The Evolution of Digital Transformation

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The Evolution of Digital Transformation

For the last few years, especially, the common thread running through every article, survey, webinar and industry keynote speech has seemingly centered on the necessity of digitally transforming to remain competitive, even to survive in an increasingly competitive and hostile marketplace. Most manufacturers have at least begun to persue projects or established programs focused on some aspect of transformation.  As manufacturers mature in their digital transformation journey; leveraging their institutional knowledge will be the critical next step for long-term success.

The importance of Digital Transformation

With companies’ survival on the line, it is little wonder digital transformation garners the attention it does. I hear the “what ifs” consistently from industry analysts, other technology vendors, and customers. What if a manufacturer could?

  • Not only meet, but exceed their customers’ expectations, faster, cheaper, and more reliably than their competitors?
  • Identify potential production problems earlier and react to them faster?
  • Retain and leverage the knowledge of their workforce?

Surprisingly though, success rates for digital transformation projects are abysmal – only 4-11% – according to some industry analysts. That should be a sobering wake-up call for all manufacturers journeying down the digital transformation highway.

The Problem with Digital Transformation

It seems too many of those digital transformation projects start as a conversation about some new technology instead of what problems need to be solved or addressed for a manufacturer to best meet the market challenges. Starting with a technology in search of a problem instead of a problem in search of the best technology to help solve it becomes naturally self-limiting.

The technology is just a tool. Digital transformation in manufacturing is all about the people and how those people direct and use technologies. Ultimately, a company’s subject matter experts leveraging the right technologies for the problem at hand who will make the biggest impact on the challenges faced by most – if not all – manufacturers including:

  • Customer requirements for increased process transparency.
  • Need for increased workforce collaboration.
  • Loss of company expert knowledge and expertise through retirement, transition, or the great resignation.
  • Identifying and responding to process issue before they impact quality.
  • Ever-increasing regulatory and environmental demands.

Leading manufacturers across industries like Dow, Allergan, Arla, Air Liquide, and others have incredibly skilled workforces and no lack of technology at their beckon call. They are adept at unlocking the potential of their data with the right analytics to drive highlight where their people should spend their time and energies any given shift or day. As a result, they excel at connecting analytics-based data visualizations directly to relevant and vetted internal subject-matter expertise to enable operators, process engineers, plant management and others to make quick and informed decisions in real time by responding to specific signals with specific actions.

Analytics Knowledge – The Next Step in the Journey

Through focused and deliberate actions, those industry leaders have started to address some of their most pressing problems. They have succeeded in establishing sustainable cultures focused on competitive excellence. For many, the next step on their digital transformation journey is to move beyond simply proactively identifying potential issues and codifying the corresponding actions and best practices. They are driven to enable more of their workforce by amplifying that analytics knowledge through the retention of all the relevant information (data, analytics, actions, results) for use later anywhere across the enterprise – a move to analytics knowledge.

Manufacturers continue their relentless drive for competitive excellence by enabling the generation, capture and leveraging of analytics knowledge across the enterprise. This allows subject-matter expertise to be leveraged by others in the organization no matter the shift, plant, or country. Analytics Knowledge helps deflect the impact of events like the recent Great Resignation (or even absences because of illness) by ensuring that valuable expertise remains available.

The shift by manufacturers to Analytics Knowledge delivers additional benefits including:

  • Accelerating time to problem discovery and resolution.
  • Institutionalizing the accumulation of process knowledge gained as a result of significant issues and events.
  • Supporting operationalized analytics by delivering the most pertinent information to the right person at the right time.
  • Decreasing onboarding time and productivity for new employees by enabling them to immediate access a contribute to an information environment designed to leverage existing process knowledge and guide best practices.

Analytics Knowledge is transformational for organizations determined to achieve competitive excellence by accelerating process understanding and issue response by an increasing number of their employees to ultimately improve their ability to uniquely meet their customers’ needs.

 

About The Author

Peter Guilfoyle is responsible for all operating aspects of the company. For the past 18 years, he has been recognized for his innovative and results-oriented approach to all aspects ...