Digital transformation brings significant strategic, operational, and financial benefits to industrial companies worldwide. These tangible benefits are rapidly driving mass adoption of Digital Transformation. In this article, Digital Leadership will go into 12 primary goals of digital transformation, talking you through the benefits of digital transformation in business and digital technology.
Digitalization is a holistic approach that goes far beyond process improvement or an enhanced customer experience. Our 5 Building Blocks of Digitalization offer a powerful framework that enables you to reap the benefits of digital transformation: From strategy, ecosystems, structures, processes, and technologies to people, culture, and values.
Why digital transformation?
Now that we know that companies are recognizing the opportunities of digital transformation, the obvious question is why? Why digital transformation and what are the benefits of digital technology? The answer is nuanced, but analysis shows that there are 12 primary, tangible goals of Digital Transformation in business.
These goals are evenly distributed across three critical business areas: Reduce Costs, Achieve Growth, and Improve Experiences.
In the following, we will talk about the benefits and goals of digital transformation and show why industrial businesses are taking advantage of digital transformation and technology in 2022.
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Reducing costs with digital transformation
Many manufacturers first look internally for ways to leverage digital capabilities to improve their operations. They choose to test the value of technologies before rolling them out to customer-facing operations. This puts them in a more advantageous financial position as they can then focus on growth and experience-driven goals. Unsurprisingly, 62% of companies have adopted this cost-first mentality as a result of COVID 19.
There are five key cost-oriented goals that manufacturers cite as critical to Digital Transformation.
- Asset efficiency: Improving the availability, reliability, and performance of machinery, equipment, and other industrial assets.
Manufacturers have countless assets in production facilities and industrial environments. They operate in fragmented and unpredictable processes that largely limit the ability to optimize their performance, Even gaining small preventive insights into a single machine can dramatically improve OEE (between 11-30%), reduce downtime (up to 30%), and improve the overall reliability of the entire production line. Digital transformation can help address these operational costs through more efficient use of existing assets.
- Workforce Productivity: effective onboarding, streamlining, optimization, and empowerment of field staff.
With a looming skills shortage, manufacturers are looking for ways to optimize their workforce to improve time-to-impact, overall labor effectiveness, and other productivity metrics. Providing digital insights can help them with their physical tasks, such as assembly, maintenance, and quality inspection. Through digital transformation technology companies can provide accurate work instructions in real-time and augmented reality as an immersive lens for the worker into their physical environment.
- Cost of goods sold (COGS): reduction of direct costs, including materials and labor necessary to produce the goods sold by the company.
Reducing the cost of goods sold is a core digital transformation goal. Using digital technology to optimize inventory, reduce waste in manufacturing products, and leverage labor can directly improve this financial impact for manufacturers. Artificial intelligence can identify areas in the supply chain where costs can be optimized, and new software brings benefits by providing a platform to link these typically disconnected supply chain processes.
- Operating and manufacturing costs: reduction of production costs associated with maintaining operational continuity or the expense of manufacturing a product.
This cost category includes reductions in labor, material, energy, working capital, and capital expenditures.
Digitally driven insights help to better balance energy use in the factory across all assets and reduce energy costs. Digital transformation technology also helps to optimize existing production capacity.
- Service costs: reduction of labor, equipment, parts, and customer costs over the entire service life cycle.
There are significant costs associated with maintaining a deployed product, which can be significantly reduced by improving service team metrics. Optimization opportunities for the technician are possible by matching skills and proximity to service issues in the field. Remote problem resolution through smart, connected products can also improve metrics across the service lifecycle – another benefit of digital technology. Manufacturing offers a huge area for cost savings through digital transformation. Identifying the most urgent and achievable goal is usually the best place to start.
Driving growth through digital innovation and transformation
The main challenge of manufacturers is the need to achieve high growth targets whilst having limited resources to do so. Incorporating digital transformation technology into product development has driven innovation and provided a path to achieving increasing growth.
- Time-to-market: Shortening the time it takes for new and existing products to reach customers.This includes improvements in both areas of product development and manufacturing. Digital transformation technology creates continuity between these functions so manufacturers can deliver products faster.
- Introducing new products: Reduce allocated time in product development processes, including new product introductions and development rates.
New digital technology equips engineering teams with the means to rapidly create innovative product designs. Generative design autonomously creates thousands of design variants based on requirements and goals. These modern methods of innovation help manufacturers to bring new products to market at unimaginable speeds.
- Introduce new business models/ revenue streams: Form alternative methods to create new revenue streams, such as products-as-a-service.While digital transformation offers manufacturers the opportunity to optimize existing processes, it also helps to establish new strategies and methods. Through products-as-a-service, manufacturers mirror the software subscription model and sell product usage and business outcomes. These digital transformation programs help traditional business models to deliver recurring revenue streams and significant service margins.
- Time & Yield: Reduce the time it takes for a product to move through a manufacturing process, For some markets, growth means producing large volumes of products quickly. Manufacturers are increasingly turning to IIOT-driven digital transformation solutions in their factories to support these production processes and rates while minimizing defects.
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Customer Experience and Engagement Transformation
Becoming a customer-centric company is a core goal for many manufacturers, but achieving it has been a challenge for many. Here are some ways to leverage digital transformation to keep existing customers and attract new ones:
- Product Quality: Consistently create high-quality customized products,
Delivering a product that doesn’t perform as intended certainly won’t win over customers. Internal fixation on quality metrics helps to ensure the product’s resilience in the customer’s operating environment. Mass customization and product complexity increase the need for digital transformation to manage the vast amounts of information and maintain the highest product quality throughout the lifecycle.
- Customer Experience & Engagement: new or added products, features, or services for customer delivery models. Digital transformation provides manufacturers with insight into how their products are actually being used, and more importantly, how customers are using that product. These data-driven insights provide a rapid feedback loop with feature usage rates for product designers working on the next iteration. Digital-native experiences have also been shown to better engage customers.
- Service quality: reliable, responsive, and understanding service operations. Digital transformation can deliver direct cost savings across the service lifecycle, but it can also ensure reliability and trust with customers. Manufacturers that can achieve this level of trust in servicing products or ensuring uptime in customer operations become a powerful digital ally to the customer, which quickly leads to financial benefits.
Many have identified with the customer-first mindset, only to find that most of their ambitions in terms of customer engagement or experience could not be achieved using traditional methods. Digital-first thinking provides a new platform to engage with customers and deliver tailored experiences. Digital transformation is constantly evolving and the strategic business objectives it supports will expand accordingly.
In this article, Digital Leadership has gone into the 12 primary goals of digital transformation and how digital transformation in business and technology benefits companies immensely. For more detailed insights into the benefits of digital transformation, have a look at the Digital Leadership UNITE Strategy model called Building Blocks Of Digitalization. This guide helps you gain a complete understanding of the holistic and integrated nature of innovation and digital transformation initiatives. Get access to the 50+ UNITE Innovation & Transformation Models which are fully OpenSource and entirely free to download! https://digitalleadership.com/unite.