Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
Digital transformation in manufacturing is strengthening traditional manufacturing processes with the integration of digital technology.
Why Manufacturers Need Digital Transformation
The current state of technology and manufacturing is constantly changing, and many companies are changing right alongside these conditions. The main goals of digital transformation are to improve efficiency, quality of goods, customer experience, upgrade decision-making capabilities, and reduce costs. As companies expand product lines there are a lot of new challenges arise. Digital transformation can help you get ahead of many of these.
Benefits of Digital Transformation
Consistent data – Better Data Usage
Manufacturing software produces a lot of data. Sometimes it’s easy for companies to become overwhelmed with the constant numerical updates. The transition to digital transformation centralizes the data pool and creates consistency in what numbers are being analyzed. These efforts give all employees access to the same clean data on demand which can improve collaboration efforts and decision-making.
Smart Factories – Improved Processes
The physical transformation in factories will be seen in the “smart factory” model which solves problems and continuously self-monitors without human intervention. Some examples of these are automatically fixing machinery or ordering replacement parts. A smart factory optimizes machinery lifespans and avoids costly disruptions and rework.
The main difference between a smart factory and a traditional one is they can be reprogrammed to create many different products. The process is seamless and allows your company to be flexible and meet the demands of the customers and the market.
Innovative Products – Competitive Edge
The implementation of smart factories allows manufacturers to produce more innovative and digitally advanced products. These digitally advanced products are more competitive in the market and differentiate your brand from others.
Challenges of Digital Transformation
Any digital development in a manufacturing company cannot be facilitated without an IT department. These digital initiatives place a heavier demand on the IT department to move traditional data placeholders to cloud-based technology. IT will be tasked with ensuring security, transferring data, and any other duties needed to make the transition from the traditional technology model.
Making a large jump to the digital world requires capital resources and large sums of money, which may not be the reality of some small to medium-sized companies. Manufacturing is a cash-sensitive industry, so companies need to settle budgets and investment limitations carefully.
The advancement of digital transformation is dependent on employees who deserve to embrace the new change. Many manufacturing employees are resistant to change, especially involving digitizing their current processes. Company executives will be tasked with implementing initiatives to address workers' fears that more digital processes will eliminate human presence and jobs.
The Future of Digital Transformation
As we see manufacturers transition into the digital sphere there are a few digital transformation technologies you should keep an eye on. Some of the key technologies we will see being implemented and advanced are industrial augmented reality, management software, machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data & analytics, and the internet of things. The future of digital transformation is inevitable and can shift at any point but looking at the change as an ongoing process will help you stay competitive and on the edge.