As digitization has become more prevalent in businesses in general, the manufacturing industry has begun to feel its impact as well. With the advent of new technologies, processes that were once done manually or through outdated equipment can now be completed more efficiently and effectively through digital means.
Strategic digitization has led to an increase in productivity and efficiency throughout the manufacturing sector and is predicted to continue doing so in the years to come. However, the industry has taken some hits the last couple of years between the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues.
In the face of enormous uncertainty in the manufacturing space, a 2021 report showed that 91% of manufacturers are making digital transformation investments as a direct response to the events of the last few years. It’s noteworthy that in confronting unpredictable external factors, manufacturers are turning to digitization and new technology as a means of strategy and a mechanism for adjusting to our new normal.
So, what exactly is digitization? And how is it changing the manufacturing landscape?
What Does Digitization in Manufacturing Look Like?
Digitization in the manufacturing industry utilizes modern technologies to improve or optimize production. This can include anything from using computers to control machines on the factory floor to tracking inventory and sales data in real time.
Where older systems required assigning a designated employee to evaluate the machines running in the factory, digitization has allowed them to be monitored by computers, saving both time and energy. This increased efficiency could explain why digitalization programs were adopted by 85% of companies in 2020 alone.
The ability to track inventory and sales data in real time allows manufacturers to respond quickly to changes in demand and make decisions about production in a more timely manner. This can help companies avoid stockouts and excess inventory, both of which can be costly.
How Digitization Is Changing The Manufacturing Landscape
The manufacturing industry is quickly replacing outdated practices with new, more efficient methods. In turn, this helps manufacturers meet the needs of the market through optimized setup reduction and data-driven processes. A few ways digitization in manufacturing is changing the landscape are as follows:
- Increasing Productivity
One of the most significant ways that digitization is transforming the manufacturing industry is by increasing productivity. When machines are monitored by computers, it frees up employees to do other tasks. Additionally, real-time data allows manufacturers to make more informed decisions about production, which can lead to increased efficiency and more informed support for production workers’ needs.
- Making Factories Smarter
Factories are becoming smarter as digitization increases. By utilizing sensors and other industry-specific technologies, factories can now collect data about their equipment and processes that directly impact the improvement of the production process. This invaluable data can then be used to revamp the overall efficiency, security, and profitability of the factory and its systems.
- Reducing Costs
One of the goals of digitization is to reduce costs throughout the manufacturing process. This can be done by reducing waste, inventory levels, and improving supplier management. Digitization in manufacturing can save companies money long term, while also optimizing machine production that pays for the machine itself in a short time frame.
- Improving Quality
Digitization improves the quality of products manufactured by factories. Factories can more easily identify problems with their equipment and make necessary repairs using updated technology. Concurrent data allows manufacturers to catch quality issues before they become major problems.
- Changing The Workforce
As digitization increases in the manufacturing industry, the workforce is changing as well. With machines being monitored by computers and factories becoming smarter, there is a need for workers with new skills and workers with competency in quick digital adoption. Additionally, as factories become more automated, there may be a need for fewer production workers overall, as manual labor demands decrease but the demand for technological know-how increases.
Make Progress with Digitization: Attain Technology Can Help!
Digitization in manufacturing can improve every point of the production process. By sharing live data, everyone’s able to make better-informed decisions about the process and exceed market demands.
Don’t believe us? Call Attain Technology today for a free IT risk assessment and see how we can help your manufacturing business adopt the latest industry-grade technology.