Four changes CEO’s must make to fully exploit the digitisation of manufacturing

Posted on 9 Dec 2019 by Jonny Williamson

Digitisation is transforming the very DNA of manufacturing and business leaders must implement significant changes if they are to maximise the benefits and retain and grow market share.

Today, digitally smart manufacturers are gaining a competitive advantage by exploiting emerging technologies and trends such as digital twinning, predictive maintenance, track-and-trace, and modular design.

STOCK manufacturing digital automation robotics industry 4.0 tablet digitisation of manufacturingPressure from the consumer, new regulations and advances in information technology are all reasons that are pushing manufacturing organisations to digitise so they can avoid falling behind the new breed of market-leading ‘digital champions’.

A new report by PwC illustrates how eight companies (alongside several other examples) have improved their efficiency, productivity and customer experience by ensuring they have the right capabilities central to their operating model and by matching them with strong skillsets in analytics and IT.

Darren Jukes, PwC UK industrial manufacturing and services leader, commented: “Gaining competitive advantage is something all organisations strive to achieve.

“Our research demonstrates that by embracing the opportunities digitisation offers, organisations can make a significant step towards achieving their goals of competitive advantage.

“Digitisation allows organisations to change the rules of competition and secure real advantage and market leadership. Accelerating the adoption of these technologies provides new ways of thinking both in terms of what’s delivered but also how it’s delivered.”

The report identifies four significant changes CEOs must implement to maximise the benefits of digitisation of manufacturing:

  1. Drive organisational changes that address new digital capabilities and digitised processes – eg, product and process design and engineering, end-to-end procurement, supply chain/distribution and after-sales – right from the top, because these are so new and different.
  2. Hire more software and Internet of Things (IoT) engineers and data scientists, while training the wider workforce in digital skills.
  3. Learn from software businesses, which have the ability to develop use cases rapidly and turn them into software products.
  4. Extend digitisation beyond IT to include significant operational technologies (OT) such as track and trace solutions and digital twinning.