With the UK lagging behind other comparable countries in terms of output per worker, manufacturers are urgently looking at ways to boost productivity without incurring extra costs. Rising consumer expectations are adding additional pressure on manufacturers to transform and move their business forward to remain current and competitive.

Digital technologies – such as automation and analytics – are widely accepted as a swift and suitable solution, enabling your organisation to achieve more in less time, with fewer human resources, so that the right products are delivered at the right price to the right customer. The advent of connected devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud platforms are further driving the digitisation of manufacturing. Yet whilst the majority of manufacturing executives acknowledge the importance of digital transformation, only 5% are satisfied with their current digital strategies{Source 1}.

Read our blog ‘Too many manufacturing managers lack digital culture‘ 

To ensure you benefit fully from digitisation, you need to deploy it effectively.

Where do you start? How do you plan for it in your business, and get maximum value from your technology investment? And are you worried you might be getting left behind?

HSO can help answer these questions, and more. Let’s begin by defining digitisation. It can be an unwieldy, abstract term because it does so many different things… so it’s important to understand specifically what it can do for your business, with regard to improving productivity.

Digitisation does this by making you more efficient, across the board. Technology and software provide invaluable insight into your internal processes and workflow, giving you complete visibility into what’s working well… and what isn’t. So, you can quickly make changes where they’re needed most and decrease cost and downtime in the process.

Because the manufacturing industry has always produced large volumes of data, the raw information to drive this analysis already exists. However, much of this information will be unstructured and is typically held in discrete systems, making it difficult to find and access.In fact, many manufacturers report that key members of staff, including engineers, pre-sales, and support, are spending as much as 30% of their time searching for information {source 2}.

So the real challenge lies in effectively mining that data, using the right cloud technologies to deliver actionable insight right back to your personal device, in real-time, whilst ensuring that data is streamlined and collaboration-friendly.

Based on the above, you might be tempted to pick and choose the digital technologies that you feel work best for you, on a siloed basis according to processes that aren’t performing well. However, digital transformation is not about improving isolated areas, it’s about transformation of the whole production chain. Ask yourself, ‘How can we compete more effectively?’ and then deploy digitisation to support your strategy, not the other way around.

That’s where ERP can make all the difference.

By creating visibility from the factory floor to the boardroom. By revealing opportunities for improvement, either by refining manual processes or introducing automation. By enabling better decision-making based on clear, accurate information. And by delivering greater control, empowerment and accountability across your workforce.

Yes, digitisation is a complex process. However, if you know what improvements need to be made to your business operations, it becomes a whole lot easier. Ultimately, you benefit from a smarter, more agile, fully ‘connected’ manufacturing environment, which brings together people, processes, equipment and data and optimises the way these interact – without disrupting your existing objectives.

All of which makes you far more productive – and delivers a lot of other benefits besides.

Download our whitepaper ‘Data is the new Gold – How the power of information can transform your manufacturing business’ 

Whether you’re just starting your digitisation journey and need guidance on knowing what to do, are well on the way, HSO is here to help. We create purpose-built solutions for manufacturing companies looking to boost productivity across their entire business, including warehousing, project control, labour, rental, asset management and servicing.

Explore our portfolio – and discover how Microsoft Dynamics 365 (including ERP and CRM for manufacturing), is helping manufacturers transform themselves into industry leaders.