Manufacturers today are used to hearing: Industry 4.0 is coming, are you ready? And in truth, many are well on their way to adopting AI, cloud computing, and other digital strategies to streamline processes and improve brand experience. But there is still a myriad of manufacturing organizations that are struggling to make such a demanding cultural shift.
A survey from Google found that while the pandemic led to significant digital adoption for some manufacturers, others are still resistant: 25 percent cite a lack of talent, 23 percent feel they don’t have the IT infrastructure to support a digital culture, 19 percent feel that AI is an unproven technology for the field, and 16 percent are missing key stakeholder buy-in to make significant changes for a digital future.
These are valid concerns and roadblocks, but sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective to remedy these barriers. Many misled perspectives delay the path to a successful digital revolution for manufacturing. We’re here to debunk these and illustrate a clear, rewarding way forward. Let’s take a look at three foundational things to NOT believe when preparing a digital culture in manufacturing:
DON’T view data systems as too complex to update
The average manufacturer must answer to several data management systems for everything from pricing and inventory to order management and customer service. Oftentimes, manufacturers haven’t connected any of these systems which naturally leads to disconnected customer experiences, frustrated employees scrambling to locate information in another system, and suffering profit margins.
However, a proper CRM platform can take the place of many of these systems as well as seamlessly integrate with any additional systems necessary so all information is in one hub. Dynamic APIs work on the backend to get data where it needs to be based on user permissions, automations streamline tedious tasks, and AI suggestions power proactive troubleshooting of manufacturer products/services. All in all, the platform works to simplify data management for faster, happier adoption of the new digital culture. In short, your data systems aren’t too complex to update, but in fact, they will be simpler and easier to extract value from once they are updated.
DON’T assume your employees won’t adopt digital tools
Digital work tools have something in common with your at-home streaming options, social media applications, and cell phone design: they’re built to be intuitive. Adoption is almost second nature—just consider how the internet, cell phones, and social media have all rapidly been adopted by working adults (current adoption rates for US adults are 90, 96, and 72, respectively). There’s also a wealth of training resources available to help your team learn more nuanced functions on the new digital tools.
Moreover, these digital tools are often so intuitive they’re irresistible. Manufacturers delight in being able to collaborate on the same information at the same time with colleagues around the world—visualizing data with dynamic dashboards and analyzing next steps with the same shared goals in mind. And, if there’s still any doubt about your employees’ adoption or proficiency around new, digital platforms for work, let the past few years of pandemic work be a lesson that they absolutely can. Many manufacturer employees required to work at least in part at home learned how to conduct meetings and move forward on group projects with new methods all based on digitally-enabled platforms. Not only did they learn how to use them, but they also quickly learned to love using these tools for their ease of collaboration and superior data visibility.
DON’T maintain the status quo
Even the most cutting-edge manufacturers can fall into this misperception: once we’ve finished the transformation project, it’s finished. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What truly competitive organizations know and execute on is a belief that they need to always be updating and evolving their digital culture to make the most out of the tools available to them at any given time. This is the “run” stage of a crawl, walk, run approach to digital transformation.
It’s critical your newly established digital culture leaves room for social listening through social media, feedback channels, and industry monitoring. All departments in your organization can and should be practicing this and coming to the table with new ideas to make sure the status quo is always being challenged and your digital culture remains continually relevant to both the internal team and your customer network.
Don’t let your manufacturing fall behind by avoiding the pivot to a truly digital culture. Proactive organizational change begins with the right tools, the right voices at the table, and the right partners. Simplus is eager to be among your trusted advisors and share our expertise on digital transformation—call us today.