Why Manufacturers Should Embrace Digital Now
According to a recent State of Manufacturing survey, 91% of manufacturers reported increased investment in digital solutions across both operations and production to help enhance supply chain resiliency, accelerate innovation, and deal with the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic1.
Manufacturing in an Age of Disruption
Historically, manufacturers have always had to deal with supply chain shocks, dynamic markets, and an evolving regulatory landscape. However, recent unforeseen events like natural disasters, regional conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic placed an additional strain on businesses—making it even more difficult to innovate fast and maintain a competitive edge.
The COVID crisis especially created unprecedented supply chain disruptions across the globe that led to product shipment delays, customer complaints, lost revenue, and other business setbacks. And as companies were forced to shift to a remote workforce model to prevent the spread of the virus, light was shed on the need for a digital transformation to support new product development and introduction (NPDI).
What Is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is a broad business strategy that is implemented to solve traditional business challenges and create new opportunities using digital technology. It requires acceptance of new ways of working and delivering value to customers.
Reasons to Embrace Digital Transformation
Now more than ever, manufacturers need to adapt quickly to sudden disruptions, increasing customer demands, and a new way of working to stay ahead of the competition.
Here are three reasons why a digital transformation is essential to help you stay on top.
1. Enhanced Operational Resilience and Agility
As pandemics, natural disasters, supply chain shocks, and other disruptions become more commonplace, companies must respond and adapt more quickly to change to maintain business continuity and meet market demands.
By embracing digital solutions, companies can have greater visibility of changes that occur up and down the supply chain and get ahead of any disruption that comes their way.
2. Remote Work Is the New Normal
Even with the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and lifted stay-at-home orders, employee demand for greater work flexibility, cost-saving opportunities, and other factors has made remote work the new normal for many businesses. At the same time, it has presented some challenges.
Many manufacturers rely on manual processes and point software solutions to manage their product development and quality processes. This often stems from employees having established a comfort level with using traditional software solutions like Microsoft Word and Excel. In other instances, manufacturers want to provide systems that supply chain partners can easily use.
Ultimately, reliance on manual processes and point software solutions creates data silos and communication gaps. Because these systems are not tied to the entire product record, it is difficult for product teams and supply chain partners to stay on the same page and keep track of the constant design changes that occur throughout NPDI.
To ensure design for manufacturability (DFM) and commercialization success, manufacturers need to embrace digital solutions that provide centralized access to current product information and enable real-time communication between design partners, suppliers, and contract manufacturers from any location.
3. Quality Is a Must
Regardless of the disruption or market condition, companies still need to deliver quality products if they want to satisfy customers, comply with industry regulations, and maintain a competitive edge.
The adoption of digital solutions enables manufacturers to easily identify, track, and resolve quality issues before mass production begins. In addition, manufacturers can better manage design controls, environmental requirements, export controls, and other items that are essential to regulatory compliance.
Digital Transformation Success With Cloud PLM and QMS
When making the transition to digital, manufacturers often choose cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) and quality management system (QMS) solutions because they keep the right people, processes, and product information connected.
Cloud-based PLM and QMS solutions provide a single source of truth for internal and external product teams to collaborate 24/7 from any location using a web browser. Bills of materials (BOMs), engineering change processes, quality records, design files, requirements, and other key elements of the product record are linked together. This enables all impacted teams to have complete visibility into corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs), product design changes, compliance, and other processes that are critical to manage during NPDI. It also facilitates frequent, proactive communication to help circumvent manufacturing design issues, material shortages, and other supply chain shocks that cause product delays.
To learn more about how a digital transformation with cloud technology can help your business thrive, read our white paper.