As more industries strive towards increased efficiency and reduced operational costs, digital transformation has become an essential part of achieving this goal. Manufacturing plants need to embrace and adopt technologies that enable them to transform their factories to become more efficient and productive.
By embracing digital transformation, plants can implement customized production, meet rapidly evolving customer expectations, and share data across the entire plant in real time. If your factory is yet to implement these digital technologies, you will soon find that your company will struggle to remain competitive, production costs will increase, and you may also end up with dissatisfied customers.
There are several signs that point towards a factory that is in need of digital transformation. Let’s explore 8 of these signs so you can pick up on them and initiate steps towards adopting the right technologies.
1. You are losing market share or cannot compete with worldwide players in your industry.
One of the biggest clues that your factory needs digital transformation is when you fail to remain competitive within your industry. Many companies are adopting technologies that make their plants operate more efficiently. This includes using integrated devices across the plant in order to share data in real time and respond more rapidly to customer concerns.
Digital transformation allows your competitors to develop higher quality products that are more suited to satisfy the needs of customers. Therefore, if your factory cannot keep up with these effective production processes, you will begin to notice a reduction of your market share and a lower competitive presence compared to other industry players.
2. Your margins are dropping as your production costs increase.
One of the direct benefits of digital transformation is reduced production costs for your factory. This is achieved because integrated devices across the plant can transmit data more efficiently, automate various processes, and allow for employees to focus on more technical work. As the production process becomes increasingly efficient, production costs are lowered and the factory can realize greater margins.
If your factory has not implemented digital transformation and you notice that your production costs are sky-rocketing, it could be due to the inefficient processes that are carried out within the factory. Manual processes that can be automated, as well as slow sharing and analysis of data, both contribute to high production costs.
3. Your energy consumption explodes.
Another sign of the need for digital transformation arises when your energy consumption is consistently high, causing you to incur high energy costs. Factories that are yet to implement IIoT technologies often have difficulty in tracking their energy consumption.
With the IIoT, the factory can track energy consumption at the device level. Sensors can be placed on individual pieces of equipment in order to monitor variables that lead to higher energy consumption. The plant can, therefore, keep track of these machines and regulate energy consumption throughout the factory.
4. Your employees leave for a more stimulating work environment.
Factories that fail to embrace digital transformation often have their employees working on repetitive manual processes such as filling out forms, physically overseeing production lines and manually recording data. Such tasks are less appealing to your employees and can cause them to become less productive in the workplace. They can also end up leaving your plant in search of more engaging and appealing opportunities.
By utilizing technological devices, factories can automate many of these processes and allow their employees to focus on more technical tasks that increase the efficiency of the production process.
5. You keep very big inventory instead of producing custom items in real time.
Before, many factories would incur high inventory costs. This is because the slower data collection and sharing process would make the supply chain less responsive to customer needs. Factories were therefore compelled to keep a large inventory in case demand was high and they needed to quickly fulfill customer orders.
Factories that utilize digital technologies are able to maintain a lean and responsive supply chain. They achieve this due to more efficient data sharing between the company and its suppliers, making it possible for inventory to be delivered at the right time and in the most efficient manner.
In addition, customer orders can be customized and fulfilled in real time, reducing the need for keeping a large inventory. The factory, therefore, ends up incurring lower inventory costs.
6. You experience a lot of downtime.
One of the biggest clues that your factory needs a digital transformation is when you experience a lot of downtime in your plant. Without integrated technologies, the functioning of machines cannot be properly monitored, leading to frequent breakdowns and high maintenance costs.
Digital transformation makes it possible for factories to implement predictive maintenance, which involves placing sensors on individual machines in order to monitor performance and predict if a machine is likely to break down.
7. Executives and the board support innovation and want to start the digitalization process.
Most executives within various industries are hesitant to invest in IIoT technologies due to the initial setup costs and the uncertainty that may surround return on investment. However, if executives within the business are recognizing the benefits of digital transformation (either from viewing competitors or recognizing current inefficiencies), then this is a clear sign that it is time to embrace technology.
In fact, according to Forbes, only about 5% of executives are satisfied with current digital strategies in their plants. This means that those who are open to innovation are most likely willing to implement more efficient processes for their plants.
8. Dissatisfied customers.
The most obvious clue that it is time for digital transformation lies in high customer dissatisfaction. A factory that is running inefficient processes will struggle to keep up with rapidly evolving customer demands as well as industrial trends. The factory will also be unable to produce items that satisfy the varied needs of different customers while keeping costs low.
Customized production is often cost prohibitive in plants that don’t embrace digital transformation. In order to satisfy the needs of customers and maintain your margins, you need to implement IIoT technologies that give your plant a high level of flexibility and responsiveness.
After reading this, are your recognizing any of those signs in your factory? If the answer is yes, you might want to think of optimizing your process and jumping in the IIoT revolution!