The Key Investments Driving Manufacturing Digital

October 10, 2017 at 11:11 AMChad Moulder

 In this week's blog, we look at the four most popular sectors for manufacturing investment as projected by Erich Hoch, Executive VP and CEO of Jabil Digital Solutions. In it, we look at the potential transformation one might hope for in manufacturing.

Whether one wants to admit it or not, the Digital Age is upon us. With seemingly daily breakthroughs, the pace of technology is quickly replacing many facets of the average person's life, mostly without them even noticing it. Not long ago (2014, to be semi-exact), the manufacturing community was certainly snickering (if not laughing outright) as the German government predicted that the 4th Industrial Revolution was upon us. Well in just the three short years since that proclamation, the truth of it can no longer be denied.

The explosion and confluence of virtual/augmented reality, machine learning, and the Internet of Things has fundamentally changed the perception that the hay day of manufacturing is long since past. So what are some of the key areas that are seeing an increase in attention and funding within the next few years?

Business Intelligence

These terms may seem like buzzwords at first glance, but they are the true drivers of the digital transformation. The only proprietary information you have in your arsenal that’s unique to your organization is data. But data is only valuable if it’s put to use, which means it’s important to:

    • Convert your raw data into actionable information that will allow you to move quickly
    • Use it to deliver better results, better solutions and better experiences.

It is easy to get lost in all the data your business collects. But once you determine clear goals and objectives, it is easier to locate what is useful to you. Investments in your business intelligence will no doubt bring the benefits of agility, which can’t be replicated.

Transforming Manufacturing Operations

Here’s the conundrum: Manufacturers need to become more agile in how they respond to changing customer demands in a complex, global supply chain. To do just that, they must embrace new technologies that will vastly improve their operations.

With thousands of sensors monitoring every aspect of every process in real-time and communicating with self-optimized deep learning robots, product volume and customization can soar to altogether new heights.

Changes in the landscape are causing manufacturers to seek more visibility into their supply chains so they can cope with demands for tighter production cycles, and deliver high quality products that are growing smaller and more technically challenging while doing it all at a competitive cost.

Integrating New and Existing Systems

Information Technology is the backbone that allows the connectivity that you need to connect customers, suppliers, devices and employees and allow them to communicate, collaborate and work effectively. It’s the network and central nervous system of what’s going on. The IoT has opened the flood gates with information and data that can be used to help companies in their decision making.

The reality is – no digital transformation can occur without this foundation. You may have been able to get by with disparate systems all this time, but you can’t rely on yesterday’s integration approaches to go through a digital transformation.

To reinvent your business for today’s world, your business platform is key.

Internet of Things and Product Connectivity

The IoT is drastically changing the way products and services are developed, sold and consumed. Connected solutions are capturing the attention of a C-Suite wanting to differentiate offerings and value-add in new ways.

IoT enables companies to capture and analyze new tapes of data, fast. With the market in growth mode, it’s the right time for companies to understand how more data can provide more value.

The potential for new revenue streams are available thanks to IoT – through high-volume data storage, real-time analytics and cloud computing. IoT analytics are redefining how companies develop and manufacture products and interact with their customers. But once again, this is all possible only if you’re able to collect useful data and make sense out of it.

The truth is, IoT will touch multiple areas of your business. Here are just a few considerations to help you consider the impact:

    • How you gather data and analyze customer-generated information
    • How you revamp business processes
    • How products are developed
    • How you interact with customers
    • How products are purchased
    • How data will direct new product development
    • How products are manufactured
    • How products are serviced

When investments are made and transformative technologies are adopted, we’ll have dynamic, new business models and digital enterprises where companies are empowered through agility.

It is concerning, however, that only 23 percent of manufacturing companies have a corporate-wide strategy for their digital transformation, per the Jabil survey. It’s an important reminder that digital transformation takes a village. A single individual or department alone can’t accomplish it.

Posted in: Did You Know | General | News


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