Need for Information Technology in the Stone Industry

 

IT in the Stone Industry 

Information Technology (IT) has not left untouched most aspects of our business and life. In the eighties it made its inroads in the arena of the stone industry, and India being a leader in software business, software solutions found its applications here too from the early eighties. Software solutions today can be successfully put to use in acquiring accurate and faster status of business operations and thereby, help in making more informed decisions. The stone industry that has been there since time immemorial stands to gain by adopting man’s most recent invention – IT, in its business operations. This is an attempt to attain a perspective of how IT can make value additions to the stone industry.

Challenges from the Stone Industry 

Despite the fact, that IT have made inroads into major industries, this is not true for the stone industry where only the big players have adopted IT to assist their business operations. However, in recent times the stone industry is undergoing technological transformation as companies are increasingly going for efficient machines to enhance production. The deployment of large scale heavy machineries increases productivity with reduced costs, but this comes along with complexity of operations, especially so since it operates in multiple locations with multiple deadlines. This notwithstanding, there are constraints like restricted lease period and other unnoticed costs which affects the profit margin. Again environmental concerns have to be kept in mind. Optimization of resources and performance in all these areas can be facilitated by incorporating software solutions within the business system.

 

  • However, the stone industry presents certain challenges which have made it difficult for them to adopt IT readily: 
  • Inaccessible locations of quarries and mines in difficult terrains
  • Family run businesses with traditional set-up without professional management
  • Lack of seamless integration of systems
  • High cost of computerization
  • IT companies were initially restricted to purchase orders 
  • Inadequate IT training and knowledge of IT 
  • Doubts about the usefulness of IT
  • IT experts well versed in the stone industry are wanting 

 

While these challenges present a constraint, they outweigh the potential benefits that IT can bring to the stone industry. The procedure once initiated and implemented can be simply and easily tailored to fit into the requirements of individual organizations. Indeed, the day-to-day business operation of the stone industry is such that it calls for customized software solutions to fit into organizations and not the other way through. Such a process will allow IT to complement their operations processes. It is worth noting, that the client need not buy the entire software, but can pick and choose modules to make a package which is applicable to it, thereby cutting down on unnecessary expenses. Where the cost vs. value additions, customers clearly stands to gain.

The process can be initiated by going for a detailed study of the client’s needs, and the client in turn going for a detailed study of the system, which will help them understand and analyze how to cover all the functions in the organization, and thus enable them to understand what changes they want to be made in the software. The customer can ask for cost effective analysis, training of their staff, phase-wise implementation, check the modules prior to installation and after and ask for help file and manuals.

Why IT?

Benefits and Offerings 

Software solution for the stone industry can be so designed that it covers the entire business operations and proves to be an invaluable asset in enhancing business efficiency. IT can tremendously help the top management in acquiring the live status of business and thus facilitate in making more informed decisions quickly. The hardware and software devices work together in generating reports and in bringing about benefits in areas of:

 

  • Production management
  • Inventory and purchase management
  • History on the performance and maintenance of machines, including calculating the downtime
  • Stockyard management
  • Sales and dispatch management
  • Corporate MIS, report generation
  • Maintaining attendance, payroll, performance appraisals and other HR related work
  • Entire Financial management with costing 

 

Industry Experts Recommendation 

The primary concern of the industry today to grow while simultaneously focusing on cost reduction through production enhancement, efficiency increment, optimum utilization of resources and customer satisfaction. To achieve these in today’s globally competitive market it is strategic to combine these objectives with IT. The need of the hour is to pursue beyond conventional business standards and strive for newer business approach that will ensure solid business results. IT enabled ERP solutions (Enterprise Resource Planning) does just that – it helps the stone industry in improved planning and production, while increasing efficiency and cutting down on expenses. The benefits of an ERP solution is that it integrates the various departments in an organization like financial and cost accounting, production operations, material management, plant and equipment maintenance, supply chain management, customer order management, project management, etc. under a single platform. It allows for transparency whereby the different levels within the organization can access information readily and accurately. Research indicates that by incorporating IT the stone industry can reduce 15% of operational costs. Business trends indicate that IT has a major role to play in the stone industry in the near future, especially so in this age of global competition.

Global Visibility across Supply Chain 

Stone companies with a traditional set-up are increasingly feeling the pressures of supply chain management. This is aggravated by costlier transport and raw materials arriving from various part of the world. It is therefore crucial for companies to have an accurate knowledge of their supply chain and related operations. IT ensures through sophisticated techniques that it is possible to forecast demands while integrating supply chain and production business processes within an organization. By integrating various business processes of an organization it can make accurate deliveries and achieve enhanced customer satisfaction. With ERP solution it is possible to attain precise insight into supply operations and production capacity potential.