Digital business transformations don’t happen overnight, but there are vital steps you can take to ensure yours is successful.

Manufacturing has rapidly changed over the last decade. Safety, efficiency, and the nature of the work itself have all been affected by technological advancements—leading to manufacturing businesses transforming themselves into digital powerhouses with the industrial internet of things (IIoT).

But transforming a manufacturing business won’t happen overnight. Here are four thought starters for leaders to consider before starting on the business transformation journey.

1. Consider the human factor

Solutions powering your business transformation can take some time to pull together and gathering the right people can be challenging. Executives at the top may plan the journey, but engineers, technicians, skilled shop floor staff, and more are required to successfully enact a transformation project. The people of your business will know when to alter or revise business transformation targets and can help set more ambitious ones.

2. Decide whether to buy or build your technology platform

Building an in-house IIoT solution may seem like it will save on time and money, but it could lead to spending more resources on the project in the long run. Partnering with the right IIoT company that understands your business objectives can outweigh the cost of time, money, and personnel it takes to build one.

3. Harness the power of micro-goals

Breaking your primary business objectives into micro-goals gives you the chance to reassess your business transformation journey along the way. Occasionally, it may be necessary to pivot from your plan based on disruptions within the industry.

For example, manufacturers looking to improve the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) across their plant may discover what worked for a production line may not be the case for other lines. The ability for businesses to be agile as they reach micro-goals could save resources down the line.

4. Create a secure digital environment

Before a digital business transformation can fully begin, it’s critical to consider the technical element. Cloud computing is the basis for IIoT solutions and one of the keys to driving digital transformation for manufacturers. Considering network security, performance, reliability, communications, data infrastructure, and software maintenance is paramount for achieving desired business outcomes.

Desired outcomes are at the heart of digital business transformations.
Desired outcomes are at the heart of digital business transformations.

The Benefits of Transforming a Manufacturing Business

The business-level benefits of adopting IIoT in the manufacturing space can be significant.

For instance, take FLANDERS, a global leader in electric machine repair, power systems engineering, custom manufacturing, integration, and the deployment of advanced technologies for the world’s largest machines. The company recently adopted artificial intelligence-based IIoT technologies to improve efficiencies and reach its business goals.

These technologies bring ongoing, thorough, and predictive insights to anticipate needs and avoid costly shutdowns for FLANDERS’ customers. Other benefits include:

  • Digital servicing information helps maximize productivity and decrease costly downtimes.
  • An ongoing digital footprint that records and schedules service practices, maintenance intervals, and alerts.
  • Digital monitoring, which provides operators with insights into potential critical failures for immediate action.
  • Should an acute failure happen, digital services send essential information directly to the people who need it most.

Creating Profit with Pay-Per-Use Models

At the heart of digital business transformations are the desired outcomes. For most, these aspirations include boosting the bottom line, stabilizing revenue streams, and opening up to new customers and markets. One of the most popular ways to enable this is by adopting an equipment-as-a-service (EaaS) financial model.

Also known as servitization, at its most basic level, EaaS enables businesses to shift from high capital expenditures (CAPEX) to less costly operating expenses (OPEX).

For the manufacturing industry, this means companies no longer have to invest in new production or treatment lines, and innovative industrial players can bring production lines to customers when and where they need it.

An example of a company switching to EaaS is Coborn, a leader in the supply of machines for the diamond tooling industry. Instead of customers having to buy its high-tech diamond grinding machines machine outright, Coborn monitors the machines offsite via IIoT and charges a usage fee.

The Key Takeaway

Manufacturing is one of the top industries implementing IIoT, and there’s still room to grow.

For some businesses, going all-in on a digital business transformation makes sense. However, for others, a slow-and-steady approach might be better depending on an organization’s goals and objectives. Decision-makers in manufacturing should take time to consider the best solution to suit their needs.

Guiding a manufacturing business through a transformative journey can be a daunting task. But, IIoT adoption can quickly turn a business into an industry leader. Broader integration of IIoT can leave a profound, widespread economic impact in the manufacturing industry from recruitment, efficiency, and safety standpoints.

If you’re a decision-maker or executive in the manufacturing industry considering a digital business transformation, know that the journey to becoming a digital powerhouse can seem long and challenging. But, with the right plan and partner in place, the rewards are well worth the effort.

guneet bedi relayr
Guneet Bedi

Guneet Bedi is the Senior Vice President Of Global Sales, Business Development at relayr, overseeing the company’s sales, business development and revenue generation efforts. relayr supplies enterprise middleware and IoT solutions for industrial organizations. Contact him at Guneet@relayr.io, or follow him at twitter.com/guneetIoT.