sme.org | SME Media | By Vamshi Rachakonda | Capgemini Americas
Over the past several years, the market has seen widespread change. In conjunction with the post-pandemic new normal, enterprises across sectors have also contended with countless other disruptions.
What’s more, these disruptions—namely decarbonization, servitization and digitalization—have vastly accelerated in the wake of the pandemic, forcing organizations to adapt at a rapid pace.
Enterprises throughout the manufacturing industry have particularly felt these heightened shifts in the modern market. And though manufacturers have worked diligently to overcome the challenges of tackling unpredictable demand surges, raw material shortages and delayed supply chains throughout the pandemic, the industry still has a long journey ahead.
With business-altering trends and the Industry 4.0 movement expected to make even more waves in the upcoming years, driving digital transformation agendas will be essential for manufacturers to embrace the new normal—where remote work, real-time adjustments and localized industry will take precedence.
As manufacturers shift their focus to “Intelligent Industry” practices and transform their digital infrastructures to meet consumer needs, enable resilient supply chains and drive growth, here are four tech trends that will help drive the industry-wide evolution:
Automation and AI: Over the past several years, manufacturers have made investments to overhaul their automation and AI offerings. However, in the past year and half, this trend has exploded as enterprises grappled with the pandemic. Many manufacturers turned to automation offerings, such as fixed, programmable and flexible solutions, and AI capabilities, including digital twins and machine learning algorithms, to remotely perform various automated tasks and gain data-driven insights during the height of the pandemic.
Now, as the market enters the new normal and enterprises develop pandemic-proof strategies, these capabilities will continue to redefine the industry for years to come, allowing organizations to enhance productivity, forecast demand and price trends and strengthen quality assurance.
IIoT and connected technologies: Along with automation and AI, manufacturing enterprises have begun prioritizing industrial internet of things applications as they look to revamp their digital infrastructures. IIoT-powered connected technologies will particularly help modernize manufacturing and become a staple tech solution across enterprises
These connected technologies rely on IIoT sensors to collect and share data across machinery and software both within a single factory as well as from factory-to-factory. This ultimately provides manufacturers and their consumers with valuable insights throughout the production process, helping drive servitization efforts by enabling real-time machine monitoring and maintenance.
Customer experience optimization tools: In the modern market, organizations must be prepared to engage with customers both off and online. Although manufacturing enterprises may have hesitated to shift away from their traditional, in-person customer engagement strategies in the past, the pandemic has driven manufacturers to adjust their omnichannel approach and create engaging experiences with their customers.
To keep pace with the increasingly remote business world, manufacturers are increasingly adopting customer experience optimization technologies, such as product digitization and customer master data management tools. These customer-centric technologies will allow manufacturers to create lasting relationships with customers throughout the product lifecycle and gain valuable consumer insight that will help drive customer loyalty and revenue in the long term.
Scenario planning and on-boarding tools: In addition to integrating technology capabilities to advance operational and customer engagement strategies, manufacturers are also enhancing tech offerings for internal stakeholders to further maintain their competitive edge. For example, scenario planning tools that leverage AI solutions can help manufacturers prepare for an array of complex scenarios, allowing enterprises to overcome—even avoid—hindrances more quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, onboarding and immersive training tools can help foster a positive employee experience and accelerate seamless digital workplaces by establishing a feeling of trust while driving productivity and efficiency.
Ultimately, manufacturers are increasingly learning from the past and looking to the digitally driven future to become modern, competitive organizations. By overhauling their digital infrastructures and prioritizing automation and AI, connected technologies, CX, and scenario planning and on-boarding tools, organizations can maintain market relevance and overcome future disruptions during this crucial new normal period.