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8 Ways Manufacturers Can Quickly Reduce Unnecessary Technology Bloat

Manufacturer with tech


Managing an ever-growing technology stack can be a daunting task for manufacturers. Managing an ever-growing technology stack can be a daunting task for manufacturers. 

With the rapid advancements in technology, it’s easy to fall into the trap of collecting a wide range of software solutions and systems over time. Surveys have found 69 percent of global business leaders plan on increasing their financial commitments to digital transformation. While adding more technology solutions for digital transformation is a worthy goal, if left unchecked, it can lead to technology bloat, a situation in which companies end up with far too many unnecessary technologies.

Technology bloat can significantly impact manufacturers in several ways. It increases complexity, making it challenging to integrate and manage various systems effectively. It also leads to redundant processes, increased costs, potential data inconsistencies and security risks. 

To overcome these challenges, many manufacturers turn to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, which provide a centralized solution to reduce technology bloat. In this blog, we’ll review eight different ways manufacturing companies can cut technology bloat and their associated benefits, whether you are using an ERP system or not. 

1. Streamline Processes

Streamlining processes should always be the first step to eliminating unnecessary technology. Many manufacturers adopt different software solutions to manage specific tasks or departments, resulting in a fragmented technology landscape in which each solution is incompatible with each other. 

Consider streamlining processes and consolidating workflows to eliminate the need for multiple software solutions, which often cause compatibility issues. By streamlining operations, you can simplify your business processes, enhance cross-departmental collaboration, and reduce overall complexity, ultimately reducing unnecessary technology bloat.

2. Eliminate Redundancy

Redundant systems and software add to technology bloat and hinder productivity. Different departments within a manufacturing organization often use separate systems that perform similar functions, leading to duplication of efforts and increased costs. 

By conducting a thorough evaluation of software solutions across departments, manufacturers can identify and eliminate redundant systems that contribute to technology bloat. This proactive approach allows for the optimization of resources, reduction of costs from maintaining multiple systems, and improvement of overall efficiency by putting an end to duplicated efforts.

3. Standardize the System

When manufacturers use multiple software solutions, each with its own features and interfaces, compatibility issues can arise. These issues lead to data discrepancies and complexities in integration. 

Manufacturers can ensure compatibility and data consistency across the organization when they standardize the technology stack, which eliminates the complexities of integrating different systems and allows for consistent data flow across the entire organization. With a standardized system in place, manufacturers can streamline operations, reduce errors, and minimize technology bloat, ultimately fostering a more efficient and productive work environment for everyone.

4. Automate Tasks

With so many advancements in automation technology, relying on manual processes or disparate systems can result in unnecessary inefficiencies and errors. By implementing automation solutions, manufacturers can streamline tasks, reduce manual intervention, and enhance productivity. 

Automated workflows help eliminate bottlenecks, reduce cycle times, and improve overall operational efficiency. Tasks that were once time-consuming, repetitive, and prone to human error can now be seamlessly automated, freeing up valuable resources and enabling employees to focus on more strategic and creative endeavors.

5. Improve Efficiency

Businesses are constantly seeking ways to eliminate bottlenecks and streamline operations. However, the presence of multiple systems within an organization often leads to significant time wastage as employees navigate different platforms, manage complex integrations, and reconcile data from various sources. Experts say inefficient processes waste nearly a third of employees’ time

Optimizing processes and adopting streamlined solutions will have the added benefit of boosting efficiency across the board. Consolidating systems and simplifying workflows enable employees to focus on core tasks, resulting in improved overall efficiency.

6. Modernize/Remove Old Technology

Manufacturers often continue using legacy systems alongside newer software solutions, leading to compatibility issues and inefficiencies. These legacy systems often lack the necessary functionality and compatibility with modern tech.

To address this challenge, it is critical for manufacturers to proactively identify and phase out obsolete technology from their technology stack. Adopting newer solutions that align with current industry standards not only improves functionality but also ensures compatibility with other new systems. 

7. Eliminate Silos and Create a Centralized System

When each department operates independently with its own software solutions, data becomes isolated, and communication barriers can make it hard to get work done. To break down these silos, manufacturers need to foster collaboration and create a centralized system. 

Manufacturers must prioritize the breakdown of silos and foster a positive culture of collaboration. This involves creating a centralized system that integrates different departments into a unified platform. This will allow manufacturers to establish a cohesive environment wherein data sharing, communication, and collaboration thrive. 

8. Provide Transparency/Visibility into the System

When manufacturers rely on multiple systems, obtaining a comprehensive and unified view of their operations becomes increasingly challenging. This lack of transparency not only makes it hard for effective decision-making but also contributes to inefficiencies and redundancies. 

It is crucial for manufacturers to implement solutions that offer real-time visibility into different aspects of the manufacturing process. This can be accomplished by leveraging integrated software solutions, which enable you to consolidate data from various sources and gain accurate and up-to-date insights into your operations.

Real-time visibility enables manufacturers to monitor key performance indicators, track production metrics, and identify bottlenecks or areas of improvement promptly. With access to accurate and comprehensive data, decision-makers can make informed choices and fix any problems that arise.

ERP Systems: Eliminate Tech Bloat with One Complete Solution

Overall, technology bloat poses significant challenges for manufacturers, hindering efficiency, increasing costs, and hampering productivity. Thankfully, there is a technology solution that allows manufacturing companies to address all the issues causing technology bloat in one centralized platform. 

A commonly applied solution is implementing an ERP system. 

An ERP system, such as Epicor Kinetic, is a comprehensive software solution designed to integrate and manage core manufacturing business processes and data. It serves as a centralized platform that allows businesses to streamline and automate several different functions, including supply chain management, manufacturing, inventory management, and more. 

ERP systems are so helpful that 88 percent of organizations in a survey credit their ERP implementation with helping them succeed.

By embracing the power of an ERP system, manufacturers can simplify their technology landscape, enhance collaboration, and position themselves for greater success in a competitive manufacturing industry. Instead of dealing with the challenges of technology bloat resulting from individual solutions for each issue, an ERP system provides a comprehensive solution that addresses all these concerns.

A good first step to eliminating bloat is to know what bloat you have. Doing an assessment of your tech stack environment is step one. From an assessment, you’ll learn what tech you have, need, and don’t need. In addition, it will be clear as to what needs to be done to clean things up so that you can streamline processes, reduce unnecessary costs, create a more productive and integrated work environment for your employees, and make sure all systems and data are secure. If you’re interested in an assessment, reach out to ComTec to inquire.

Get Started on Your Manufacturing ERP Implementation Today

To ensure a successful implementation from day one, be sure to read this eBook: 

Beginner’s Guide for Implementing a Manufacturing ERP Solution.

ComTec Solutions is a full-service technology services and ERP implementation and consulting company that has been providing advisory and technical expertise for manufacturers and engineering firms for nearly 30 years. Companies looking to improve productivity, elevate the customer experience, and accelerate financial growth find value in ComTec’s expertise. ComTec is a proud Certified Platinum Epicor partner dedicated to helping customers strategically align technology with their desired business outcomes with speed, agility, and confidence. To learn more, let’s talk!