Digital transformation (DT) is the process of leveraging digital technologies to develop new or modify existing business processes, ecosystems, cultures and customer experiences (CX) to meet dynamically changing business requirements. Digital transformation is the reconceptualization of business in this digital era.
By 2024, over 60% of G2000 manufacturing organizations will rely on artificial intelligence platforms to drive digital transformation across the supply chain, leading to productivity gains of over 20%. – IDC
Every industry is adopting digital transformation and manufacturing is not an exception. Modern manufacturing leaders develop a strategy to achieve the core goals You can move from a traditional manufacturing setup to an interoperable ecosystem-wide. Digital transformation in a manufacturing firm brings together customers, suppliers, trading partners, applications and third-party data service providers to function as a single unit.
A digitally integrated manufacturing ecosystem drives value by –
- Creating new revenue streams
- Reducing costs
- Improving business operations
- Rapidly adopting technologies
Digital Transformation-as-a-Service (DTaaS) in manufacturing
Encourage your enterprise to adopt digital transformation consulting services that combine an “as-a-service” model with IT technologies and services. This “as-a-service” model takes innovative initiatives using a huge silo of data at the enterprise level. So, Digital Transformation as a Service (DTaaS) model for manufacturers helps in continuous and end-to-end transformations by adapting to changing business environments such as –
Why do manufacturers need digital transformation to address challenges
Traditional manufacturers face major revenue challenges due to technical barriers, skill gaps, poor productivity, inadequate obsolete equipment, and legacy software performance and adherence to outdated processes.
Moreover, manufacturers are under competitive pressure to produce higher-quality goods at lower prices. They want to cut costs and improve efficiency in their supply chains and factories. On the other hand, customers are demanding a more distinctive customer experience across all their touchpoints. Digital initiatives will alter how you operate.
It is vital to understand that trending technologies help manufacturing companies streamline their operations, deliver value, and generate revenue. Let’s get to know the technologies that have been driving significant changes and enhancements in the industry.
Some technologies to consider when developing applications to accelerate digital transformation in manufacturing operations –
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Machine learning (ML)
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Cloud computing and APIs
- Digital twin
- Immersive experience – MR, AR, VR
- Robotic process automation (RPA)
- Data analytics and more
These digital manufacturing technologies are useful in various areas ranging from asset optimization to workforce productivity for speeding industrialization and other aspects of manufacturing.
Some use cases of digital transformation in manufacturing
Modernize legacy systems for interoperability –
Legacy systems were not initially designed to cope with such changing digital demands. Organizations using legacy applications face challenges such as a shortage of skills, expensive hardware and outdated mainframes. So, manufacturers must consider system and application modernization to eliminate interoperability issues with modern technologies.
By migrating legacy systems to a new computational environment, you can not only save on maintenance costs but also eliminate the need to hire experts for various other manufacturing processes.
Unlock productivity by modernizing legacy environment-
- Remove fragmentation and pursue growth
- Decrease costs, speedup time to value and minimize risks
- Transform & expedite processes/ deployments
Data analytics for better decision-making –
Manufacturing is thought to generate the most data – and waste the most data – of any industry. Thus, manufacturing analytics is one of the crucial aspects necessary for digital transformation. The aim is to automate traditional manufacturing processes, reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Creating a digital manufacturing roadmap allows manufacturers to use big data and analytics to improve overall manufacturing operations such as:
- Plant benchmarking
- OEE management
- New product development
- Product quality
- Order accuracy
- Shipment & cycle time performance
- Time-to-market and more
Manufacturers who excel at digital manufacturing strategies gain new analytical insights into how to make more accurate, timely and cost-effective decisions.
Maximize asset optimization and workforce productivity
An entire manufacturing value chain’s success depends upon the performance of mission-critical assets and the digital skills of workers. Adopting digital transformation in manufacturing can track asset efficiency and address employees’ digital skill shortages.
Digital manufacturing in manufacturing plants can assist in asset tracking (e.g., an employee or piece of equipment) to identify the exact location and ongoing state of operations. Some of the common challenges in the manufacturing industry that it solves are:
- Maintaining aging equipment
- Controlling disparate systems
- Improving data storage
- Processing large data volumes
- Protecting data from security threats
- Coordinating with cross-functional teams
- Increasing employees’ digital dexterity
Decrease administrative work
One of the most common problems in manufacturing operations is an excessive administrative burden, which wastes a lot of time.
Some routine administrative responsibilities include –
- Processing invoices
- Filing taxes
- Labeling and categorizing papers
- Gathering information for quote requests
- Managing accounts
- Keeping customer databases
- Creating inventory reports and validating data
These manufacturing administrative tasks are time-consuming, repetitive and prone to error.
According to a survey conducted by Kronos Incorporated, a workforce management provider, 40% of employees waste an hour-plus every day on administrative tasks that don’t drive value.
These tasks can be automated using advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), industrial internet of things (IIoT) and others. Intelligent automation for manufacturing activities not only streamlines processes but also provides real-time insights that help modernize administrative workflows.
Here are some benefits of digital transformation in manufacturing:
- Reduce time spent in processing and submitting tasks
- Automate workflows to achieve TAT
- Improve task and project delivery consistency
- Reduce human intervention and errors
- Enable workers to focus on core activities
Perform data-driven predictive maintenance
In today’s manufacturing domain, where efficiency is the top priority and unplanned downtime can quickly hit the bottom line, adopting digital transformation is a necessity. Whether its AI, AR or IoT – they each have an essential role in keeping equipment running reliably, identifying faults at an early stage and solving problems quickly, regardless of location.
Digitized manufacturing firms with remote or mobile assets can benefit from predictive maintenance. The predictive maintenance process consists of components such as capturing sensor data, communicating data and making predictions via data analysis. Moreover, predictive maintenance takes historical data into account to detect patterns that help to identify machines that stand the risk of experiencing an outage shortly.
Hence, the future of efficient and profitable manufacturing now lies in digital and businesses truly embracing the technologically-driven insights of predictive maintenance.
Reduce equipment stoppage
Unplanned downtime can cost you an arm and a leg. Downtime can occur because of various factors, from machine failures to power outages. When manufacturing equipment breaks or a power outage occurs, the entire production process can stop gradually. Such stoppage can be challenging to control expenses and meet production targets.
For the digitalization of predictive maintenance, enterprises must implement remote monitoring, data analytics and predictive maintenance tools in the future. Digital transformation in the manufacturing industry reduces unscheduled downtime, enhances efficiency and increases profitability.
The future of manufacturing is digital
It is high time for the C-suit level to adopt new technologies and map out a future-ready DT roadmap to adapt to change and capitalize on opportunities. With digital transformation consulting services, you can get digital awareness and assessment, digital strategy services and digital transformation implementation. If you want to enable digital manufacturing to enrich your business model, then talk to our experts.