Digital Platforms for Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry has long struggled to connect and engage their workforce, as traditionally, IT and internal communications teams have been bypassed in favor of others. In order to stay competitive, manufacturing companies are now coming to grips with the evolving demands of a global economy, such as streamlining processes, adopting cloud technologies, and connecting all employees.
According to Gartner, going digital is now the second biggest priority for top manufacturers (after revenue growth). A digital platform can be the answer to centralize employee solutions and increase operational efficiency.
Why Manufacturers Are Investing in Digital Tools
So why do manufacturers start a digital transformation? What drives them to upend old processes and invest in new tools?
The Growing Role of IT in Manufacturing Strategy
According to a 2018 Gartner study on CIOs in heavy manufacturing, IT departments and their CIOs are increasingly occupying strategic roles within their companies.
Here are 4 main ways IT will determine the future of manufacturing:
- Digitalization is becoming more strategic to manufacturing businesses, as services generate new streams of revenue
- IT solutions can meet customer demands and bring business value
- Manufacturers continue to cut spend on infrastructure and data centers, favoring cloud migration instead
IT players must maintain and grow their function, while finding ways to be cost-effective. SaaS tools are a viable solution.
Top 4 Reasons Manufacturers Should Start Their Digital Transformation
- Data harvesting
As it turns out, manufacturing holds some of the biggest data mines compared to other industries. To harvest the wealth of information, it’s crucial to optimize or eliminate legacy systems that are overgrown with processes and data collected over time.
- Aging workforce
One concern is how to maintain business continuity in the face of demographic transition. New technology helps to retain experience and knowledge while attracting new employees.
- Production gains
Investing in SaaS solutions means fewer maintenance costs and increased production efficiency.
- Smooth scaling
Established manufacturers who want to scale often face technological limitations with old and outdated systems. It’s difficult to scale production or market reach when legacy infrastructure doesn’t allow for centralized data management or new integrations.
Main Challenges for Manufacturers
- Connecting all employees in one place
Top management want to be able to collaborate amongst each other and to easily communicate with the rest of the organization – whether they’re in an office, on the manufacturing floor, in the field, or at home.
- Globalized processes
In manufacturing, employees are often spread across different sites or geographical locations, and can be further separated by different work processes. Teams may be separated by location or language, but they need access to the same resources and information.
- Achieving digital maturity
The number of manufacturers scaling digital initiatives is steadily increasing. However, CIOs are still facing significant barriers to reach their objectives, including lack of innovation, insufficient IT resources or digital skills, and legacy technology preventing change.
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