together with relevant functionality. 100% tailored to the unique needs. No more – no less.

Learn more about the Flowfactory platform 

The ability to forecast and plan is key for a manufacturer’s competitiveness. Investing in tailored and integrated business planning capabilities is a way to future safe the business and drive sustainable growth.

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