Three manufacturing businesses that improved through DT
The process of Digital Transformation has helped a great deal of companies worldwide to become better versions of themselves. By combining technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, and the drive to succeed and stand out in their industry sector, these entities attained a much-improved way of doing business.
And the beauty of Digital Transformation is that it’s not just restricted to technology-oriented companies. It can be applied to any industry sectors, from healthcare to finance, agriculture, and of course, manufacturing.
Digital Transformation does have a high failure rate (up to 84%, according to Forbes), not because the concept itself is flawed, but rather because of the rushed or haphazard implementation process. Sometimes, manufacturers simply may not be quite ready for the change yet, leading to an undesirable outcome.
But when done right, the end result is a positive one. When done right, the story becomes one of success. This blogpost tells the story of three manufacturers that saw great improvement through Digital Transformation.
Ford: From single production line to digital giant
The Ford Motor Company has a long pedigree. It was founded over a century ago, 1903 to be precise, by one Henry Ford. Ford took a gamble and risked the entire company on a single vehicle model, the Ford A. Limited means of production meant a mere 1,750 units would be manufactured. Nevertheless, this run was successful enough, so Ford soon came up with the idea of a production line to enhance the manufacturing process of a new model, the Ford T. Soon, an astonishing 18,000 vehicles rolled out of the line, all built with parts made to order. Overall, 15.5m Ford T units would be in circulation.
Roll on one hundred years. Ford embraced another change to simplify its manufacturing processes even further, while making significant gains both financially and in yield terms. By embracing Digital Transformation, Ford was able to slash its overall IT budget by a massive 30%, for example. Freeing up these resources meant that they could be used elsewhere to further innovate and expand.
Trelleborg: Rise of the androids
You may have never heard of Trelleborg, and nobody will blame you for it. Trelleborg is a specialized manufacturing company based in Denmark. They make precision seals for engine components and different machinery. A lack of agility in their manufacturing processes was causing the company great grief as its market share was shrinking fast.
The solution for the quandary? Robots. The company acquired 42 robots, which immediately increased manufacturing efficiency, freed up space to install additional machinery, and turned the company’s fortunes right around, leading to the hiring of 50 extra operators to cater for increased demand of its products.
GE Avionics: Soaring to the skies through Digital Transformation
GE Avionics is a division of the GE group. It manufactures precision components for jet engines. The complexity of some of the components required meant that sometimes, they were completely unfit to be manufactured in a precise, reliable, or commercially viable way. The solution for GE Avionics came in the way of a process called ‘additive manufacturing’, which enables every component to be 3D printed as a single part, irrespective of its complexity.
A practical example of this is a fuel nozzle. These parts are normally affected by a phenomenon called ‘coking’ (a buildup of carbon deposits that ends up clogging the nozzle). The new manufacturing technique meant that technology was now in place to greatly reduce coking, making the component up to five times more durable.
These three examples give an insight into how Digital Transformation can turn a company’s fortunes around. Even seemingly simple changes can make a world of difference. Today’s manufacturing environment leads the way in terms of technological innovation, and companies like Microsoft provide platforms such as Dynamics 365 for Operations, which will help you get started in your own Digital Transformation journey.