Tim Lawrence, supply chain expert at PA Consulting Group, is quoted in The Connected Business, the Financial Times special report. Since the first commercial computers went into service in the 1950s, information technology has become a vital component of industrial infrastructure and Tim comments on the role IT plays in driving productivity growth.
PA’s Tim Lawrence argues that productivity gains from IT in manufacturing will be challenged by the slow recovery of budgets and the need to drive ambitious changes through a reduced workforce: "Traditionally, manufacturing’s IT spend is at the lower end of all costs, ranging from 1 to 4 per cent.
"Current pressure on productivity has an effect on all supply chain and payments related processes, as well as key processes in overheads such as finance and procurement.
"Some manufacturing organisations have adapted staff numbers to current and future capacities, and this means they will need to implement IT and process changes with fewer key personnel.
"Unfortunately, this does not mean IT spend has increased significantly – at best it has recovered to 80 per cent of pre-crisis levels.
"The challenge therefore is to address issues such as critical process changes, automation or a product life cycle management system that works globally, with fewer resources but at an even faster pace, and at the same time manage work changes for staff remaining in the company."
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