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Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018
Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018
Alexandra Zamolo
Alexandra Zamolo, Content Marketing Manager
5 min read
If you thought your digital workplace was at the peak of innovation, 2018 will deliver plenty of surprises and digital transformations. As you’ll soon find out, digital transformation is an ongoing process that moves swiftly as new technology emerges. Surprisingly, 47% of companies haven’t even begun their digital transformation process. By keeping up with the trends, you’re already at an advantage. These top 5 digital transformation trends offer your manufacturing business not just insight, but tangible means of transforming your business in more ways than one. From handheld tools to improve employee productivity to means of streamlining processes along the assembly line, the transformation goes beyond digital.

1. Integrated Workflows:

In today’s competitive global economy, integration is key to ensuring efficient workflows. While each component or department of the business can function independently, you can optimize those functions by integrating tasks and information. Sticking with conventional communication methods like email or voice calls limits the amount of data you can share and the means through which you can send it. By connecting every employee through an internal communication system, preferably platforms that allow for sharing of information via not just text, but media as well, teams share their skills and knowledge with their peers. Research shows that connectivity helps reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction, and active internal communication helps. Ensuring that groups of employees on the production line know what’s happening on the information technology side, or keeping marketing teams in the loop when it comes to software changes in customer-facing settings are only two examples of how integrating workflows benefits business.

2. Mobile Collaboration:

The majority of manufacturing employees don’t work at a desk or don’t even have a corporate email address. Ergo, the bulk of collaboration can’t happen on a desktop device. Technology can have a significant effect on non-desk employee productivity, so making that tech accessible should be a priority for businesses. Mobile collaboration apps give employees more ways to connect, keeping information current and ideas flowing. Because most employees already have personal devices with internet connectivity, you may avoid substantial rollout costs by allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices. Even for large companies that require corporate devices across multiple departments, investing in the technology now keeps you a step ahead as the digital transformation forces other companies to follow suit. Internal communications improve efficiency by making peers accessible to one another, but mobile collaboration apps also promote safety. Disseminating critical information to employees via mass message campaigns guarantees employees receive the details they need when they need it.

3. Machine Learning & AI:

From robots piecing together components on the assembly line to machines that scan parts for defects, technology has come a long way from rudimentary programming concepts. Today’s robots have Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, meaning they’re learning right alongside your teams. Strides in programming abilities translate into more accessible user experiences with advanced technology, allowing you internal control and review of data. Incorporating machine learning into your business even reduces the need for outsourcing, since bots can complete many tasks that human workers can. Adding chatbots to your processes can alleviate strain on human staffers responding to customer inquiries. Precision scanning machines allow staff to focus on other tasks while bots manage quality control. Freeing up your skilled employees to perform more complicated tasks heightens productivity as bots take care of the behind-the-scenes details. Plus, with advancements in today’s tech, consumers either won’t notice the automation or the faster route to resolution will cancel out potential frustration at conversing with a computer. HR chatbot

4. Analytics:

Between production statistics and sales figures, you’re already dealing with a lot of numbers. But tracking all matter of analytics from employee behavior to manufacturing output will highlight ways to improve processes and training across the company. When you incorporate integrated workflows, mobile collaboration, and analytics in your digital workplace, a mountain of data gives insight on how well things are running. By evaluating those figures, you’re able to streamline the steps in your manufacturing process to increase profits and reduce costs. Employee analytics can spotlight production opportunities you may have missed. Noting times when employee productivity is at its peak may influence changes in daily scheduling, and lags in productivity may indicate potential for diverting resources to other projects. Overall, the more information the better, both in terms of profit and your people.

5. IoT:

The Internet of Things, or IoT, defines the intricate network of computers, machines, objects, and people that transfer data digitally. Beyond the Web, interconnectivity extends to handheld devices, wearables, sensors, and more. In the manufacturing industry, your production robots may have sensors or software that send information to remote teams. Employee apps might track who’s working and when. There are endless ways the IoT transmits information and promotes efficiency company-wide. Beyond chatting machine-to-machine, the IoT lets employees contribute data to organizational compilations through both personal feedback and workflow-based analytics. While current figures peg IoT devices around 20.35 billion currently, projections for 2025 indicate that IoT connected devices will exceed 75.44 billion worldwide. That means your digital workplace will only keep expanding, and keeping up-to-date with advances has the potential to transform your workflow and put your company on the path toward higher profits and lower costs.

See how Beekeeper’s internal communication app digitally transformed manufacturing company Seaboard Foods. Download the case study below.

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