A manufacturer’s guide to digital transformation

The manufacturing industry is headed towards a fourth industrial revolution. With the Internet enabling unprecedented levels of communication between machines, products, and people, a digital transformation is underway. Today, manufacturers are able to virtually create any design, initiate production and distribution processes, and analyze data to optimize performance in order to achieve operational excellence. The new digital trends will be driving the manufacturing industry, creating new challenges and opportunities.

To transition into a fully digital enterprise, an organization will require a new mix of capabilities. Digital transformation is not just about technology and its implementation; it also means a lot of cultural and organizational changes. The best way is to start at the top and analyze what the business is trying to accomplish.

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From a manufacturer’s perspective, here are a few steps to help you get started with a digital transformation if you haven’t already:

Leadership, vision, and strategy

It is important to have the right leadership with a clear vision of who is spearheading the digitization process. In addition, good business digitization should be enterprise wide with phase-wise implementation. Each department should have clear goals and knowledge about the benefits to the organization from the digitization process.

Implementation and delivery

Swift execution and delivery of digital initiatives is vital. There should be an efficient way for generating and implementing ideas for digital initiatives. Time to market must be made as short as possible. The process and methodology used should be highly iterative and agile, and once the digital initiatives are live, they should be constantly monitored.

Organization-wide change

Any organization that has been in business for some time will need to think about how it increases focus and importance on digitization from an organizational and cultural perspective. Established processes and knowledgeable workers can stifle innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses need to promote an entrepreneurial culture across the organization. Many innovative digital start-ups are already revolutionizing industries and companies.

Building a digital platform

When implementing digital solutions, it is best to build a new digital platform that integrates all key services in legacy and third party applications to create a unified customer experience. The platform should include all social networking sites and support multi-channel and multi-device customer engagement. Using a cloud based system is the best approach to capture and store the huge amounts of information generated.

Creating a digital learning experience

No organization can improve without first learning something new. Be it the case of solving a problem, introducing a new technology, or reengineering a manufacturing process, everything requires proper knowledge and training. In the absence of learning, both the organization and the employee will be confused and simply repeat old practices. Thus, any new improvements will be short-lived. Going digital will require a lot of learning for employees to adapt themselves with the new technologies and new ways.

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