Today, manufacturing is as much software-dependent as it is machine-driven. The confluence of digital technologies comprising Industry 4.0 has manufacturers looking closer at their approach to IT — specifically, building a team capable of orchestrating and governing mission-critical digital systems.
Unfortunately, cost considerations, demand for talent, and a host of other factors are making it difficult for many manufacturers to lean into digitization — and, by contrast, they’re falling behind competitors equipped to adopt these technologies. For these producers, IT outsourcing can help them navigate the complexities of digital transformation so they can make confident investments in the future of manufacturing.
What is digital transformation?
Manufacturing is in the infancy of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The first was largely attributed to mechanization: the adoption of tools to improve the efficiency of manual labor. The second was resource-driven: oil, steam, and coal helped achieve production at scale. The third brought electronics and telecom into factories. Now, data systems — including artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and cloud computing — have heralded the fourth.
While digital transformation looks different for every manufacturer, it hinges on digital technologies creating efficiencies. This might mean using always-on sensors to detect equipment faults before they cause downtime, employing digital communication software to facilitate better collaboration on the floor, or building a digital twin to manage an entire production line. Ultimately, it’s about leveraging digital tech to improve business operations.
Regardless of how simple, complex, specific, or expansive it is, digital transformation is increasingly important for every manufacturer to consider. Implemented properly, it can make factories safer, more efficient, and more productive.
Why outsource IT support?
Digital systems don’t work by magic. The more robust and nuanced the function, the more complex the orchestration. This is where IT professionals come into the picture. Behind every automation, innovation, and integration is the knowledge and effort of an IT professional who understands the needs and expectations of the system they’re building and governing.
This skill set doesn’t come cheap. Small businesses frequently find cost management difficult to reconcile with growth. As companies grow and scale on the heels of IoT investments, they also must access a highly experienced, qualified, and available team to manage their IT needs. Sadly, the operating expenses of hiring an in-house team put a significant burden on growing producers — especially following significant capital expenditures for IT investments.
By outsourcing IT services, manufacturers can leverage the expertise of an external team who can offer more efficient support of critical systems, cost-effective solutions, and forward-looking opportunities to realize ROI from digitization initiatives. Outsourcing IT services also ensures the burden of IT support falls to those most equipped to handle it.
Embrace digital or fall behind
While it may seem like a monumental and cumbersome task to bring a factory into the digital age, it’s nonetheless an imperative one. Manufacturers who fail to digitize are likely to fall behind competitors realizing the benefits of a well-architected digital infrastructure.
Digital transformation helps manufacturers increase production efficiency, reduce production time, and maximize revenue. It enables initiatives such as proactive maintenance, production line optimizations, and more efficient sourcing and inventorying. Digitization can even improve safety standards, expedite time-to-work for new hires, and create synergies across different production locations.
By using digital tools, manufacturers can streamline processes, automate repetitive tasks, and remove elements of human error, resulting in better operations across the value stream. Additionally, digital transformation can provide manufacturers with real-time insights into their operations, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Needless to say, the cost of not digitizing far outweighs the effort required for digital transformation.
Build a strong foundation for Industry 4.0
There’s no putting digital technologies back in the box. Just like the steam engine and computers thrust manufacturing into a new era of productivity, big data and digital technologies are doing the same today. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. To participate, manufacturers need more than just digital systems — they need professionals who can help them leverage those systems to the fullest.
IT outsourcing is becoming increasingly important for manufacturers as they navigate the complexities of digital transformation. By utilizing the expertise of external providers, producers can free up internal resources, reduce costs, and gain access to specialized skills and knowledge — and, most importantly, have confidence in their IT investments as we plunge further into a digital future.
To learn more about how IT outsourcing can help usher in digital transformation, visit windzr.com.