Principles to achieve Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is in full swing. The era of AI, advanced robotics, and IoT ecosystems has enabled a technological leap across many industries. The manufacturing sector certainly hasn’t been left behind, as the industry is among the front-runners in the modernization race. Manufacturers worldwide are poised to undertake the Digital Transformation process, whereby their factories and facilities become more efficient and competitive from an operational point of view. This blogpost delves into these concepts and explains how manufacturers can achieve Digital Transformation.


The new principles of the digital factory

Manufacturers are currently facing a landscape of changing customer trends and a dramatic shift in how new technologies become part of the manufacturing ecosystem. On one side, customers demand and expect a greater level of customization for the items they purchase. When combined with technological advances that affect how products are made, the challenge can be great. The factory of today is a much-changed environment. Sophisticated machinery, robotic elements, and a requirement to connect all these parts into a cohesive and manageable whole tend to create a lot of headaches.


Digital Transformation can help you, the manufacturer, to face and overcome many of those challenges and headaches, and can assist you in achieving four key principles to underpin your business’ future:


  1. Operational Excellence
  2. Agility
  3. Customer centricity
  4. Innovation


Securing success through operational excellence

Steering your manufacturing operation towards success when there’s so much competition around is not easy. Your products have to be flawless and cater for a clear and specific demand, so customers will buy them, and not only that, will keep buying them in the future. Such goal can only be achieved through operational excellence. In other words, your manufacturing operation needs to run optimally so you can maintain or increase productivity at a lower cost. A greater degree of automation will allow you to achieve this, because you will be reducing the expense incurred by high labor costs. When your factory runs at its optimal level of efficiency, you can implement greater customization for your products, which again leads to improved customer loyalty & better revenue.


Changing with the times: Agility in the new manufacturing environment

The market’s ebb and flow are in constant motion, so you must be prepared to adapt your production process to new and emerging trends. This means that you must be prepared to factor in a certain degree of agility and flexibility in your processes, to ensure your factory maintains a bearing presence on the market.


Customer centricity: Think about your customer first

The old adage that the customer is always right still rings true today. As a manufacturer, you want to keep your customer happy so they a) buy your products, and b) tell others to do the same. This implies the adoption of a customer-centric approach to your initiatives and processes. Today’s customer tends to be a savvy, technologically minded individual with access to smart devices, the internet, etc., which means they will research you, your product – and crucially, your competitors too – before making a purchase. Keep the end-customer firmly in your mind at all times.


Innovation: Leading through technology

Manufacturing has been at the leading edge of technological innovation for some time, through the wide adoption of modern machinery and robotics across factories worldwide. Innovation is not really a choice anymore, it’s a must-do item on the manufacturer’s list, if the business is to withstand current and future challenges. The need to innovate on the factory floor also requires the need to innovate elsewhere, to bring means of control to bear. A digital, Cloud-based solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations will become the perfect partner for your manufacturing business.