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Digital Transformation Considerations for Manufacturing

As manufacturing companies implement smart technologies to stay relevant in the Industry 4.0 era, there are digital transformation considerations each company should think about before embarking on their digital journeys.

Manufacturers are creating digital initiatives and roadmaps to integrate advanced technologies into their operations. Adopting smart technologies, such as automation, leads to more efficient production operations and more effective workflows. Having a more digitally connected workplace also has other benefits, including driving better employee satisfaction and retention rates and often improving customer relationships.

Though there are many advantages to implementing smart manufacturing technologies, manufacturers must implement them effectively to see these benefits. That’s why leaders within a manufacturing company need to keep these digital transformation considerations in mind while creating their digital strategy.

Consider Business Goals

Advanced manufacturing technologies offer a lot of benefits to companies, but to get the best return on investment (ROI), businesses need a digital transformation strategy. Implementing smart technologies just to have them isn’t effective.

When drafting a digital transformation plan, manufacturers need to make their business goals and objectives clear. What is the purpose of implementing smart technologies? Is it to improve production operations or increase output or maintain productivity despite a workforce shortage?

Whatever the end goal may be, manufacturers should implement technology that aligns with their business outcomes. So, when strategizing, an important digital transformation consideration to keep in mind is that any added technologies should further a business goal.

Choose Internal and External Partners

Manufacturing leaders working on a digital transformation roadmap need input from employees to create an effective strategy. Getting responses from all levels and departments helps leaders accurately set attainable business goals and determine the best path forward to reach those goals. It’s important to keep employees in the loop during the digital transformation journey, ensuring they know what technologies are being implemented and how they will affect operations.

Having digital transformation stakeholders within departments can also help manufacturing leaders better partner with their workforce. These internal stakeholders are employees who are interested in the company’s digital transformation journey and want to assist with implementation.

After mapping out the digital transformation plan, manufacturers must find vendors to partner with to meet their technology needs. Smart technology vendors should be thoroughly vetted to ensure they have a proven track record of successful deployments and that their offering aligns with set business goals. These partnerships are an important consideration for digital transformations.

Ensure a Competent Workforce

Undergoing a digital transformation significantly changes internal processes and introduces new technology into production. Manufacturers need to ensure their digital transformation strategy includes plans to effectively train employees on these new processes and smart technologies. These plans might also include hiring for new positions to help the transition go smoothly. These roles could be anything from software engineers to data scientists to digital product owners — it will be different for every business.

To learn more about digital transformation considerations and meet with leading smart technology vendors, attend SOUTHTEC.