The manufacturing sector in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is entering a new era of digital innovation, with enterprises shifting from the digital transformation era — in which they transformed their operations with digital technologies — to the digital business era, in which the focus is on running a sustainable digital business, according to an IDC Info Brief commissioned by Infor, the industry cloud company.
IDC is a leading global provider of information technology analysis, advice and services. The IDC Info Brief reveals that 71% of MEA manufacturers are pursuing a digital-first approach to business. Of these, 82% are ramping up investments including in factory automation and robotic process automation, and 56% are investing in digital employee experience.
However, challenges persist, largely due to a continued reliance on legacy systems, with 64% of manufacturers in the MEA region still using spreadsheets and standalone applications to manage their supply chains, according to IDC.
The presence of manual workflows, as well as legacy systems and their primitive functionalities, prevent organisations from achieving the speed, scale and flexibility required for the new world, according to Jebin George, IDC senior manager of software, cloud and industry solutions.
“As players in the MEA industrial sector embark on hyper-growth journeys, their success or failure will increasingly be determined by the digital maturity of their ERP systems,” George said. “Cloud-based ERP applications continue to grow because of their ability to access and analyse massive amounts of data in near real time and the support they provide for anywhere, anytime access”.
Kerry Koutsikos, Infor VP & GM for EMEA emerging markets, said: “With our industry-specific cloud-based solutions, Infor is ideally placed to help manufacturers in the Middle East become truly digital-first players with visibility across their operations and the agility to respond quickly to market changes and opportunities”.
Manufacturing is increasingly under the spotlight in the Middle East, especially in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, whose governments have identified it as a key sector for development. In the UAE, national initiatives such as the government’s “Operation 300bn” strategy aim to increase the industrial sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) to AED 300 billion (US $81.7 billion) by 2031. The government also is keen to use technologies such as artificial intelligence to help propel the sector to new heights.
Infor works with various manufacturers in the region including Metito, the Abu Dhabi-based leader in sustainable water management and alternative energy solutions. Driven by population growth and investment in megaprojects, water demand is set to rise by 62% by 2025 in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. Metito deployed Infor’s ERP to enhance its business processes. It simplifies and automates operations to increase visibility to enable more efficient response times to customers, suppliers and regulatory needs. Also, Supertech Group, a UAE-based diversified conglomerate, has digitally transformed with Infor ERP software for manufacturing, enhancing its ability to meet growing demand for industrial products and discrete manufacturing across sectors.
Saudi Lime is a Saudi producer and supplier of limestone products, deploying Infor CloudSuite Industrial Enterprise on AWS to optimally meet surging demand for its products from sectors including construction, iron & steel, glass production, mining, and agriculture in MEA and Asia. It’s digital transformation strategy (SPARK) involves simplifying its operations, raising efficiency, and capturing and analysing valuable data to gain operational and market insights to further improve performance.