Digital transformation is a catch-all phrase for integrating digital technology into different aspects of your business ranging from maintenance, inspections, and work management. Essentially this is technology permeating every function in business, not just a select few – a journey that does not end when just one set of business processes is digitized – even if that one area is core to the organization. And with the bewildering array of technology acronyms (NFT, anyone?) floating around, is there any approach to Digital Transformation that can maximize successful outcomes for a business? Is there a proverbial Silver Bullet that will drive transformation?
The More Things Change…
Key to successful digital transformation is to understand that it is driven not just by technology. Rather, it requires a cultural change within the company and stakeholders who are open to new practices – as everywhere else, this is a people-process challenge. So, no surprises – there is no Silver Bullet that will drive success in digital transformation initiatives in your company. It is, instead, contingent on culture, leadership, and values. Management books and articles have for decades talked about the need to focus on people and processes for the successful adoption of any business initiative. And this is equally true today for digital transformation. For instance, does your CEO view digitizing operations as a necessity in the context of the post-pandemic world, or simply something that she needs to be talking about because everyone else is?
Given the global pandemic and labor shortage, facilitating low-contact work and efficient operations is not just “nice” but necessary to function effectively and remain competitive. It is, thus, not a question about whether digital transformation will work. Rather, it is about how the digitization process should be adopted. Similarly, companies are no longer thinking about whether digitalization is good for their company or not. They are already exploring how they can adopt digitization right away. 95% of industry leaders believe that their companies’ success depends on digital transformation and most of them are taking progressive measures for it.
Digital Transformation in The Supply Chain
There is an increasing need for digitization in the supply chain given the pressures of clogged global networks and shortages of skilled labor, including drivers and maintenance technicians. With high competition both on the sell-side and on the buy-side as businesses compete for reliable suppliers and logistics providers, there is almost no room for asset downtime or inefficiencies from manual processes. Digitization allows for time to be spent on higher value work rather than repetitive paperwork, correcting data or waiting on reports.
Although digital transformation cannot be driven by a silver bullet, technology solutions like iMarq from Connixt help achieve digitization goals through a structured set of steps. iMarq offers several innovative features that can digitize your workflow processes, crew management and operations.
If you are a manufacturer, for example, Connixt can digitize your supply chain. Its easy-to-use intuitive web/mobile suite allows you to connect instantly with suppliers, customers, and employees, anywhere in the world and begin transactions within minutes. Businesses can gain the ability to manage material movement, multi-site inventory, Vendor Managed Inventory, inspections, and end-to-end procure-to-pay automation and governance.
Technology is expected to grow at a tremendous rate, and companies can do better than operate in permanent catch up mode. This is the time for businesses to decide whether they will be a leader, participant, or bystander. You can certainly be the leader or among the leaders, or you could learn from the experience of others and move your organization forward. But at this stage, being a bystander means you are moving backward.
Why Digital Transformation
There is often the question of whether Digital Transformation is the next new shiny thing on the horizon or something that actually adds value. Therefore, it is important to look at the several benefits for companies, employees, and their customers from digital transformation initiatives.
- Return on Investment (ROI): Digital transformation provides your business with tools that can help streamline and automate value-added processes. Products like Connixt iMarq put mobile apps in the hands of your crew which replaces manual data entry with easy drop-down menus, speech-to-text, multi-lingual support, and bar codes to enter data. It helps to make data-driven decisions and even automates decision-making. iMarq can let field workers know which parts are required for the job, view field inventory, request parts, and issue work requests. It can help your business grow by increasing efficiency, reducing overhead costs, and meeting your customers’ demands. We have discussed here more on the specific sources of ROI from Digital Transformation initiatives.
- Return on Assets (ROA): On-time maintenance provides businesses the benefit to track follow-on, corrective work. However, the need to keep assets up and running often comes in the way of scheduling regular maintenance due to the amount of time consumed in the process, the need to wait for parts and the right skilled technicians. Tools like iMarq address each of these areas effectively in ways that were impossible with earlier iterations of technology.
- Skilled Labor Shortage: There is a shortage of skilled labor across industries and geographies. It is expected that shortages will grow to 2.2 million unfilled jobs in the next decade. Digital transformation can help solve this problem by automating several tasks, particularly those that put human life at risk. Digital transformation increases productivity, reduces inefficiencies, and eliminates human error.
- Compliance and Safety: iMarq automates your company’s compliance processes, reducing the possibility of human error. And automated reports are generated for filing and submission. Features like speech-to-text, bar-codes and photos, integrated video call features, and readily available context-sensitive online achieve ready compliance with minimal effort while also ensuring the safety of field workers.
Much like any other business process automation, digital transformation cannot be achieved magically in one go. It is process-driven and requires management support and long-term commitment. IT challenges such as legacy systems with no proper APIs, upgrades requiring millions of dollars, and long implementation times can all be addressed with available technological tools like those from Connixt. (And while we reiterate that there is Silver Bullet for these digital initiatives, the closest you will come to are solutions like those from Connixt.) If you are interested in learning more about how the solutions offered by Connixt can help your manufacturing business digitize, reach out to us for a demonstration today!