How is digitalisation transforming the manufacturing Industry?

Posted on 7 Jul 2021 by Ashley Oulton

Outlining key topics ahead of this year’s Manufacturing Digitalisation Symposium, TM’s Ashley Oulton explains how the event can help your business transition beyond IT.

Manufacturing is going through a digital transformation and smart technology, data analytics and connected devices are enabling manufacturers to dramatically increase their efficiency, productivity and accuracy. Digitalisation is changing how products are designed, produced, used and maintained as well as transforming the operations, processes and energy footprint of factories and supply chains.

One of the key drivers for digitalisation is the ability for manufacturers to be able to improve their responsiveness and agility through changing market conditions and customer demands. Manufacturers can match their production cycles with demand throughout the year avoiding wastage and dissatisfied customers.

In addition, transitioning from manual operations and implementing automated solutions can enhance processes and improve performance monitoring and decision making, avoiding rework, downtime, defects and bottlenecks. This in turn will cut time and costs.

Advice for a successful digitalisation strategy

It is important to have a digitalisation strategy in place that takes organisational and operational change into account. Potential obstacles include cultural resistance to change, and leadership and stakeholder buy in. It is therefore important to:

  •  identify digitalisation objectives;
  •  formulate a digitalisation strategy;
  •  select the appropriate technology enablers;
  •  establish technology leadership; and
  • train your staff and introduce a digital culture.


Integrating digital and physical systems

Data is the moving force of digitalisation in the manufacturing sector but creating truly scalable value means seamlessly bridging OT and IT at all levels. The breaking down of silos and the integration of IT and OT will bring a more coordinated response to business requirements, shared resources and reductions in cost.

Enabling technologies

There are several important enabling technologies such as AI, machine learning and advanced analytics but it is clear digital twin has a clear role to play and is currently being used very effectively in the UK manufacturing sector hinging on real-time process data and analytics. Digital twin creates a virtual representative of the physical manufacturing production line, which in turn receives inputs from its real-world twin through sensors and can be used to check for potential issues and get valuable insights, saving time and money.

Reskilling workers

Demand is rising across all sectors for more advanced digital skills. Most larger firms are reporting challenges in recruiting software engineers and 61% are struggling to hire data analysts. The workplace will need upskilling to gain new skills and reskilling to keep up with the advancements in technology and to take on new roles.

These are some of the important topics that will be covered at the forthcoming virtual Manufacturing Digitalisation Symposium on Thursday 15 July. Join us online for a series of keynotes, panel discussions and interactive roundtable discussions where you will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of the discussion leader, your peers and share your own challenges and perspective.

Thank you to our sponsors: Infor, Accenture, Ericsson, Siemens, Tableau and partner MTC.