Nitro Blog

Adopting Digital Manufacturing: 3 Process Improvements


If manufacturers want to gain the efficiencies and cost savings that will keep them competitive for the future, they should strongly consider digitizing their manufacturing process management.

Digital transformation can benefit any business, no matter what type of industry they are in. Many companies have started implementing digital transformation strategies, but there are still some lagging in digitalization. One industry that falls under this category is manufacturing.

Gone are the days of clipboards and Excel spreadsheets. If manufacturers want to gain the efficiencies and cost savings that will keep them competitive for the future, they should strongly consider digitizing their manufacturing process management.

According to a recent survey by global consultant Capgemini, manufacturers who have adopted technologies to build “smart factories” have seen productivity gains of 20%. The survey also found that manufacturing industry executives who consider themselves novices when it comes to digital transformation, expect to see an additional $14.7 million in profits in the next three to five years as a result of making manufacturing process improvements.

If that isn’t convincing enough, here are three additional reasons manufacturers need to move away from manual processes and start embracing digital transformation.

1. Work more efficiently

With the vast capital investments manufacturers have in equipment as well as the amount of human capital they often require to meet customer demand, it can be difficult to find ways to save money, increase profits, and grow productivity.

By making manufacturing process improvements, companies can save both time and money. Automation is a key part of this. Not only does it make collaboration easier in times of crisis — like the global pandemic that has forced many knowledge workers (even in the manufacturing sector) into home offices — it can also grow productivity.

Printing, scanning, and delivering documents costs time, hinders employee productivity, and also often leads to a lot of “re-work” when contracts, designs, and other documents have to be edited again and again. If all stakeholders have access to digital documents that can be reviewed and updated, that “re-work” process becomes a lot less burdensome.

Manufacturers can remove and even eliminate paper and manual processes by adopting technologies that allow employees to collaborate digitally, share documents securely, and see real-time workflow progress.

2. Innovate more easily

Innovation is also easier in a digitized workplace but goes beyond 3D modeling and 3D printing. When research and development teams can easily share plans, diagrams, and drawings via digital frameworks, the brainstorming that drives innovation becomes much easier.

If you adopt technology that enables digital workflows for manufacturing process improvement, your employees will, for example, be able to create engineering plans, easily turn them into PDFs for sharing, set share settings to control access, and allow for editing of plans within that PDF. No more printing, marking up physical documents, scanning, and resending. Everyone can work from the same file.

Even better? Employees can collaborate without being in the same office space. Is COVID-19 keeping your designers at home? No problem — they can still securely share drawings digitally.

3. Increase operational agility

As technology continues to shift at the speed of light, global competition in the manufacturing sector has become even more fierce. At the same time, customers have heightened expectations not only for access to your products and services but for updates and changes that will make their lives easier. How do you meet heightened demand and the associated need for more operational agility?

Manufacturers that adopt digital solutions can respond more quickly to new and ever-changing marketing conditions. Need to assess what a new product enhancement will mean for the market? Adopt software that allows your research and development, marketing, and sales teams to share data quickly, promptly address challenges, and adjust features and tactics accordingly.

Digitizing workflows to simplify idea sharing, file markups, conversions of CAD drawings to PDFs, and preservation of documentation can eliminate the manual processes that often clog up the system and reduce both innovation and agility.

Ready to see how digitizing manufacturing processes can impact your bottom line? Contact us today.