The pandemic has hit manufacturing hard, following results from an assessment conducted by ERP firm SYSPRO, alongside the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).
This week, SYSPRO released a report named Manufacturing CFO 4.0 2021 Survey, which examined the effects of the pandemic in manufacturing in Kenya. It was a key evaluation because it shed light on how manufacturing firms have faired ever since the first case of the Coronavirus was announced in the country about 18 months ago.
In the same breath, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics released the Kenya Economic Survey 2021, which conclusively reveals that manufacturing has been struggling in Kenya, mainly due to the measures instituted by the government to reduce the spread of the virus.
The same survey reports that food and beverages is the leading manufacturing arm in Kenya at 43 percent, followed by industrial machinery at 12 percent and packaging t 11 percent.
The digital side of the industry, and ERP as a whole has been interesting. For instance, ERP is still being integrated in the systems of various industries, with 44 percent of the surveyed groups showcasing interest in investing in the technology.
Part of the assessment asked a very important question: over the next five years, which technology and digital transformation initiatives will manufacturing firms invest in?
Well, at the very top is ERP at 44 percent. 37 percent of the surveyed sample size also revealed that they want to dive into eCommerce.
Moreover, 32 percent of the firms that were sampled said they would consider investing in managed services via outsourcing.
Cybersecurity also drew interest from the companies at 29 percent.
The results, admittedly, match the unique challenges faced by manufacturing firms in Kenya.
“As an effective digital managerial tool, ERP affords its users the ability to not only confidently pivot in times of crisis and streamline the efficiency of their operations,” reads part of the report.
The data is also key because it demonstrates the essence of raw materials to a region that has vastly invested in food and beverages production.
Although ERP cannot magically address issues such as global supply chain constraints, it does consolidate important data in real-time, expediting faster decision-making.
So, do businesses expect to get any return of investment from their digital investments? Well, 30 percent of the surveyed companies believe they will get payback, although 28 percent of the group does not believe so.
Overall, it is important for the region to still keep an eye on the space. With the impetus displayed by Kenya’s international peers, the responsibility is fast becoming one of digital renovation.
Change could take a while to be seen, but it must happen nonetheless in an effort to stay ahead of rivals.