Manufacturing is evolving right before our eyes. This evolution is being spurred by the need for better automation, visibility, and collaboration. Modern manufacturers have connected their machines, processes, and people. They know what is really happening on the plant floor (even at multiple locations). They also have more insights into operational and business performance.\nWhat is it that these manufacturers have done to arrive at this level of connectivity? Read on to find out.\n1.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 They embrace cloud ERP.\nThe advantages of cloud ERP are significant: flexibility in delivering IT resources at the cost and speed the business requires, with manufacturers experiencing benefits like 15 percent savings in IT spend, 10 percent more IT budget allocated to innovation, and 8 percent increase in profitability.1\n2.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 They connect the plant floor to the top floor.\nLess than one percent of data collected on the shop floor is used, but making this data accessible to everyone in the business is essential.2 Modern manufacturers know what happens on the plant floor is critical to the business so they not only automate processes but also collect information at each step to keep decision-makers informed.\n3.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 They use their data to make more-informed business decisions.\nFrom measuring production throughput and plant schedule planning to support for demand management and forecasting, linking plant floor improvement to financial results is no longer a trend but a smart business strategy. Manufacturers who use this strategy are getting more value from their data and becoming more responsive and agile.\n4.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 They focus on continual improvement.\nA 2014 LNS Research survey found that78 percent of companies exist in a state of quality management disconnect.3 Continual improvement is not only about reducing inefficiency, it\u2019s about driving quality while reducing costs. Modern manufacturers constantly look for ways to improve processes that accomplish both goals.\n5.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 They aren\u2019t afraid of change.\nOnly 24 percent of manufacturers using ERP software report a high level of automation and 66 percent are using multiple systems.4 What modern manufacturers do differently is they aren\u2019t afraid of moving old, manual processes to automated, best practices with one, unified system. Ironically, embracing this change helps them adapt better to changes in their markets.\nModern manufacturers aren\u2019t happy with the status quo: always out-of-date legacy systems, manual processes, and a disconnected plant floor. They are doing things differently by relying on a manufacturing cloud ERP to run their business for more control, visibility, and collaboration.\nSee why Forrester named Plex as a breakout SaaS vendor for ERP software. Download the report: Breakout Vendors: SaaS Business Applications.\n1.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 The Economic and Strategic Benefits of Cloud Computing, Computer Electronics, February 2014.\n2.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 How Big Data Can Improve Manufacturing, McKinsey & Company, July 2014.\n3.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Close-Looped Quality Management: Connecting the Value Chain, LNS Research, April 2013.\n4.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Enterprise Resource Planning in a Manufacturing Environment, CIO, 2016.