The manufacturing industry is constantly evolving. But this time, it’s the biggest evolution we’ve ever seen. Known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, it’s arguably ‘the industry’s greatest change in more than 100 years’ (as the World Economic Forum called it back in 2017).
Here’s where the future of manufacturing is heading and how your organisation can keep up.
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Manufacturing has changed so much throughout history, adapting to meet new trends and demands for the world. Now, we’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 which is all about smart manufacturing, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and embracing the Internet of Things (IoT).
Here are a few of the current trends for the manufacturing industry…
We’ve covered these manufacturing trends and a few more in depth in this blog.
It’s not just technological changes that can transform an industry. There are also situations, some out of our control, that require us to quickly recognise them and adapt to ‘the new norm’. The COVID-19 crisis is one example. Climate change is perhaps another.
Here are some tips to help you swiftly adapt:
Want to read about these tips on how to build the new normal in more depth? Check out the blog here.
Digitalising your manufacturing business is no longer a choice. It’s a question of pace - the faster you embrace it, the further ahead of your competition you can get.
Some common arguments against digitalisation are:
All are valid points. But you have to also think:
There are various things that only digitalisation can help you achieve. For example, advanced analytics, automated processes and accurate predictions - without technology, you’d have to gather these insights manually which is time-consuming and fraught with human error. And automation certainly doesn’t exist without technology!
We discuss this in more detail in our blog. Read about why digital is fast becoming ‘business as usual’ in manufacturing here.
Automation allows your business to connect from end-to-end without manual interruption. It’s about creating a seamless flow of information, from input to output, throughout the business lifecycle. Here are three areas automation has a particularly big impact on…
Read more about the digital imperative and these three areas in more depth here.
We said it in an earlier section and we’ll say it again. It’s not just about whether you digitise your business. It’s how quickly you do it. Here are six ways you can be more digitally empowered…
We discuss these six points in greater detail here.
We’ve talked a lot about the potential of technology for manufacturers so you’re probably wondering if there’s any evidence to back everything we’ve said. Luckily for you (and us), there is! Here are three manufacturers who have embraced digitalisation and reaped the benefits…
By switching to the Microsoft Azure platform, the luxury car manufacturer combined the power of IoT, Azure’s powerful analytics, AI and connected field service. This meant they could leverage the potential of predictive maintenance and find the right analytics at the right time.
The transition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Field Service meant that Orangebox could create a centralised, accurate and up-to-date view of their customers. They also improved their business processes, from manufacturing to delivery and installation.
By waving goodbye to disparate systems and fragmented information, the workplace furniture manufacturer could boost efficiency and the quality of their field and customer service.
Disparate legacy systems made customer relationship management a labour-intensive task. Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement integrated with Business Central helped centralise essential data so the award-winning kitchen tap manufacturer could finally automate data, access real-time information, boost customer satisfaction, retention and more.
Freak weather incidents, natural disasters, pandemics, geo-political events - these are all examples of unpredictable problems that can disrupt your manufacturing business overnight. Advanced analytics can help you mitigate these risks and uncover potential risks in your supply chain, though.
Brexit is one example. Here are some ways data analytics can help you mitigate the risks…
An ERP system can consolidate all of your essential data and make this process much easier. Basically, you’ll need to create a dashboard that identifies your EU-based suppliers and customers and marks them with a traffic light rating to indicate how much trade will be affected.
If your business might be affected by prices on commodities markets, direct links to market pricing will help. You’ll gain access to real-time data which can help you make predictions for the future.
If you rely on seasonable migrant labour from the EU, the dashboard we mentioned in point one will come in handy again. This can help you visualise the potential shift in this area and the likely impact on your cost base.
Monitoring how the pound’s value will change is important and live data feeds will be very useful here.
As you can see, data analytics can help you mitigate the risks of Brexit, an event that seems to be out of our control. The same principles apply to any other ‘uncontrollable’ event, such as a pandemic or natural disaster. Read more about the role analytics has to play in mitigating Brexit’s risks here.
To truly reap the benefits of your data, make sure it’s uncluttered and stays that way by following the 5 S methodology (also known as the lean manufacturing methodology):
Discover tips on how you can declutter your manufacturing data here.
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AI can help boost the efficiency of your business processes. Using pre-defined algorithms, AI can highlight anomalies in your process or areas for improvement. You can easily access the data you need and pass it along to your IT team.
There are two key benefits of this.
Just make sure you always have a full data set, otherwise the integrity of your transformation plan will be called into question. Here’s how to fill the gaps in your key data assets.
Manufacturing businesses often have reams and reams of data to manage. The right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system brings all of that data into one centralised location for you. This boosts visibility for your entire company, making it easier to visualise data, generate reports and make data-driven decisions.
Let’s discuss two example decisions and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations (F&O), an ideal ERP software for the manufacturing industry, can help:
The F&O platform can help you improve your supply chain in five main ways:
Read about these five ways in more depth here.
As your business expands, so will your warehouse(s). But it’s not just about expanding in space and number. You also need to modernise. Microsoft Dynamics 365 can support you with that.
We’ve discussed these points, plus the importance of choosing the right digital consultancy partner in this blog.
Gaining access to your data is the first step to embracing digitalisation. The next is discovering the insights hidden in your data. This is where a tool like Microsoft Power BI comes in.
The data visualisation tool has come a long way since it was first introduced in 2015. A leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence, Power BI can help you unlock the true power of your data.
Here are five tips to get you started:
We wrote a blog post on these tips, along with handy screenshots to guide you through exactly what to do. Want to check it out? Click here and prepare to maximise your Power BI usage.
According to Deloitte, 94% of executives in industrial companies see digital transformation as a top strategic priority. After all, productivity and customer satisfaction can be enhanced if you leverage the power of data from your factory floor right through to your customer call centre. It’s about connecting your operations to boost efficiencies and visibility all while allowing for seamless integrations, reducing costs and a customer-centric approach.
Plus, adopting a smart factory model is how you can stay competitive and keep pace with Industry 4.0.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the best ERPs for the manufacturing industry. Why? Let’s explore some key benefits…
Read about the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for the manufacturing industry in this handy resource.
Manufacturers are always under pressure to transform their processes. Choosing the right technology for your manufacturing business is one stop in the overall digital transformation journey.
But you also need to think about which precise pieces of tech you need, whether you’ll need to train your employees and why transformation is important for the industry in the first place.
This is exactly what we discuss in our report with researchers from Raconteur. Discover the only digital transformation roadmap you’ll ever need as a manufacturer below.
It’s not enough to simply jump on the latest technology trend in manufacturing and find the perfect piece of tech. You need to implement it before you can use it, of course. However, implementation projects are often lengthy, complex and require a lot of resources (time, money and manpower, for starters).
This is why it’s a good idea to start considering whether you should outsource your implementation project. There are many ERP consulting services for manufacturing businesses so how can you pick the right one?
Consider these factors:
You can address the above by:
At Columbus UK, we’re proud to say we have over 30 years of experience in digital transformation projects, have successfully rolled out over 8,600 implementations and spend more than 1,700,000 hours consulting every year. Our clients are in a variety of sectors, from retail and distribution to manufacturing and equipment rental.
We know you probably want to see some evidence to back up our claims so here are some examples of how we helped manufacturers embrace digitalisation…
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations is the ultimate ERP software for manufacturers. With it, you can achieve complete business visibility, end-to-end, and drive personalised digital transformation. And when you work with us, we can help you reap the platform’s benefits, quickly, successfully and in the long-term.
Interested in how a Microsoft-Columbus partnership can build you a digital future? Download our factsheet below to read about the software’s features and the benefits they can have on your various business processes, plus the Columbus difference in more depth.