Shop-Floor Digitization For Today’s Mid-Size Manufacturer

Shop-Floor Digitization For Today’s Mid-Size Manufacturer

Manufacturers are waking up to the important role technology and digital transformation can play in their growth strategies. Yet this transformation is different for every manufacturer. For some, it may encompass the adoption of the latest technologies — such as 3D printing, robots, sensor technology and artificial intelligence — areas that some traditional manufacturers have previously been slow to embrace. For others, their digital transformation journey will see them embrace the world of Industry 4.0, where all equipment in their production lines is online, connected and autonomous.

But for other manufacturers that may be resistant to change, digital transformation will require a concerted effort to ensure they aren’t left behind. Mid-size manufacturers are sometimes caught in the chasm. Change isn’t easy. Many wonder, how and where to start transforming? Does it have to cost a lot? And/or what’s the problem with doing things the “old” way anyway?

The continuing evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 promises to open new opportunities for manufacturers, but fears and misconceptions are holding many manufacturers back from moving forward with forging IoT strategies. This hesitation can potentially be opening the door for smaller, smarter and leaner companies to surge ahead in today’s ultra-competitive market.

Manufacturers that can extract full value from data gathered via IoT can position themselves to take advantage of new market opportunities. The data collected by billions of things and devices can be used to deliver new services or drive innovation that can help organizations differentiate themselves from the competition. In addition, manufacturers can also connect their supply chain systems to smart devices so they can gain better visibility and control over their extended manufacturing operations.

Many small and midmarket manufacturers have taken a “wait and see” approach because IoT initiatives can seem daunting. They don’t have to be. It’s important to get moving with understanding how and where the IoT can aid the business. But how do manufacturers determine the how and where?

In every business, there are gaps and areas for improvement in processes that impact the customer experience and add extra time and cost into the transaction. These represent tremendous opportunities for IoT.

Customer experience is something that most manufacturers struggle with, but smart manufacturers understand that intelligent devices can reveal vital information — often in real-time — enabling them to quickly and drastically improve customer service. Customers are increasingly seeking personalized experiences with manufacturers and suppliers.

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