Cloud integral to Industry 4.0 reaching tipping point

Business appetite for Industry 4.0 is growing, but we are yet to reach the tipping point where manufacturers have transformed into digital enterprises.

This is according to CTO Jon Wrennall at British software and services company Advanced, who also believes the Cloud is integral to helping drive Industry 4.0 forward.

Wrennall said: "Many of us are familiar with the concept of Industry 4.0, but we are led to believe that businesses are well on their way in digital transformation. The reality is that there is a growing gap between executive ambition and transformative action. In fact, according to a recent KPMG report, just 43% have a coherent Industry 4.0 strategy. This tells us there's a job to be done in increasing confidence among late digital adopters."

Advanced is using the Cloud to help manufacturers take Industry 4.0 forward. In July, the company acquired Hudman, developer of an award-winning cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, as part of a new Cloud-first strategy. Three months on, it has unveiled Advanced Business Cloud Essentials, as the new name for the Hudman SaaS ERP solution and signed up several manufacturers during the process.

James Gourmet Coffee, J S Bailey and Aspire Furniture are examples of organisations that have invested in the solution, which covers the entire business process from accounts and payroll through to operations, stock, customers and the supply chain. J S Bailey, a leading cheese wholesaler with a turnover of £30m, believes Advanced will help it reduce paperwork across the organisation by as much as 80%.
"Admittedly, our ways of working were becoming outdated and in several areas were struggling to keep pace with rapid growth of the company" said Anne German, System Manager at J S Bailey. "A number of our business processes were not fully integrated with each other, requiring the support of manual procedures, making it more difficult for us to monitor and report on production, sales and finance in the timely manner that a growing business requires.

"We recognised a change was needed if we were to succeed in the 'new' digital era, but we knew little about which technologies could help us reimagine our business. The cloud ERP solution was recommended to us and, when seeing it in action, we were impressed by the features as well as the affordability and customer service that came with them. Moving to the cloud needn't have been so daunting after all, and we are confident it will give us a fully integrated system fit for the future."

James Gourmet Coffee, a successful family run independent coffee roasting business with a track record of 20 years in the industry, says the Cloud ERP solution replaced a poorly performing accounting solution that made creating simple reports too time consuming. Peter James, owner and founder of the business added: "It's become an invaluable visual tool that I trust to help me make important business decisions. It provides an overview of what's going on in the business, from trends and tracking of consumption, and covers our key business operations including HR and payroll. The team quickly built up our confidence in the solution and we believe the Cloud is the way forward in transforming our processes online."

Advanced's latest research shows there are still many organisations that are yet to make the jump to cloud technology. Just 33% admit to being experienced in the cloud and 37% have only recently launched cloud computing projects for the first time. What's most concerning is that a massive 82% want to see Cloud providers do more to build confidence among those looking to adopt a digital transformation strategy, of which the Cloud is fundamental.

Mark Dewell, Managing Director – Commercial and Third Sector at Advanced, adds: "The latest customer wins are sure signs that Cloud adoption is accelerating within the manufacturing industry. It's encouraging to see the cloud is recognised as making a real difference to their business. We now want to build on this success and bring more organisations like J S Bailey to the Cloud, embracing ERP and enabling them to be part of the trend that is Industry 4.0. But, until we – as an industry – take action and build confidence among those manufacturers still to adopt the Cloud, we will not reach the tipping point in Industry 4.0."

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