There are many steps to establish a Smart Business regardless what industry you are in. It is a matter of time before your current competitor outsmarts you or perhaps a new competitor enters your value chain being able to drive business in a smarter way. Your business will survive disruption if it adopts a digital mindset and takes advantage of the latest innovation. In our series of Smart Business, let’s touch on some transformations within manufacturing.

Production Networks

Production networks become more important and making these networks sustainable is a challenge. Globalization increases trade barriers and customized requirements drive the need of local products, making regional production almost mandatory. Manufacturers have to evolve from solo players into networked organizations. Networks of smaller, more nimble factories that are better able to customize production for specific regions. Sustainable networks means depending on the availability of materials within the production network reducing energy consumption. Only an optimal ecosystem of suppliers and partners which results in flexible collaborative relationships supports this. Thus manufacturers have to ensure that there are end-to-end digital processes externally, and also internally across all departments. Manufacturers can’t be digital if they are not real time cross the entire end-to-end process. Only when embracing a digital value chain this will be possible.

Innovative Technologies

Innovative technologies are available to transform from providers of parts to partners in “as-a-service” business models. Enabled by IoT and cloud technologies as well as advanced, real-time analytics, products will become connected platforms, featuring a range of services that will deliver new revenue sources. The power of connected platforms will allow machine learning of a different order. Artificial intelligence advancements and robotic process automation hold immense promise, but are also viewed as threats to jobs growth. So there is still a need to repurpose the existing workforce for a more digitized future and a period for robots to transition from being programmed only to execute repetitive tasks to being collaborative. Going from Human-to-Machine i.e. leveraging machines for productivity gain as well to machine-to machine communications. A great example is the use of exoskeletons that help prevent worker injury and at the same time collect data and learn from humans on performing certain actions.

Let’s be clear, we are in the middle of a digital transformation and businesses need to face it. What do you think the business impact would be if you could do it faster and ahead of the competition? Trusting on technology you’ll never outgrow, no matter where your business takes you. SAP S/4HANA is the digital core – the nerve center – of your entire business. It consolidates internal and external elements into a single, living structure that goes beyond traditional ERP. In other words, it connects all of your processes, provides you with live information and insights, and seamlessly integrates your enterprise with the digital world at large. It is designed to integrate with and utilize IoT, Big Data, Mobile, Business Networks, and more.

In our previous blog we talked on how businesses have been focusing on continuous improvement and standardization of processes. On how to empower the business to identify issues quickly, immediately evaluate available options, select the best combination of options, and then immediately initiate workflow to execute the action. Manufacturers should be emerging these business practices. Business models can be more easily conceptualized around the integration of every step of the development process; invention, manufacturing, transportation and retailing. At the same time eliminate workplace inefficiencies. Efficiency optimization is a huge focus for adopters of ‘smart’ systems, which is done through data research and intelligent learning automation. Become a Smart Manufacturer or Be Outsmarted.

Do you want to know more? Contact me directly at marc.van.der.zon@nextview.nl