Why Is It Important to Increase Digital Readiness at All Manufacturing Levels?

In your march toward holistic digital transformation, the IT initiatives at the plant level must equal the use of technologies at the corporate level. Have you analyzed the digital fitness of your people and expanded their digital readiness across all organizational levels, especially on the shop floor? Read to find out how and why you must utilize data and industrial analytics to the fullest, at all manufacturing levels.

Have you observed a wide gap in the penetration of IT initiatives between the corporate and plant levels? Take the example of trivial tech like Microsoft 365. It gets widely used on the corporate floor, but take a step down to the shop floor, and you might realize your workforce is finding it difficult to understand its capabilities fully. Similarly, many manufacturing organizations make it a point to deploy expensive applications like SAP, MES, MRP, etc., to automate their business processes but fall behind in adopting these technologies on the shop floor.

Why is it Important to Bridge the Gap?

Globally, we are presently talent-based organizations, running businesses in a collaborative manner. Your workforce plays a key role in your business’ economy. Therefore, it is essential to empower them with access and know-how of the technologies that could make their work-life easier.

Smart manufacturers keen on holistic digital transformation must focus on optimizing manpower by paying sufficient attention to the technological gap that limits the execution of workflows on the shop floor. Data-driven decision-making should become a top priority for organizations. As per this objective, advanced data-analytics must be brought consistently into the domain of operational effectiveness.  

McKinsey, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, released a report on the significant benefits of AI/ML in productivity, performance, sustainability, agility, speed to market, and customization but stated that it requires an integrated approach in implementation. The report emphasizes how manufacturing organizations must align the business, organization, and technology spheres to capture value at scale by building the workforce of the future with the required roles and skills. [1]

Help Your Plant Level Workforce to Transition into Digitized Workflows and Utilize Advanced Data Analytics to the Fullest.

McKinsey has also published that more technologies must be made available to employees for collaboration aside from the very basic communication tools, such as e-mail, chat, and text messages. Embedding digital collaboration tools in the process workflows could provide the workforce on the shopfloor with increased visibility for in-depth root cause analysis of manufacturing problems, maintenance issues, or quality deviations. [2] By enabling the workers with enhanced connectivity and data communication tools, you will save time usually lost in coordination and problem-solving sessions. When AI apps give actionable insights and timely process remedial recommendations, significant losses can be prevented by avoiding rework. Reskilling workers is essential to utilize collaborative technologies and make the most of data and integrated analytics.

In another report, MIT Center for Information Systems Research published how companies are transforming their business models to better leverage digital capabilities. The report states that developing a future-ready workforce pays off as the companies outperform their competitors, delivering 19% higher revenue growth and 15% higher net margin compared to their industry average.

The research also found that top-performing companies are 30% better than competitors at providing their employees with the direction, tools, and learning experiences to deal with technologies, giving them the ability to solve more complex problems. The researchers have also added that the leaders were not only making coordinated efforts to equip their people with necessary technologies but were giving them the accountability and capabilities to fully exploit those tools.[3]

Have you empowered your workforce with Digital Readiness yet?

Focus on increasing  data-driven decision-making and integrated analytics on the shop floor.

Let’s optimize!


[1] Behrendt, A., De Boer, E., Kasah, T., Koerber, B., Mohr, N., & Richter, G. (2020). Leveraging Industrial IoT and advanced technologies for digital transformation How to align business, organization, and technology to capture value at scale.

[2] De Boer, E., Luse, A., Mangla, R., & Trehan, K. (2020, May 5). Digital collaboration for manufacturing workforce | McKinsey. Www.mckinsey.com. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/digital-collaboration-for-a-connected-manufacturing-workforce

[3] Dery, K., Woerner, S. L., & Beath, C. (Dr. B. M. (2020, December 17). Equipping and Empowering the Future-Ready Workforce. MIT CISR.

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