South Africa needs to embrace digital business infrastructure if it wants to compete with other emerging economies.

The South African manufacturing industry has long been a bedrock of the nation’s economy, however, it currently faces serious challenges that pose a risk to its ability to remain competitive in a global market. Cheap imports and rising costs are just some of the difficulties undermining the sector.

In order to remain on par with other BRICS economies, our manufacturing industry needs to overcome these issues and maximise its productivity, notwithstanding the fact that South Africa’s population is a fraction of that of Brazil, China, Russia and India’s. Innovative technologies offer hope.

It is an exciting time for business technologies. We live in a hyper networked world, and while this presents challenges, it also presents wonderful opportunities. Companies that take early advantage of all the strengths of networking and interconnectedness will position themselves as the market leaders of the future.

That future lies in the digitalisation of the manufacturing industry. One of the greatest problems of outdated infrastructure is that it does not allow for the best possible usage of assets and resources. Taking the next step toward a digitised organisation allows for unprecedented supply chain and inventory optimisation.

Integration of an entire pre-existing IT infrastructure can sound daunting, but engaging with a recognised expert in industry-specific ICT solutions makes the transition a smooth one. By taking advantage of SAP’s Rapid Deployment Solutions for industry-specific lines of business, companies can enjoy all the benefits of a streamlined supply chain.

The right software solutions allow companies to perform at their peak capacity, all while enjoying reduced overheads, greater adaptability and increased profit margins. These solutions are all about empowerment: They give employees the tools they need to innovate and carry out their responsibilities, and management the information required to make the best decisions for their organisation.

Data drives digital workplaces. Virtualised networks allow for the easy yet secure transfer of information, thereby facilitating communication across entire organisations and allowing for real-time response to any issues that arise. Role-specific data analytics allow for any individual, no matter their level, to minimise the chaos of unpredictability and maximise effectiveness.

It is essential for players in the manufacturing sector to make the best use of South Africa’s constrained natural resources. With an integrated network, companies can easily track the availability, performance and reliability of their manufacturing processes and ensure that raw materials become goods with minimum wastage in between.

The timing is right for a sea of change. Embracing technical business practices is what will give South African manufacturing the edge it needs to stand head-to-head against other emerging economic powerhouses of the world.

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