Question

How can digital transformation for manufacturers make a safer, more productive team?

Answer
By Safeopedia Staff | Last updated: July 4, 2023

Manufacturers are spending extraordinary amounts on digital transformation projects. International Data Corp (IDC) predicted that global spending on digital transformation will reach an astounding $3.4 trillion USD by 2026. Nearly 30% of this spending is projected to come from manufacturers investing in applications, connectivity, and IT services in order to build out their digital platforms to compete in the digital economy.

Although we are already seeing a generous amount being spent on digital transformation, those impressive expenditures don't always yield impressive results.

Surveys by Pulse Point and other companies reveal an abysmal failure rate for these digitization efforts. Although executives surveyed in a report sponsored by Dell stated that over a quarter of their budget would be allocated to digital transformation, 89% admitted there were “significant barriers” to reaching their goals for digital transformation.

But it's not all bad news. Digital transformation might be off to a rocky start, but manufacturers are able to learn for their setbacks and “fail forward.” As both our technologies and strategies become more sophisticated, we're learning that one piece of the puzzle has been overlooked – one asset that is critical to the success of these projects.

The worker.

Putting the Worker at the Center of Digital Transformation

Strong processes that address quality and safety are essential for manufacturers. And supporting the operation with the right technology is crucial to its success.

But the two most important factors in whether an organization will grow or fail are:

  1. A connected worker who provides accurate, real-time information to make the workplace safer and more productive
  2. Management that uses this information wisely

New technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Smart PPE, and wearable sensors can bring this vision of an engaged, empowered workforce to life. But the technologies cannot create this type of workforce on its own. Rather than simply thr

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owing technology at the problem, organizations must go one step further and embrace digital transformation from a human perspective, connecting workers to an overall framework that makes them a central part of the process and realizes the promise of a workplace transformed by digital processes.

Why Digital Transformation Is Essential for Manufacturers

Advanced digital technology is becoming easier to implement and increasingly affordable. Rather than being a luxury or an experimental approach to business, it is essential for optimizing manufacturing processes. Successful digital transformation essentially speeds up the manufacturing process without compromising on safety or quality.

It also sets a new baseline expectation. As more companies adopt these technologies, it will be nearly impossible to remain competitive without making use of them as well.

Digital transformation integrates digital systems and technologies into conventional manufacturing processes. Done well, this implementation is seamless and provides massive benefits with very few drawbacks.

The technologies that facilitate digital transformation include:

  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Robotics
  • Manufacturing analytics
  • Predictive maintenance (PdM)
  • Autonomous systems
  • Augmented and virtual reality

Manufacturers who integrate these technologies within their operations can expect to see a number of benefits, including:

  • Better output quality due to automated testing and quality control
  • Eliminating human error in parts of the manufacturing process by offloading some tasks to AI
  • Reduced energy consumption and amount of materials used
  • Higher profit margins and lower costs as IoT devices diagnose and resolve issues before they can cause problems and delays

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Written by Safeopedia Staff

Safeopedia Staff

At Safeopedia, we think safety professionals are unsung superheroes in many workplaces. We aim to support and celebrate these professionals and the work they do by providing easy access to occupational health and safety information, and by reinforcing safe work practices.

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