ManufacturingMarch 11, 2021

How digital transformation builds resilience in the manufacturing industry

When they say no industry is immune to disruption, they’re usually talking…
Avatar Patrick Ball

When they say no industry is immune to disruption, they’re usually talking about the technological kind. But here we are, officially one full year into the global pandemic, surrounded by stark reminders that disruption can come in many forms. The spread of COVID-19 didn’t just shut down cities, states and countries; it shut down factories, severed links in supply chains and exposed manufacturing’s low-cost production model as a liability.

But these are more than trying times. Crisis creates opportunities for the resilient ones who are able to adapt in the face of adversity. In its newest special report, Compass magazine tells the story of how manufacturers are responding to their industry’s new realities and using technology to achieve the resilience they’ll need to thrive in the Next Normal.. “The world has rediscovered what it means to produce, distribute and operate in an affordable, safe, efficient and sustainable manner.”

The report’s main feature, “Building a resilient future,” explores how the manufacturing industry’s slow march toward digital transformation accelerated over the past year as companies were forced to make rapid shifts to keep up with the pace of change. From borders closing to workforce shortages to shifting consumer demand, manufactures were forced to adjust on the fly, giving them undeniable incentive to adopt virtual and platformed technologies they’d need to respond to the evolving crisis. “Now,” the report opines, “it is crucial for these companies to use the technologies to reimagine the future manufacturing model and build the resilience they need to withstand as-yet-unknown future shocks.”

Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, the Manufacturing special report does not dwell on the difficulties of the past year. Features like “Manufacturing a better world” and “Overcoming the skills gap” offer optimistic takes on how digital transformation can prepare the industry for a more sustainable future. As DELMIA CEO Guillaume Vendroux explains in his commentary, “This period of reconstruction is, in fact, an opportunity for companies to rebuild with sustainability at their cores, rather than trying to bolt it on later.”

Optimism is also conveyed in the column penned by Klaus Roos, the head of production for Brose, a Dassault Systemès customer whose parts are contained in half of all new vehicles worldwide. To position itself as a benchmark supplier into the future, Brose is implementing the DELMIA Apriso software platform to connect the dots across its global operations, allowing for standardization and alignments at sites around the world. As Roos explains, through the platform they’ll gain access to more production data in real-time, enabling better and faster decision making.

We can’t predict the next pandemic, or even the next disruption, but we can be prepared. And that’s the takeaway here: Digital transformation empowers manufacturers to react swiftly and smartly to rapid shifts in work conditions and/or market demands. As IDC’s Group Vice President for Manufacturing Insights Kevin Prouty put it in his column, those that invest in technology “are much better prepared for a future where survival of the fittest is not linked to size or strength, but to resilience.”


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