Five Ways Technology Drives Collaboration5 min read

I’ve been working a lot with Infor solutions over years and recently came across this article. Business collaboration is more critical than ever for manufacturers. Check out this article from Infor about the five ways technology drives collaboration:

Technology can drive collaboration in 5 key ways:

  1. Collaboration between employees. Employees can share data, incorporate transactional information and capture institutional knowledge in a structured way that speeds decision-making
  2. Collaboration between systems and resources. Leading technology frameworks can connect your assortment of systems, resources and tools needed to run operations smoothly
  3. Design and engineering collaboration. Technology helps you efficiently plan and manage all tasks across the product lifecycle: CAD documents, product structures, ECRs, workflows and more
  4. Supplier and customer collaboration. Customer and supplier portals, transaction tools and exchanges drive collaboration to streamline activities, support JIT production and avoid delays
  5. Collaborative reporting and analytics. Technology transforms Big Data into timely information for shared decision-making. Reporting and analytics allow ad hoc and deep-dive report-building

1. Collaboration between employees

This is the baseline level of collaboration, the phase most people would call social business. Social business gets ample attention today, due largely to the influence of social media among consumers. For organizations outside the manufacturing industry, especially those whose functions are purely financial or administrative, this level might be all the collaboration they need. But effective manufacturing collaboration requires more than a medium for conversation—you need to structure conversations around business activity and incorporate business transaction information. Otherwise, your collaboration system distracts from business activity instead of advancing your work.

A manufacturing organization is a living organism, with its own institutional knowledge and memory. Much of that knowledge and memory walks out the door at the end of every shift. To make matters worse, some 10,000 baby-boom generation workers retire every business day in the US.2 While much of that knowledge gets passed along informally over time, informal information sharing has limits. Just as in the well-known “telephone game,” where a whispered message changes completely from the first telling to the fifth or sixth, your key institutional knowledge can stray greatly from its original meaning if it’s not structured and stored.

With Infor® Ming.le™, you get collaboration that’s woven into your business process. Your employee collaboration gets pulled together with information from your ERP system, so that human collaboration functions as a unified whole with your transactional activity. By starting with a business-first approach to social collaboration, you build a foundation for more effective business collaboration later on.

With conversations occurring within the structure of your business system, the content is in context, relevant to the issue at hand, and ready to give you real-time data, so you can react faster. In addition, the integration to the ERP allows broader information sharing along with the ability to store knowledge.

An integrated collaboration system that captures and stores conversations within context of your business processes adds an even higher level of strategic benefit. It allows you to reference information later, add it to account or product files, and pass it along to new employees for training—a valuable capability in light of today’s manufacturing skill gap.

Conversations between workers on personal phones, by texting, or other consumer tools eventually get lost, along with the expertise they contain. In contrast, when you make every conversation part of the ERP framework, you can track, save, share, and catalog it for future reference.

2. Collaboration between systems, resources and things

Your information systems should collaborate as efficiently as your workers do, using industry standard interfaces that enrich and accelerate your overall business process. That requires a framework for connecting the assortment of different systems, resources, and things you need to keep manufacturing smoothly and consistently. With Infor ION, you get support for integration services, cloud services, mobile services, and advanced reporting services within a single, unified framework. You can incorporate information from business systems and the other resources that are required to conduct business. That includes more than people—it encompasses meeting facilities, critical equipment, and other capital assets in the collaboration process, too. As a result, you get the benefit of running manufacturing-specific software solutions, while gaining the ability to treat your whole collection of systems as a single source of information, addressing all aspects of your business.

3. Design and engineering collaboration.

Innovative product development demands an unusually sophisticated level of collaboration, incorporating far greater complexity than shared social conversations. You can get that with an advanced product lifecycle management (PLM) solution. An advanced PLM solution will support the intricate collaborative process you need to successfully manage and plan your entire range of product lifecycle management tasks, including complex engineering information, CAD documents, product structures, change orders, and more. Because Infor PLM solutions function as an integral part of your manufacturing collaboration network, you gain both foresight and insight about how you can manufacture current products more economically, create new products more rapidly, and be sure that your entire product line is succeeding in the marketplace.

4. Vendor and customer collaboration.

Efficient vendor partnerships can make or break your business. Just-in-time inventory methods and overnight global delivery schedules require that the channels of communication with your vendors remain open and active at all times. With Infor ERP systems, you get web-enabled vendor self-service portals, so that you and your vendors will know where you stand as you progress toward your common goals, while saving time and money. What’s more important, you and your trusted suppliers will be able to compete as a single team and serve your customers better.

In the same way, the customer self-service portals and e-commerce capabilities in Infor manufacturing solutions streamline your sales process and help you satisfy your customers sooner. Above all, Infor ION delivers deep integration between your customer portals, vendor portals, and your manufacturing ERP system, which allows you to match production to demand more efficiently.

5. Collaborative reporting and analytics.

You need to build strategy on sound decision making, drawing on information from many different sources. Without a unified, collaborative reporting and analytics framework, you’re likely to spend more time assembling decision-making information than you spend making the decision. You need sophisticated reports, analyses, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for rapid return of value. You get that with Infor business intelligence solutions, which combine pre-built integrations with pre-configured content and easy ad-hoc report building. In addition, because all the parts of your Infor business intelligence portfolio integrate with each other and with your business systems, you can generate deeper, more valuable reports and analyses than ever before.

As a result, you’ll be ready to transform your entire approach to managing strategic business information. With a fully integrated, end-to-end information solution with industry-specific focus at your disposal, you can turn the data you already collect into a powerful tool for competitive advantage and improved performance.

Pulling it all together – All manufacturers need a richer, broader collaboration architecture that incorporates deeper business functions than newly popular social collaboration tools usually provide. You get a path to the next level of teamwork, a level at which you’ve combined human ingenuity, powerful analysis, and the means to execute strategy rapidly enough to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment with Infor integration and collaboration technologies.

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David Hawley

Directeur Life Sciences, Business & Decision, Amerique du Nord at Business & Decision

David Hawley is a Senior Principal Consultant in the area of Regulatory Compliance and Computer Systems Validation. Hawley has vast experience the life Sciences Industry, particularly in the areas of Validation and Compliance, ERP systems and Infrastructure Qualification & Management and Production Management of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Mr. Hawley is a regular writer and presenter of a Life Sciences Web seminar series, writer of articles and presenter on the Life Sciences circuit.

One Comment

  1. Great Article..It was very informative..I need more details from your side..include some tips..I am working in Erp In India

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