A solid and comprehensive strategy is essential for companies to be able to take the appropriate automated decisions. Companies’ currency is data. However, how businesses use that data, and not the amount they accumulate will affect its value. Manufacturing and distribution companies today will fail if they don’t have scalable results or agile processes. Automation of strategic process:
- Facilitates better predictability and accurate measurement of process improvements.
- Allows workers to think, adjust and improve – tasks that machines simply can’t.
- Leadership provides the ability to maximize operational efficiency through optimizing processes that are based on data analysis.
What is the best way to approach digital transformation in manufacturing? Do you think there are more ways to do it? Do they have pitfalls that we should avoid? Is it possible to spot and avoid these pitfalls?
Unexpected and planned challenges are possible to undermine the most well-planned, strategic automation programs. Ivan Kot (solution consultant for digital transformation) says, “Organization resistance to change” is one of most significant roadblocks in disruptive digital transformation. “Employees that are deeply rooted in the traditional process and anxious about their jobs security will not allow for modernization, unless they make changes to address them.”
Robert Jolliffe of Sabre Limited says, “The main limitation is management that fails see digital transformation and value added.” Older leadership groups often underestimate the value of information technology. Many digital technologies are dependent on soft assets. They often don’t fully understand these assets or place priority to them. The value of digital technologies is often understood by younger managers, who are more open to digital transformation. However, the lack of investment by older generations can hinder their ability to invest due to weak systems or ineffective teams.
David Ginsburg, Aryaka’s VP of products, says, “Before pandemic, there were roadblocks caused by a lack or confusion about the best way to proceed.” Digital transformation was required in many areas by the pandemic. Enterprises must now evaluate and assess that transformation to determine which options will be most effective for their business and remove or reverse any tactical changes.
Melanie Nuce is SVP Corporate Development at G1 US. “A major obstacle to digital transformation” she says. To move companies forward towards a common goal such as automation or efficiency, digital transformation needs high levels of collaboration. The manufacturing node of the supply chain must agree to standards for rapid data exchange with trading partners. Or they will risk investing in systems that don’t work or aren’t worth their time.
Is Automation a Bad Idea?
Companies must consider the skill level, location, and task management skills of deskless workers, regardless of whether they work in the warehouse, field, or elsewhere. “Businesses need software to make communication and routine tasks more manageable for all employees and managers,” Sofia Fominova is the President and Co-Founder of Truligent.
What is the secret to automation in manufacturing or distribution? They quit too soon.
When automating, you must go through multiple stages. The first step is to collect, store, and then analyze that data. If you do not, it creates another problem. Now you must deal with the physical layer andthe data layers. Chris Nicholson CEO, Pathmind says that you don’t get value from data in order to improve your operations.
“Additional visibility does not solve the problem. It’s just half of the data collection process. You will then move on to the analytics stages. The first, descriptive stage, is about identifying what’s currently happening. Next, you will go through the predictive stage. This looks at previous patterns to help predict what’s next. Prescriptive helps to determine what you should do now, based upon what is about to occur. It is the last stage that businesses care about. Although they want to be able to plan what should happen, they aren’t able to comprehend the entire process of building it.
While automation is often seen as something that businesses can add to their existing processes, many aren’t prepared for its secondary impacts. Nicholson says that automating workflows creates ripple effects. That’s what we call “ecological repercussions.” What can it be accessed? Is it available to anyone? How do you exchange information with others to determine what’s on the forms? These processes can change as a result of digitizing forms. It is important to be prepared for this.
Automating processes increases transparency and efficiency. The automation can help companies see what is going on and identify the root cause of any problems so they can be corrected. Automating also improves compliance. Automating your teams can increase productivity by making them more efficient. They will be able to concentrate on the most important tasks, such as repetitive and tedious work. Also, they will have the ability to identify and remove waste or constraints. Increased efficiency allows companies to charge lower prices while still remaining competitive.
Automation often depends on standardizing workflows, which results in better output quality and predictions about this output. Nicholson states that more accurate predictions will allow you to deliver on your customer promises.
Kot said, “Automation simply for the sake automation — which neither solves any clear problem nor improves efficiency — will lead to your digital transformation endeavor going down the drain.” The shift to process automation poses a significant business risk and is fundamental. To justify it, you must conduct rigorous feasibility and benefit analyses.
Many manufacturers consider digital transformation an “event” and not a process. Vinod Rana, Belden, Inc. Global Head, Customer Innovation Centers, says that companies require a partner in technology to help them make the right decisions and stay on track.
For distributors and manufacturers, digital transformation is a key to greater business success. People who have already adopted digital transformation can be more agile to respond to changes in supply chains and consumer behaviours.
Ricardo Craft serves as the EVP Product Management for Conexiom.