Thanks to technology, manufacturing organisations can navigate their way through disruption – and even become disruptors themselves. Let’s find out more.
The only certainty in business is uncertainty. There will always be forces that change your organisation, marketplace and industry. For example, who would have thought two years ago that there would be a global pandemic that would require almost everyone to work from home? Analysts believe that the next five years will be even more disruptive, as the world gets used to the aftermath of the pandemic and also tries to mitigate climate change. How can companies in the manufacturing industry prepare for this disruption?
Technology is here to help. In fact, tech doesn’t just help companies deal with disruption; it creates an opportunity to thrive, to disrupt their own marketplaces. In this article, we’ll look at three ways that tech is helping manufacturing companies deal with the new world of work – and the uncertain future lying ahead.
1 – Smart Connected Products
Smart Connected Products (SCP) use the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to take performance to a new level. Customers like SCP because they boost outcomes such as reliability, as connected products give constant feedback that enables companies to anticipate problems before they happen.
The data produced by SCP can also help companies plan for the future, as it shows exactly how customers use the product. Armed with this kind of information, you can adapt your products (or even create new ones) that solve your customers’ problems more effectively, future-proofing your own business.
2 – Augmented reality
One of the most challenging examples of disruption in manufacturing is the skills gap. The manufacturing workforce is ageing and retiring – and companies find it hard to devise a system that passes on their knowledge to new, younger recruits. Experts predict the skills gap could lead to a shortage of 2.5 million manufacturing positions in the next ten years. How will the industry cope?
Augmented reality (AR) technology is an excellent training tool, halving the time it takes to train up staff in some cases. Plus, it’s more cost-effective than conventional training as trainees can take courses at home rather than travelling to the site. In the future, the companies that can upskill their staff most effectively will achieve the best results. It’s why companies are investing in AR right now.
3 – Software as a Service (SaaS)
When COVID-19 hit, companies had to send their workers home with hardly any time to prepare. The companies that coped best were the ones that had the best software. As the world adapts to the new world of work, where remote work is far more popular, SaaS solutions are the power behind every successful business.
We’re all used to Software as a Service products in our personal lives, with Netflix, Spotify and Uber. However, where SaaS excels in manufacturing is enabling real-time collaboration between members of remote teams. The nature of SaaS, with solutions living in the cloud rather than on static machines, means teams can work together without worrying about who is working on the latest version or who can access the correct files.
Be a disruptor
The pandemic was a shock to us all, but you can guarantee that companies won’t be caught cold like that again. Instead, they are investing to address business challenges before they happen, harnessing the incredible power of technology to gain an edge in the market. In this way, they are turning a threat into an opportunity and becoming disruptors themselves.