A survey by Syspro, conducted among Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in manufacturing enterprise companies, shows that close to 50% of manufacturing companies have already recovered business or expect to do so by the end of 2020.
Out of over 100 enterprise manufacturing companies that responded to the online survey, a further 30% expected to return to pre-pandemic trading conditions by the end of Q2 2021.
The survey assessed CFOs sentiments on the impact of COVID-19 and the future of manufacturing business in the “new normal”.
The survey, which drew responses from Africa (Kenya included), Asia-Pacific, Canada and USA, was conducted in October 2020 and shows a return of business confidence, the acceleration of Industry 4.0 as a means to overcome future disruptions and the rise of a more robust role for the CFO in engineering the bounce-back.
According to the survey results, the ability for businesses to weather the COVID-19 storm was particularly prevalent amongst manufacturers involved in the production/distribution of essential goods such as Food & Beverage during lockdowns as well as those who have the ability to augment their existing digital activities and adapt to ecommerce models.
The study also showed that the size of an organization also played a vital role in determining its ability to survive the pandemic. Companies with over 51 employees were significantly more likely to report having fared as well as, or better than expected.
As part of the ongoing recovery, a stabilization phase was identified as needed and required a renewed focus on financial controls to protect cashflow and extend enterprise runways. To achieve this, CFOs interviewed in the study indicated cost-cutting including the curbing of discretionary spending and reducing overheads, exploring new revenue models with the aim for increased customer engagement through digital channels and prioritizing the maintenance of margins as some of the top strategies.
The survey findings further showed that reimagining factories to make them COVID-compliant which can only be achieved at a cost was not a short-term current priority, with just 19.3 percent of respondents citing replacing ageing machinery as one of their top 5 business priorities for 2021. Rather, the emphasis was on investing in technology to make manufacturing smarter and less vulnerable to pandemic disruption.
The study has revealed that 44% of respondents singled out warehousing and advanced manufacturing process automation as a key focus area. This is to some extent a decision that has been imposed on manufacturing concerns by the pandemic, but it also suggests a longer-term outlook in which many current human roles will be replaced in the name of both efficiency and safety.
SYSPRO is a global, independent provider of industry-built ERP software designed to simplify business complexity for manufacturers and distributors. Focused on delivering optimized performance and complete business visibility, the SYSPRO solution is highly scalable, and can be deployed on premise, in the cloud, or accessed via a mobile device. SYSPRO’s strengths lie in a simplified approach to technology, expertise in a range of industries, and a commitment to future-proofing customer and partner success. SYSPRO has more than 15,000 licensed companies in over 60 countries across six continents. For more information, visit www.syspro.com