In the era of digital transformation, many businesses face challenges. It has become increasingly important for companies to be able to respond to the markets faster than the competition. This is why it's necessary to deploy technological advancements in to the entire organization, to improve its processes and operations.
How are manufacturers embracing disruption?
Even the most traditional industries, like manufacturing, are driving changes in how things are made, beginning from building the product concept, all the way to what happens at the CEO's desktop. Industry leaders in manufacturing are already implementing new technologies and innovations to improve their added value chain. They do this by combining the physical and digital that are disrupting the markets, accelerating creativity and transforming customer relationships. Another thing that has changed industries tremendously, is customer expectations. Customers expect customization and collaborative innovation along high quality digital services.
Demand signals in manufacturing have become less predictable, which has made speed and agility the new standards for industry leadership. There are numerous reasons why the manufacturing industry is undergoing a so called revolution. Cloud computing has been one of the biggest accelerators for innovation within this industry, and it supports the connected processes that not only cover the shop floor but broader customer and supplier ecosystems too. Then there is the industrial internet of things.. IIOT is creating new ways (3D printing, connected manufacturing, wearable devices) to improve how designing, building, selling and servicing is done.
Cloud computing and software as a service have also delivered opportunities by changing the cost model for business systems and enabling smaller manufacturers to take on larger operations. CC has also opened a new era in connectivity by making it simpler and cheaper to link systems together and have them form networks. Although these cloud based solutions were initially implemented to improve basic functions like inventory, the cloud's efficiency and connectivity is being leveraged in new an innovative ways.
Data Taking Over
Manufacturers are reaching more and more into machine telemetry, looking for deeper insights from data, that can point to further improvements. Data elements are strongly present, but sometimes pushed aside by operational priorities - this however, is changing! Big Data and analytics will be the ground for decision-making. Twice as many manufacturers are using analytics today, compared to last year and this conversion is only accelerating. Analytics have been used of course, to enhance productivity, but it is also used more and more for predictive maintenance and supply chain risk management. Analytics are now stretching from machine data to supplier score cars and product quality. New levels of telematics are being built into the products to give further information about the production processes. This data is then further analyzed in combination with the insights from within the entire organization.
Connected Manufacturing - The Base for Innovation
Connections between people, processes, machines and production has always presented possibilities for manufacturers to innovate through quality and efficiency. Now, manufacturers are taking connectivity to the next level by linking every aspect of their operations and their value chain. The connected supply chain is expected to explode, and according to PLEX's report, more than 30% of the manufacturers they interviewed, are focusing on it already today. According to the report, 45% of the interviewees consider the cloud as an important contributor to their own products and 96% note that improvements in connectivity to systems, machines, suppliers, and customers comes as a direct result of cloud systems.
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