The term ‘digitalisation’ is a buzzword which has attracted a lot of attention in the manufacturing industry recently. As defined by The Enterprisers Project, digital transformation is the “integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers”.
Why is digitalisation more important than ever?
Digital transformation is the combination of traditional processes being enhanced by new technologies to improve productivity and reduce inefficiencies in manufacturing. Digitally smart manufacturers are highlighting this opportunity and are using digital transformation as a competitive advantage by exploiting trends such as predictive maintenance, digital twinning and modular design.
With smart manufacturing and smart factories relying on data, information is an asset to all businesses and is key to digital transformation by enabling real-time, learning-based decision-making across all business operations, including product development, manufacturing, supply chain and customer experience.
Do manufacturers have to get onboard with the new wave of digitalisation?
In a nutshell, yes. This need for digitalisation lies within pressure from the consumer, new regulations and advances in the market. Data and technology is an increasingly important factor for manufacturers so that they can avoid losing market share to growing ‘digital champions’.
A recent report from PWC identified and highlighted four significant changes CEOs must implement to maximise the benefits of digitalisation:
1. Implement organisational changes which address new digital capabilities and digitalised processes. For example, 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 digitalisation beyond IT to include significant operational technologies (OT) such as track and trace solutions and digital twinning.
What can we expect from jobs in the industry?
With industry 4.0 revolutionising the manufacturing industry into a digital model, developing a fully integrated organisation which designs, builds, delivers and tracks the use of manufactured products is a top priority. Increasing numbers of manufacturing roles are now required to have wider digital skills, and existing workforces are seeing an increase in skillset building around technology and data science.
This doesn’t mean we should expect for jobs to be cut, in fact, there’s more demand than ever for those willing to step up to the challenge. In a recent interview, Roberto Martínez, CEO of PepsiCo Foods, explained “It’s normal for people to fear the unknown. However, I believe the best way to do it is through clear communication. People need to know that these technologies will bring profit to the company, and that they will also open up new opportunities. In this regard, training is fundamental”.
Not sure your current role is preparing you for digitalisation in the industry?
Speak to one of our advisors to discover new opportunities and take your next step in the future of manufacturing.