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Copilot: The game changer in the business planning of manufacturing companies

12 Feb, 2024

The integration of Copilot into all Microsoft Dynamics 365 business applications marks a turning point in the use of artificial intelligence for smart manufacturing. For the first time, AI applications can be seamlessly integrated into everyday business processes, in some cases without any programming effort. This development is particularly important given the shortage of skilled workers, as it enables a significant increase in efficiency.

Copilot serves as a powerful assistant that helps employees process data faster, manage documents more effectively, and optimize internal company communication. In this article, we look at the specific impact this can have on the financial and business planning of manufacturing companies.

Understanding Copilot: Generative AI in Finance & Operations

By integrating generative AI, Copilot fundamentally changes how finance and operations teams work within Microsoft Dynamics 365 products. Artificial intelligence is predestined to reduce complexity, draw deep insights from large amounts of financial data and automate routine tasks. This allows experts to focus on strategic planning, interpersonal collaboration and creative problem solving.

Two significant changes Copilot brings

Accessibility via no-code and low-code applications is another advantage of Copilot. Users can use AI-driven functions regardless of their technical experience. Every person in the company can contribute to increased efficiency and better financial results.

Copilot as a solution for the top challenges in financial and business planning

From the impact of the pandemic to the blockage of the Suez Canal, manufacturing companies have faced a variety of difficulties in recent years. Copilot can help with exactly these types of challenges - particularly in the areas of data analysis, risk management, and process automation.
  • 1

    Volatility of raw material prices

    By analyzing market data and trends, Copilot can help to predict price volatility, budget flexibly and develop appropriate purchasing strategies.

    Take, for example, an automotive supplier that purchases various plastics and is affected by the volatility of oil prices. Copilot could analyze trends in oil and related plastic prices to support a dynamic purchasing strategy.

  • 2

    Global competition and price pressure

    In a highly competitive world, Copilot provides data-driven insights and automated analysis. These enable more precise cost control and help to respond effectively to global pricing pressures.

    For example, if a company faces intense price competition from global competitors, Copilot can continuously analyze competitor pricing and use production cost data to support strategic pricing.

  • 3

    Non-transparent risk management

    Copilot identifies and analyzes risks, such as supply chain disruptions or currency fluctuations, and supports the development of risk management strategies to ensure financial stability.

    For example, companies that produce internationally are affected by sudden exchange rate fluctuations. Copilot could identify these currency risks and create forecasts, which in turn enables hedging strategies or adjustments to purchasing strategies.

  • 4

    Tapping into new markets and regions

    According to a study commissioned by HSO, 60% of manufacturing companies have entered new regions and territories to respond to global events. Copilot can assist with this expansion by providing relevant market analysis and strategy recommendations.

    For example, if a manufacturer is planning to expand into emerging markets where demand for its technologies is growing, Copilot could provide detailed market analysis on these regions.

  • 5

    Data management and analysis

    Copilot is ideal for processing large amounts of data and providing valuable insights for business reports and strategic insights. This promotes informed decision-making.

    For example, if a manufacturer is faced with the challenge of extracting relevant information from the flood of production data, Copilot can analyze this data in real-time and identify patterns and anomalies.

Overcoming personnel and competence deficits with Copilot

For manufacturing companies in particular, labor shortages and skills shortages also pose major challenges. In 2023, 36%* of manufacturing companies stated that they were significantly or severely affected by recruitment challenges. In the previous year, this figure was as high as 55%*.

And here, too, Copilot can provide twofold support:

  • Because Copilot automates repetitive tasks and email traffic, it takes the pressure off staff and enables a clear focus on more complex, value-adding work. This realignment significantly increases operational efficiency.
  • Beyond automation, Copilot supports decision-making through rapid data analysis. It helps to identify relevant trends, which leads to better-informed decisions and thus relieves the burden on the company's staff.

* Source: 2023 Manufacturing Agility Assessment Report

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Copilot in Manufacturing & Supply Chain

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