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Phil Russell
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November 21, 2019

What Manufacturers Can Expect From Going Digital

shutterstock_497033215We live in a time where technology is leading the way in the ever-changing ecosystem of major industries such as oil and gas, healthcare, construction, and of course, manufacturing.

Today, so many companies are undergoing digital transformation, and manufacturers must modernize their operations in order to keep up with the competition. Automation of workflows, data recording, agile management, and cutting-edge technologies are all critical for success.

These improvements save companies from obsolescence. But let's get down to the good stuff of digital transformation. Here are the benefits that manufacturers can expect after going digital:

Cost reductions

One of the top reasons why companies implement digital transformation is to identify wasteful processes and curb costs. Often, companies will discover areas of waste that they weren’t previously aware of thanks to the various data-driven tracking mechanisms digitization offers.

As a result, digital transformation can result in a leaner and tighter manufacturing environment.

A manufacturing company may implement statistical process control to identify faulty products on an assembly line. Using sensors and cameras, it’s possible to disseminate individual anomalies from large-scale errors that could lead to recalls once products are shipped to distributors.

Improved accountability

Manufacturing facilities are fast-paced environments where hundreds of workers may collaborate on a single project. Aerospace engineering, for instance, requires impeccable communication and strong accountability. Tasks must be sequentially signed-off on and completed in order to ensure safety and compliance. This is something that’s easy to overlook when using paper and spreadsheet management systems — especially if they are all operating across disparate channels.

In the past, it was easy to lose paper-based spreadsheets and field reports. A worker could forget or misplace important data while navigating within or between warehouses; someone’s handwriting might be illegible. There are a variety of issues that can arise when you’re allowing so much variance in how data is tracked within your company.

To increase efficiency, many companies are now using digital apps to accelerate approvals, improve accountability, and ensure regulatory compliance.

During automobile assembly, certain processes need to be checked at various stages of production. For example, manufacturers need to make sure lights and horns are installed correctly. By the time a car gets to the final inspection process, all systems should be signed off on by an authorized technician. By using an app, a team can see who inspected a certain process, when it was approved, and by who.

Increased visibility

Productivity can be difficult to track in a manufacturing facility. Managers might have reduced visibility into what happens on a production floor, on the road, or in a warehouse, for example.

Using new technologies — like wearables, apps, cameras, and sensors — can give managers a centralized view of what’s happening across all of their facilities and teams. These technologies enable autonomy while making it possible to keep managers informed about progress. They also keep workers engaged and focused on their jobs.

Consider this: According to IDC, about 40 percent of technology spend across all industries will be put toward digital transformation this year. Suffice it to say digital transformation is something that almost every company is taking part in.

Hard work, planning, and communication

Now is the time to form a sound digital transformation plan and become an early adopter of next-generation technologies. It’s better to act now than to fall behind as competitors continue to move digital transformation initiatives forward. There is a massive digital divide emerging. We expect this will get even larger in the years to come.

So, what does it take to turn your company into a digital-first organization?

Hard work, planning, communication, and teamwork are all necessary to advance digital transformation projects beyond their pilot phase. Businesses often underestimate the process and wind up abandoning their digital transformation projects before they reach maturity and see the true fruits of their labor. But we promise that taking the time to implement these digital assets into your business will not only make your work easier, but it will also give you more power to make your ambitions for your company become reality.

 

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