There’s no getting away from the fact that manufacturing is an intensely physical process. From raw materials through manipulation, either by human or machine, towards an end product, there is nothing virtual about its output.
But increasingly, digitization has an important role to play in the success of manufacturing. From ideation to sourcing, production line and supply chain, software is bringing together people and process in a transparent, efficient digital network.
This digital network has the potential to fundamentally change the manufacturing ecosystem. Once a series of suppliers and departments working in relative isolation, the digitization of the manufacturing process brings all the stakeholders together into a holistic and ultimately, more efficient process.
censhare’s Hot DAM 10 Manufacturing Edition, How Manufacturing Can Take Its Place In the Digital Age , explores the 10 main areas digital technologies are revolutionizing the manufacturing process and some of the benefits being seen.
It examines the additive value of analytics, how the internet of things (IoT) boosts responsiveness and why semantic databases can engineer both a drop in costs as well as a rise in productivity. But it’s not simply the action of introducing systems that magically improves the manufacturing process. It is the resulting human behavioural changes that are transformative.
Digitization introduces visibility into the manufacturing process. In the same way Amazon is a repository of everything the consumer might conceivably want to manage daily life, so can manufacturing clients now also have a ‘window’ into the component parts of their product’s lifecycle. They can place orders via a user friendly interface and monitor the progress of their goods.
Departments beyond procurement can begin to have a say in the process. Marketing, merchandising, distribution and more can see where the product is in the process and prepare accordingly. This limits holdups in the warehouse, or in distribution while the company waits on the right size shipping materials. All of this data is already centralized, up to date and easily accessible.
Just In time
While not every product based organization is looking to move their processes towards a just in time ethos, digitized manufacturing support systems allow companies to become much more agile than they were before.
Digital analytics and asset tracking can identify issues such as over supply or interruptions in supply, while product information systems can be plumbed directly from warehousing into ecommerce, keeping on top of inventory. A link between production and sales is critical to avoid wrinkles in customer experience such as a continuing ad campaign (or worse still, retargeting campaign) for out of stock goods.
Becoming a Manufacturing Hub
Using digitization, manufacturing is moving from a linear model to a hub and spoke model. With all the data driving the process at the centre, each stakeholder has the opportunity to optimize their contribution to the whole.
Digital asset management is vital for seamless content management, but that is so much more than finding the right image for a blog or the correct price in a catalog. A semantic database helps procurement realize that a single type of screw serves a wide range of items on the production line driving component costs down, while a product information management system becomes a single source of truth about that item for everyone from ecommerce to engineering, saving duplication and inaccurate, siloed data.
This technology isn’t a panacea for all ills. Systems are only as good as the data they are fed. Getting behind a digitized manufacturing process often means getting people on board from different companies, as well as from within your own departments. But the rewards can be many, from reduced costs and increased efficiency to improved customer experience.
For more on the top 10 elements of digital asset management for manufacturing, explore the whitepaper here .