EMBRACE THE DISRUPTION
Revamp Your Operations with Artificial Intelligence
for Improved Efficiency & Growth
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
Improved Effeciency & Growth with Next-Generation Software2
Brought about by the advent of the Fourth
Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry
4.0), this disruption seized upon the idea that
data-driven, inter-connected manufacturing
environments could enable a more integrated
and, ultimately, a more efficient and profitable
Simply put, manufacturers from around the
globe recognized an innovative opportunity
to get their products to market faster, and they
jumped. Well, most jumped, hence where the
“disruption” of digital disruption comes into
Adopting and implementing next-generation
ERP (enterprise resource planning) system
enhancements is no small endeavor, especially
when considering what to do with existing
legacy systems that are already in place. But
manufacturers must grapple with how to
remain relevant within a more globalized and
So, although complex and distressing, this
disruption offers manufacturers the opportunity
to rethink and modernize within their
operations to ensure both stability and long-
This white paper will further contextualize
the digital disruption taking place across the
manufacturing industry, as well as specifically
outline why manufacturers should adopt
next-generation software for greater flexibility,
visibility and overall efficiency within their
... although complex and
distressing, this disruption offers
manufacturers the opportunity
to rethink and modernize
within their operations.
the weight of digital disruption.
Across the industry,
manufacturers are feeling
Improved Effeciency & Growth with Next-Generation Software3
AI Technology Manufacturers
FOLLOW THE MARKET
In many ways, a manufacturers’ ERP system
is the heart of the organization.
Thus, it naturally follows that next-generation
software solutions would come from a
renewed focus and attention to this core. And
few, if any, industry experts could deny that
a resurgence in artificial intelligence (AI) and
cognitive computing technology is elevating
these solutions forward.
In fact, an October 2016 report from the
International Data Corporation predicted that
the widespread adoption of cognitive systems
and AI across a broad range of industries would
drive global revenues from around $8 billion in
2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020.
According to Research Director David
Schubmehl from Cognitive Systems and
Content Analytics at IDC, this data illustrates
how software developers and end users are
already embedding and deploying AI into a
variety of enterprise applications or processes.
“Recent announcements by several large
technology vendors and the booming venture
capital market for AI startups illustrate the
need for organizations to be planning and
undertaking strategies that incorporate these
wide-ranging technologies,” says Schubmehl.
“Identifying, understanding and acting on
the use cases, technologies and growth
opportunities for cognitive/AI systems will be
a differentiating factor for most enterprises
and the digital disruption caused by these
technologies will be significant.”
Jessica Goepfert, the program director of
Customer Insights and Analysis at IDC, agrees
and specifically noted the opportunity this
“Near-term opportunities for cognitive
systems are in industries such as
banking, securities and investments,
and manufacturing,” says Goepfert. “In
manufacturing, executives cite improving
product quality as a top initiative. In this case,
cognitive systems recognize and know how
to respond to dynamic fluctuations in product
specs by adapting the production to stay within
And that level of predictability is an
invaluable asset for manufacturers, which
is precisely why so many are investing in
smarter operations. An AI-enabled ERP system
optimizes existing operational models and
elevates those processes to become even more
TACTICS FOR COPING WITH
A VOLATILE MARKETPLACE
For manufacturers, maintaining a certain level of
agility and flexibility amid uncertain times is of
utmost importance. Manufacturers must be in-
tune with the shifting landscape of the marketplace
and the changing industry as a whole.
In fact, with a renewed national focus on
manufacturing jobs, rhetoric on international
trade tariffs and restrictions on outsourcing
under the Trump administration, the rapid rate
of change seems the only real certainty.
And that’s why, more than ever,
manufacturers must be strategic about their
operations, supply chain and focus on forward-
Mark Humphlett, Infor’s Senior Director
of Industry and Solution Strategy, says that
manufacturers willing to make confident shifts
toward new opportunities can not only survive
digital disruption and volatility — but even thrive.
“It is truly a global economy with major
growth potential — for the manufacturers
who are forward-thinking and well-equipped
with modern software solutions,” Humphlett
says. “However, for those who are struggling
with outdated technology and hesitant about
upgrading, growth may be an uphill battle.”
PREDICTED GROWTH IN
SYSTEMS & AI
Improved Effeciency & Growth with Next-Generation Software4
By adopting a more flexible and supportive software platform,
manufacturers will become more agile and flexible. And with greater
visibility and an efficient operational structure, manufacturers are readying
themselves to respond faster to upgrades, customer inquiries or logistics
“And that just happens to be the beauty of artificial intelligence,”
explains Grayson Brulte, the co-founder and president of Brulte &
Company. “The best AI systems solve big problems and improve the
overall quality of life. Alongside the right workforce, artificial intelligence
will create tremendous opportunities for companies.”
Manufacturing operations are — even
at the best of times — complex. And for
manufacturers whose operations spans
multiple factory locations or continents, the
complexity is exacerbated.
However, by using advanced analytics and
enhancing your ERP system, manufacturers can
streamline their operations to minimize waste
and optimize workforce productivity. This
organizational centricity is also critical in terms
of aftermarket support, customer relations,
regulation compliance and, of course, quality
“Connecting the workforce across a range of
devices and sources breaks down the barriers
of multinational operations,” says Mary Ann
Norris, the COO of Oblong Industries.
“Companies must adopt new technology
that helps them better digest and make
actionable the immense amount of data
gathered from the factory floor,” says Norris.
“And in today’s changing work environment,
with organizations operating global, dispersed
teams, employees across locations must be
on the same page and have access to the
same information in order to effectively and
efficiently make decisions.”
AI-enabled ERP systems can
completely restructure the core
of a manufacturer’s day-to-
day business operations. For
instance, human resources (HR)
and accounting software such as
AI Works developed by Works
Applications, saves workers time
by entering data, managing tasks
and even scheduling or offering
up a suggested course of action
based on company policies.
Leveraging AI-enabled software means letting
the computer to do the work for you.
Because AI technology has the ability
to learn in order to augment and improve
functionality, manufacturers can enhance and
improve the effectiveness of their enterprise.
For manufacturers, these predictive
analytics means workers will be able to not
only anticipate trends but also spot potential
problems or issues before they occur.
Here are some of the ways modern, AI-enabled software solutions can help manufacturers
revamp their operations with long-term growth and stability in mind.
Improved Effeciency & Growth with Next-Generation Software5
ABOUT THIS REPORT
The information in this report was
researched and produced by Manufacturing.
net in conjunction with Works Applications.
Statistical data was researched and
compiled by Advantage Business Media
in March 2017.
Works Applications, founded in 1996,
is Japan’s largest HR and ERP software
provider by market share. More than
7,000 organizations from all major
industries, including healthcare, education,
manufacturing, energy and transportation
are customers, including 1,100 of the
largest Japanese brand-name companies.
Works Applications employs over 6,000
people worldwide, with offices in Tokyo,
Shanghai, Singapore, New York,
Los Angeles and Chennai.
For more information,
please visit worksap.com/us.
Within this globalized marketplace, manufacturers nowadays can’t afford not to
invest in technologies driving the future of the industry.
With increased competition and evolving customer demand, manufacturers
must be willing to modernize and innovate to ensure their long-term health and
overall operational efficiency. One strategy to confront these shifts head-on is the
decision to adopt and invest in AI-enabled software, like that offered through Works
Aside from the many advantages discussed above, one worth noting again is that
manufacturers don’t need to toss out their legacy equipment. And, although adoption
can be complex, consider also where the market is headed and what’s at stake if you
choose to let digital disruption get the best of you.
So, embrace this age of disruption and AI-enabled software along with it.
Because one thing is for sure: