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Digitalisation is Key to Unlocking Post-Lockdown Efficiency


Digitalisation is Key to Unlocking Post-Lockdown Efficiency : Almost every business has implemented technology in some shape or form to help improve efficiency and effectiveness and the manufacturing and engineering sectors are no different.

However, there are some processes that have remained behind the adoption curve. The supply of materials is often cited as one such process that is relatively untouched by digitalisation. It’s typically a manual job to gather estimates and select suitable options based on cost, location and delivery speed.

While this problem has long been acknowledged, the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown in the UK has pushed the issue to the forefront of many manufacturers’ agendas.

At SteelScout, a multi-supplier metal procurement platform, we took the opinions of 100 professionals across the manufacturing sector to find out how the pandemic had affected their operations.

The survey found that many have adopted new ways of working, often taking advantage of modern technology to facilitate remote working, flexible hours, video conferencing and more.

The majority said they expect demand to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of year, with an additional 62% reporting that they already have orders waiting to be fulfilled. Within our survey base alone, those orders exceeded £17m in value.

However, it was the wider supply chain that gave cause for concern. Most are contacting the same number of suppliers as they had been pre-pandemic, but 66% reported that it has been harder to get hold of the materials they needed in the timeframe required due to supplier closures or capacity issues.

More than a third of respondents said that it was taking longer just to identity the ‘winning quote’ from suppliers, potentially causing further delays and adding inefficiency to the process.

When asked what the most valuable improvement would be to help fulfil post-pandemic orders, greater visibility of the supply chain was selected as first choice by 42% of those surveyed. A more diverse supplier network was selected by 21%, whilst technology that increases efficiency was also chosen by a fifth.

Another recent survey by PROS showed that since the start of COVID-19, 37% of businesses are primarily purchasing through digital channels – an increase of 19% vs. prior to the outbreak and expected to continue rise to 40% post-pandemic.

The results show that a new approach is required, one that builds on the digital interactions that many already make, to offer a simple yet powerful solution to supply difficulties.

SteelScout offers two metal procurement platforms; SteelScout Procure and SteelScout Direct, to digitally connect buyers with a network of UK suppliers. The platforms provide access to a range of highly competitive quotes and provide pricing and product visibility across the market, matching buyer requirements to the right suppliers. Both services are free to use for buyers and require interaction with only one supplier process.

To find out more about SteelScout’s metal procurement services, visit Steel Scout

Manufacturing & Engineering Magazine | The Home of Manufacturing Industry News

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