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5 Trends in Industrial Digitalization

For centuries, production leaders have searched answers for three questions: how to operate a factory without interruptions, how to improve production efficiency and how to gain competitive advantage in product or service offering.

We sat down with our experts and gathered 15 trends that offer answers to those burning questions. Here are 5 of them.

1. Rethinking the supply chain

Global supply chains have been under extreme pressure during the pandemic. Many companies have been caught empty-handed, due to the trend to deliver all materials “just in time”. In 2020 and 2021, “just in time” has often become “way too late”.

Rethinking means reinstating the warehouse and further increasing tracking capabilities in cargo operations for many businesses. These may not be the flashiest solutions but help companies to reduce supply chain related downtime.

2. Ditching fragmented cybersecurity solutions

The security of embedded devices is crucial for all businesses. A fragmented structure prevents companies from benefitting digitalization but can also pose a significant security risk.

Cyber threats can put the whole company at stake. A strong focus on cybersecurity will help businesses to reduce unplanned downtime – not to mention existential threats for the company. One way to reduce risks is to use more cloud-based solutions, since cloud infrastructure is widely considered more secure than traditional on-premises environments in most use cases.

3. Starting the journey to 5G and private networks

Historically, the most significant gains in production efficiency have been made with automation. In the future, 5G technologies will have a crucial role in driving production efficiency.

Smart production sites with connected devices require low-latency, reliable networks. 5G is an enormous promise for different industries. It has been high on the hype cycle but will soon start to redeem its promises.

4. Implementing design thinking in manufacturing

When an investment is underused, often the reason lies in usability. Good design is a critical element in motivating your staff to use a new service or product, and internal users are just as important as external users.

Traditional process development methods such as lean and Six Sigma may easily miss the end-user experience since they originate from improving manufacturing processes. Design thinking methods dig directly into the user experience, which makes them ideal for developing truly smart manufacturing.

5. Making self-service simple

A growing number of industrial companies have opened new lines of business and now directly interact with end-users, even consumers. Digitalization opens new opportunities and connections to consumers, but it often requires new kind of understanding from customer behavior.

When routine tasks, such as picking products and collecting payments, can be handled as self-service, employees can focus on customers who truly need personal attention. This also creates a positive image and leads to more satisfied customers.