The manufacturing industry has long been one of the most important and essential sectors in the global economy. From automobiles to appliances to textiles, manufacturers have always been responsible for producing the products that we use every day.
In recent years, the manufacturing industry has undergone a dramatic transformation as a result of digitization. In 2020, 85% of manufacturing companies accelerated their technology adoption. This change has not only improved security and cut costs, but it has also made the manufacturing process more efficient and streamlined.
What is Digitization in the Manufacturing Industry?
Digitization and digital transformation are often confused one for another, but the distinction is important to know for your business.
Digitization in the manufacturing industry is the process of using digital technologies to manage and streamline the production process. This can include anything from using sensors and barcodes to track inventory and raw materials, to using 3D printing.
On the other hand, digital transformation is the broader term that refers to the overall changes in business operations brought on by digitization, including changes in strategy, culture, and structure.
Benefits of Digitization in the Manufacturing Industry
There are many benefits to digitizing manufacturing. Some advantages include efficiency, innovation, security, and costs.
Digitized systems can automate tasks that would otherwise be done manually, such as data entry or quality control. This can help to free up time and resources that can be redirected to more productive tasks.
Digitizing manufacturing can help to streamline processes by providing real-time data that can be used to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Supervisors can also operate the facility in a centralized location and view the entire plant at once. This gives them the ability to quickly identify and solve problems that arise.
Effectively adopted technologies have even helped supply chains increase their efficiency by 4.1% and simultaneously increase revenue by 2.9%.
Digitization can lead to more innovation in the manufacturing industry. Digitized systems often provide manufacturers with better visibility into their operations. This improved visibility can help identify areas where improvements can be made, leading to more innovative solutions.
Manufacturers can also quickly adapt to new market trends and demands. If there is a new trend for a certain type of product, manufacturers can quickly produce prototypes and test them out without having to invest in expensive tooling or making major changes to their production line. Companies that experience manufacturing disruptions can expect 3-5% loss of EBITDA in the first 30 days, or 30-50% of a year’s EBITDA.
Digitized operations make it more difficult for cybercriminals to penetrate systems and wreak havoc. Modern technology systems often have built-in security features, such as encryption and authentication, that can help to protect data. They can also be monitored more efficiently, making it easier to identify and respond to threats.
In the past year, 40% of manufacturing firms experienced a cyberattack. Out of those firms, 38% suffered over $1 million in damages. With improved cybersecurity and a service provider, cyberattacks can be better avoided.
Digitization can cut costs in the manufacturing industry in several ways. One way is by reducing the need for manual labor. Digitized systems are often more accurate and efficient than manual systems, and they can also provide real-time visibility into operations. Real-time visibility can help identify and resolve problems more quickly, before they cause major disruptions.
Digitization helps reduce waste and improve resource utilization. By using sensors to track inventory levels, manufacturers can avoid overproduction and the associated costs. Textile manufacturers often overproduce with only 60-70% of products actually sold to consumers and contribute to over $400 billion in waste every year.
Digitization can also help lower energy costs. Digital technologies can be used to optimize energy use in production processes. Using sensors to monitor equipment performance, manufacturers can make adjustments to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
These benefits can help to improve the competitiveness of manufacturing organizations and create a more sustainable future for the industry.
Manufacturing Technology Trends and Solutions
There are a number of digitization trends that are helping to improve the manufacturing industry. Here are five trends:
1. Industry 4.0 and IIoT
Industry 4.0 is the term used to describe the fourth industrial revolution. This is the shift from traditional manufacturing to a more automated industry.
The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is the network of machines, devices, and sensors that are connected to the internet. It allows for data to be collected and analyzed in order to improve efficiency and productivity.
2. 3D Print Technology
3D printing technology has proven to be useful for manufacturers. It can be used to create prototypes and products quickly and efficiently, without the need for traditional manufacturing methods.
3. Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is a method of using data to detect and predict problems before they occur. This form of maintenance can help to reduce downtime and improve efficiency.
4. Agility and Responsiveness
Due to the nature of digitization, manufacturing companies can be more agile and responsive to changes in the market, which gives a competitive advantage.
5. Machine Learning and AI
One of the most important trends is the increasing use of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Robotics can help to automate tasks that would otherwise be done manually, and AI can help to optimize production processes and make decisions in real time.
How Can Manufacturing Companies Best Optimize New Technology?
Manufacturing companies can best optimize new industry-specific technologies by partnering with an experienced IT provider, such as Weber TC. Weber TC has years of experience in the manufacturing industry and understands the unique needs of manufacturers. Additionally, Weber TC offers a range of services that can help to optimize digitization, including consulting, implementation, and ongoing support.
By partnering with Weber TC, manufacturing companies can have increased productivity, industry compliance, comprehensive cybersecurity, and improved communication and collaboration. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your organization optimize digitization.