Digitisation is creating exciting and unprecedented possibilities for manufacturing. The speed and scale of this change mean that manufacturers themselves must be forward-thinking in their approach to operations. It’s a global phenomenon: digital innovation is set to add some $14.2tn to the global economy – and $531bn to the UK economy – by 2030.1

Technology can transform processes across your organisation: boosting productivity, improving efficiency, reducing costs, and ultimately increasing the quality of service provided to customers. The capabilities are all there, waiting to be tapped into. But technology is only effective if you know how to deploy it correctly in your business.

Digitally enabling and connecting your supply chain is crucial for success. Especially as today’s customers expect goods to be made on-demand, and delivered to their personal timeline. Digitisation enables you to do this. In fact, IDC predicts that by the end of 2020, one-third of all manufacturing supply chains will be using analytics-driven cognitive capabilities, thus increasing cost efficiency by 10% and service performance by 5%2.

Making the move to predictive analytics

Digitisation is driven by data. As the number of connected devices and digital activity continues to grow, data volumes are increasing exponentially. As a manufacturer, this pool of information provides you with a single version of the truth and gives you the power to transform your operations. Predictive analytics, based on information gathered from your customers, equipment, and employees, can provide you with invaluable insights which you can use to improve and optimise the way you use your resources – reducing costs, deploying people and machines more effectively and constantly adapting in real-time. Identify processes that can be automated, to free up existing human resource and achieve more in less time. Plus, schedule and perform maintenance at times where there will be least resulting downtime, to keep your operations running smoothly. Big data, therefore, offers the breadth and depth of information to improve both business performance and profitability – but only if it is planned and deployed properly. As such, your raw data must be prepared, stored and processed correctly. Errors or inaccuracies in the information will have a significant bearing on the final result.

Digitisation doesn’t have to be difficult

However, most traditional manufacturing infrastructure isn’t designed for digital. Information is siloed and disparate, stored in a variety of different places and accessed via different systems. This can be frustrating, complicated and even daunting for those manufacturers setting out on their transformation journey. But it’s a journey well worth making. By knowing more about your customers – who they are, what their needs are, how they value your products, and so on – you can serve them better now and in the future. Moreover, you can achieve this in less time, for less expense. It’s a big change. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.

Realise the value of your data

As an advanced enterprise resource planning (ERP) & Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives you everything you need to build a data-driven manufacturing business that will quickly benefit both your productivity and your bottom line. Get closer to customers, employees, and systems alike with cloud-based services and customised apps. Automate processes to reduce running costs and get more from your equipment investments. Plan transportation and inventory requirements accurately, and update them in real-time as conditions change. And forecast future costs with greater certainty, for more informed decisions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 adds measurable value across your entire supply chain, generating invaluable information that optimises your operations. Innovative UK manufacturers are already realising these benefits, and so are their customers. As technology continues to advance, now is the time to digitise and gain competitive advantage.

Download our whitepaper ‘Data is the new gold: how the power of information can transform your manufacturing business

Sources 1 Accenture ‘Winning with the Industrial Internet of Things’  2 Top 10 Predictions for Global Manufacturing in 2018: IDC