Technology reflections in the time of COVID-19



It goes without saying that navigating one lockdown is hard, but trying to keep both business up when you’re faced with more than one – and with a different set of rules in each country you’re operating in – certainly takes a team effort. By Daryl Joyce.

In our business, on both sides of the Tasman, we quickly understood that each lockdown generated its own unique obstacles and surprisingly, opportunities. 

In some instances, getting ahead to complete design work ahead of original timelines meant that our manufacturing team could get cracking with a full workload on return to the floor. However, in others, it meant juggling a range of projects, changes to timelines, and therefore delayed outputs for some of our customers. 

While some restrictions meant we were unable to access the sites of some of our customers to deliver some of the work as planned, quick uptake of technology pushed us to explore new ways of working and really hone in on our project and client management processes. 

It almost goes without saying that the use of technology and efforts to digitise how we work, has highlighted how critical it is for manufacturers of all sizes to continue to look for quicker, more intelligent methods to continue to drive positive outcomes for business. This applies not only to how we should think about our customers’ changing needs – but also our own. 

Right now, we’re experiencing a time where business evolution and securing positive ongoing business performance, has never been more top-of-mind. 

While many organisations reassess their approaches, lock in contingency plans leading into the Christmas break, and continue to think about the year ahead, there are a variety of solutions that can take the pain out of planning, performance and profitability. 

Thinking about the challenges we face and with the aim (like most of you reading this, I’m sure) of keeping time on admin to a minimum, we’ve been maximising the use of our ERP system. 

For our business, having the right intelligent technology to help on areas like improving our overall workflow, scheduling, managing the volume of materials for production, and getting payments and bills sorted quickly, has been critical to ensuring we’re in a strong position to survive any other tests that come our way. Thankfully, this is all taken care of using MYOB’s Advanced Manufacturing Edition, which was designed specifically with our industry in mind. 

Working directly to help others implement new technologies in their business operations, we’re seeing that more customers are open to looking at what automation options might be suitable for them, or how they can embrace technology to help keep labour costs low.  

This is really encouraging when we think about the potential we can help them achieve as a result of these slightly bolder business decisions and there’s good reason for our sector to be excited by this new appetite.

But modern manufacturing isn’t just about what solutions we can offer our customers – it’s also about rethinking our own operations. So, as this extraordinary, unexpected and somewhat exhausting year comes to a close, I’d challenge others in our sector to relook at their own digital systems and consider trying a new approach in the New Year. 

Daryl Joyce is Chief Operating Officer at RML Engineering.

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