SYSPRO Research Reveals CFO 4.0 Instrumental in Building the Factory of the Future

SYSPRO surveyed today’s financial leaders who find themselves obliged to evolve into more flexible, forward-thinking roles. (Graphic: Business Wire)

TUSTIN, Calif.--()--SYSPRO, a global provider of ERP software, announced new research into the CFO 4.0, which reveals that the manufacturing CFO will play a critical strategic, innovative, and financial role in the business moving forward. The study, which was conducted from July to September 2021 and led by SYSPRO, assessed the sentiment among senior-level finance leaders and Chief Financial Officers, within manufacturing sectors across the Americas, APAC, and EMEA. The participants encompassed leaders across both SMEs and larger enterprises, indicating that these results reflect the insights of a wide range of players in the Manufacturing and Distribution space.

The diversification of business operations

The study revealed that the disruptions caused by the pandemic played a catalytic role in the diversification of manufacturing businesses. To thrive, 65% of CFO respondents surveyed indicated that they have shifted expenditure into new markets, product lines, and technologies. Drilling down further, the SYSPRO survey found:

  • 33% of businesses expanded into new markets
  • 29% of businesses innovated through the introduction of a new production line
  • 39% of businesses will explore new routes to markets such as eCommerce channels

To enable the diversification of business models, 29% of CFOs indicated that they would invest further into R&D.

U.S. recovery from pandemic varies by industry with mostly positive sentiment

Sixty-eight percent of all respondents have already recovered or anticipated recovery by the end of 2021. Metal Fabrication was close at 71%, and Medical Device slightly lagged the overall industry average at 59% expected full recovery by end of 2021. The Electronics industry respondents reported 82% experienced a full recovery by the end of 2021, with 36% seeing no negative impact on their business from the pandemic. However, industry-driven results vary; a full 79% of the respondents, regardless of industry, anticipate recovery by the first half of 2022.

Building and securing a digital future

Per survey respondents, the top 5 business priorities for 2022 varied heavily by industry in terms of actual ranking. The finance leaders surveyed consistently identified the following as key areas of focus for 2022:

  1. Investing in eCommerce and digital transformation technologies
  2. Managing working capital vs. investment, managing cash flow, and managing rising inventory costs
  3. Improving visibility into performance
  4. Managing governance and risk
  5. Addressing an over-reliance on spreadsheets

Winning the war for talent

When exploring the key reasons behind business disruptions in 2021, it comes as no surprise that 43% of respondents point to the delayed procurement of raw materials or inventory from either onshore or offshore suppliers.

Not surprisingly, however, is that this figure is followed closely by the procurement of talent and skills, which comes in at 38%. “The pandemic highlighted the importance for digitally-savvy talent as businesses continue to invest in smart technologies and automation. The skills vacuum is vast, and companies have acknowledged a growing need to onboard highly specialized individuals and rapidly upskill their current staff,” states Scott Herbert, SYSPRO USA CEO.

Proactively managing business risks

With increased pressures on global supply chains, survey respondents noted that the costs of inventory management have the potential to rise to unforeseeable levels. When asked about top business risks for 2022, 40% of CFOs highlighted the management of rising inventory costs, 36% of respondents were concerned about managing cash flow and unsurprisingly 35% pointed to the management of local and global supply chains.

According to Hebert, “While the pandemic continues to have an impact on the global road to recovery, it has also allowed businesses to shift operations and adapt. We are seeing the industry explore new territories, expand production lines, and evolve business models. The CFO has been an instrumental catalyst in these shifts and is evolving the face of manufacturing as we know it.”

Download the report here to learn more.


SYSPRO is a leading, global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provider specializing in key manufacturing and distribution industries. For over 40 years, SYSPRO’s team of specialists have continued to address unique industry needs and enable customers to easily adapt and grow. The solution is scalable and can be deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or both, and accessed via the web on any device to provide customers with choice and flexibility.

SYSPRO remains focused on the success of partners and customers. Our evolving solutions are aligned with industry trends to leverage emerging technology that will enable partners and customers in securing a digital future.

With more than 15,000 licensed companies in over 60 countries across six continents, SYSPRO offers guidance and support every step of the way as a trusted advisor. For more information and career opportunities, visit


Erin Schlee
Marketing Communications Manager
SYSPRO – United States

Release Summary

New research reveals that manufacturing CFOs play a critical strategic, innovative, and financial role in the business moving forward.


Erin Schlee
Marketing Communications Manager
SYSPRO – United States