How Industrial Manufacturers Can Remain Competitive in the Digital Era

industrial manufacturers

(4 minute read)

Industrial manufacturers are at a crossroads. They can decide to continue doing business as usual – and possibly lose out to more innovative competitors – or they can modernize operations to compete more effectively in the digital era.

The pressure is steadily increasing for industrial manufacturers to operate more effectively and efficiently, all the while fulfilling customer demands for immediacy and product innovation. Trying to meet these challenges with manually intensive processes and outdated technology is difficult and makes the business more likely to lose customers to competitors that can act – and react – in real time.

To meet these demands, industrial manufacturers must start moving their operations into the digital age by extending business processes across partners – from global suppliers to end consumers. This is a critical expansion that marks a departure from the traditional focus solely on manufacturing and distribution.

In this blog, we’ll explore three areas that industrial manufacturers must embrace in order to become more efficient, profitable and innovative.

Connected Products

Industrial manufacturers now have the opportunity to produce connected products that can create stronger customer relationships and more profitable business operations. Fully connected products can improve product functionality, increase quality and boost product utilization. In addition, some manufacturers are opening up additional revenue streams by harnessing the data collected from connected products to offer new service offerings.

There are several benefits from providing connected products to customers:

  • Enhanced customer relationships: Connected products can provide valuable data to the manufacturer throughout the life of the product that can be used to boost the customer experience across the entire product lifecycle.  As an example, a heavy equipment manufacturer could potentially reduce elevator wait times by as much as 50% by using the data collected over time to predict elevator demand patterns and speed up the time it takes for the elevator car to reach the destination floor.
  • Improved product utilization: Proactively directing customers to optimal maintenance requirements can result in enhanced utilization rates and reduced overall lifecycle costs.
  • Innovative product development: Access to product usage and performance data helps manufacturers gain a better understanding of customer needs, address current product issues and better design future products.

Connected Technology and Artificial Intelligence

Forward-looking industrial manufacturers are using sensors and other connected devices to boost their own manufacturing productivity, enhance product quality and reduce maintenance costs. To do this, they are leveraging a new generation of mobile, connected technology to transform long-standing production practices.

In addition, some are applying artificial intelligence to data to improve efficiency, product quality and the safety of employees. An example of this is a manufacturer that was struggling to provide predictive process optimization. To solve the challenge, it implemented a digital solution that generates real-time prediction for quality and quantity of product through utilization of a regression analytics engine and leveraging big data in real time.

The majority of industrial manufacturers have not yet introduced these capabilities to their production lines or other areas of the business. As a result, these companies lack a complete view of their assets, the associated value or fully integrated visibility into the back-end business processes needed to achieve operational excellence.

Harnessing Big Data with Analytics

The sheer amount of business data being generated today puts increased pressure on industrial manufacturers to effectively harness that data to gain deeper business insights. Legacy systems are simply incapable of managing such massive amounts of data. As a result, industrial manufacturers are unable to accurately determine if they are profitably meeting customer demands.

Enhanced data access and analytical capabilities will allow industrial manufacturers to gain the instant insights they need to achieve the following benefits:

  • Reduced supply chain costs
  • Improved cycle times
  • Minimized scrap and rework
  • Accelerated time to profit

The digital economy is developing at a rapid pace worldwide, and industrial manufacturers everywhere are feeling the impact. By adopting new digital technologies, they can develop innovative and connected products, increase asset utilization and gain deeper insights into business performance.

If you would like to learn more, download our white paper, 3 Ways Innovative IM&C Companies are Transforming their Business.

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