How to Plan Digital Transformation For Manufacturing Industry

Digital technology is changing the manufacturing industry and transforming traditional, linear manufacturing supply chains into more dynamic, interconnected systems. Advanced technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and 3D Printing can have a huge impact on how manufacturers design, produce and sell their products & services. 

Digital transformation of manufacturers involves seamlessly integrating product and production lifecycles with the ability to simulate, test and optimize all processes. Data from products and production processes help gain valuable insights leading to continuous improvements in the entire value chain.

Becoming a great digital enterprise result in:

  • Faster production
  • Achieving the highest security standards
  • Increasing cost-efficiency
  • Uniqueness
  • Improvement in quality

Digital Transformation is evolving in various aspects of the manufacturing industries :

1. Industrial Equipment: This category includes aircraft engines, mining trucks, cranes and digitalization can help in a big way through remote diagnostics and monitoring of equipment and preventive maintenance schedules which can help bring in huge revenues. Due to digital transformation, all products are being connected, all data is being aggregated and deployment of analytics is resulting in automation.

2. Transportation: A digital transformation could redefine or reduce the ownership of transport services. Physical is becoming digital. The need to travel could reduce and even be eliminated with video conferencing. IoT is raising the stakes with integrated transportation systems and infotainment systems like self-driven cars. Digitized transportation solutions encompass all modes of transportation including mass transit, roadways, rail, and connected vehicles. The convergence of actual real-time data and IoT technologies are optimizing the passenger journey, decreasing risks and cost and creating a smoother, more efficient and safer transportation experience.

3. High Tech: High tech industries are creating equipment like wearables. They are replacing existing products into high tech, smart products, and service models. Digitalization can help the mundane tasks go away as computers can aid in processing large amounts of information in a repeatable way. The more cognitive we get the more the workforce gets elevated to work on interesting projects.

4. Consumer Products: Here transformation translates to supply chain restructuring through direct shipments, creation of mass customization and individualized products and new production techniques in the form of 3D printing. Industries are re-equipping their current equipment and getting more data. This data is then being used to do diagnostics thereby leading to optimization. Also, digitalization has fundamentally changed the way products are being developed now. In the world of before, a specification would be made and then 2 to 3 years could have been spent in tuning and developing it. However, in today’s digital age a minimum viable product goes faster to the market and then additional software can be uploaded and downloaded to bring more functionalities so that they are tested faster by the customer and thereby adapting the product to the customer needs becomes faster too. Hence it’s not only about changing what is done but is also about changing the way to do it.

Digital Marketing in The Manufacturing World: There are immense opportunities a manufacturing company can capitalize on by implementing digital marketing strategies for their brand. Best digital marketing strategies for manufacturers are built with a ‘goals first’ approach. Clearly defining what the business goals and objectives are will define the online marketing strategy. 

However, traditional methods of marketing like networking, referrals and putting salespeople on the ground doesn’t work as businesses need to cast their net wide and grow on a world stage. The way to do that in this high tech era is to tell the story online.

Online marketing strategies can be a key to digital transformation. Some of the best Online marketing strategies for manufacturers include: 

1. Google Ads/Paid Advertising: Paid advertsing on Google has helped businesses to reach their targeted customers in less time. It helps diversify where the traffic with higher buyer intent comes from when using multiple channels of advertising and the ease of using Google makes it a compelling option to use. This is because one does not need to create tons of different ad creatives like videos, images, the ad copy. Once the product page and campaign is set up, Google does most of the heavy lifting. It’s also far less time-intensive.

2. Remarketing Ads: These allow businesses to reach potential customers who have already discovered them and have visited their website previously. When people leave a website without buying the product or setting up an appointment for the service offered, remarketing helps the business reconnect with them by showing relevant ads when they browse the web, use mobile apps or as they search on Google. Creating a remarketing campaign allows to target specifically those users who are already familiar with your business and it can prove to be a great way to convert users into customers and boost the ROI on adware.

3. Content Marketing: Manufacturers need to make sure the content is fresh and unique. They can attract customers at all stages of the sales funnel using content marketing. The top of the funnel is all about brand awareness and should contain information useful to the audience. Media and blog posts are good here along with articles and ebooks. The next stage is the decision stage where providing specific content about the products and services will help make a decision. The final is the conversion stage where the business can get more promotional while still highlighting the benefits to help close the deal. Product videos, brochures, and manuals are the formats of choice at this stage.

4. Marketing Automation: This is the software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology designed for marketing teams to help reach multiple digital channels while automating certain tasks. The benefits include customer relationship managers which allow to consolidate and manage their contacts from social media, email and more. This CRM functionality also allows you to manage target segments and manage the information which helps to keep track where the potential buyers are in the funnel. Also, reporting functions enable marketers to calculate the ROI of marketing activities. Marketing automation helps generate more sales at less cost.

Smart digital manufacturing is all about bringing information technology onto the floor of the manufacturing facility and leveraging new emerging technologies like sensors, cloud-based computing, new AI capabilities, mass control algorithms. All of these allow manufacturing to become more productive, energy-efficient and more effective. When the manufacturing industries start deploying digital manufacturing, each of them brings about some economic or energy-saving advantages, their benefits cascade and multiply and that in turn generates a faster growing and broader economy.

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