Every industry has a unique relationship with digital transformation, but manufacturing brings truly unrivaled requirements to the table. After all, manufacturers are responsible for creating and distributing products necessary for everyday life, which means the demand for industrial digital transformation comes with particularly high stakes.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help guide and shape this innovation, turning industrial companies into leaders in digital success. One such tool is a digital experience platform (DXP) — a chameleon of a tech solution that can play many roles in manufacturing. Here’s a closer look at what these platforms can do and how they turn digital transformation into a reality.
A Look at Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
Often known as members of a slower-moving industry, industrial companies are now rapidly implementing digital technology. In fact, many digital leaders in the industry have already recognized the value of this evolution. For example, according to a survey by Fictiv:
- 91% of manufacturers have increased their digital transformation and technology investments.
- 77% called this increase “significant” or “dramatic.”
- 95% said industrial digital transformation is essential to their success.
These numbers indicate one thing: Digital transformation is the future of manufacturing, and that future is already here.
Here are a few more things to know about industrial digital transformation:
The Value of Innovation
Aside from the obvious value of keeping up with modern solutions, there are many benefits associated with digital innovation through the use of artificial intelligence, automation, augmented reality, and other manufacturing solutions. For example, according to McKinsey & Co., an industrial digital transformation strategy can lead to:
- 30% - 50% reduction in machine downtime.
- 10% - 30% increase in throughput.
- 15% - 30% improvement in labor productivity.
- 85% more accurate forecasting.
Other benefits include:
- Improved worker efficiency.
- Increased workplace safety.
- Streamlined communication at all levels of the organization.
- Simplified, effective management of big data.
- Reduced human error, downtime, and waste.
Challenges in Industrial Digital Transformation
While digital transformation has much to offer, it isn’t necessarily an easy process for the manufacturing industry. Consider these common hurdles to innovation:
- Tools: With so much digital technology to choose from, it can be difficult to know what to invest in and where to look for results.
- Cost: A poorly managed digitalization project can quickly become expensive. Worse yet, investment in the wrong tools can lead to reduced return on investment (ROI), which discourages stakeholders from trying more effective innovation techniques.
- IT risks: According to Fictiv, 55% of surveyed manufacturers cited concerns over the potential for IT security risks. In some cases, more digital technology leads to more security vulnerabilities, especially without the proper defenses and visibility tools in place.
- Updates: Digital initiatives are not a “one and done” project. It demands constant innovation, which leads many manufacturers to worry about the cost and scope of updates to come.
Benefits of a Digital Experience Platform in Industrial Transformation
It’s clear that the industrial digital transformation journey can be both incredibly rewarding and deeply challenging. To get more of the former and less of the latter, digital leaders turn to a DXP.
Digital experience platforms for manufacturers help simplify and streamline the transformation process. They act as a single source of truth — one tool to bring together the disparate systems, data sources, and users in your operation. Perhaps most importantly, they act as the framework you need to confidently and effectively organize your digital technology in ways that create visible value.
Let’s take a look at how a DXP can solve some common transformation challenges:
A Better Way to Acquire Tools
An effective platform can sit on top of your existing systems, creating an updated touchpoint that spans your entire organization. From there, you can easily integrate artificial intelligence, automation, and other solutions that gather data, simplify communication, streamline processes, and reduce downtime and human error.
Insight into ROI
Good DXPs have built-in analytics tools to help you understand how the platform is being used, where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and how your current or new technology is performing. This increases visibility and creates important insights into the benefits of digital transformation, putting ROI on display and giving stakeholders the clarity they need to set realistic expectations.
Low- or No-Code Architecture
Low- or no-code architecture makes it easy to upgrade your own platform or integrate new technology without waiting for IT support. Furthermore, fewer variables mean fewer security risks, giving you the peace of mind necessary to continue down the path to innovation.
Perhaps the most important benefit of a DXP for industrial digital transformation is its ability to connect people and technology. Partners, suppliers, employees, and even end customers can all be served through a manufacturing platform, enabling one consistent, convenient experience across all facets of your company. This doesn’t just build better experiences; it also empowers you to collaborate more effectively and create your own competitive edge.
Platforms at Work in Digital Transformation
A platform can contribute immensely to industrial digital transformation — but what do DXPs look like in practice? Here are just a few examples:
One way to use a DXP is as a dealer platform. These platforms create a digital workspace where manufacturers and dealers can collaborate, share data, review key information, and more.
This is exactly what MacDon, an agricultural equipment manufacturer, needed when it upgraded to Liferay DXP. The goal was to create a single interface where dealers could interact with MacDon in a straightforward, simple, and flexible environment, all without multiple logins or complex processes.
Results were impressive: Thanks to the improved dealer platform, dealers can now monitor purchase status, retrieve invoice data, check inventory, and more. The update also led to a 20% increase in sales and doubled the number of site visitors.
Another manufacturer — Mueller, Inc., which specializes in building materials — chose to plan their platform around self-service. Self-service opportunities come with a variety of benefits, optimizing the customer experience by allowing users to perform tasks on their own time. In this case, the manufacturer needed to simplify the sales process and provide a personalized product showcase, and self-service was the perfect solution.
The Liferay DXP allowed Mueller, Inc. to implement some of the most effective self-service features in the manufacturing industry. For example, customers can now try a 3D design tool that allows them to see their building come to life — and get a customized quote along the way. The platform creates internal benefits, too, using tools like complex workflow routing with Liferay Forms to send customers to the right Mueller, Inc. associates.
Manufacturing platforms don’t just come in dealer and self-service varieties. Instead, a platform like Liferay DXP allows you to customize features, functions, and services to create something that meets your unique digital transformation needs. You can:
- Leverage internal and external views.
- Create user-specific experiences to simplify interactions.
- Keep employees informed on key operational data.
- Build knowledge libraries for dealers, partners, end-users, workers, and other stakeholders.
- Integrate existing systems and third-party apps (like asset performance management systems) for increased visibility into the different parts of your operation.
Better yet, Liferay DXP can be a low- or no-code platform, which means you won’t have to wait for IT involvement to make these changes or update your processes. Your customized manufacturing platform can take any shape necessary to help you optimize your technology investments, utilize automation solutions, and make innovation a reality.
Master Digital Transformation with Liferay
There are many ways to approach industrial digital transformation, but a DXP is one of the simplest, most effective solutions. That’s because it harnesses all your digital technology in one unified touchpoint — a single view of the truth. A platform can also help you connect with dealers, customers, and other partners, providing tools like self-service and personalized profiles to make your company stand out in the manufacturing market.
To begin your digital transformation, your first step is to find a platform that suits your needs. Explore Liferay’s DXP today to see how we can help you reach digital success.