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We keep reading about digitalisation in manufacturing but are we there yet? We might be closer than you think. So how do you know if your company is ready to digitalise? Companies that have made the transition share common characteristics that make them more likely to be successful.
We keep reading about digitalisation in manufacturing but are we there yet? We might be closer than you think.
Success relies on efficiency and productivity to drive down operational costs. Companies that are successful now, and will continue to be in the future, understand the role digitalisation plays in optimising efficiency and are transforming their businesses right now.
The conditions for digitalising have never been better for successfully investing and making the transition. Besides the decreasing cost of many of the digital tools, there are a number of reasons companies need to digitalise now.
Digitalisation leads to connectivity. Connectivity leads to enhanced intelligence. With globally-connected factories, company leaders can have levels of transparency covering the entire operation, which have never before been possible. This vision includes better (and real-time) data on costs, resources and delays enabling better productivity and efficiency.
Technology has reached the integration point to facilitate digitalisation. Automation and robots take production out of human hands resulting in fewer errors. Sensors and software make data easier and cheaper to collect and analyse. This data helps companies keep their machines in better working order. Best of all, the prices of these tools are decreasing making them more accessible.
Big data can now guide companies to make better decisions when making global improvements. Software will be the key selling point for machines when demonstrating how they solve customers’ needs. However, people are a big barrier to getting higher productivity out of the technology. Workers need coding skills to program the machines. Companies need to train current workers and hire for the skills they can’t train quickly.
Manufacturers may find that competitors are making the move to digitalisation. By waiting, they risk falling behind instead of gaining the advantage. That can cost in potential customers, and in attracting new employees. Plus, intelligence and technology continues to develop giving further big advantages and a wider gap between those that digitalise sooner and those that wait.
Research shows that digital stragglers will be greatly affected by the digital transformation in just a few years but those that have made the transition are already seeing the benefits.
Lantek has helped its customers: optimise productivity and profitability; become more agile to deliver rapid solutions; minimise material waste; provide personalised services and react more quickly to unforeseen circumstances.
So how do you know if your company is ready to digitalise? Companies that have made the transition share common characteristics that make them more likely to be successful.
Some of the traits that companies should have include being aspirational. The digital transition is a culture change with a need for new skills and a change in habits. Leadership needs to be front and centre championing the new vision and offering full support and motivation to get workers to buy-in to digitalisation.
Companies should also be customer-centric; faster production, enhanced customisation, personalised services, fewer delays are all examples of what will make customers happy.
They need to be innovative. Manufacturers need to always be looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity. They also need to be data driven as data is at the core of everything you will do in the digital world.
They also need to be collaborative. Connected tools (ERP, CRM, MES, CAD/CAM etc.) allow digital sharing of files that employees can access anywhere, including real time updates.
Companies should also be ready to continually learn. As technology continues to improve, workers also need to keep up. They will need to be able to learn new systems, adapt processes and be familiar with new tools.
Finally, agility is also important. As new opportunities arise and competitors make sudden changes, company leaders need to be able to make quick decisions and react to those changes. Using the data will help them make better choices.
It may be the case that companies may not have all of the above traits. If that is the case, and to keep pace with the digital revolution, they need to make it part of their overall digital strategy to acquire and grow these characteristics.
There is an opportunity to take the lead in digitalisation right now. By taking it companies will have the advantage and avoid being overtaken by their competitors.
Rob Powell has been working in the sheet metal and software industries for over 30 years. Lantek makes it possible to integrate cutting and punching technologies into factories with the most demanding advanced manufacturing management software.
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