July 21 2020

Digital transformation in manufacturing: a transcending trend?

71% of manufacturers said that digital transformation has increased in importance over the past three months.* It is not the first time digital transformation has reached the status of ‘trend’. The question is, will it flourish from a fad into a movement, in light of COVID-19?

Digital transformation is the use of digital technology to solve problems. Manufacturers want to progress with a smart factory and automate processes, capture information digitally and use it to optimise operations with better data insights. The prevalence of manual inefficient processes and lack of digitisation in manufacturing shows the untapped potential of digital transformation.

Here are four ways digital transformation can improve manufacturing processes.

1. Deliver robust risk management

Risk management tools equipped with better data insights can perform risk modelling, run scenarios, and flag up problems to the right people early in your reporting. When the data is built in and readily available, the heavy lifting is taken out of anticipating and managing bumps in the road.

Better data and analysis can help you manage your supply chain risks by giving unprecedented insight into supply chain optimisation. With the right data at your fingertips you can rapidly respond to the fluid and uncertain supply chain environment you are now operating in.

2. Improve responsiveness to customer demand

Technology and better data insights can help identify changes to demand and consumption patterns faster, and then allow you to better model these changes into production so you can reconfigure your operations faster.  By shortening the feedback loop, product service and delivery can be strengthened while reminding customers that their needs are at the forefront of everything you do.

New digital technologies can give your customers new channels through which they can buy your products, or benefit from your services.

3. Increase production capacity/capability

Tools magnify efforts of staff and help turn raw materials into the quality products required by the customer at an affordable cost. Digital tools are no different. Digitally transforming your operations, helps drive significant improvements in cost and quality.

This can be through removing manual repetitive tasks via process automation, digitising the capture of quality and production data on the shop floor, and presenting that data into powerful, actionable data insights using new reporting tools.

4. Arm your team with the digital solutions they need to succeed

Productivity affects almost all aspects of business from payroll and revenue, to employee experience and company identity. New tools are continuously reaching the market to increase productivity and growth – but navigating the plethora of digital solutions and technologies in order to find the right tools for your business, has become a minefield.

With the right priority and focus, strong consultation with your business on what they need to get the job done, and a tight alignment of technology solutions to business goals, digital transformation can start small and incrementally deliver immediate benefits.

*Oden State of Manufacturing survey