Harnessing the Potential of Digital Tools to Boost Business Operations


The recent disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a rapid  increase in the adoption of remote working and the use of digital tools. For example, we have seen an increase in remote collaboration via video conferencing, digital team collaboration tools and animated work instructions which can be shared easily online (e.g. 3D PDFs). This has highlighted the necessity to embrace digital tools – a trend which is not new, but has been accelerated by these external events.

The recent experience of manufacturers illustrates that the need for these new technologies  has been dictated by the business working environment (i.e. the need to keep workers safe and work from home where possible), and business goals (e.g. to ensure business continuity during the disruption). The successful implementation depends on clear leadership, company culture adapted to digital and remote working, and appropriate processes and technologies to be effectively utilised in the new context.

General business goals which can be supported by digital tools from our experience in supporting manufacturing businesses include the following:

·      Increase resilience of business operations

·      Increase cooperation and collaboration internally and across the supply chain

·      Reduce time to launch a new product

·      Increase efficiency in manufacturing engineering

·      Increase quality and reduce opportunity for failures

·      Increase innovation activities

This report aims to describe the high-level trends in the application and spread of digital technologies and HSSMI’s concept of “orchestration” which leads to the establishment of a successful digital ecosystem. As an example of such an ecosystem, the use case of digital twins, i.e. the digital mirroring of the physical world, is described and its business benefits explained. The report concludes with a strategy on how businesses can successfully implement a digital strategy which is driven by creating business value.

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