Digital revolution changes the nature of businesses, providing numerous opportunities to innovate. Those that grasp these opportunities quickly and early on will survive. Those lagging behind can easily lose momentum and fall into obscurity. But what is the nature of these changes? And what should manufacturers do to survive and prosper in this era of change?
Why Do Manufacturers Need to Change?
Platforms and converging industries are redefining business value. This coupled with connected products (enabled by the Internet of Things) and the resultant data deluge is both a challenge and an opportunity. The ability to develop insights from the data, monetize them and position for the outcome based services revolution is the route for manufacturers. Companies like Uber have already leveraged platform economics by connecting people and products, forcing automotive manufacturers to reexamine their value. This means that strategy, manufacturing and IT teams need to work together to achieve transformational changes.
The key is to define the vision for the digital transformation agenda and then take the first step. Keep moving at a furious pace. Once the vision has been defined, then developing and deploying the strategy becomes the next priority. Those who manage to grab this opportunity and drive change immediately, will reap significant benefits.
How Can Manufacturers Identify Their Critical Issues?
Manufacturers can identify those critical issues they need to focus on to achieve their vision by considering four crucial transformation zones: Platform Revolution, Service Revolution, Intelligent Design, and Human-to-Machine Convergence.
The ubiquitous ambient intelligence environment will deliver cognitive insights that enable process reinvention and waste elimination. Together with the impact of business model innovation, this will accelerate the platform revolution. Connected platforms combined with cognitive technologies will lead to real-time monitoring of a product’s performance throughout its lifecycle and an improved product evolution. The ability to deliver an integrated customer, product or service experience will require a focus on this zone.
Advanced technologies like the Industrial Internet of Things [IIoT], cognitive bots and blockchain-as-a-service will enable new automated value networks. These networks will allow cognitive analytics to be performed at the edge – where the assets are. This will enable advanced services based on usage and guaranteed outcomes.
Manufacturers need to rethink their strategy in order to offer advanced services based on outcomes. This zone also includes better customer and partner engagement opportunities.
Revitalized approaches to innovation and collaboration will lead to a rapid adoption of technologies like blockchain, to drive new mechanisms for protecting Intellectual Property and rewarding ecosystem members. Meanwhile, mass customization and micro-factories will change the way we design and manufacture. We’ll see the adoption of digital twins, where virtual models are maintained in parallel with physical assets and processes. Organizations will use digital twins to model, predict, control, and deliver business value seamlessly. This zone is important for product innovation & manufacturing execution design.
As humans and machines converge to deliver joint tasks, automation will transition into autonomy. In the near term, augmented reality/virtual reality systems [AR/VR] will close skill gaps and improve work safety. As manufacturing systems become increasingly self-directed, advanced skills jobs will also become irreplaceable. This zone is important for manufacturers focused on advanced manufacturing, facing skills-gap and margin challenges.
Manufacturers need to prioritize what is important for them depending on their position in the value chain and vision for transformation.
What Digital Transformation Opportunities can provide quick benefits for Manufacturers?
One of the most encouraging opportunities arising from digital transformation is concentrated in a System of Engagement with customers and partners.
A System of Engagement includes an integrated approach towards leveraging insights from a legacy Systems of Records. It also includes next generation IT which is flexible and responsive to the ever changing needs of your customers. For example, if your go-to-market approach changes-from partners to a more direct-to-customer approach or vice versa, your manufacturing facilities will need tighter order forecast system to produce the right kind of products/ services based on actual order uptake. That’s where solutions like GLOVIA OM, a cloud-based manufacturing order-to-cash software, become extremely important. It provides an opportunity to automate these transactions with clients and partners. This cloud-native approach allows speedy implementation and tie-backs to the System of Records.
Is Accelerated Change the Future of the Digital Enterprise?
If your company doesn’t change rapidly, then your competitors will take the lead. In our data economy, it is important to develop insights from data, and figure out new ways to monetize them. Most manufacturing companies are focused on their partners’ ability to provide them with insights so they can respond to market forces in time. However, engagement models have changed. That’s why the ability to change quickly is what will differentiate successful businesses from the unsuccessful ones.
The important part of this transformative journey is the ability to leverage artificial intelligence and analytics to develop a system of intelligence, which allows manufacturers and organizations to better anticipate change. The only certainty is that the pace of change will be fast and furious!
Find out how customers have leveraged approaches towards prioritizing critical issues and mastering business model transformation in the upcoming webinar with Fujitsu: The Future of Digital Enterprise: Manufacturing 4.0. Accelerating Your Digital Transformation Journey on Wednesday, September 20 at 12pm ET/ 9am PT.