The time for digital transformation is now
20 October 2022
Chris Stock, MD of Inforlogic, looks at why manufacturers should be accelerating their digital transformation processes.
Digital transformation has been much-discussed for several years now, with a great deal of debate about not only how to do it successfully, but when.
Despite a recent survey finding that British manufacturers are accelerating their investment in digital technology, that’s certainly not true of all manufacturers, with some out there yet to take the first step towards digital transformation.
So, what about these manufacturers? Should they be undertaking digital transformation efforts and should they be doing it now?
With ongoing supply chain disruption, financial challenges and the increasing cost of energy, manufacturers are under more pressure than ever. As such, more manufacturers are looking to boost productivity, agility and resilience, with many turning to digital transformation for help, so much so that 73% of manufacturers said that if they didn’t invest in digital technologies, they would fall behind the competition.
The same survey found that those who are adopting new technology are performing better in the current climate, while those who aren’t, are falling behind not only in terms of productivity but resilience too.
But how can digital transformation boost productivity and resilience?
The elimination of manual processes increases efficiency, streamlining the end-to-end manufacturing process enabling manufacturers to do more with less.
Increased automation not only saves time but employees are freed-up to focus on more value-add tasks too, instead of concentrating on time-consuming, often error-prone processes that can actually be automated to great success.
The right digital technologies can unite all areas of the business too, amalgamating key information from right across the organisation, joining the dots to deliver a comprehensive, real-time view of the business at any given moment in time.
It’s this visibility that facilitates greater agility and, in turn, resilience.
Having instant access to not only comprehensive, business-wide data but also the in-depth insight that can be derived from this data, informs faster, more effective decision-making, enabling manufacturers to respond quickly and robustly to changing circumstances and demands.
This is what enables manufacturers to become more responsive, even proactively so, and can be the difference between success and failure, particularly in challenging circumstances.
Such capabilities are impossible to replicate without the help of the digital solutions that are designed to help manufacturers turn hard data into actionable insight.
At the same time, the ability of digital solutions to nurture growth should not be underestimated. Too often, manufacturers are held back by their own processes and systems, which are unable to flex and scale in-line with changing business demands.
The right digital tools can support a manufacturing business as it grows, enabling rather than hindering growth.
Without these, many manufacturers are fighting an uphill battle, where processes are outpaced by growth, undoing any good work being carried out to expand the business.
But what about timescales when it comes to digital transformation? Is it a case of now or never?
Well, 77% of manufacturers surveyed have increased spending on digital technology, with 80% planning to increase spending further still over the next 12 months. But what about those manufacturers who don’t have the budget to fund organisational-wide digital transformation projects right now? All is not lost.
In reality, it’s often smaller, incremental digital steps that can be more effective, laying the digital foundations today for wider digital transformation over the coming years.
For example, the increased business visibility that comes with a centralised ERP solution makes it easier to identify where shortcomings and inefficiencies lie.
Being able to identify these enables the business to address these issues directly, be it through targeted digital investments or other methods.
Ultimately, an incremental approach to digital transformation, rather than transformation for transformation’s sake, can be the most effective, addressing challenges with targeted digital technologies and solutions for optimal outcomes and maximum ROI.
When it comes to digital transformation for manufacturers, it really is a case of ‘if not now, when?’. Those manufacturers who are yet to embark on their digital transformation journey run the risk of being left behind. Those who invest wisely today, will stand themselves in good stead to hit the ground running when the financial and supply chain storm clouds clear, putting the streamlined, efficient processes in place to underpin increased productivity, greater business agility and robust resilience.
For more information on how the Inforlogic support team can help you achieve your digital transformation goals, get in touch or call the team on 01606 720499.