Shift From Traditional to Digital Operations In Manufacturing Industries
Globally we are in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution where connected technologies, data, and analytics are driving smart manufacturing, where innovation is not just about efficiency and productivity but new automated workflow and impactful innovation.
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Becoming digital doesn’t necessarily mean adding technology but how your industry operates. It’s more than having a great customer app or online experience. Being digital is also more than taking action, it’s a way of doing business. It requires a mindset shift across every section of the organization to move faster, rely on data, and put the customer at the center of every decision.
Ways manufacturing companies can shift from traditional to digital, however, every manufacturing industry is different and may require different technologies to shift to digitalization; truly it depends on your operational business model and overarching goals.
Heuristic to Data-Driven- Manufacturing industries should shift from a heuristic where decisions are made based on past performance and prior, potentially outdated experience to a data-driven where data is a catalyst for change and influences faster – decision making.
Manual to Algorithmic.-Manual involves analog processes that are done by hand and involve human touch at every stage, shifting to Algorithmic automates decision making and processes where possible focusing humans on a complex task.
Hierarchical to Decentralized.-Hierarchical involves a rigid power structure that drives top-down decision-making and siloed departments. Decentralized involves Interdisciplinary teams that put the customer vs. the boss at the center.
Periodic to real-time.-Project reviews are usually done quarterly or year end while real-time allows continuous gathering of data and reviewing the performance of projects either weekly or daily.
Waterfall to Agile –There is linear or sequential problem solving one issue at a time, Agile allows a responsive, data-backed approach to problem-solving, one outcome at a time. Fast is better than perfect.
Projects to products – Teams are measured and motivated by project status and completion while product teams are measured and motivated by product development and improvement.
System-centered to Human-centered – In system-centered work and process is guided by technology or organizational structure shifting to human-centered the end-user is the center of everything, from strategy to operations to experiences.
Shifting from traditional to digital operations is of great competitive advantage to the manufacturing industries. Most new systems are designed to improve operational efficiencies, supply/chain planning, inventory cost control, compliance requirements, and operation within the Industrial Internet of Things.
- Improved processes enhance operational efficiency.
Transforming from traditional paper and manual processes by deploying automated, cloud-based solutions helps streamline process flow, access helpful analytics, improve decision-making capabilities, avoid costly rework and downtime, simplify performance monitoring, deliver to market faster, and provide detailed digital product representations all while improving quality and reducing waste.
- Attract and empower the next generation of workers.
Digital manufacturing can help fill job openings in the manufacturing industry. By investing in new digital manufacturing technology, there’s a better chance of attracting and retaining new workers who want to use that technology to increase efficiencies through process improvement.
- Increase customer satisfaction.
Digital manufacturing helps increase brand awareness, in turn helping manufacturing industries provide more customer-specific solutions. With the presence of new technologies like social media, analytics, etc., they can keep themselves updated about their target market’s requirements and offer them what they want. It also helps in improving relationships with their customers.
- Reduce costs.
Digital manufacturing helps manufacturing industries gain better insight into supply/chain issues, such as inventory levels, delivery status, and demand cycles. This increased visibility helps reduce unnecessary risk and costs related to issues like excessive inventory.
- Improves decision-making.
Digital transformation helps industries make informed and accurate decisions to visualize and analyze product data to improve quality, performance, and productivity. It also offers companies a better picture of the market by providing better insights into customer behavior and purchasing power. Also, it helps in getting accurate and real-time information about the cost and time involved in various processes.
In business, resiliency is key to thriving in difficult circumstances. While there is resiliency in operations, adaptability is crucial for long-term success. Manufacturers must be able to anticipate and respond to challenges to stay ahead of the competition. Digital technologies help manufacturers by harnessing flexible automation, operating remotely, and connecting the supply chain with cloud-based infrastructure.
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Digitalization should be a consideration by manufacturing industries based on the need at hand, it is crucial to reevaluate existing processes and operational needs. Ultimately though, success means delivering value to customers that your competitors can’t match. And today, it’s difficult to do that until you’ve fully embraced an innovative digital transformation within your business.
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