Successful businesses are putting smart into digital manufacturing

  • Posted on September 30, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Smart digital manufacturing

The only constant in manufacturing is change and the manufacturing world is changing now at what is perhaps the fastest pace in our history. As we continue connecting with manufacturers across the globe, we are seeing investments in digital solutions to deal with the day-to-day impact of evolving consumer, employee and partner expectations, ongoing operational challenges including, supply chain disruptions and the rapid expansion of new technologies. Digital technologies are revolutionising how businesses make things.

With an accelerating drive to responsible manufacturing, where 75% of CEOs say they are investing in digital to address sustainability challenges, it is becoming increasingly evident that manufacturers must become quicker, smarter, and more inventive to survive in a fast-changing world. According to Forrester, digital technologies play a pivotal role in the transformation of manufacturing.

From our interactions with businesses in all sectors, we are seeing successful manufacturers, or companies that ‘make’ things, invest in intelligent digital solutions in 3 key areas:

  1. Experiences that put humans first
    71% of today’s consumers believe it is crucial that companies prioritize health considerations for consumers and employees in all operations. Digital solutions are driving improvements, but manufacturers and employees are struggling to change quickly enough, especially when you consider that eight out of ten manufacturers are dealing with skills gaps, particularly in data science, AI and cybersecurity. Manufacturers are today focused on people-based solutions and a good example of manufacturers investing in experiences is BDR where they have improved employee engagement to deliver better consumer products and services. When you add smart connected products to the mix, with potentially a 30% increase in revenues and a 40% reduction in time to market, the benefits of digital solutions for consumers and workers are clear.

  2. Operations that adapt and enhance resilience
    72 % of manufacturers are advancing their efforts to build smart factories and 86 % consider overall equipment effectiveness to be the most important key performance indicator to measure the success of their smart factory strategy. Gartner also suggests that 36% of manufacturing CIO's whose enterprise had recently experienced some type of disruption said that operating cost competitiveness had fallen behind.

    There are so many potential digital use cases to improve your business operations e.g. digital twin technologies and cloud platforms are two examples of how digital is enabling significant change, by helping manufacturers accelerate progress to autonomous operations e.g. at Mars a leading manufacturer of confectionary products, they are bringing IoT and AI solutions to manufacturing and supply-chain operations, geared to drive digital change and improve margins, reduce waste, and enable factory-based staff to make real-time decisions.

  3. Innovation that future proofs your business
    According to a recent study, 78% of executives believe AI will have a significant impact on the Industrial Equipment industry. With the prevalence of so many amazing technologies and more recently with the tangible game changing potential of the Metaverse, manufacturers are asking how to invest in innovations that can help differentiate and drive competitive advantage.

    It is true, the rapid expansion of specific technologies (IIOT, 5G, AR/VR and many more) is revolutionizing how business’s make things. However, technology strategies for production processes need to show business value, as investment in innovation is now being driven by both OT and IT teams.

    Done correctly and with a robust cultural change program, business technology and innovation can reduce production time and significantly accelerate time to value of new products and services e.g. the UK Ventilator challenge used immersive technologies to help a consortium of manufacturers produce 20 years of ventilators in just 12 weeks.

It is truly an exciting time. There is so much potential for manufacturers to use digital technologies to make a genuine human impact and improve human experiences, drive sustainable responsible, environmentally friendly operations and potentially find the next ground-breaking product to enhance society.

With our manufacturing team and Industry X practice, Avanade is helping manufacturers go beyond Industry 4.0 digitalization, enabling smart digital solutions designed to help you do what matters for your business.

We would be delighted to engage with you and help you with your business and manufacturing ambition.

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