A New Era: Is the Digital Transformation a Curse and a Blessing?

April 8, 2021

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Jan Madsen

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Radically different times are coming. Here’s how you can prepare.

The world is changing. 

And it looks like a curse and a blessing. Change doesn’t always bring prosperity, but it always invokes the fear of the unknown – or, as I have written before, the Loss Aversion. As humans, the unknown terrifies us. 

  • What if you don’t know how to face the challenges with which it comes? 
  • What if it’s too overwhelming to overcome them? 
  • What if you lack the resources? 

Fear is only human. But all too often, it causes you to stand in your own way towards achieving your goals, mainly because we tend to blow it out of proportion by labelling it as “too hard”. It’s time to move forward, despite it all. We will show you how. 

The stakes are high

The 4th Industrial Revolution is already in motion – if you’re not moving forward along with it, you’ll fall too far behind. 

The years ahead will decide the faith of many companies in the industry of discrete manufacturing and beyond. Executives, managers, and workers will face drastic organisational restructuring, new performance metrics to analyse, and an increase in the need to automate processes to generate real-time relevant data.

Technology is rapidly evolving, and massive companies already put it to work. 

But where does that leave small and mid-size manufacturing companies that don’t have so many resources? 

The answer: With an enormous upside

Before we get too carried away or focus too much on the pitfalls and risk of falling behind, let me make one thing perfectly clear: The upside for any business, small or large, is simply enormous. The benefits of implementing new technology are mind-blowing, and smaller or mid-size companies have one thing working for them: Their size!

Yes, they don’t have the same access to ressources as much larger organisations, but they have (in general) a much more agile decision process. They are (again, in general) way more willing to experiment and thus test their way to success.

Larger organisations put things in committees! Larger organisations are (in general) bogged down by Red Tape and all kinds of power games. Small organisations not so much.

Small and mid-size companies may have the perfect starting point for gaining competitive advantage!

The present situation won’t last much longer

Leaders should start thinking about allocating resources to keep up with a very dynamic and volatile economic climate. Resilience and adaptability are at the forefront of thriving in the digital future and the most important strategic elements to navigate it. 

Smaller companies that don’t have automated processes in place are looking at hard times. The old ways of manually handling data via spreadsheets, papers, or even nothing at all are rapidly becoming completely ineffective. 

But you already know this. The very fact that you are reading this shows us you are on the right track to a future-proof business.

And we are here to pave the way forward by enriching and optimising your resources: 

  • Time – we know workdays are becoming increasingly busier; it feels like there’s no time to research, learn, and plan new moves that will move the needle in your company.
  • Guidance – you need the right, competent people to lead the way towards the changes you need. 
  • Knowledge – no idea where and how to get started? Beginnings are the hardest, but the results will be worthwhile. 

Identify what needs changing

If your existing system has these elements, it’s all the proof you need to realise it needs changes: 

“The individual processes are not connected”

Is there an easy flow of data across individual processes? This is a game-changer for productivity and communication: having real-time data available and easily accessible can allow your staff to have a smooth workflow, making it a win-win situation for your business customers. 

“No real-time data available in one place”

Technology is here to make our lives easier. If you don’t use it to do just that, you’re wasting precious time. You should be able to view the relevant data you need fast, without making several moves. 

“Outdated inflexible processes”

Like we just mentioned, adaptability will decide your company’s success. If the pandemic taught us anything, it would be that flexibility should be a top priority in manufacturing. Leaders should be able to make quick decisions regarding the system and change what needs changing. 

The good news

The incredible innovation that the Industrial Internet of Things is bringing translates into immense productivity growth for manufacturing companies. 

Automated processes are way more effective, reliable, and accessible. They’re here to expand on or replace the traditional systems and enable a dramatic increase in performance, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency. 

For a smaller company, all of this may sound overwhelming. But we have fantastic news: it doesn’t have to be.

Stepping into the realm of smart factories doesn’t mean you have to implement massive changes all at once, disrupting every system. We are big believers that the journey consists of small steps, learning, and adjusting along the way. 

Start small, create a firm base upon which you can build. It doesn’t have to be perfect, ultra-expensive, or grand, but, as with everything in life… 

… you have to start somewhere. 

PS: This is the 1st in a series of 5 blog posts on IIoT. You can read:

The 2nd: Digital Transformation Jargon Made Simple: Explaining The Real Meaning

The 3rd: We Have Done This Before: How We Can Use History To Thrive In Industry 4.0

Written by Jan Madsen,
founder of Enuda

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