Digital transformation (DX) has reached the point that it has saturated industries known to us and just recently the manufacturing sector. This gave birth to the need of a modern factory that harnesses the power of newer digital technologies, not compromising but even more optimizing the manufacturing process. Let us see how DX have penetrated the manufacturing industry, which technologies have the potential to bring it up, and the data-driven projections for its future.
Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
A Microsoft-commissioned survey authored by IDC has it that CEOs 615 manufacturing firms in 15 economies in Asia Pacific region has one common concern and by far their biggest worry in terms of running the business: managing costs.
Despite this, decision makers still view digital transformation as an indispensable tool to reduce expenditures, despite seeing it as a costly initiative for their companies. This reality also moves CEOs to develop new business models to beat the rise of disruptive competitors.
The same survey projects a whopping USD387 billion leap in regional GDP in a span of three years through a digitally transformed manufacturing landscape. With the right tools and technology investments, this will become possible.
Some of the technological investments manufacturing companies need to take will revolve around five areas, to wit:
- Internet of Things (IoT) – This allows the organization a real-time, deep-dive insights from the data gathered across devices globally. These insights can be used as a bearing for future company initiatives.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning – These are integrable investments that could be used to simplify and improve existing tools used in manufacturing.
- Large-scale computing – This lets manufacturers handle and manage large datasets with ease, especially in using technologies for rendering and simulation.
- Hybrid clouds – This is best for companies who still have reservations in a full conversion to the cloud or still want to have a physical storage for systems and data in-house. Cloud platforms such as Azure offers over 600 solutions customizable for companies, easily scalable up and down to meet business needs.
- Blockchain technologies – Though prevalent in cryptocurrencies, blockchain technologies can also handle crucial manufacturing processes with an even more integrable probabilities such as counterfeit prevention, asset Management, supply chain management, and many others.
Why Now, not Later?
- Modern productivity means going digital. It’s all over us, and had even created networks underneath to predict consumer and user behaviors through analytics. Through data analytics backed with automation brought by AI, predicting next organizational movements is a breeze–a data-driven backbone for business decisions is readily available for interpretation and consideration, to say the least.
- Profit will always be the end goal. Compromising the quality to increase the production quantity (or the other way around) is always tempting for manufacturers. But a digitally transformed factory is gradually making these two entities directly proportional–an optimized quality control workflow could mean more time for production, a fast logistics processing could mean more products supplied and sold, an automated order request process could mean more businesses closed.
- Production is becoming expensive. Production cost hike is inevitable, so might as well investing in a digitally transformed workplace is a good idea. Could be expensive at first but would cover the cost for workflow optimization in the long run. Also, automated workflows, digital storage spaces, data analytics, etc., might take time for the users to adjust and would surely appreciate in cost in the future.
- No other way but up. With digital transformation readily available for implementation, there’s no excuse not to innovate the current manufacturing processes. And since digitization is all over the place, the search for a modern workplace inevitably begins… and turns out to be a game we every manufacturer should participate to be in the game and ace it.
- Humans are still on the other end of the line. As technology experts puts it: “Digital transformation doesn’t mean that we replace humans but we understand humans more.” Regardless of the innovation, if it weren’t for the makers and users of the manufactured products, it all boils down to nothing. Investing to a technology should always complement the workforce and its output and that’s a pill that takes time to take effect. So the perfect time to accept it is today.
With DX penetrating manufacturing sectors, identified are top five benefits. According to IDC, three of those five focuses on improvement in productivity, profit margin, and cost reduction. Revenue from new products and services and improved customer loyalty are the other two benefits that speaks about transformative initiatives and sustainable growth in the long run. These two also showed the biggest impact among the five benefits in 2017, from 16% to 17% and for promising improvement rates up to 2020 respectively at 23% and 28%.
This just proves that experts have been keeping an eye to the movements of gradually accepting the digital transformation among manufacturing companies—and so far, projecting exceptional growth rates for areas with great consideration.
What’s at stake?
Or rather, what should be at stake? It’s just a manufacturer’s patience; not the stocks, not the work ethics, not the clients, not the workflow, but the patience.
Digital transformation is a process that needs a keen attention to figure out what’s working for who. It’s a trial and error process, a never-ending adjustment, and a no-nonsense entity that could make or break organizational efforts. Reservation s would always be there but one guarantee though is this: it is DX worth the delve.
While you wait for DX to work for you, have a reputable partner ready to back you up.
Let Tech One Global be your digital transformation partner.