How Can Digital Transformation Benefit the Manufacturing Industry?

By Polya Yaneva, 02/12/2021

Throughout the pandemic, the manufacturing industry endured significant disruption. Nevertheless, manufacturers have responded well to the changes and are continuing to recover. To help them accelerate this process, Microsoft announced Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, aiming to align the cloud services to industry specific requirements and allow manufacturers to build more agile factories, transform thier workforce, engage customers, establish a resilient supply chain, and unlock new services.

Workforce Transformation

Manufacturing has always been changing quickly, as has the requirements for the workforce to keep up with the changes to avoid a skills gap and ensure workers safety. Moreover, with the pandemic introducing new challenges when it comes to worker safety & productivity, digital transformation has accelerated in the manufacturing industry, to address the need for workforces to adapt to new industry requirements.

Microsoft tools like SharePoint & Teams provides a centralised platform where employees from different teams can collaborate and share their ideas about product manufacturing, preventing repetition of common errors. Allow your employees be well informed, and easily view their tasks from anywhere, thanks to the mobility features of SharePoint and Teams. Furthermore, to help improve the health, safety and productivity of the employee, SharePoint provides you with features to help create engaging online training, enabling people and teams to be productive. Store all risk-assessment reports in an easy to access location from anywhere, or keep track of completed training to ensure your employees continuously build skills, with a custom learning path all through a SharePoint Intranet.

Document Management

Instead of using physical document storage for seller/consumer contract documents, product information, equipment tracking, and maintenance, SharePoint offers the Manufacturing industry a Cloud solution that organises and keep all data in a secure and centralised place, accessible from anywhere, reducing the time spent on document processing.

Supply Chain Resilience

To communicate efficiently with stakeholders or trading partners more and more industries are using web portals. To help with business administration, monitoring, and sharing contracts with trading partners, SharePoint is the best solution. Create seller, consumer and employee portals, track performance metrics, purchase orders and ensure on-time delivery.

Lean Manufacturing

Manufacturers try to implement lean manufacturing as a process in their business to maximise productivity while minimise waste. However, what makes recycling waste products harder in this industry is that waste products are usually toxic. By taking advantage of SharePoint, the manufacturing industry can digitalise and control their processes by utilizing built-in workflow capabilities to improve productivity, leading to lower waste.

On the other hand, you can collect ideas for improvements, by asking employees to collaborate through Teams and SharePoint, setting up simple feedback forms to collect lean ideas, or allowing everyone to log ideas and massages in a group from any device, and comment on other people's ideas. This increases visibility and allows employees to polish their ideas, resulting in increased productivity and waste elimination.

As part of lean manufacturing, the industry can make use of the SharePoint's advanced search feature, to query the company's document system and retrieve required information within seconds. For instance, if a given production needs to be stopped due to failure, you would need to find the documentation to fix it. The longer you search for the instructions, the longer you can't work as usual, which leads to financial damage. To prevent this from happening SharePoint supports metadata and filtering, helping to organise data and save your business time and money.

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If you’d like to read one of our case studies around the above, we could recommend the following:
Woodmansterne Publications - Bespoke Production System through WEBCON
Woodmansterne Publications - Bespoke Production System through WEBCON
Unilever Home Care Site - Modern SharePoint Online Intranet
Unilever Home Care Site - Modern SharePoint Online Intranet

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