By leveraging digital technology, manufacturers can improve speed, and efficiency, decrease costs and offer elevated customer experiences.
Digital adoption in the last decade has transformed every industry, and manufacturing is no exception. In this article, Rohan Joshi, co-founder & CEO and Sudhir Prabhu, co-founder and CTO of Wolken Software, talk about how digital transformation has helped manufacturing industries to accelerate projects in the last decade by utilizing digital technology to their benefit.
Digital transformation has led to the adoption of digital technologies across enterprises and departments. It has helped create new business processes, added value to conventional tasks, encouraged innovation and offered improved experiences to engage with clients.
What is Digital Transformation in Manufacturing?
Quoting Ramesh Saligame, who has over 30 years of experience in hi-tech and contract manufacturing, “Digital transformation is anything that enhances customer experience and improves your performance.”
Digital Transformation in manufacturing involves integrating digital technology into products and processes to enhance manufacturing quality and efficiency. According to Ramesh, there are two dimensions to this transformation – the technology they offer and the components they are improving.
The key focus areas of digital transformation in manufacturing are:
- Reducing costs and improving operational efficiency
- Maintaining a high quality of finished products
- Adopting faster to fluctuating market requirements and customer expectations
Role of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
Changing customer expectations and cut-throat competition are the main drivers of digital transformation in manufacturing. Manufacturers can improve speed, and efficiency, decrease costs and offer elevated customer experiences by leveraging digital technology.
According to Sameer Joshi, who has over 20 years of experience in engineering services, digital transformation that was once limited only to cloud transformation has become a critical influencing factor for business outcomes. He suggests that it’s only natural that district manufacturers and OEMs have started prioritizing those initiatives that really justify the investments to get a quick ROI.
The pandemic has exposed the manufacturers to various operational challenges and weaknesses in the existing businesses. For instance, they have realized the importance of access to real-time supply chain data in quicker responses to supply shortages and demand hikes.
New-age technology has enabled the manufacturing industry to effectively harness digital technology to achieve supply chain efficiency through better and more reliable operational methodologies.
Digital transformation has connected supply chain systems that can help manufacturers collect equipment data by leveraging predictive analytics and AI. It has also enabled them to apply the real-time data obtained across the distributed value chain and manufacturing operations.
Digitization can automate monotonous manual tasks in manufacturing and save time, costs and resources.
Impact of Digital Transformation in the Manufacturing and Distribution Sector
Digital transformation in manufacturing and distribution has offered various benefits to businesses over the years. Apart from low operational expenses, boost in productivity, competitive edge, flexibility and product quality, some other significant impacts of digitization are:
1. Better Insights
Digital systems in manufacturing have helped the staff track key operational metrics and accurately interpret data. These data-driven insights can help the staff efficiently make operational plans, sell more and boost revenue. According to Mr. Rohan Joshi, Co-founder and CEO of Wolken software, digital solutions can deliver predictability in terms of performance and downtime calculation, which are the pillars of manufacturing processes.
Digitization grants businesses access to state-of-the-art technology. They can tread on unfamiliar ground and discover novel techniques to deliver unparalleled capabilities such as enhanced employee collaboration, reduced risks and mistakes, and improved quality and accuracy.
Digital transformation techniques have offered several manufacturers better and more reliable insights into complex supply chain issues. They will be able to make informed decisions and tackle uncertainties in demand and supply. Digital technology adoption will immediately enable manufacturers to cut down expenses on inventory, machinery, and stock and save critical time and energy resources of the value chain.
4. Quicker time to market
Digitization results in optimizing most tasks resulting in quicker time-to-market for the products and services in manufacturing. Workers can manage risks better by incorporating digital strategies across departments and the factory workforce. With daily tasks being automated, there is bound to be close collaboration within the organization, allowing products to reach the market effectively.
5. The way towards Industry 4.0
As digitization picks up rapidly in the manufacturing sector, businesses can future-proof their operations to match Industry 4.0 requirements. They can stay updated with the latest technology and trends to gain an edge over their competitors. Through digitization, all manufacturers get a fair opportunity to expedite their journeys towards achieving higher productivity and profits.
The Industry 4.0 revolution has added immense value to digital technologies in the manufacturing sector. Irrespective of the size of operations, businesses have become more sustainable and secure in the long run. Manufacturers have leveraged digitization to stay consistent and not become outdated.
According to Sameer, for every phase of evolution up until Industry 4.0, the impact on employees cannot be ignored. Key staff can get access to real-time data needed for detailed segmentation and analytics.
Digitization possesses the capabilities to transform the entire realm of manufacturing processes right from manufacturing to delivery. Manufacturers who still depend upon traditional techniques may get left behind in the competition. They may also not be able to deliver enhanced services, reduce costs and maintain high revenue streams.
Digital transformation trends in Manufacturing to look out for in 2022
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)
- Cloud Transformation
- 3D Printing
- 5G and Smart Manufacturing
- B2B and B2C Commerce Cloud
The Final Word
According to a report, digital transformation in the manufacturing industry was valued at USD 263.9 billion by 2020 and is anticipated to touch 767.8 billion by 2026. The emergence of Industry 4.0 in the industry has encouraged plants to adopt digital technology to innovate, modernize, enhance and automate most industrial processes. Digital transformation in the manufacturing industry has helped organizations address global industrial issues, modernize supply chains, foster data-driven planning and provide opportunities for companies to stay ahead in their niche market.