How Manufacturers Thrive in an Uncertain Economy

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How do you handle uncertain times? One strategy is to hunker down and “weather the storm.” For manufacturers, this often means limiting technology investments until the chaos subsides, then attempting to time technology improvements during high-growth periods.

The less conventional option is to invest in technology, even during uncertain times. This approach positions manufacturers as ready to act when stability returns, strengthening their business and competitive advantage.

Take MFC Netform, for example. As a supplier of powertrain parts for the automotive and agricultural industries, MFC Netform took the less common approach, investing in ERP technology even when times were tough. The result? High growth, a ComputerWorld Award, and more. Here’s how they got there.

In 2005, the 15-person start-up decided to go after business from larger automotive and agricultural equipment manufacturers. To do this, MFC Netform centered their operations around a cloud ERP solution, a single version of the truth for employees across all areas of the company.  

The investment in technology paid off. Through the Plex Manufacturing Cloud, MFC Netform leveraged live plant floor data by minimizing scrap and machine downtime for instant cost benefits. In addition, embedded software quality checks produced high enough efficiency and accuracy that the company sidestepped hiring costly quality inspectors.

Many companies invest up to 70 percent of IT spending on non-value added support and maintenance, but MFC Netform minimized this cost by relying on the cloud, investing only half of the technical resources it had expected. The company’s management attributes the ability to ride out a tough economy with a lean staff to its investment in cloud ERP technology. What’s more, MFC Netform has taken advantage of the growing customer demand in its market and believes it can be more responsive and agile than its competitors.

MFC Netform continues to leverage cloud ERP technology as part of their growth plans, catapulting them from a start-up to an industry leader in just 10 years and earning them ComputerWorld’s 2016 Data+ Editor’s Choice Award.

Want to learn more? Download the MFC Netform case study.