To address the challenges of today, manufacturers digitize and abandon paper.
The outlook for the manufacturing sector is improving after a global epidemic largely shut it down. Predictions from Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Outlook Report indicate that this year, U.S. manufacturing will rise by more than 4% of GDP.
However, some difficulties arise along with the acceleration of expansion. According to Deloitte, manufacturers are confronted with several problems, such as rising consumer demand, rising material and transportation costs, and a lack of truck drivers, all of which lead to higher expenses that are then passed on to customers.
The record number of open vacancies at factories across the nation is a significant element endangering businesses’ performance. This might reduce productivity and the potential for overall output in 2022. Deloitte forecasted 2.1 million available skilled employment openings by 2030 last year.
Due to the recent announcement of significant GDP growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector as well as the previously mentioned challenging obstacles, businesses must develop and implement operational policies that place a new emphasis on flexibility and efficiency.
Every manufacturing company is aware of the value of time. This relates to the time it takes for parts to arrive at the factory or to components languishing in a container in a port in California.
The manufacturer’s earnings depend on meeting rigorous deadlines for orders and deliveries, and breaking contractual obligations could permanently damage a brand’s reputation.
Tight integration between front office operations and the manufacturing floor, linking ERP systems with HR, sales, shipping, and other areas is necessary to achieve corporate efficiencies and seamless productivity.
Digitalizing operations throughout the industrial organization can boost coordination and efficiency between all divisions as well as with customers and supply chain partners.
From the corporate office to the factory floor, digitize
Fortunately, initiatives to modernize and digitize manufacturing factory floor and back-office activities are progressing quickly, which is assisting businesses in achieving their efficiency targets. Digitalizing everything, from factory processes to corporate office operations, is what Deloitte refers to as “smart factory projects.”
Manufacturing companies will be able to maximize their available resources by investing in technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and cloud computing. Given the record number of skilled roles that still need to be filled, this could not come at a better moment.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which links machines and automates processes, is expected to enhance operational efficiency by a further 45%, according to a poll by Deloitte of manufacturing executives.
Businesses will profit from the seamless flow of information between departments as firms continue to digitize and automate, integrating ERP systems from the manufacturing floor to CRM and HR platforms in the corporate office.
The following are some examples of how digitalization can boost manufacturing’s agility, efficiency, and productivity:
Cutting back on paper and promoting quicker decision-making Although COVID-19 hampered the “Manufacturing 2.0” trend, it is now more crucial than ever because of a sudden rise in demand as well as supply-chain and labour problems.
The bottom line is that manufacturers must have real-time data to enhance production output for the goods that their clients want, making sure that they have the proper components when they need them.
For instance, document scanning and AI enable the swift and precise conversion of paper-based information into usable data that can power workflow procedures that increase worker productivity and factory capacity. Employees can scan and capture documents using a combination of hardware and software solutions.
These documents are then integrated into other digital systems and manufacturing platforms to offer a more contemporary, secure, and open way to handle documentation. Real-time transit and inventory information makes it possible to make decisions more quickly, and the acquisition of backup paperwork, such as material inspection sheets, facilitates more rapid reception procedures, which speed up the manufacturing process.
Establishing a company culture that prioritizes sustainability Reducing paper usage also helps manufacturers implement sustainable business practices. As investors, consumers, employees, and policymakers continue to drive the conversation about climate change and decreasing firms’ carbon footprints, the need of implementing more “green” practices across all areas of the business becomes even more critical.
Additionally, the expansion of new crucial business-related processes, such as accounting or procurement, is made possible by manufacturers’ flexibility to use valuable real estate for other reasons.
Supporting the work ecosystem of today (and tomorrow) Due to Covid-19, the conventional workplace was altered, having an effect on businesses in every industry, but mainly manufacturers.
The hybrid work paradigm is set to become the new norm over the upcoming year, even though the majority of people are still working full- or part-time in offices or on factory floors. 80% of the manufacturers questioned by the Manufacturers Alliance, up 7x from pre-pandemic, anticipate formalizing a remote and in-person work paradigm within their businesses during the coming year.
By providing employees with unparalleled access to documents and enabling secure, convenient file access from anywhere, whether employees are in the office or working remotely, digitizing processes enables flexible work arrangements.
The ability to manage hardware and software solutions from a single location makes operations more agile, enabling remote device management, including firmware updates, and gaining more control over paperwork and workflows. Accessibility is still the most crucial factor, though.
There is no denying that the manufacturing industry is undergoing a period of change. Although adapting to change is never easy, manufacturers now have a chance to grow and expand by implementing the technologies and procedures that will enable them to take on these difficulties head-on.
Manufacturers can design the factory of the future—one that gives them the ability to compete, prevail and prosper in a dynamic global market—by looking ahead rather than back.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma