From natural disasters to geopolitical turmoil and fluctuating energy costs, uncertainty may be the only sure thing about the path ahead.
Fortunately, manufacturers have better tools for responding to changing conditions with resilience and agility — and planning for the unexpected – through advanced tools and capabilities powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Here are the major tech trends that will continue to dominate the landscape for manufacturers in 2023 — and how manufacturers can implement digital transformation to harness everything it has to offer.
1. Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 unlocks new possibilities for manufacturers. The convergence of AI, machine learning and real-time data from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and connected devices helps create better visibility into the entire supply chain.
The stream of data from IoT sensors allows warehouses and factories to streamline processes, reduce or eliminate waste, and enhance safety. For example, AI-derived insights can help you make better decisions about stock and organize warehouses to improve speed and efficiency.
The predictive capabilities of Industry 4.0 technologies are among their most valuable benefits. One practical example is preventive maintenance. IoT data enables more precise equipment monitoring so breakdowns can be prevented, reducing unplanned downtime and costly production delays.
2. Cloud-Based Data Analytics
Moving data operations to the cloud allows manufacturers to be more agile and scalable. The strategic use of data also promotes teamwork and collaboration, reduces equipment and maintenance costs, and enables advanced analytics.
The ability to more accurately forecast market demand, customer behavior and cash flow are further examples of how data can provide the insights needed to make smarter decisions.
3. Supply Chain Resilience
One of the most important keys to a more robust and resilient supply chain is better collaboration and data-sharing between partners and suppliers — a capability that’s increasingly emphasized in the newest and best supply chain technology solutions.
The intelligence provided by IoT sensors and cloud-based analytics helps you visualize your entire supply chain, from beginning to end — so you can spot inefficiencies and identify areas for improvement.
Autonomous systems draw on AI and IoT data to adapt to minute changes in manufacturing processes in real-time, enhancing quality and efficiency.
Integrating robotics and automation into production processes will continue to improve efficiency, not only by helping to fill labor shortages but by freeing up team members to focus on more sophisticated tasks. Robotics can also improve workplace safety, taking over tasks with a higher risk level to help keep employees safe from injury.
Trending Mindfully: The Five Keys to a Successful Digital Transformation
While the technology you choose is critical to a successful digital transformation, your people, processes and systems must all work together.
Here are five factors essential to your digital transformation:
Data is the most important asset to a digital business. One of the first steps in any successful digital transformation is cleaning up your data and organizing it into a central repository, like a modern ERP. That way, everyone’s on the same page — and there’s no waiting on reporting that delays action.
√ Careful Planning
You’ll achieve better success if you create a roadmap. Figure out what you want to achieve and create a step-by-step plan. This includes all the organization’s key stakeholders’ needs and how the right technology can solve problems and enable them to reach their goals.
√ Company-Wide Adoption
This may be the most pivotal item on the list. Your digital transformation won’t succeed if team members don’t embrace it. It’s imperative everyone understands the goals and transformation benefits, such as making their jobs easier and processes more efficient.
√ The Right Software
Choosing the right technology solutions for your needs is a process you shouldn’t rush — but the sooner you get started, the sooner you can identify the right set of tools for your needs. A technology consultant can help you evaluate your choices and find the right fit for you.
√ The Right Partner
To navigate this process successfully, it helps to have an experienced technology partner who knows the territory and can help you avoid the common pitfalls as you move from planning to implementation and ongoing maintenance.