Digitalisation: how is it revolutionising the manufacturing industry?

Posted on 5 Jun 2023 by Ashley Oulton

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, digitalisation has emerged as a critical driver of success for manufacturers. By leveraging digital technologies and tools, manufacturers can gain a competitive advantage by enhancing operational efficiency, improving customer satisfaction and enabling innovation.

The Manufacturer’s Conference Programme Manager, Ashley Oulton, looks ahead to Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit taking place in Birmingham on June 7-8

Digitalisation is the process of integrating digital technologies into manufacturing processes, products and services to improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance customer satisfaction. It involves the use of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and cloud computing to automate and optimise manufacturing processes.

For more information on the Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit and to register your place please click HERE.

Key benefit 1: Improved operational efficiency and sustainability

By automating routine tasks and leveraging data analytics, manufacturers can streamline their operations, reduce waste and errors and increase productivity. For example, IoT sensors can be used to monitor equipment performance in real-time, enabling manufacturers to proactively identify and address issues before they cause downtime or disruption and make adjustments to reduce their environmental impact.

Key benefit 2: Enhanced customer satisfaction

By leveraging digital technologies, manufacturers can gain insights into customer preferences and behaviours, enabling them to develop more targeted and personalised products and services. Digitalisation can also improve the speed and accuracy of product delivery, leading to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Key benefit 3: Enable innovation by facilitating the development of new products and services

By leveraging data analytics and machine learning algorithms, manufacturers can identify patterns and insights that can inform the development of new products and services. Additionally, digitalisation can enable the rapid prototyping and testing of new products, allowing manufacturers to bring them to market more quickly and efficiently.

What are the challenges and barriers to digitalisation?

Despite the benefits of digitalisation, manufacturers may face several challenges and barriers when implementing it in their organisations.

Challenge 1: The cost of implementing new digital technologies and systems

Digitalisation requires significant investment in hardware, software and training, which can be a significant financial burden for manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Challenge 2: The need for a skilled workforce

Digitalisation requires a workforce with a range of skills, including data analytics, AI and machine learning. However, many manufacturers may not have the resources or expertise to recruit, train and retain such talent.

Challenge 3: The need for a secure and reliable digital infrastructure

Manufacturers need reliable and high-speed internet connectivity, as well as robust cyber security measures, to ensure the safety and security of their digital systems and data. However, many manufacturers may not have access to such infrastructure or may lack the expertise to implement effective cyber security measures.

Challenge 4: Resistance to change among employees and stakeholders

Digitalisation requires a significant shift in mindset and culture, as well as new ways of working. Some employees may be resistant to these changes or may lack the skills or knowledge to adapt to new technologies and systems. Additionally, stakeholders such as suppliers and customers, may have their own preferences and systems, which may not align with the manufacturer’s digitalisation strategy.

In conclusion, digitalisation is an essential driver of success for manufacturers in today’s business landscape. By leveraging digital technologies and tools, manufacturers can improve operational efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, enable innovation and make more sustainable decisions throughout their operations.

However, there are several challenges and barriers that organisations may face when implementing digitalisation, including the cost of implementation, the need for a skilled workforce, the need for a secure and reliable digital infrastructure and resistance to change among employees and stakeholders. Manufacturers must carefully consider these challenges and develop strategies to overcome them to fully realise the benefits of digitalisation.

The second annual Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit will be taking place in Birmingham on 7-8 June as part of Manufacturing and Engineering Week and several of the mentioned challenges will be discussed in our interactive roundtable discussion sessions. Speakers and discussion leaders at the summit include senior digital, data, engineering and IT professionals from across the manufacturing industry.

For more information on the Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit and to register your place please click HERE.