Manufacturing companies are under constant pressure to improve, be efficient and optimize. It seems every decade brings new challenges for this sector. Today’s manufacturers absolutely need to leverage digital transformation if they are going to be successful. The leaders in every sector of this space are becoming digital companies. How does the saying go, adapt or die, right? This sentiment sums up the importance of digital transformation in manufacturing.
In this article we will cover the challenges for the manufacturing sector, managed services for manufacturing digital transformation, benefits of digital transformation in manufacturing, and information on Valenta services for manufacturing digital transformation.
Current Challenges for Manufacturing Companies
Manufacturing faces a myriad of challenges. Some include macro challenges such as new efforts and attitudes pertaining to environmental consciousness and ESG or Environment, Social and Governance commitments. Global supply chain disruptions are also something faced by nearly every organization in manufacturing. In the United States, Canada, and other developed countries in Europe there is also a shortage of workers, plus intense competition from other parts of the world that have lower labor costs. On top of these challenges businesses face hurdles within their own companies that include accurate demand forecasting, good inventory management, improving their manufacturing plant efficiency and also minimizing waste. A final challenge we often see, and one that is very relevant to the topic of digital transformation, is adapting to technological changes.
Manufacturing Digital Transformation
Digital transformation can mean many things to different people. For some it can be as simple as implementing new software to solve old problems. Presently however, and for us at Valenta, it equates to leveraging automation and AI. Our digital transformation engagements and services typically involve three main technologies comprised of RPA or robotic process automation, Conversational AI, and Cognitive AI. RPA provides software bots to execute business processes. Bots sometimes get confused with the robots you might find on a manufacturing shop floor, but they are anything but. An RPA bot is a piece of software that can read a computer screen by scraping it and can copy and paste information plus move and click a mouse just like a human would do to perform multistep and rules based repetitive tasks. Conversational AI can work hand in glove with a bot and is technology that allows humans to speak with and chat with software. Finally Cognitive AI is technology that can recognize and process text and documents and also learns as it performs tasks and improve.
Benefits of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
The benefits of digital transformation in manufacturing can be leveraged in nearly every business process of a manufacturing company. It can also help to address many of the challenges they face. Manufacturing digital transformation can help alleviate shortages of workers by automating repetitive office tasks so existing employees can do more productive and high value work. AI can be used to identify threats coming from supply chain challenges and can also greatly assist with demand forecasting and inventory management. RPA bots can always be working, are always on, and can ensure that all business data is captured so it can be analyzed. This always on nature can help with compliance and documentation issues. All customer interactions can typically benefit from automation. Finance and accounting tasks are an easy placed to leverage bots. PO processing, invoice and expense processing can also quite easily be automated.
Please find the below diagram that highlights RPA Use Cases.
Managed Services for Manufacturing Digital Transformation
Large enterprises and the Fortune 1000 have been early adopters of digital transformation. They are able to afford expensive enterprise and seat licenses as well as outsourced SME subject matter experts and COE centers of excellence. Small and medium sized manufacturing businesses and enterprises to not have this option and as a result have been slower to realize the benefits of digital transformation in manufacturing. An alternate approach to how large enterprises approach digital transformation in manufacturing is to go with an MSP or managed service provider. At Valenta in addition to offering process consulting and digital transformation consulting we also provide managed services for manufacturing digital transformation. We can provide RPA, Conversational AI, and Cognitive AI solutions on a monthly basis. Processes can start as low as a couple of thousand dollars a month or several thousands of dollars for multiple services and processes. If you would like to learn more about digital transformation, please feel free to visit our web pages about these services. If you would like to speak to one of our local Managing Partners to determine if digital transformation services can help your business, please reach out.