Manufacturers today have access to a wide range of technical solutions that help them enhance operational productivity and create exceptional business possibilities. Nonetheless, several manufacturers don’t fully utilise these technologies, owing to a lack of appropriate information, an inflexible organisational structure, ineffective growth strategies, or safety issues. Hence, manufacturers are missing out on some of the most lucrative commercial prospects.

Automation, cyber physical systems, and data interchange are all part of Industry 4.0 (also known as manufacturing digitization). It is no longer a prime focus, and production companies all over the world are using it to get the advantages of enhanced performance, decreased inefficiencies, and cheaper costs while increasing flexibility. The adoption of Industry 4.0 enabling technologies, on the other hand, is a demanding process that becomes considerably more complex without a consistent methodology. Absence of information, incapability of properly measuring the ROI, and unavailability of competent workforce are just a few of the obstacles.

Let’s have a look at the hurdles faced by manufacturing industry – 

  • The Skills Gap in Manufacturing Industry

The increasing skills gap is among the most significant manufacturing issues. Younger people are urgently required in the industrial industry. Many younger, tech-savvy factory floor operators and engineers have a good understanding of technology and can assist in translating the ‘jargon’ for all those who are unfamiliar with it. As a result, companies with aging labour forces may perceive the skills gap to become an obstacle to implementation. Collaboration with reputable colleges to generate skilled employees for the factory floor might be a great strategy to overcome the skills gap.

  • Language Barrier

Manufacturers are used to complicated concepts and technical terms, but they sometimes struggle with unknown words if it comes to a much more digital lingo. Among the most challenging barriers to digital engagement and implementation is an absence of a common language. 

  • Expenses and ROI

The leading companies in Industry 4.0 are similar to the major players in financial advisory when it comes to expenses and returns on investment. They discuss about how technology can have a “revolutionary” and “game-changing” effect on production and people, but compared to the expenses, the effect takes time to manifest. During this point, calculating an exact and expected ROI is extremely challenging, that only feeds to the idea that Industry 4.0 is costly.

  • Supply chain and inventory management

Every manufacturing company has to manage their supply chain and inventories. Businesses require better, more flexible manufacturing techniques as they try to increase output. 

In the manufacturing sector, inventory management is a prevalent concern. Keeping insufficient stock can be detrimental to revenues as well as client relations. Maintaining an excessive amount of goods can be expensive to keep and sell. As a result, manufacturers can save time and cost by investing in the correct software and procedures for inventory tracking and management.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of supply chain issues has been a hot topic. Several manufacturers depend on China for parts, particularly computer and electronic parts. The supply chain disruption is already having an impact on these businesses.

  • Safety Concerns

Regardless of the fact that many of us use net banking and are gradually shifting business online, there seems to be a widespread misconception in manufacturing that a cluster of on-premises servers is safer than a cloud-based application. In reality, most on-premises systems lack the level of security offered by the finest cloud service providers.

Digital Transformation Roadmap for Manufacturing Industry

Picturing the roadmap and determining the path wherein the company is heading will help to determine further steps for digital transformation. Since digitization has an impact on all aspects of the business, it must be well-coordinated and organized. The roadmap lays out a step-by-step process for senior management to develop a strategy, specify end-goals, and devote the relevant resources and assets for the digital transformation. This aids in determining where the organisation stands right now in terms of digitization and where it aims to go.

  • Clarity of vision and digital strategy

Companies must have a very clear understanding of what they are hoping to accomplish prior to embarking on any kind of transformation. The ability of the management team to convey the organisation’s objectives to partners, workers, and customers is critical. Only then will they be able to make sure that everybody in the company understands and supports their goal. It will make it easier to define precise goals for expanding the value chain, such as financial savings, profit, agent performance, and workforce satisfaction. New practices and skills that are needed to improve client satisfaction must also be considered.

  • Plan to encourage new fast operating procedures

The way a company manages itself is extremely important for its success.

Internally, a digital unit should be established to promote creative approaches to operate for digital performance, including flexible production process, running tests and acquiring knowledge about approaches which promote innovation whilst also retaining customer, and the formation of cross-functional teams with diverse skill sets.

  1. Analyse your company’s main strengths and capacities

Manufacturers must address the main talents and skills required for transformation as we move into a new age of competition and innovation. Although optimisation is essential, it is unlikely to become the single aspect that determines success. Rather, aspect of the transition is preparing to use digital skills and expertise to redesign company’s value propositions and procedures. Cloud services, actionable insights, e-commerce platforms, connected devices, Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and other technologies have quickly become indispensable.

  • Select the appropriate digital transformation associate

After doing internal talent evaluation, the organisation may have concluded that it won’t be enough to handle such a large-scale shift as digital transformation. As a result, the company may require the assistance of a trusted partner who will be there for every step of the way and will guide through the digital transformation process. Prior to actually deciding on a technology partner, the company needs to think about their manufacturing experience, technology proficiency, and capability to assist and drive an effective roadmap.

In the manufacturing industry, a digital transformation roadmap lays out a strategy to manage changes in processes, business strategies, and client experience. Manufacturers can use this to create essential standards, monitor KPIs, and assess progress. It can cover everything including establishing agile methodologies to skilling up employees, upgrading technology stacks, determining budget and timelines, and redesigning architecture, among other things.

References: 

https://www.fourjaw.com/blog/10-hurdles-for-industry-4-0-uptake/

https://www.predictiveindex.com/blog/common-problems-in-manufacturing-industry/

https://www.softwebsolutions.com/resources/digital-transformation-roadmap-in-manufacturing-industry.html

https://www.manufacturingtomorrow.com/article/2021/07/digital-transformation-roadmap-for-manufacturing-industry/17371

Article By: 

Somasree Roy

Textile Value Chain