Digitalization is The New Competitor You Can’t Ignore
The industrial Internet of Things (IoT) has completely upended the competitive landscape for manufacturers. It is ushering in entirely different ways of thinking about every business process from product design and development to maintenance and asset management—not to mention new business models. It makes possible new ways to achieve greater efficiencies never before possible.
Before the advent of digitalization, competitive advantage was determined by the effectiveness and improvement of specific processes. You or your competitor could accelerate product design by using computer-aided manufacturing or product development by deploying product lifecycle management. You could improve quality by installing a quality management system; your warehouse efficiency by adding a warehouse management system; or manufacturing effectiveness with a manufacturing execution system. As a result, you could quickly counter most attempts by your competitor to gain a competitive advantage—or establish one of your own.
By connecting and integrating the entire manufacturing process, digitalization, gives manufacturers the capability to implement a wide array of solutions to enhance operational efficiencies and enable personalized customer experiences. The plethora of opportunities changes the nature of competitive advantage–so much so that in the Industry 4.0 era it’s not a stretch to say that digitalization is the new competitive threat.
Competing with what’s possible
Merely beating your traditional rivals no longer determines manufacturing success. Instead, achieving the full benefits of IoT at every part of the business is the new measure—even though the full details of what that means remains obscure. Knowing what we know now, it’s difficult to imagine a fully deployed and operating digitalization strategy. Complicating matters, continued advances in technology promise to raise the bar describing an optimum, complete digitalization even higher.
The growing list of early use cases indicates just how formidable a competitor digitalization is and will continue to be. One report describes 16 distinct IoT use cases across a wide array of verticals. Considering that most companies will execute more than one use case, the number and variety of ways a manufacturer could optimize through digitalization are astounding.
Digitalization is more than the latest way to beat your current competitors. It’s an opportunity to perfect business operations and practices at every level and function, and across the enterprise—to establish a new, unique unbeatable set of competitive advantages. With the IoT, you can lower costs, while improving product and production quality, operational flexibility and efficiency; while reducing response time to customer requests and demands, increasing productivity and energy efficiency.
Digitalization not only demands a new way of thinking about improving manufacturing business fundamentals, it requires a new way of thinking about digitalization itself. By approaching digitalization, rather than your traditional set of incumbents, as the competitor you can’t ignore, you’ll marshal the resources necessary to meet the challenge.
But where should you start if you want to gain immediate benefits from digitalization? Learn the answer to that and other frequently asked questions (FAQs) by downloading “Why Manufacturers Need to Go Digital Now” from Industry Week®.