In an uncertain economic climate, many organisations take a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to business decisions. But such circumstances can provide a great opportunity for companies to innovate and accelerate ahead of more conservative competitors, explains Lawrence Whittle, CEO of Parsable, in an article for the World Economic Forum.
Focusing on the manufacturing sector, Whittle sets out five reasons why firms should start implementing their digital strategies now:
1. Factories will return from overseas
Manufacturing moved away from first-world countries to take advantage of lower costs overseas. But those cost savings are shrinking, and new technologies like 3D printing mean that complex products can be made without relying on established supply chains.
To make sure they are ready to expand operations in their domestic markets, companies will require a detailed process insight into how their products are currently made and what these processes will look like in a repatriated factory. Bringing factories back home also provides an opportunity to rethink the entire technology infrastructure and identify new efficiencies.
2. Factories will shrink
In the future, smaller footprint factories will be able to produce more products to meet demand. So firms need to consider what technology a small factory would utilise, and what skills it would require.
3. Product variations will be the new norm
Consumers will increasingly expect customised options. Amongst other things, firms will need to consider which technologies, machines and procedures are required to meed this demand.
4. Manufacturing jobs will become more sophisticated
A smaller, more flexible factory will be significantly more automated and require workers with different skills. This might mean attracting high-tech workers from other fields, and developing the most tech-savvy workers you already have.
5. Workers will be more connected
In a connected factory, employees will need technologies that give them easy access to the information, expertise and insight they need to do their jobs.
“Manufacturers who leverage these trends as catalysts for their digital innovation efforts will take the lead,” Whittle concludes.
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Tags: digital transformation