Figures from the Office of National Statistics released last month show that despite UK productivity growing the quickest it has done for six years, workers’ productivity and therefore output, has been startlingly low over the past decade.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom as Britain’s manufacturing sector has experienced a boost. Surveys from ‘IHS Markit’ and from the CBI indicate a surge in exports (helped by the fall in sterling) and factories are growing at twice the pace of Services firms, according to official data.
The latest digital technology is also helping to improve levels of productivity among UK manufacturers. Recognising this, the UK Government’s Industrial Digitalisation Review, has the ambition “to position the UK as one of the world’s most attractive places to create and grow new businesses in the space of industrial digitalisation”. The review, which has published an Interim Report, is being carried out by leading business figures on behalf of the UK Government to assess how manufacturers can benefit from increasing digitalisation and technological change.
However, some ambitious manufacturing businesses are already transforming their processes from managing supply chains and ordering, through to stock control by embracing cloud-based inventory management software solutions. For the first time, they are accessing real-time information and increasing their production efficiency.
“Efficient processes are critical when growing a successful business”, explains Stephen Jones, Territory Manager UK and EMEA Region for Unleashed Software. “We ensure that our cloud inventory management tools integrate with other online business software programmes, because any manufacturer will struggle to produce and sell more goods if they don’t have accurate data or analytics, such as real-time stock visibility.
“As a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) provider, our systems help companies large and small to realise major cost savings in their operations, thus enabling them to spend more time concentrating on production costs and creating healthy margins.”
Unleashed Software has a portfolio of customers operating within the Food and Drink manufacturing sector where productivity has performed well in recent years compared to other sectors in the economy. There is a vision for UK food and drink manufacturing to deliver 20% growth by 2020. However, to achieve this, innovation and the use of improved technology is deemed crucial.
Pro Point Equipment in Worthing, West Sussex and ShinDigger Craft Beer in Manchester both use Unleashed Software’s cloud-based software to make their inventory management easier and more efficient. It allows both businesses to take control of their stock control processes and scale with confidence.
As PWC identified in its Data and Analytics Survey 2016, only 24% of organisations use predictive analytics when making big decisions. Stephen believes that having data that is accurate and can be trusted is key to growth regardless of your company size.
This is clearly demonstrated by Manchester based enterprise Brew Tea Co. that saw a 100% growth in output since implementing Unleashed Software across its business operations. Providing premium quality teas to customers around the country, the company faced the challenge of inaccurate product stock records and not having an inventory management system that integrated with their accounting system.
Brew Tea Co. were recommended to Unleashed Software’s cloud-based inventory system that integrates seamlessly with cloud accounting programmes such as Xero. However, this was just the start of the benefit as Deirdre McNally, Warehouse Manager explains:
“I use the Unleashed Software daily to raise purchase orders, but I can also communicate with customers using the email function and I can easily monitor everything. Rather than relying on our monthly stock-take, I can check stock levels online daily so I’m always on top of things.”
Phil Kirby, Co-Founder of Brew Tea Co. has also been very pleased with the outcome. He says: “We’ve seen a 100% increase since we implemented the software – double the business we were doing before we had it. Also, Deirdre has 100% accuracy on stock now, whereas before we didn’t really have a clue what was on the shelves. It’s been invaluable.”
As Unleashed Software is cloud-based, it is accessible anywhere at any time. As a future-proof solution, it also continuously adds new features and improvements avoiding the need for costly upgrades. Businesses can add more users, customers, products, and suppliers as their operations grow. As well as Xero, it also integrates with a range of market leading cloud-based applications, including QuickBooks Online for accounting and Magento and Shopify for eCommerce, enabling businesses a seamless way of managing each step of their operations.
With the opportunity for manufacturers to increase their productivity through the application of cloud-based inventory management solutions, it’s likely they will continue to drive UK productivity rates in the coming years.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.