The digital transformation of operational processes has become the most discussed topic in the manufacturing industry. Everyone from the shop floor operator to C-level executives is interested in applying digital transformation technologies to ease operations and provide insight to make better decisions. Sadly, 7 out of DIY digital transformation initiatives fail which calls for an optimized roadmap that guaranty success.
Reasons for failure have been attributed to multiple factors such as a lack of technical expertise, difficulties with deploying specific technologies, and biting off more than a facility can chew. But for those who have successfully implemented digital transformative strategies, the rewards have been substantial.
For C-level executives, the costs of failure are higher. Here, a definitive roadmap that guarantees a successful implementation process will be outlined for decision–makers tasked with overseeing the entire process.
Create a Functional Blueprint
The optimized blueprint takes into consideration every aspect and prospective bottleneck to implementing digital transformation strategies. A digital transformation blueprint must take into consideration the technological readiness and current status of the tech solutions within your facilities.
Understanding the current status create the foundation required to determine the processes that need to be transformed to optimize growth. Attempts to digitize every aspect of the production cycle simultaneously can prove harmful and costly because of the learning curve associated with digital transformation technologies. Thus, your digital transformation blueprint should be specific and aimed at relieving specific pain points such as delivering predictive maintenance, improving scheduling accuracy or enabling accurate machine monitoring.
The blueprint should also access the available talent within the facility to determine where skill gaps exist. Finally, the cost of implementation and a pre-defined process to measure implementation success or returns on the investment made should be developed. The following questions can help with developing a comprehensive blueprint:
- What do we intend to accomplish by adopting digital transformation and which problems do we intend to solve?
- How much should be assigned to our digital transformation implementation budget?
- Do we need to work with a technology partner to ensure the implementation process works as intended?
- What KPIs should I use to continuously track the success we record from implementing a digital transformation strategy?
Evaluating Digital Transformation Technology Options
A successful implementation process is preceded by choosing the correct technology solutions to execute the plans highlighted in your blueprint. The digital transformation market is approximately $284 billion in value which means a lot of service providers have positioned themselves to take advantage of the manufacturing industry’s adoption of Industry 4.0.
Choosing the right partner to kick-start your organization’s digital transformation journey requires some expertise. C-level executives with limited technological know-how can pinpoint employees with the relevant knowledge to advice on the selection process.
A turnkey digital transformation solution must provide the features needed to support your specified digital transformation process, easy-to-use, and flexible. The following questions can help you evaluate prospective service provider to make the right choice.
- What is the on-boarding process attached to using your solution?
- Will the digital transformation services you offer support the technology solutions deployed within our facility?
- How does your technology help us collate and aggregate shop floor data?
- What technical support and after-sales services do you offer to users of your digital transformation solution?
- Can you execute a demonstration workshop using our facilities to showcase how your services can help us with our digital transformation initiatives?
- What do other manufacturing facilities say about the services you provide?
Develop a High-functioning Team to Handle the Implementation Process
A stated earlier, outlining staff shortcomings with implementing new digital transformation solutions helps with determining what skillsets are required. The manufacturing industry suffers from a shortage of experienced data analyst and technical experts with the capacity to manage high-performing technology operating centers. This means you’re not alone.
Understanding the skill gap is the first stage to searching and finding capable hands. Working with the right technology partner can also help with easing the strain that comes with implementing a digital transformation plan. Where shortcomings abound, hiring a dedicated professional is the recommended step to take. The following questions can help with evaluating prospective technical staff:
- Do prospective candidates have provable experience with using the chosen technology solutions to manage digital transformation strategies?
- Has the prospective candidate worked within the manufacturing industry or within your enterprise’s manufacturing niche?
- Will the prospective candidate buy into the manufacturing facility’s work culture?
Continuously Monitor Application to Deliver Sustainable Growth
Implementing digital transformation solutions is a process that must be continuously evaluated to deliver sustainable growth. As the person responsible for the entire transformation process, developing critical key performance indexes to track performance levels is required.
KPIs could include overall equipment effectiveness ratio, machine utilization, and throughput regularly. The captured KPIs can then be evaluated against benchmark data, highlighting optimal performance, to note what went wrong during a production week or cycle. Iterative evaluations ensure digital transformation implementations go according to plan and remain flexible to real-time changes.
A comprehensive digital transformation roadmap is expected to guide the implementation process and the continuous application of integrated industrial technology solutions. The roadmap must also be continuously consulted to ensure the application of digital transformation remains through to its goal. Digital transformation implementations that expand outside set goals generally become difficult to manage and consume more capital than was projected.