Digital transformation is already firmly established: a basic example is using word processing instead of a typewriter, creating a customer database instead of a basic list of names and addresses, or using accounting spreadsheet software rather than handwriting numbers in a paper ledger.
The above basically defines digital transformation – literally the ‘transformation’ of a manual task into a digital one. On a more widespread and advanced scale businesses in all sectors have undergone – and are still undergoing – major digital transformation as tasks and processes are digitised due to advances and the advent of machine learning, IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and other powerful technologies.
Preparing for digital transformation
While some forms of digital transformation occur organically in that tasks and process formerly completed manually naturally become digitised over time through tech advances, larger scale processes have to be specifically planned for and implemented.
To this end professional expertise is usually required in the form of IT experts offering digital transformation consultancy as part of their service offering.
For example, a change in manufacturing processes where the hardware and software detects when machines require maintenance, have run out of supplies or are about to develop a fault involves a major manufacturing overhaul. This could involve developing and installing new software, investing in machinery featuring suitable sensor and diagnostic tech, and considerable retraining of staff.
Before embarking on a project like this, the business usually needs to prepare a blueprint outlining the benefits of this type of transformation (improve productivity, reduce downtimes, cut down overheads and running costs for example), and a timeframe and budget for implementing it.
The digital transformation consultancy partner involved can help here with advice, project management along with arranging procurement and installation of the necessary tech.
The importance of data
At the heart of many digital transformation activities is data and how it’s used: for example, to streamline manufacturing processes such as keeping machinery running optimally with minimal downtimes, copious amounts of data properly stored and managed helps develop suitable algorithms. This allows systems to ‘learn’ through machine learning how the production equipment should run so flagging up issues when things differ from the norm.
Data shared across several machines and sites – even if separated by country – is so much easier thanks to remote and network sharing capabilities. For example, a factory in one location can ‘take up the slack’ of one elsewhere that may be experiencing an outage or similar.
Other manufacturing related areas
Working with their digital transformation consultancy enables manufacturers to make the most of digitising in areas such as:
- Design – advanced data driven design tech instead of hours of drawings and clay modelling
- Stock control – keep production processes running through accurate parts and materials supply chain organisation handled through digitisation
- Production design speed – a product revamp can move from design to production far quicker so responding to market forces faster
Talk to our digital transformation experts to see how your business can maximise modern tech.