Compared to other industries, the manufacturing sector has often been dubbed ‘slow’ as far as the adoption of digital technologies is concerned. With the Coronavirus Pandemic showcasing just how important and beneficial digital transformation can be for businesses, it is high time that manufacturing businesses woke up to smell the coffee!
Digital transformation in manufacturing implies the use and integration of new technologies, software, and computer applications that can help in-
- Boosting operational efficiency
- Cutting down on overhead costs and redundancies
- Bettering the quality of the manufactured products
- Improving customer service, experiences, and demands
The competition is high, with more manufacturing businesses seeking digital transformation solutions in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this resource article, we will touch on some essential aspects of digital transformation in the manufacturing sector.
Challenges of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Businesses
Change is not welcomed, no matter which industry you are a part of. The same goes for traditional businesses that are in the manufacturing niche. In this section, we will list down some of the top challenges to digital transformation in the manufacturing sector.
Resistance from Investors, Employees, and Other Stakeholders
Formulating and executing a digital transformation strategy requires considerable investments. It also involves a change in the thought process and culture. In most cases, the major resistance comes from age-old employees, traditional loyalists, investors, and even the top management, including the firm’s directors. Changing their outlook can be quite difficult.
ROI Calculations and Improvements do not always go as planned
Indeed, any investment made from the point of view of improving existing operations always involves an ROI. However, when it comes to digital transformation, the ROIs might not be as vividly seen as would some other possibilities. Getting everyone on board to invest and sustain digital transformation for periods can be challenging.
Problems of Skilled Professionals and Technologists
Manufacturing businesses can suffer due to a shortage of skilled professionals in the market. While most manufacturing businesses might have an IT team, the task of digital transformation needs more than just them. It involves upskilling existing professionals in the company and hiring technologists from outside; both requires sizable costs, investments, and time.
Resource Constraints that can Harm Manufacturing Operations
Manufacturing businesses are famous for not letting anything harm their operations or processes. This means that the top management and managers are not too keen on diverting resources that will slow down operations. Even if some professionals would want to engage with digital transformation strategies, they will not be able to excuse themselves.
Examples of Digital Transformation Strategy in Manufacturing Businesses
Many people have the misconception that digital transformation in manufacturing involves using robotics, developing new supply chain solutions, or going for a fancy new ERP. While the above are most definitely part of digital transformation, they are not the only thing that matter-
Data Analytics and Management
The importance of data management cannot be negated in modern business enterprises. Successful data management can show you areas where you are performing and areas that need improvement.
This can help to create a lean, fit and productive manufacturing workforce. Simple things like order notifications, historical data reading, and email marketing campaigns that use past client data can make all the difference.
Smart Technologies and Internet-of-Things
Manufacturing businesses need to understand the benefits of using cloud computing to improve their processes and verticals. IoT and smart technologies can be a massive game-changer for the industry.
Smart technologies can aid everything from daily logs and attendance to optimising security within the facility and can help boost productivity levels and reduce wastages. Using the cloud should be a top priority for manufacturing businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Additive Manufacturing is the Future of the Industry
With supply lines and vendor problems creeping up every day, manufacturers need to start integrating additive manufacturing processes. You cannot be dependent on your vendors at all times. This can hold up the production process.
These 3 Modeling and Layering techniques can help you speed up production processes and reduce dependencies. Major businesses from Ford to Tesla are heavily investing in additive manufacturing.
Major Benefits of Digital Transformation for Manufacturing
At the very heart of digital transformation in the manufacturing sector is the focus on the customer. This customer-centric approach is perhaps the most significant benefit of altering operations, processes, and human resources in the manufacturing industry.
In this section, we are going to outline some of the major benefits of digital transformation for manufacturing businesses in 2022-
- Innovation– Smart technologies can help unleash innovative strategies that can boost everything from customer experience to increased manufacturing output. Integrating your ERP with technologies and IoT devices can give a sizable leg-up to existing processes. It can drive better supply chain logistics and inventory management.
- Outsourcing– Using digital technologies can help make accurate business predictions. Rather than rushing to forced conclusions, manufacturers can outsource different problem solutions to other vendors. This means that it allows the management to make informed decisions and calculated risks about various operations.
- Lifecycle Management– Every manufacturing business dreams of having the perfect lifecycle management process. With digital transformation, this can be a real possibility. From charting the new product’s potential to negotiating its usage, service, and problem solving, DTS can achieve all.
- Data Management– ERP systems, Inventory Management, Employee Appraisals, Ecommerce Optimisations, etc. can be successfully handled using the correct data. This can help the management take better and more informed decisions, adapt to changing ecosystems, and mitigate risks and questionable investments.
The Bottom Line
The goal of digital transformation in manufacturing is all about aligning human resources and machinery to achieve desired goals and objectives. With the pandemic throwing up never before seen challenges, all businesses, whether in the manufacturing or service industries, need to change their processes accordingly.
There is no denying that without digital transformation, manufacturing businesses will be successful in negotiating the future. Technologies are advancing at a rapid pace. If you are not using the same as a manufacturing business, you can rest assured that your competitor is definitely doing it.