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We have reached an era where the success of a business is determined by how digitally empowered they are.

Previously, efforts in manufacturing to optimize productivity and growth in customer satisfaction have been regarded as separate endeavors. Nowadays, the convergence of physical and digital developments is altering these types of assumptions.

Manufacturers nowadays care about integrated digital and physical systems, advanced visibility, improved efficiency, more flexibility, and decreased costs. They need to connect equipment and factories, leveraging data from the factory floor to the client call center to enhance each element in their operations.

However, this is simply the beginning. Digitization is essentially converting the manner in which manufacturers do business, allowing a customer-centric approach whilst optimizing operations. Digitally empowered manufacturers interact with customers during the product lifecycle from design to field service. They sell value-adding services to supplement the product income, commencing new sales streams and strengthening their consumer relationships. And they may be revolutionizing shipping of these differentiated services, by the use of technology like AR to mix the eyes of a technician within the field with the insights of a professional at headquarters.

Capitalizing on these developments isn’t confined to large, well-resourced producers. Digital transformation has seen an upsurge like never before. Companies are embracing new age technologies to be competitive.

Not just one but six ways to digitally empower manufacturers

Microsoft has always envisioned for a modern, scalable, and connected enterprise that is built on cloud and leverages the capabilities of machine learning and analytics. We’ve created solutions that offer a unified method throughout the workplace. Our technique permits transformation in six ways:

1. Supply chain optimization

Via gathering, integrating, and visualizing global supply chain data worldwide, manufacturers’ benefit from a greater end to end visibility into their operations. For instance, one of the world’s biggest industrial automation corporations discovered that by automating the collection and analysis of records from remote installations across the petroleum supply chain, they strengthened their aggressive gain with a quicker time to market. Improved access to supply chain data is the premise for better collaboration across production, delivery, provider, and sales.

2. Streamline the management of every aspect and function

 

With a consolidated view that unifies procedure oversight and offers real-time insight, manufacturers can institutionalize gains in efficiency and use linked devices to oversee and solve problems remotely. The additional insights into manufacturing and client usage enables manufacturers to provide valuable services with ongoing tracking and proactive support.

3. Futureproof via predictive analytics

To deliver customized and contextual engagement throughout any channel, manufacturers have to offer customers greater visibility and gain trust via speedy and helpful responses. This engagement method is based on an aggregate of predictive analytics, the capability to deliver most-valuable services at scale, and guided or self-directed service that’s relevant to customer desires. With the implementation of a connected platform for sales, a leading domestic technology manufacturer solved potential problems remotely, much before the clients could feel the effect. Additionally, the manufacturer provided custom differentiated services primarily based on the customer utilization and buying history.

4. Making service centers a remarkable experience

Thanks to the ever-lowering price of IoT sensors, state-of-the-art mobile devices, and cloud-based statistics aggregation, manufacturers can enhance service standards and margins by means of providing remote tracking and proactive maintenance that complement damage/restoration assist. A leading tire provider and manufacturing corporation discovered that by combining client statistics, technician availability, and back-end inventory in a standalone mobile-friendly system, it could offer a seamless consumer experience in addition to enhance its service delivery.

5. Data-centric approach to integrated processes

The exceptional way for manufacturers to pursue innovation is to research and learn about their business very deeply, from client usage via supply chain sourcing and manufacturing. With IoT-enabled components, assets, and merchandise, manufacturers can benefit from the insights provided by the data touch points. Statistics from related merchandise and devices can empower developers, engineers, and technicians to collaborate. For instance, teams can become aware of ill-engineered or defective components and tune product utilization within the field to enhance future designs, while a leading data and communication technology business enterprise carried out remote tracking. Through this collaboration, they reduced production time and improved the cycle of innovation with the use of a data-centric approach.

6. Empowered Employees = Empowered Business

While an organization can offer a 360-degree perspective of client assets and work order records, technicians are empowered via a concrete knowledge of the process in front of them, however of other similar and victorious field service engagements. This goes hand in hand with empowering service professionals to offer immediate feedback, with the use of machine learning to locate and observe comparable instances for successful troubleshooting and scheduling a visit or assessment. A leading automobile manufacturer desired to reduce costs and save money by using unifying their customer support and consumer engagement at the same time as empowering employees with latest tools to understand client sentiment. To achieve this, they implemented a system to link manufacturing and project management with their CRM system to be able to deliver customized service and suggestions to their clients.

Hello, Microsoft D365!

For manufacturers, CRM and ERP were always two different facets and hence they felt a great divide between the two; Dynamics 365 bridges the gap between them by providing better analytics, added intelligence and mobility. Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back end with a consolidated end-to-end ecosystem for handling every element of your enterprise, at the tempo and scale that’s right for you. Digital transformation isn’t achieved in a single day and leveraging present-day investments is a key aspect of any successful change. With D365, you are able to optimize across all your processes at the same time getting ready for a digitally transformed future.

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At Columbus, we have several clients who deal with customer rebates as part of their business. This is a real scenario I recently ran into with one of my customers:
A fly in the ointment As we move beyond the Information Age into the Digital Age, manufacturers are being challenged to envision and deploy new digital technologies to maintain competitiveness, improve performance and enhance relevance with their customers. A major point of resistance to achieving this digital future, is the antiquated and isolated ERP systems that are the backbone of these businesses. If your ERP system doesn’t support changing manufacturing methods, interactivity with the plethora of emerging services on the digital web, or connectivity to the assets and systems being empowered by the Internet of Things (IoT), what is a manufacturer to do? The likely answer is that your ERP system must be replaced before these other key elements of a digital transformation can be pursued. 
Columbus is excited to exhibit at the upcoming Manufacturing & Technology 2019 in Pittsburgh, April 1- 3. Manufacturing & Technology 2019 is a one-stop experience that brings together manufacturing decision makers, from design to delivery and keeps them at the forefront of manufacturing’s digital transformation.
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