In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution brought significant, long-term changes in the manufacturing industry. Now, it is digital technology that is disrupting the industry. The invention of smart and connected devices, the rise of intelligent technology platforms, and rapidly evolving consumer expectations are the key drivers for digital transformation in manufacturing. Although most senior executives in manufacturing companies agree that digital transformation is necessary, only a tiny minority are satisfied with their current digital strategies.
Industry 4.0 and the changing landscape for manufacturers
The manufacturing ecosystem, including vendors, partners, or other providers in the supply chain, is witnessing rapid technological innovations. This changing landscape makes it imperative for manufacturing companies to adopt digital technology to survive and grow. Driven by Industry 4.0 practices, manufacturers today are adopting digitization to increase efficiency, reduce operational costs.
The success of digital transformation initiatives in manufacturing depends on optimizing data usage in operations. Advanced data analytics can provide real-time insights to monitor, resolve, and predict situations to maintain error-free operations, avoid manufacturing disruptions, and optimize machinery lifecycles.
Remote monitoring of shop floor machinery and proactive maintenance of equipment, and with the power of real-time data, manufacturers can optimize operations and make them more efficient.
Manufacturers that adopt digital transformation benefit in many ways:
- Digital transformation drives higher productivity on the shop floor or production lines.
- Automation and real-time data enable better quality control in production lines as well as in support functions like accounts, logistics and customer service.
- Higher efficiency and automated processes reduce operational costs.
- Better quality control and predictive analytics for maintenance lead to increased safety in operating machines.
In the coming years, we will see disruptive growth of digital technologies in many areas in manufacturing, accelerated by the 5G network, IoT, Industry 4.0, AI/ML and predictive analytics.
Manufacturers must lay the foundation for these future trends with essential digitization of their business information, leveraging advanced document imaging, intelligent data capture, enterprise-scale document management solutions, and automated workflow management.
How manufacturers can prepare for digital transformation
An effective way to reduce wastage of time and costs in the manufacturing sector is to end your dependency on paper processing. Converting paper documents into electronic formats allows you to access important information in real-time and in a secure manner. Therefore, it is imperative to digitize documents like product specifications, datasheets, engineering documents, large-format drawings, blueprints, legacy documents stored on microfiche or microfilms. Once digitized, these documents must reside in a centralized document repository.
Document digitization has several benefits:
- Digitized maintenance and operation manuals for equipment and production lines make critical information available at the click of a button and accessible to all.
- Access to real-time data across all functions (such as finance, accounting, and HR) increases organizational efficiency.
- Document digitization reduces physical storage costs. Paper documents take up expensive storage space. Digital files can be stored and backed up on affordable cloud servers.
- Digitization helps you maintain compliance with government and industry regulations and manufacturing quality standards. Maintain documents according to retention schedules and archival guidelines.
- Digital files residing in an electronic document management system have strict access controls so that only authorized users can access sensitive business information. Digitization results in improved data security.
- Once all your legacy business information is digitized using backfile conversion, you can maintain paperless operations with day-forward scanning services by partnering with a professional document scanning services provider.
- Using a robust document management solution, you can store your information in a highly secure environment and control who can access them.
Digitization improves manufacturing processes and provides real-time reporting
Digitize and streamline your processes and manage information such as stock control, client data, and production schedules. A DMS enables automated alerts and notifications for your manufacturing process in real-time.
A DMS provides real-time reports from multiple sources in a centralized location. Dashboards enable you to monitor real-time information and track key performance indicators. Set up trigger emails or other alerts and ensure that your teams are on target to achieve key business goals.
Digitization facilitates audits—access information easily and quickly to show auditors that business records are correctly stored and that retention policies are adhered to consistently.
The scope of digital transformation
Manufacturing companies can digitize processes using a combination of document scanning, enterprise content management (ECM) and business process outsourcing. Using the right technology, you can improve coordination between vendors, customers, partners, and manufacturing teams. However, this does not mean that digital transformation is restricted to core operational processes on the shop floor or in the factory.
Digital transformation impacts all aspects of the business, including accounts payables, accounts receivables, logistics, HR, and more. For example, you can harness automation by using electronic data capture forms for HR and switching to a digital mailroom for the corporate office.
Plan your digital transformation roadmap with MES
Digital transformation is not a one-time exercise. It is an ongoing process of harnessing emerging digital technologies to stay at the top of your market.
Digitization streamlines your business processes, reduces operational costs and enables you to pass on the savings to the end-user.
Our document management solutions turn paper processes into finely-tuned information systems. Our solutions centralize your internal documents, improve information integrity and enhance the way employees work. These benefits dramatically affect your customer relationships, financial management and overall company performance.
We help you gain a competitive advantage and improve time-to-market.
Reach out to MES for a consultation, and we'll help you plan out your digital transformation roadmap, starting with scanning and document management solutions.