The manufacturing sector is witnessing unprecedented change, largely due to the emergence of new-age technologies that are disrupting the landscape. From automating everyday backend processes to streamlining the supply chain operations, digital transformation has been making steady inroads in the sector.

Deloitte says that in 2024 manufacturers are likely to face economic uncertainty, the shortage of skilled labor, and supply chain disruptions. Only companies that are well-positioned to manage the evolving customer demands, operational challenges, and new market entrants can survive and thrive.

Manufacturers are embracing digital transformation to alleviate the pain points in their day-to-day operations. A recent Deloitte study said that a whopping 86% of manufacturing executives believed that smart factory solutions would be the primary drivers of competitiveness in the next five years. It is important to note that those who leverage digital-first capabilities can innovate their operations and create new business opportunities.

Why Manufacturers Should Leave Legacy Technologies Behind?

Traditional manufacturers are still skeptical about digital transformation as it demands a fundamental disruption in how they operate. Though they realize the transformation will have far-reaching benefits, implementing this business model can be a daunting task. It demands a complex integration of digital technology across core manufacturing processes, upskilling their workforce, and continually improving to create value.

At the same time, remaining dogmatically with outdated technologies will not resolve the underlying problems. If a production problem occurs how quickly does the production team get to the root cause and recover? Is the data readily available for analysis? Are the visualization and analytics tools readily available at hand? Legacy systems and fragmented process flows prevent them from creating data-driven, highly productive workplaces, underscoring the need for manufacturers to make the shift towards digital.

Unleash the Benefits of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

Why start the digital transformation journey? Firstly, it helps manufacturers understand not only what is happening with their assets, but also makes the assets smarter. Once those assets are smarter, they can convert them into smart processes to really make sure that their entire manufacturing cycle is marked by intelligent operation in every step. Insightful data, seamless connectivity, and advanced AI are the key enablers of digital transformation that can bring operational excellence, enhanced productivity, and business outcomes.

Data-powered Shop Floors

One of the key investment priorities for the manufacturers is optimizing operations. To optimize a process, manufacturers need to eliminate inefficiencies which can only be achieved by knowing where the bottlenecks lie. The ability to collect and visualize real-time data and transform them into intelligent insights is the real power that can capture opportunities and ensure operational effectiveness.

Data is a valuable business asset that will dictate the future of manufacturing, for digital transformation turns data from the plant floor into real business outcomes. The remarkable benefit of digital transformation in manufacturing is that it deploys state-of-the-art technologies to deliver the promise of highly efficient smart factories. Forbes reports that by leveraging data analytics and AI, manufacturers can reduce machine downtime by 30% to 50%.

Connected Shop Floors 

Connectivity is another pillar of manufacturing that can enable the flow of relevant information to the right decision-makers in real time. IoT and cloud technology have empowered manufacturers to store, transmit, and process huge volumes of data.

Real-time visibility into KPIs can help manufacturers improve product quality, increase the utilization of manufacturing assets, and ensure that equipment is always operating at peak productivity.

AI-powered Shop Floors

In a modern manufacturing unit, AI is the apex of digital transformation. Gartner says that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be the most implemented technologies in the manufacturing industry by 2025 (93%). It is not without a reason. AI is proven to consistently run the plants at the highest level of productivity and quality and also improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

AI helps solve industry-specific issues. In the food and beverage manufacturing industry, for instance, advanced AI is crucial as the production lines cannot afford unplanned equipment downtime because of the sector’s high-speed nature. Applying AI can accurately predict when the manufacturing equipment should be replaced. The reliability of this predictive maintenance can keep the business running at all times.

Real-time data processing, advanced analytics, modernized back-office, and, on top of that, quantifiable ROI are some of the top factors that drive manufacturers’ digital transformation efforts. Digital transformation, when rightly implemented, delivers that promise.

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