Manufacturers should adopt digital technology faster to adjust to the new normal for sustainability, SYSPRO Africa Head of Solutions Engineering Deirdre Fryer said.
“For a long time, we have been talking about digital transformation. In some business circles, it was not well understood; in others, it was just ignored. But now, we are suddenly seeing people and businesses beginning to develop an interest in digital transformation. It has now become a re-ignited topic, one that people are paying attention to and want to explore,” noted Ms. Deirdre.
She was speaking during a webinar series hosted by SYSPRO to assist Kenyan manufacturers in the digital transformation process.
Deidre explained that digital transformation involves a fundamental change in how an enterprise uses its technology, its workforce and business processes to improve its performance and value to customers.
“It is important to understand that the digital transformation journey is not a vertical process but a horizontal process meaning its implementation shouldn’t be left to only one department or an individual in a company, it is a process that involves multiple departments and multiple people. Successful digital transformation only happens when there is a coordinated change effort through all aspects of the business,” she said.
According to SYSPRO’s research conducted in 2019 on the state of manufacturing in Kenya in collaboration with Strathmore University, they found that only 10.3 percent of manufacturing companies in Kenya are fully automated while the rest are semi-automated or fully manual.
The report indicated a large number of manufacturing organizations in Kenya have yet to embark on their digital journey.
SYSPRO note ICT adoption has been identified as a key factor that can increase competitiveness for Kenyan businesses. However, for this to happen, there is a need to have human resources with the knowledge and skill to implement the relevant technologies, financial resources to purchase these technologies and access the latest technology locally.
Companies need skilled technical expertise within the company and in the external ecosystem where these technologies are purchased in order to have tailor-made, affordable solutions with local support.
Under the Big 4 Agenda, manufacturing is a priority sector for the Kenyan government. It currently contributes 9.6 percent of the GDP while the goal is to get it to contribute 20 percent of the GDP by 2022.