Achieving Digital Dominance in Manufacturing through Data, Talent & Technology


Deb Geiger, VP Global Marketing, Aegis Software

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Today's manufacturers continue to navigate ongoing challenges that have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Many companies are intensifying their focus on digital transformation as a way to combat these issues.

While it is true that there are a multitude of unprecedented problems facing manufacturers, there are also many exciting opportunities for growth and innovation. The most forward-thinking manufacturers are laser-focused on transforming their operations through digital technology, which empowers them to maximize efficiencies, find new sources of innovation, or improve their ability to differentiate in an increasingly competitive landscape. Some of the most crucial elements of digital transformation are extracting the true value of data to improve performance through heightened visibility and control. Without visibility and control, overcoming today's obstacles is all but impossible.

In this blog post, we'll look closely at top challenges for today's manufacturers, key ways to mitigate issues, what digital dominance is along with its meaning, and how the right MES can help you attain digital dominance.

The Top Drivers Behind IIoT Strategies & Investments

IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) remains a top technology investment area as manufacturers continue exploring IIoT-related opportunities to drive improvement and bring value to the supply chain. According to a 2021 IDC Research IIoT Decision-Maker Survey, manufacturers identified the following top drivers behind their IIoT strategies:

  • Improve product or service quality
  • Improve internal productivity, efficiency, and time-to-market
  • Reduce internal operational costs
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Speed and enhance decision making
  • Support sustainability goals
  • Improve physical security

From an IIoT standpoint, enhancing productivity and efficiency tops the list, as does cost-cutting. IIoT investments are concentrated in operational areas of the business, particularly in manufacturing, where its data can make a significant operational impact.

The Focus on Talent & Addressing the Ongoing Labor Shortage

The talent shortage is among the most challenging phenomena facing today's manufacturers. On average, manufacturers saw a ~5% decrease in employees due to COVID-19-related shutdowns. The talent shortage and associated gap in labor skills affect a wide variety of departments such as IT, operations or production, and engineering. Aside from a labor shortage, organizations also struggle to find the right people to perform the jobs required, citing a lack of knowledge as a pervasive challenge. Moreover, current employees struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of change, making it harder for them to maintain the necessary skillsets.

Over 40% of companies say they are understaffed in some way, and this number is growing. The percentage of manufacturers expected to have staff issues rose to 60% over the last two years. To combat labor issues, companies can focus on cultivating internal talent through training and certifications, pairing experienced with less-experienced staff, and enacting rotation programs to develop and retain current staff members.

Additionally, manufacturers can ensure employee satisfaction with new initiatives and continue to offer a hybrid work model, as flexibility is a vital driver of satisfaction among today's job candidates. Finally, organizations can find and attract talent by clearly defining the skills needed to support Digital Transformation (DX), streamlining the hiring process, and improving the company's attractiveness as a workplace.

The Role of Technology in Mitigating Labor & Supply Chain Challenges

Technology is indispensable to addressing widespread talent shortages and supply chain slowdowns. Workers are increasingly seeking technology-driven, Industry 4.0/IIoT-focused organizations where they can grow and evolve. Adopting the right technology is therefore directly correlated to an organization's ability to attract and hire the right talent.

From a factory production standpoint, manufacturing needs real-time access to data for analytics and a greater visualization capability to make more effective decisions with greater agility. Removing manual processes is also essential to alleviating supply chain constraints. Building a foundation of automated data is a critical first step in pursuing asset monitoring, predictive maintenance, and other vital sources of supply chain improvement. In addition to ensuring they have actionable intelligence, manufacturers must also ensure they have an extensible domain data model. This extensibility enables the delivery of data that is practical, usable, and easy to report upon. With full visibility across the entire process, manufacturers can ascertain what is happening at all times and access a historical reference to monitor KPIs for success.

The Right System to Empower Digital Dominance

Selecting the right MES can empower digital dominance for manufacturers. As a unique, IIoT-based platform upon which digital manufacturing operations management capabilities reside, Aegis' FactoryLogix fits the bill.

With FactoryLogix, manufacturers gain complete visibility into the status and performance of processes at all times. This visibility presents countless opportunities for improvement in the flow of shop floor production and the assignment of work orders. The uniquely adaptive solution drives enterprise-wide compliance, quality, and efficiency, helping organizations overcome challenges and discover greater returns.

To learn more about how to mitigate challenges and find success in today's complex manufacturing environment, watch our on-demand webinar "How Manufacturers can Achieve Digital Dominance".

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