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How Digital is transforming Manufacturing Operation?

In India, we are looking at a scenario where the share of manufacturing to the gross domestic product (GDP) can touch up to 25 percent by 2022. With its diverse segmentation and a broad spectrum of organisations from SMEs to large MNCs, the manufacturing industry in India seems ready for Industry 4.0. The problem is that when we get into more granular aspects of the manufacturing sector, we realize that each organisation has its own speed of catching up with the worldwide trends. Isolated, ad-hoc digital transformation strategies can be looked upon as one such problem area. What CIOs are trying to do is to present some sort of holistic picture to their key stakeholders in order to move from current to the future digital goals. According to the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing Report, by 2020, 60 percent of G2000 manufacturers will rely on digital platforms that enhance their investments in ecosystems and experiences and support as much as 30 percent of the overall revenue.

Manufacturing CIOs do realize that digital transformation is a dire need today. For a stringent, process-driven sector where efficiency is key to attain quality. Going digital not only helps in attaining efficiency in productivity but also enhances operational proficiency.

Stakeholders in manufacturing have efficiency, quality, and cost savings on top of their mind. The customer demands have become more fluid and unstable over the years – a new challenge for the sector to deal with. Digital is playing a significant role in this context where response time for intense requirements in demand, processes and supply chains is being minimised.

Digital is about making processes talk to each other with minimum manual intervention. Today, when manufacturing CIOs are making deeper inroads into capturing data, automating manual processes, and handling critical infrastructure, digital transformation is providing visibility of manufacturing operations across the multiple sites and geographies.

Satyajit Sarker, Group CIO, Omni Active Health Technologies, feels the impact of digital transformation in their operations can be seen from product planning to inventory management. “Digitization has given us complete visibility of our assembly-line thus helping us with decisions like which product to put in and in what quantity for how long and then when it needs to be changed with another SKU (Stock Keeping Unit),” he says.

Let’s look into an example where a manufacturing firm was preparing same samples across multiple sites with no insight about total business from its client. A simple solution, which improved their data management and storage availability led to a scenario where stakeholders had a panoramic view of each customer and a standardized sale process for existing and new customers was established. Successful implementation is the key here. Satyajit adds that with digital integration, demand planning can be boosted which further enhances operational efficiency.

The macro-economic vulnerabilities and the geo-political challenges will continue to dictate how manufacturing companies adjust their operations. Digital integration in operations will take away a lot of trivial, manual interfaces thus enabling a much visible operational dashboard for every key stakeholder. Manufacturing in India will see a more complex and connected supply chain ecosystem, which will be driven by the speed of accessing the data.

Next up! We will delve deep into the adjunctive digital technologies that are shaping the supply chain aspect of manufacturing.

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