Digitisation Accelerating Productivity in Manufacturing Sector

Digitisation Accelerating Productivity in Manufacturing Sector

Manufacturing Technology Insights | Friday, September 16, 2022

Digitisation, along with other technological trends that define smart manufacturing, is helping industries to recover from the pandemic's effects and its major shifts in productivity.

FREMONT, CA: Talent and supply shortages, an ageing workforce, and demand volatility are pressuring manufacturing companies. Maintaining or increasing production scales to satisfy rising customer demands is the biggest challenge resulting from not filling open jobs. Businesses now should transform their operations to accelerate productivity. To achieve this, companies are increasing their technological adoption.

Digital Work Instructions

Paper-based manuals, PDFs (or static spreadsheets), and Word Docs were the operating procedures and work instructions used by most organisations until recently. However, this is changing with the cloud adoption that works faster and hugely benefits work instructions. As companies shift their assets to the cloud and increase productivity, digital work instructions are seeing higher adoption.

Embracing digital work instructions lays the foundation for the smart factory. It helps with better on-the-job training, knowledge transfer during high employee turnover, faster onboarding for new hires, time savings on factory lines, and a culture of learning and development. It also facilitates completing a task in less time, more time between changeovers, and fewer errors.

Digital Performance Management

Empowering frontline employees with better tools to gather performance data is one of the benefits of using digital work instruction platforms. This allows workers to report issues quickly and crowdsource knowledge to handle them.

Combining this technique with asset tracking produces an effective method to improve operational efficiency and reduce downtime. These benefits result in increased adoption of digital performance management. Manual data collection is replaced by sensors and connected devices (IoT) to monitor factory performance remotely.

Digital Maintenance and Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is also witnessing colossal adoption, particularly to drive productivity in maintenance tasks. As travel became difficult during the pandemic, wearable devices became necessary to provide remote operator assistance. With these advantages, businesses are investing in digital maintenance systems to predict and prevent equipment failures, especially in asset-intensive industries. This is an end-to-end reliability and maintenance system that optimises workforce efficiency and identifies breakdowns early, enabling seamless interventions that maximise total asset availability while reducing total cost. However, the success of this kind of initiative depends on other fundamental technologies like digital performance management and workflow digitisation, as well as an organisational culture that values continuous improvement.

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a digital replication of a physical object or process. These virtual copies are created using data from sensors and IoT. Companies can also build a complete digital representation of their operations–for example, creating a digital replica of the supply chain network and production line. This type of digital twin helps manufacturers determine changes and leverage their processes using simulations. APIs that connect digital work management systems with digital twins are crucial, particularly when there is a need to add asset data with insights provided by professionals.

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