Over the past few years, the manufacturing industry has been targeted by cybercriminals — from the well-known SolarWinds hack to the attack on one of the largest meat processing companies in the world. The increasing focus on manufacturers by cybercriminals is down to the industry’s growing reliance on digital tech and their move toward a digital transformation. With more than a third of manufacturers realizing better business value from spending on IT, digitalization is proceeding at warp speed which is both good — and bad.
The world of cloud computing has exploded in recent years, with growth being driven by a switch to hybridized or remote work environments and the stunning impact of the coronavirus pandemic on many industries, particularly supply chain operation, manufacturing, and warehousing. In the manufacturing sector, the pandemic alone has resulted in delivery delays, increased costs, and widespread uncertainty.
Since the incredible disruption posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there has been increasing interest in the warehouse automation and sophisticated technologies that help secure and improve the manufacturing environment. In spite of this trend however, nearly 80% of warehouses currently feature no automation at all. In fact, last year there was a decline of 6% in the warehouse automation market. However, 2021 shows an almost 40% increase in market growth with that growth continuing into $37.6 billion by the year 2030.
With wave after wave of COVID-19 variants still disrupting home and business life, many companies are opting for a remote or hybrid work environment to help keep employees safer and business on target. For the manufacturing industry, however, this is not an option. The nature of the industry requires staff to work in close proximity with one another and the typical preventative measures such as cubicles, plexiglass barriers, or social distancing cannot work in this environment. Even mask wearing can be difficult for a manufacturing employee whose job may require them to physically exert themselves, as masks can make breathing more difficult.
Only one thing was certain over the last year — and that was that change is constant. Across all industries, changes wrought by the ongoing pandemic brought great challenges, but also unexpected opportunities. And nowhere was this more evident than in the manufacturing industry, where according to one survey, nearly all players saw their business suffering long-term effects from the pandemic. In response to these changes, however, 91% of manufacturers have increased their interest — and investment — in digital technologies to fuel a transformation.
Manufactured products are becoming more complex — and the process to create them is also becoming highly complicated, particularly since the recent coronavirus pandemic has disrupted supply chain systems around the world. That disruption is just one of the reasons manufacturers are turning to a process called manufacturing optimization to move products from the design table to the production line faster and with less waste.
This year, manufacturing organizations continue to rebuild their workforce — and their profitability — by focusing on the areas where the pandemic impacted them in the most profound ways. Some manufacturers will focus on readjusting supply chain networks to better serve evolving consumer demands. Others will target the rebuilding of revenue streams. No matter how they pursue the process of rebuilding, manufacturing organizations can create a bigger impact and move more quickly toward goals with the help of a partner that understands digital initiatives.
Lean manufacturing — or the process of eliminating unnecessary waste and increasing productivity — is a tool that manufacturers wishing to be at the forefront of competition in the coming years must have to be successful. Fine-tuning workflows at all levels of business, from operations to human resources, is a critical aspect of improving company agility and the ability to rise above. Fortunately, new resources have provided a plethora of tools to assist manufacturers in optimizing their business processes, such as:
The manufacturing industry, with its many variables that impact production processes, is a great fit for technologies based in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). While the sheer quantity of variables in a manufacturing scenario may be difficult for humans to process, AI can easily capture and analyze it quickly, allowing for faster, more efficient processes to be developed and deployed.
Digital transformation — the process of integrating digitally-based technologies into every level of your organization, both internal and external — can help manufacturers revolutionize their business processes.
Topics: Managed IT, #Manufacturing, digital transformation, digital transformation optimizes manufacturing, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, competitive advantages, predictive maintenance, how digital transformation optimizes manufacturing