Unlock your digital potential
20 December 2021
Chris Stock asks if it’s time for manufacturers to accelerate their digital transformation processes?
For the past few years, digital transformation has definitely been one of the major talking points across many industries.
For the manufacturing sector in particular, the advent of Industry 4.0 and the potential benefits to be reaped by the creation of factories of the future have certainly seen more manufacturers embracing digital transformation.
With the global pandemic serving to expedite this approach for some manufacturers, helping to create more agile, resilient businesses in the process, is it time that the majority followed suit? And, do they run the risk of being left behind by more digitally progressive competitors if they don’t?
While manufacturers certainly shouldn’t digitally transform just because they feel obliged to, there are clear, proven benefits to be derived.
The elimination of manual processes forms such a fundamental part of digital transformation that it’s certainly not to be sniffed at, boosting efficiency and streamlining the entire manufacturing process, creating a more agile, responsive business that’s one step-ahead of less digitally mature competitors.
Similarly, the most effective digitisation efforts amalgamate seemingly disparate parts of the business, again securing real efficiencies across the organisation but also paving the way for optimum levels of business visibility too.
This access to comprehensive, business-wide, timely information means less time looking for data and more time acting on it, with the right solutions able to not only pull all the relevant information together into a single, centralised location, but capable of turning this information into actionable insight too.
It’s this insight that can inform rapid, robust decision-making, the core component of creating an agile, resilient business, one which is able to respond quickly and effectively to changing customer demands and fluctuating market conditions.
In light of the upheaval and disruption we’ve all experienced over these last two years, it’s this agility and resilience that are underpinning true competitive advantage, equipping businesses to deal with even the most complex of challenges while still being able to seize new opportunities as they arise.
That’s not to say that it has to be all or nothing, with some of the most successful and effective digital transformation strategies taking a gradual approach.
For manufacturers who aren’t ready to undertake wholescale digital transformation, select, targeted digitisation initiatives can help to lay the solid foundations for future, larger scale digital transformation projects.
For example, focussing on the implementation of a centralised ERP solution as an initial digitisation step will enhance business visibility dramatically.
With this increased visibility, decision-makers can readily see where the biggest bottlenecks and inefficiencies lie, helping them to pinpoint where further, incremental digital transformation initiatives will have the most impact.
The right solutions deliver in-depth insight to the right people, at the right time, identifying where the business is most lacking and informing intelligent decisions about how further digital initiatives can have the maximum positive impact on operations.
While the benefits of digital transformation for manufacturers are undeniable, that doesn’t mean that all manufacturers need to rush through large-scale digital transformation projects to stay ahead of the curve.
Rather, a more considered, incremental approach is not only more manageable (and certainly more palatable to the budget) but can also be more effective.
Well thought-out, targeted digital investments lay the solid foundations for future digital plans, providing the comprehensive business visibility to see where further digital investments can and will make the most difference.
At the same time, business agility and resilience are boosted further still, creating a robust and responsive manufacturing organisation able to outmanoeuvre the competition, keeping that all-important one step ahead.