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Tomorrow’s manufacturing plants will not just be managed with technology but powered by it. Sample these stats:

  • A recent McKinsey studyoutlined how Industry 4.0 can help manufacturers reduce machine downtime by 30-50%.
  • The 2023 Deloitte’s Manufacturing Outlook surveyreveals that 62% of the manufacturers are already focusing on robotics and automation, 39% on IoT, 32% on cloud computing, 16% on digital twins, and more.

Most visionary manufacturers already believe that such investments in transformative technologies will yield a solid return on investment (ROI). The age of digital transformation truly awaits the manufacturing world.

But as digital transformation becomes a key enabler for growth in the manufacturing sector, it becomes imperative that manufacturers assess their digital maturity, realize the benefits of digitalization, and partner with a technology expert who can help them cohesively harness the power of technology.

The Business Case – Why Digital Transformation in Manufacturing?

Manufacturing companies are competing in a dramatically changed environment where customers expect more than just high-quality or cost-optimised products. They demand lasting experiences and personalization elements across the entire engagement. The market has become more dynamic than ever with changing customer expectations and surging competition.

To ensure success with customer-centric operations, digital transformation is a great approach for the manufacturing sector. The approach helps embed greater efficiencies into ongoing operations and also opens up new avenues and opportunities.

But what potential does it exactly hold for your manufacturing business? Let’s discuss.

Driving Quality Improvement

Manufacturers require to meet and exceed quality benchmarks in their processes as well as products to differentiate themselves in the market effectively. With growing digital maturity, they can improve the quality of their products, increase productivity, and optimize their operations — all by relying on data to empower digital processes.

For example, modern Quality Management System (QMS) software can be implemented by manufacturers in the quest to improve their quality standards and hooked into all the important production management processes. These solutions simplify the documentation, auditing, and compliance requirements processes, as well as quality control procedures. In essence, they make it simple to monitor, evaluate, and report on quality measures over time.

But for such solutions to be at their best, digital transformation must be pervasive across the department, plant, as well extended enterprise level.

Facilitating Cost Reduction

From spotting the inefficiencies early across the production and supply chain to eliminating redundant jobs, and producing with minimal errors, digital transformation helps reduce operational costs for manufacturing businesses.

With such data-driven operations, manufacturers can lower the cost of retaining inventory, speed up production cycles, cut lead times, and lower transportation costs. In fact, McKinsey quantifies the impact of the inclusion of technologies on cost reduction. The consulting giant reveals that manufacturers can enjoy a 15-20% decrease in inventory holding costs and realize a 10-20% cost-of-quality improvement.

Ensuring Operational Resiliency

Digital transformation can enhance a manufacturer’s ability to respond to disruptions, manage risks, and ensure business continuity. On the strength of a digital ecosystem, organizations can create an agile and resilient foundation to successfully leapfrog problems.

For example, shop floor operators and material handlers could not “work from home” as the COVID-19 pandemic persisted. Manufacturers had to choose the right combination of personnel resources while ensuring the new health and safety regulations. In such scenarios, an adaptable digital ERP with all the real-time data at its disposal helped them:

  • Facilitate quality prediction and control
  • Drive performance intelligence and improvement
  • Ensure better production planning & scheduling
  • Support predictive maintenance

In the digitally transformed manufacturing business, these (and other) applications converge to make the work easier for the human personnel involved.

Real-time data gathering and analysis made possible by digital transformation gives manufacturers crucial knowledge about their supply chain, production methods, and market demands. They are better able to predict future interruptions and spot system weaknesses.

Driving Competitive Differentiation

The growth in connectivity, industry 4.0 innovation, the growth of IoT and edge computing, and enhanced analytics capabilities mean firms no longer have any excuse to be left behind. A differentiation opportunity can be readily realized as manufacturing businesses can now better understand their clients, faster predict their needs, and offer customized solutions in a snap.

They can transition into and adopt unique business models that upend established markets, develop new offers that cater to changing consumer wants, and make smart, connected products. In effect, adopting digital technologies creates opportunities for new product and service development.

Furthermore, operational efficiency is increased by automated and streamlined operations brought about by digital transformation. Companies can gain a competitive edge over rivals who continue to use conventional methods by cutting expenses, improving resource utilization, and boosting production.

Enabling Eco-Efficient Operations 

“Integrating digital technology allows organizations to collect and analyze data to support sustainability in areas that were once a black box,” reads Schneider Electric’s opinion on Harvard Business Review.

This bodes well when we consider that digital transformation can allow manufacturing firms to:

  • Look forward to smart energy management
  • Spot energy-guzzling machinery and processes
  • Identify optimized logistics and transportation routes for reduced emissions
  • Embed eco-labelling and sustainability certifications into product information
  • Exercise better stakeholder management around sustainability concerns

How Can an IT Services Expert Help Manufacturers in Digital Transformation?

Coming back to the Deloitte report, around 60% of the manufacturing executives surveyed are partnering with specialized technology firms that can help establish a digital ecosystem for driving future competitiveness. The key reason is the availability of specialty talent with the necessary experience to drive digital transformation success. Here’s how an IT services expert like Pratiti helps manufacturers navigate the complexity of digital transformation and drives them towards better quality management, cost reduction, and resiliency.

Technology Innovation & Solution Delivery

For manufacturers, technological innovation across every nook and corner of their operation is critical to driving data-driven decision-making and bridging the divide between information and operational technology systems.

Innovation consulting services are targeted at bringing this innovation to the table to help manufacturers embark on their digital transformation journeys, be resilient in the face of social and economic disruptions, and ensure a competitive advantage throughout.

For example, as a part of our innovation services suite, we help manufacturing businesses:

  • Implement the most pertinent technological solutions to drive innovation through the product ideation up until the solution delivery stage.
  • Convert and scale the successful ideas and Proof of Concepts (POCs) into living, breathing solutions that can usher in operational efficiency and ensure better overall user experiences.
  • Drive IT solution delivery for better plant benchmarking, real-time operational visibility, reduced equipment downtime, and increased workforce productivity.

IT Support

Regardless of how niche and pertinent the technological innovation is, it won’t yield the desired outcomes if proper support and maintenance services are not leveraged. The solution delivery is incomplete without ensuring that the implemented technology can deliver sustained results.

At Pratiti, we take notice of the same and help manufacturing companies with the consistent functioning of their IT infrastructure amid an environment that’s otherwise utterly dynamic. For instance, we aim at empowering manufacturers with:

  • Continuous testing and maintenance of their IT solutions. This involves running test automation and ensuring end-to-end quality assurance.
  • Asset monitoring that can help unearth asset performance metrics and contribute towards energy optimization.

All these capabilities help in thoroughly evaluating the current IT infrastructure, spotting any weaknesses, and creating a master plan for integrating technology across the different enterprise levels to elevate the entire digital ecosystem.

Staff Augmentation

The success or failure of a manufacturing operation is dependent on the competence of the people facilitating it. Without a team that’s skilled and cohesive, manufacturing firms cannot realize success even with the most advanced IT solutions at disposal.

It’s people that help manufacturers digitally transform the entire value chain, from product development and production to distribution and customer support. They look and contribute to the present state of each value chain component, suggest enhancements, and build a digital strategy for implementing those changes.

An IT services expert like Pratiti brings such competent resources closer to the manufacturers’ needs. For example, at Pratiti we offer manufacturing firms with quality resources adept at software development, cloud computing, IoT implementation, quality assurance, and IT support and maintenance.

This not only serves to transform the operations from the department level to the enterprise level but also increases the visibility, efficiency, and effectiveness of processes and workflows across the manufacturing establishment.

Wrapping Up

Be it demand forecasting, supply chain management, preventive maintenance, cost reduction, performance improvement, or sustainability and environmental innovations — digital transformation can improve the capacity of manufacturing organizations to effectively compete in a rapidly changing global economy.

However, it’s noteworthy that digital transformation is not just about technology. It is about people, production processes, and culture. Failing to quickly adapt to digital disruption will cause your business to run on a treadmill that doesn’t go anywhere.

To get a head start in digital transformation, manufacturers should partner with an IT expert that can lay out the enterprise-level innovation strategy and help realize end-to-end digital transformation.

Milind Barve

Milind is a passionate technocrat. In his 25 years of career, he has worked across spectrum of IT areas starting from product development, application development services architecting and defining enterprise solutions, team building/mentoring and technical pre-sales. In all his assignments, he has nurtured and honed his core technical skills. As a Founder member, he continues to work on building innovative technology solutions to realize business value.

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