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What is Digital Transformation?

 
Running a modern organization in the manufacturing sector requires digital technology at scale. But what is digital transformation and how can it impact manufacturing?
 
Updating devices and communication methods can bring efficiency to manufacturers and warehouses. From the floor to the front office, the effects are evident. But digital transformation is more than adding a few pieces of hardware and software.
 
Commitment to Change
 
Taking advantage of modern technology requires a commitment to business transformation. This involves changing an entire company’s processes.
 
Digital transformation affects the way people and processes interact with technology. Integrating technology into all areas of the business plays a key role.
 
As a result, hardware and software work together to improve operations. Everything from mobile devices to ERP software becomes part of driving digital transformation.
 
Digital manufacturing strategies include robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Each focuses on connected devices to help companies maintain a competitive edge.
 
For example, smart factories use big data from connected operations to optimize performance. This digital connectivity provides data and automation to improve operations. It also can efficiently meet customer demands.
There are other emerging digital technologies that can improve business processes. Layering these technologies lets companies meet business needs and, ultimately, continue to grow.

IIoT 

The Industrial Internet of Things uses technologies to improve connectivity and efficiency or add time or cost savings.  These can include sensors or intelligent machines used to gain data analytics.

Data Analytics

The connected devices of the IIoT yield large amounts of data. Companies can take advantage of the insights from this data. But they must have a plan in place to analyze and then use the insights it provides.

Cloud Computing

As opposed to on-premise implementation, the cloud offers servers, storage, hardware, and software. Cloud manufacturing enables manufacturers to outsource almost everything they need for software configuration.

 
Change on this large scale requires significant commitment. Old habits die hard. This is especially true where manual processes or legacy technology platforms exist.
 
But becoming a fully digital operation requires serious investments. Across the company, real time solutions can replace old ways of doing business.
 
Framework for Success
 
One of the top priorities of CIOs for 2019 was establishing a digital transformation framework.  This framework identifies the IT projects and initiatives. These must be launched, managed and maintained to create a digital business environment.
 
A successful digital transformation strategy must encompass every aspect of the business. Plus, it needs to be adaptable to change.
 
In the past, enterprise and industrial applications may have received infrequent updates. Thus, making it difficult to keep systems running modern technology.
 
In contrast, new approaches keep software maintained. This ensures critical infrastructure stays up-to-date and connected to the larger digital picture.
 
For example, advances in software development promise gains in customer experience. Plus, they may provide a more efficient and effective manufacturing process.
 
Specifically, modular supply chain management and micro service architecture are two such areas.
  • Modular supply chain management is a method of working with suppliers to deliver products in a shorter time frame.1
  • Micro service-based architectures facilitate continuous delivery and deployment.2
 
How do you develop a digital transformation framework? It starts with analyzing and assessing the processes and procedures currently in place.
 
Areas of inefficiency must be identified and brought into the digital fold. This includes even the smallest manual tasks for gathering and applying data.
 
After identifying areas for improvement, the organization must be ready for change. Even with cutting edge technology in place, the people using the new solutions must embrace new processes.
 
There needs to be a concerted effort to install digital tools across the board. If not, the weakest link will stand in the way of a well-rounded digital operation in the long term.
 
Take the Next Step
Industry 4.0 is transforming the manufacturing industry. It is now easier for companies to make informed decisions based on data analytics.
 
Where are you in your digital transformation journey? From EDI software to scalable MES products and services, Radley allows you to get the most out of your data. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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