The Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Is Accelerating. Here’s How to Keep Up

The digital transformation has been underway for the past few decades, but in 2020, it made an unexpected quantum leap. According to McKinsey, the pandemic caused many companies to accelerate their digital growth by as much as five years ahead of schedule.

Mechanical equipment manufacturers (MEMs) aren’t known for utilizing technology to innovate, but that needs to change — and quickly. The incredible profit potential, not to mention the impact on resource management, should be enough to make digital transformation priority No. 1 for every company in the industry.

What Exactly Is the Digital Transformation?

The “digital transformation” is an umbrella term covering any technology that digitalizes manufacturing and business processes. The end goal is to create Industry 4.0, which allows manufacturers to automate nearly every aspect of their operations. The digital transformation encompasses the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, automation software, robotics, artificial intelligence, and even 5G networks.

Most importantly, the digital transformation is about integrating all of these separate technologies into one centralized system, minimizing the number of human touch points needed throughout an operation. Eventually, manufacturers will be able to achieve levels of productivity and efficiency that we can’t currently imagine.

How Is the Digital Transformation Impacting Manufacturing?

Manufacturing has always been driven by improving efficiency and delivering greater value. When manufacturers successfully implement Industry 4.0 technology, they achieve KPIs that the industrial tycoons of the 1900s wouldn’t believe.

In McKinsey’s 2022 report, “Capturing the true value of Industry 4.0,” researchers found that new technology:
Any company not invested in their own digital transformation is leaving money on the table. Even worse, they risk being left behind by more efficient competition.

How Execute Your Own Digital Transformation Strategy

Every manufacturer has a different journey to a digital transformation, but all of them have a few key universal points. Here are three steps to get your digital transformation journey started on the right foot:

1. Think Digital Throughout the Entire Manufacturing Lifecycle

Ensuring there’s a digital thread throughout your business’s ecosystem — from innovation and execution on the factory floor, to the end of the product lifecycle — will keep your organization agile and ready for any changes. Digital transformation is one of the best ways to future proof your company from disruptions to the marketplace, and the supply chain.

2. Leave Behind Manual Processes and Tools

Conduct a thorough audit of your operation and identify any areas where there are human touchpoints and bottlenecks. Don’t be fooled by burdensome processes just because they happen on a computer. Given recent technological developments, spreadsheets are a significant drain on productivity. New tools like product lifecycle management (PLM) platforms and CPQ software help organizations manage everything from purchasing, supply chain, and inventory, to configuration, pricing, and quoting.

3. Seek Out Digitally Native Partners

The digital transformation is both the industry’s biggest opportunity for growth, and its biggest challenge. You need partners throughout the journey that know what manufacturers need, what technology is capable of, and how to best leverage it. Look for digital-native solution providers that have expertise in your industry, and you’ll have an ally that can help you achieve the agility and resilience you need to become a leader in Industry 4.0.

Build a New Manufacturing Landscape With Revalize

The sooner you start investigating, investing in, and deploying new technology, the better position you’ll be in to grow, improve efficiency, and achieve longevity in the rapidly changing market. But you can only realize the full potential of your digital transformation with solutions that unify your company.
Revalize offers a full suite of software that encompasses CAD, product lifecycle management (PLM), select, configure, price, quote processes (SCPQ), and beyond, to digitalize your entire idea-to-cash journey. Schedule a free demo with one of our experts to experience the impact Revalize can have on your operations.