Engineers working in industrial manufacturing factory, checking machinery.


Is agility essential for manufacturers?

16th August 2023

5 min read

Author: Andy Reid, Head of Product Marketing X3, Sage

Is agility essential for manufacturers?

Why positive action is essential to manufacturers in the current economic environment.

The manufacturing industry has long been a hotbed of innovation. However, in today's ever-evolving economic environment, manufacturers face challenges that require a little more thinking than in the past. The solutions may come down to technology investments, or smart planning, but progress will always come as a result of positive action. Here are some of the reasons manufacturers need more agility than ever.


Supply Chain Disruption 

We continue to see the impact of Covid 19 as global supply chains normalise after multiple years of disruption. The pandemic laid bare the vulnerabilities, and many moved to add resilience by sourcing new suppliers of raw materials, improving logistics options, and seeking to shorten production cycles. However, the drive to innovate is seeing some exciting developments, illustrated recently by the announcement that the UK will soon mine lithium commercially from Cornwall. The new facility aims to supply the core material for 500,000 electric cars by the end of the decade, roughly double the current annual sales of EVs in the UK. Manufacturers must continually seek sustainable sources of raw materials and be open to new suppliers from unexpected locations.


Technological Advancements

Technological advancements are transforming the manufacturing landscape at an unprecedented pace. The rise of Industry 4.0, smart factories, and the Internet of Things (IoT) brought a clearer picture of the data behind shop floor processes than ever before. While the rapid emergence of metals-based additive manufacturing (3D printing) is creating huge cost-saving potential for the aerospace and automotive sectors. Keeping up with these innovations can be overwhelming for manufacturers. At the same time, environmental pressures within food and agriculture are driving producers to consider new approaches, but also fall back on some old ones. A recent report highlighted the exploratory use of nets by fruit growers to keep out unwanted insects, protect crops, and reduce the need and use of pesticides. Whilst this may not seem like a new idea, varying mesh size and adding special coatings enables growers to be smarter about letting in the insects that are needed to produce healthy crops.


Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility

Sustainability is increasingly a concern for manufacturers as society demands environmentally responsible practices. The emergence of Industry 5.0 is respect for the people and resources involved in production at the centre of the process. According to the European Commission, Industry 5.0 “…places the wellbeing of the worker at the centre of the production process and uses new technologies to provide prosperity beyond jobs and growth while respecting the production limits of the planet”. At the same time, we’re seeing stricter regulations and rising energy costs, in part due to ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

Manufacturers are seeking new ways to optimise energy consumption and reduced waste. Through Europe, particularly, we’re seeing a surge in demand for Heat PumpsHeat Pumps use electricity but can produce around three or four kilowatt hours of heat for every kilowatt hour of power they consume. This in turn can be used to power industrial machinery more cheaply, or some can support the heating requirements for thousands of homes more efficiently.

Whatever the challenge it is encouraging to see that solutions are presenting themselves when collectively we act. It’s no longer enough for today’s manufacturing and distribution organisations to be experts in making or moving their unique offerings. However, when they work together with their partners, those with experience and expertise in digital innovation, it is clear that these challenges can be overcome.



About Andy Reid and Sage X3

Andy Reid

Andy is Sage X3 product manager for Sage X3.  His role, and previous experience, has brought him close to manufacturers and how you use technology to support your business strategies, ability to remain agile and respond to changes in the manufacturing landscape.  

At Datel we work closely with Andy and the Sage X3 team to bring the voice of the customer to the product roadmap and strategy for Sage X3.  We’ve been a Sage X3 partner since it was launched into the UK in 2009 and support over 150 customers on the product. Our wealth of knowledge of the solution, your industry and your aspirations help us to deliver technology that aligns to your potential.


To gain an understanding of how a Sage X3 partner solution and Datel’s expertise in supporting the technology strategies of manufacturing businesses can support your business, get in touch with the team.