What is Digitalization?
Digitalization is the process by which digital technologies and digitized data are harnessed in order to streamline business operations and improve overall efficiency. While digitization refers to the conversion of data into a digital format, digitalization describes a business transformation whereby information technology is leveraged to transform business processes and make the entire enterprise more efficient and profitable.
How to Successfully Digitalize your Operations
The basis of a successful digital transformation is a solid digital strategy. While the specifics of the transformation will vary from business to business depending on the nature and goals of the business, there are certain key ingredients that all successful digitalization strategies share:
- Establish a clear mission – According to Mckinsey, the best missions are:
- Clear and strategically grounded – all stakeholders must understand the mission and how it supports the business’ overall strategy.
- Valuable and measurable – the mission should be centered around specific and measurable outcomes.
- Holistic – the mission needs to be broad enough to have a palpable impact across the entire organization.
- Get buy-in from business managers – Supervisors and managers should be involved in the digitalization project from the earliest stages as they are the ones that will be intimately involved in carrying out processes on a daily basis.
- Staff engagement – Create a system for training and supporting the staff that will be implementing the strategy and using the machines and systems.
- Continuous improvement – Digitalization is a process that does not happen in one shot. Factor the need for continuous improvement into your strategy and set milestones for evaluating and reevaluating your transformation as it progresses.
Pros and Cons of Digitalization
- Operational efficiency – Digitalized businesses can streamline processes, deploy analytics, enhance their decision-making capabilities, reduce downtime, simplify performance monitoring, deliver to the market faster and provide detailed digital product representations – all while improving quality and reducing waste.
- Technology-driven business enhancement – The right digital infrastructure paves the way for the usage of advanced technologies such as predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, and 3D modeling – all of which can lead to exponential business benefits.
- Increased customer satisfaction – Advanced technologies will allow manufacturers to release, refine and innovate their products more rapidly and shorten time to market. The end result is superior products and satisfied customers.
- Reduced costs – Digitalized manufacturing helps businesses gain better insight into their process and make necessary efficiency-based adjustments. The knock-on effect of this is lowered costs. For example, greater visibility into inventory levels, delivery status, and demand cycle will allow businesses to reduce the unnecessary risks and costs related to things like excessive inventory.
Data security – When vast amounts of data are collected and stored either on networks or in the cloud, organizations have a responsibility to keep the data safe and secure. A single breach can mean vast amounts of private information falling into the hands of criminals, business rivals, or other malign entities. Data security requires an investment in technologies and personnel who can secure your systems.
Reskilling and recruiting – As factories use more sophisticated machines and software, workers who are accustomed to simpler machines and manual tasks will need to be trained to operate and interpret data from complex machinery and software. There may also be a need to recruit higher-skilled staff.
The pace of change – The pace of change in the technology world means that any digital transformation will never quite be complete. New technologies, software products, and iterations of existing technologies enter the market regularly. A digitalized business needs to be prepared for and equipped to deal with change on a near-continuous basis.
How Matics Can Help
Matics is a vital component of your digitalization process. As you strive to increase visibility, enhance efficiency and reduce costs across your organization, Matics is the all-in-one solution that can help you realize your goals. By collecting data from all the machines on your shop floor, Matics RtOI (real-time operational intelligence) solution provides managers with the insights and information they need to make better business decisions, streamline workflows and increase profitability.