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From Silos To Synergy – Digital Transformation In Manufacturing (Updated)

Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Industry

Digital transformation (DX) is key to strategic planning for manufacturers around the world.

According to a recent report manufacturers are currently prioritizing customer acquisition and sales growth. However, there are other critical issues to address, including employee retention, data security and cost management. Harnessing the power of technology and business systems integration to meet these challenges is essential to remain competitive.

Table of Contents

B2B ecommerce for manufacturers

As your manufacturing operations grow, handling increasing numbers of purchase orders and complex sales requirements becomes more challenging.

Without efficient processes information management alone can become a bottleneck. Manual data entry errors and the resulting frustrations for your customers can cost time and money.

You already know that most business to business (B2B) ecommerce solutions don’t provide the deep functionality and integrations you need. Process automation might still feel like a distant hope, but there is a solution.

Cloudfy is a software as a service ecommerce solution designed for complex B2B sales. You can simplify your manufacturing operations, save money and scale as your business grows. Automated order processing provides seamless self-service features for your customers and improved supply chain management.

Your team will spend less time and money on data entry and client support. Instead, they can focus on expanding your product line and developing relationships with distributors, wholesalers and retail partners.

manufacturers embracing digital

Manufacturing challenges

Employee retention

The manufacturing labor market continues to face skills shortages. A recent US survey showed the lowest full-time employment growth rate in the manufacturing sector since 2020.

Data security

Safeguarding sensitive information is a high priority as cyber criminals become more sophisticated. Over half of manufacturing businesses are affected by ransomware attacks each year. Increased investment in cybersecurity detection and prevention is essential to minimize disruption.

Supply chain pressures

Rising costs and economic uncertainty are putting pressure on the whole manufacturing supply chain. Effective solutions must recognize areas where technology can deliver progress. Almost all manufacturers prioritize digitization but less than half already take advantage of business systems integration, automation or robotics. Industry 4.0 technology including artificial intelligence (AI) tools can transform manufacturing operations.

Delivering value

Manufacturers are looking for new ways to deliver value. The roles of people, processes, and technology are converging to change how products and services are created and delivered. Personalization and increased coordination with business partners are now central to successful DX.

DX drivers

The key components of continuing DX in manufacturing reflect the complexity of the process.

Four pillars of technology

The technologies that will allow manufacturing businesses to accelerate this transformation have four pillars:

  • Big Data and analytics
  • cloud-based solutions
  • mobile-first engagement
  • social media.

Six innovation accelerators

The technology underpinning DX in manufacturing covers six key areas:

  • the internet of things (IoT)
  • artificial intelligence
  • next generation digital security
  • three dimensional printing
  • virtual and augmented reality
  • robotics.

Many manufacturers already use some of these technologies alongside their enterprise resource planning (ERP), ecommerce, finance, warehousing and distribution systems.

Increasing integration and convergence of technologies will revolutionize how manufacturing businesses develop and behave in the future. The objective is to optimize business performance through innovation and end-to-end integration. This offers significant opportunities to grow, improve profitability and gain competitive advantage.

Scalable transformation

Digital platforms in the cloud are key to improving user experiences for employees, suppliers, partners and customers. They will support streamlined manufacturing processes to improve overall revenue growth and underpin collaboration and process coordination.

Large-scale information exchange and Big Data will simplify connectivity, improve decision-making and enhance security. Blockchain, best known in connection with crypto currencies like Bitcoin, is expected to be part of this transformation. It’s already used in the supply chain to securely store and record transactions. There are also proposals to use blockchain to support collaborative prototyping and production in manufacturing.

Operation wide integration

Operation-wide integration

Converging technologies enable integration of sales, distribution, production and innovation. Streamlined manufacturing processes will optimize procurement, production and fulfilment, minimize risk and waste, and improve efficiency.

Leading manufacturers recognize the importance of integrating their enterprise (ERP), ecommerce and offline sales and their distribution systems. Secure spines of embedded intelligence, using IoT, blockchain, and artificial intelligence will allow large-scale processes to be more fully automated. The resulting improvements in efficiency and delivery times will increase profitability.

Intelligence in the cloud

The flexibility and scalability of cloud-based platforms are expected to be at the heart of DX. Intelligent systems can manage and interrogate large volumes of information, allowing multiple organizations in the manufacturing supply chain to collaborate. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will improve decision-making and deliver robust, secure end-to-end manufacturing operations.

Find out how Cloudfy’s purpose designed B2B ecommerce platform helps you deliver DX in manufacturing. Talk to one of our experts today.

Your digital transformation success will depend on how well you understand your customers. From product information and pricing to user experience and purchasing processes, their needs will vary. Take time to understand how your customers will distinguish you from your competitors.

Yes, online retailing has shaped the expectations of B2B buyers. They want their professional buying experiences to be just as simple and personal as their online shopping. Easy registration, previous order histories and related product recommendations are minimum requirements.

It can take months or even years to deliver a fully functioning and tested B2B ecommerce platform. However, powerful application programming interfaces (APIs) and cloud-based solutions like Cloudfy are ideal for innovation, iterative development and testing. You can focus on getting the basics right and deliver your site in weeks rather than months.

Unless you have exceptional in-house expertise, working with technically strong partners makes your digital journey faster and easier. You must feel confident they understand your strategy and plans and share your optimism. Make sure they are right for you by talking with their existing customers.

It’s a good idea to team up with experienced project managers. Good project management means you will know must be done and when. You will have the right people in place with the experience and expertise you need. Most importantly, you will know what decisions you need to make and the implications of your choices.


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