As the buzz around digital transformation continues to intensify, companies across different industries are waiting to jump-start their digitalization and Industry 4.0 journey – if they haven’t already. 

Although “quick” transformation might seem to be the need of the hour, building and deploying a successful digital transformation initiative requires extensive groundwork by assessing where you stand and where you want to go.  This includes assessment of your process, people, technology, and data to determine your budget requirements, high-level timelines, analysis of business benefits & ROI, identifying appropriate technologies and digital solutions to be built along with IT infrastructure to support so on.  

Let’s look at the key 9 steps that help building a digital transformation roadmap for your factory: 

  1. Carry Out a Detailed Assessment   

    The first step in building a digital transformation roadmap is understanding your objectives and recognizing existing gaps and challenges. Carrying out a detailed process assessment can help you better understand what your factory is lacking and what technology you need to adopt. 

    A thorough evaluation will also help you formulate the right strategies, develop the right capabilities, and orchestrate the right workflows. 

  2. Cleanse Your Data 

    When it comes to decision-making, a major challenge factories face is the complexity of industrial data and its existence of diverse and heterogeneous data sources - multiple formats and Excel sheets. It is really a challenge to get a unified view of anything or rely on any specific data source.  Thus, cleansing siloed data and enriching it will go a long way in leveraging accurate, relevant, and updated data for business decision-making. 
  3. Strengthen Your IT infrastructure

    With factories looking to connect people, places, and things as part of digital transformation initiatives, strengthening the existing IT infrastructure network is a critical prerequisite. If you want to support growing business demand and ensure long-term viability, you need to secure and streamline this backbone that enables secure connectivity for all your devices and applications. 

    This is especially important as IoT and cloud-based applications permeate the factory floor.  Hence, for fast and secure access, your IT infrastructure needs to be upgraded  for performance.  

  4. Identify risks and develop mitigation strategies

    Identify all the factors that influence your readiness towards digital transformation. Most common major readiness factors applicable to enterprises like yours ranges from your vision, desire, willingness, resolve, business need, funding, leadership commitment, organization culture, corporate governance, accountability, IT infrastructure capacity, and enterprise’s capacity & ability to implement & operate.  Identify the factors that are relevant to your organization and present each of them by including factors such as urgency, status, and assessed degree of difficulty to implement. 

    This exercise provides the clear picture of risks involved with your digital transformation journey and the mitigation plans to address these risks will become an integral part of your roadmap, multiplying your chances of success.

  5. Focus on Cultural Aspects

    Given the fact that transformation can completely alter the culture of your factory, it is crucial to strike the right balance between continuity and change. Since it takes more than just technology to unlock new sources of economic value, you need to effectively manage cultural changes that occur during digital transformation. 

    Companies focusing on culture are 5x more likely to achieve breakthrough performance than companies that neglect culture. Therefore, understanding the possible risks that transformation can bring to the culture is essential. Moreover, ensuring the support and guidance from senior leaders in building a strong digital culture is the only way you can empower your people to deliver results faster. 

  6. Implement in Phases

    Although you might want to enable enterprise-wide digital transformation as quickly as possible, it is crucial to ensure incremental deployment of applications across locations, servers, and timeframes. 

    Such an approach not only allows you to enable a tested and phased implementation but also allows you to learn from your experiences and accordingly create strategies for a broader and more successful transformation across your factory.   

  7. Create Small Wins

    In the pursuit of achieving enterprise-level transformation, don’t forget to create, appreciate, and celebrate small wins. Any business – regardless of its size or type – is bound to overcome several challenges along its digital transformation journey. 

    For instance, transformation efforts might enable you to modernize inefficient legacy systems, automate redundant shop floor activities, or enhance user experience. So, make sure to rejoice in the small milestones as they are what help you leap toward your larger goals while uplifting morale and motivation within your workforce. 

  8. Digital skill Development

    A critical requirement of any successful digital transformation strategy is proper training – especially if you are replacing commonly used systems with new-age platforms and solutions. 

    As you bring new technologies and tools into your manufacturing landscape, it is essential to develop suitable training programs so that the workforce can be trained and educated on these new tools and empowered to use advanced capabilities to their full potential.  This will be a parallel thread running through your transformation journey.

  9. Partner with the Right Company

    Having the right partner steer your digital transformation project can aid in the rapid realization of your goals and objectives. A partner can provide the right recommendations and deployment options for your unique business, helping you achieve the right levels of scalability, fault tolerance, and reliability. 

    Bringing extensive experience and expertise in data management, business process revamping, application modernization, and more, a partner can help you combine industry insights and customer inputs and produce real-world solutions faster and with low risk.

Wrapping Up

As you seek to undergo a quick and effective digital transformation, investing time in planning the entire project will go a long way. Not only will it guarantee data quality, reliability, and availability, but it will also help in establishing a clear and logical communication framework for your multi-system integration. 

Engage with a partner today to lower the overall digital transformation deployment risks, timeframe, and budget, at the same time enhance the probability of a successful and sustained transformation.