Digital Transformation in Manufacturing: Preparing for 2018

Here’s an excerpt from an article published by Industry Today.

“By 2018, only 30 percent of manufacturers investing in Digital Transformation will be able to maximize the outcome; the rest are held back by outdated business models and technology.”

….which makes you wonder.

Are manufacturers utilizing every opportunity offered by the advancements in digital technology?

Most likely they are not.

Even so, many of the manufacturers that embraced the digital revolution don’t seize or use the opportunities in a coordinated way. With the revolution already disrupting consumer products, media, healthcare, and other sectors, and the advancements in AI, Robotics, and Machine Learning, the manufacturing industry is bound to transform in the most innovative ways. The transformation has already begun.

Those companies that lead the digital transformation have embraced various operating principles.

  • More authority to data
  • Focusing more on products and objectives
  • Create and execute processes to continuously and consistently transform

That companies that don’t adapt to the changing times will most likely fall behind. However, even if they are willing to adopt and implement digital technologies, they will still have to face some challenges. But the outcome is worth it evidently.

Digital transformation of the manufacturing industry is not just a case of significant investments on new technology. It’s practically a dramatic shift in the culture they practiced till now. Top executives already know what’s at stake, and they are apparently aware of how significant digital transformation is for the supply chain.

Here are a few more reasons that should convince them why digital transformation is indispensable for industrial manufacturers.

Consumer Expectations have Changed

Consumer expectations obviously change over the years. The digital revolution is apparently a double-edged sword that forces industries to adapt and transform while promising consumers more benefits and a better purchasing experience.

Let’s take Uber for instance. Traditional car manufacturers and Uber have something in common. They run businesses that involve moving people around. Car manufacturers meet consumer need by providing them with vehicles through their experience. Uber, on the other hand, also meets people’s transportation needs except they do it with data. They match potential passengers and vehicles via smartphones. Uber is now worth over $50 billion, and it’s just been five years since their humble beginning.

They met changing consumer expectations in a different way. Though not all companies that embrace digitization achieve success, digital transformation is still imperative for industrial manufacturers if they want to meet the rising expectations of consumers, and not fall behind.

Smarter technology grants more visibility, and introduces new digital practices that subsequently enhances focus and efficiency within and throughout the supply chain.

Big Data

The manufacturing industry generates more data than any other sector but there aren’t many companies that harness this data. Such an overwhelming amount of data also hides great opportunities. These data can be harnessed to locate bottlenecks and find efficiencies.

Because of the significance of data, a company preparing for digital transformation must design processes that ensure seamless transformation, while empowering employees to transform data from multiple sources into insights.

Achieving Efficiency

Harnessing big data is the key to achieving efficiency. The insights from mined data can help the manufacturer figure out the right path that delivers maximum efficiency. Apart from this, digitization also provides manufacturers with tools to manage their businesses better. The potential benefits include reduced expenses, reduced time-to-market, and improved customer experience.

Rising Demand for Innovation

Adopting digital technologies also adds to the flexibility of the manufacturing industry in welcoming and implementing innovative ideas. It essentially gives the business a better, more efficient framework that enables employees to do their jobs better while freeing time for more advanced levels of operations that will lead to business innovation and increased growth rate. Because companies compete on a global scale, rising up to the demand for innovation is vitally necessary unless they don’t mind falling behind.


The path towards digital transformation is a process that requires a good amount of investment and dedication. Still it’s never complete despite delivering a plethora of benefits. It’s impractical for a single company to leverage every single digital advancement, but many businesses have nevertheless made great progress.

In a marketplace where consumers demand sophisticated products and services, digitization will certainly present more opportunities for business leading them to success. Competitors who choose not to go down that road will run out of steam in the long run.