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PwC offers tips for manufacturing CEOs to deal with digitisation

Dec 24
Tags: PwC
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Industrial manufacturing, like most sectors, has been hugely impacted by digitisation in recent years and looks set to experience further effects from this phenomenon in the future.

According to PwC, digitisation is "transforming the DNA" of the industry. In a recent report, the professional services firm offered some recommendations for companies looking to realise the benefits of digitisation, handle the risks and expand their market share.

Recommended changes

Digitally switched-on manufacturers today are giving themselves a head start over their competitors by leveraging emerging technologies such as digital twinning, predictive maintenance, track-and-trace, and modular design.

The most innovative firms are using new tech and digital processes to overcome challenges such as mounting consumer pressure, regulatory change and advances in IT.

PwC's report provided insights into how certain organisations have optimised efficiency, productivity and customer experience by nurturing new capabilities in their operating models and strong skill sets in areas like analytics.

Based on these examples, the firm came up with four specific changes industrial manufacturing CEOs should make to gain maximum advantage from digitisation.

The report recommends:

  • Making organisational changes that reflect digitised processes and new digital capabilities. Examples of areas that could benefit from modernisation include product and process design and engineering, end-to-end procurement and after-sales.
  • Hiring more software and Internet of Things engineers and data scientists, as well as training the wider workforce to develop digital skills.
  • Learning from software businesses and their ability to develop use cases and turn them into software products.
  • Expanding digitisation beyond IT, to encompass operational technologies like track-and-trace solutions and digital twinning.

Competitive advantage

Gaining a competitive advantage is a fundamental priority for many businesses, particularly those in congested, fast-moving industries where companies that are slow to change are at risk of being left behind.

Darren Jukes, PwC UK industrial manufacturing and services leader, said the company's research shows that by "embracing the opportunities digitisation offers", businesses can take strides towards "achieving their goals of competitive advantage".

He added: "Digitisation allows organisations to change the rules of competition and secure real advantage and market leadership. Accelerating the adoption of these technologies provides new ways of thinking, both in terms of what's delivered but also how it's delivered."

Looking at the industry as a whole, Dr Anil Khurana, PwC's global industrial, manufacturing and automotive leader, pointed out that the impact of digitisation is "tremendous". As well as enabling the development of new products, processes and business models, it will ultimately lead to the creation of digital enterprises.

"CEOs need to seize the opportunity and catch the wave to avoid falling behind," said Dr Khurana.

Advice for organisations in the industrial manufacturing sector also came from Badr Al-Olama, head of the organising committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, who said the adoption of widespread digital transformation should be based on "thorough and well-considered analysis of every business process before proceeding with implementation".

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