However, digitalization is not a smooth process: many challenges await manufacturers, both at the organizational level and in terms of business experience, and identifying these issues will allow for an easier transition to a successful digital transformation.
Digital transformation does not only involve buying software or implementing telecommuting: it represents a profound change in the organization of a company. A long-term strategy to structurally change the vision of the company is crucial, and requires the involvement of the management that will lead to a successful digital transformation. It is essential that the management leads the necessary impulse to digitalization, and must drive the teams, both IT and business, so that the change takes place at the technological as well as cultural level. Cross-functional collaboration will allow to build a true digital culture, including technological and structural change.
The biggest hurdle that manufacturers will face is thealignment of IT and pure business objectives. The industrial sector, like all economic sectors, is confronted with the lack of interfacing between the business and the technology, both being intimately linked. The question is no longer whether technology is essential, but how technology allows us to go further, faster.
It is becoming imperative for CIOs to move in the same direction as all other industry leaders, to align IT operations and industry business issues.
Manufacturers looking to drive their plants tooperational excellence will need to make the best decisions to reduce operational costs and improve margins to gain a true competitive advantage.
In order to make the best decisions, data quality, integrity and completeness becomes the priority, and two challenges arise:
New technologies, such as the IoT, allow manufacturers to monitor and control all the assets that make up a production site. However, not all data is actually used, visualized and interpreted.
The implementation of a complete and integrated database allows management to optimally analyze all equipment data in order to make the best decisions regarding theoptimization of the maintenance and inspection strategies implemented at all group sites.
The implementation of a sustainable digital transformation cannot be planned over a few months. Beyond the operational implementation of new tools by consultants and IT systems integrators, companies should not neglect the upstream elements required to implement a true digital strategy: budget in line with the project, data aggregation and cleansing, internal team dedicated to the project, etc.
Once the tools are in place, manufacturers must not neglect the time it takes for end-users to adopt them and the organizational disruptions they can cause.
The added value of the implementation of digital tools for the management of industrial equipment is no longer to be proven:
The combination of different tools leads industrial plants tooperational excellence, through new and more innovative technologies.
The digital transformation of industries is fundamentally changing the way we work, to combine efficiency, performance and competitiveness.
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