Digital Transformation Is Necessary, Even For The Most Traditional Industries
For many traditional, labor-intensive industries, the rapid digitalization of the world and the professional sphere is a situation that is difficult to embrace but one we must face. Digital transformation is usually a long and tough process. It requires a clear strategic vision, open-minded employees who are ready for change and sufficient digital-savvy workers in the company. Certain industries — usually, industries with many physical assets such as manufacturing — find it more difficult than others to make the digital leap.
With the onset of the pandemic, which brought about changes to all aspects of life, including our work, digital transformation sped up for all industries. The traditionally labor-intensive manufacturing industry in particular felt the big digital push.
As an individual from the industry, here are three reasons why I believe digital transformation is necessary, especially in the context of the current pandemic, or the “new normal” as we know it:
1. Covering For Labor Shortage In Traditional Industries
From an electronics manufacturing standpoint, Industry 4.0 is not critical simply because of quality improvements, traceability and increasingly minuscule electronic components, but also because of labor shortages.
With technological developments, there is higher demand from employees for flexible work arrangements and from companies for knowledgeable workers. In turn, skill-related manual labor is in shortage. Simply put, not many want to do manual labor anymore. Add aging populations into the mix and the labor issue is exacerbated. China, for example, is facing such a labor shortage issue. Despite its 1.4 billion population, its aging populace means that labor-intensive industries are forced to turn to automation in order to remain functional.
To address this problem, the Chinese government’s latest five-year plan, covering 2021-2025, aims to promote automation in the manufacturing industry. With automation becoming increasingly economical and subsequent returns on investment for machinery being reflected within six to nine months in China, digital transformation on the production floor is a fast reality that is welcomed by the labor-short industry.
2. Digitalization For Uninterrupted Processes And Communication
Another operational benefit of digitalization is the associated efficiency for internal processes and communication, especially in large international companies where processes tend to be bureaucratic and paper-based and communication is difficult across time zones.
In a time when paper-based communication and manual processes can be severely impeded with abrupt global disruptions, digitalization is necessary to ensure the continued and smooth running of the business. It is for this very reason that my company has quickly adapted to virtual communication platforms during the period of social distancing, which has become an accepted practice in the current “new normal.” This quick embrace of technology has allowed our internal authorization processes and communication between international teams to take place despite disruptions that limit physical presence or interactions.
With some experts in epidemiology and virology already warning that Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic we face, it is time for traditional industries to embrace technology and equip themselves with the tools to respond quickly to changes and crises.
3. Digital Marketing For Greater Reach And Visibility
One such digital response to changes brought about by the pandemic is the adoption of digital marketing by companies. Many international businesses used to rely on international travel and face-to-face interactions to communicate and coordinate projects with their customers, partners and coworkers. The grinding halt that the pandemic has put on these activities has been keenly felt. Major trade shows that companies used to visit were canceled, postponed or held virtually in 2021. The CES trade show, one of the most significant in the electronics industry, managed to take place physically in Las Vegas this year.
However, it experienced a 75% drop in visitor numbers in comparison to pre-pandemic levels. It comes as no surprise that my company, along with many others, turned toward digital marketing, considering the circumstances.
To begin, you can make use of social media channels to keep your employees engaged and to communicate updates to your business partners. Secondly, you can also turn to blog posts and articles to share relevant information with your engaged community. So long to physical materials such as brochures and leaflets.
What I gleaned from this new approach is that digital marketing allows you to engage with your audience in ways you may not have before. It also allows you to reach individuals who were previously outside of your physical reach. The level of awareness and engagement digital marketing can achieve is undoubtedly a key benefit of embracing technology in your work, even for a traditional B2B industry like the one I belong to.
Into The Digital Era
Digital transformation is necessary, even for the most traditional industries. Such a transformation can not only improve operational processes but also expand your potential customer base beyond that which is physically accessible or proximate to you. I have no doubt technology will continue to evolve and advance. The level of transformation that technology can bring to businesses of all sizes and sectors is definitely one worth anticipating. What you need to consider is the type of change technology will bring to your business, whether you are ready — in terms of in-house resources and capabilities — for it and how you may preserve that human element in a service-providing business.
This article originally appeared on forbes.com, to read the full article, click here.
Nastel Technologies is the global leader in Integration Infrastructure Management (i2M). It helps companies achieve flawless delivery of digital services powered by integration infrastructure by delivering tools for Middleware Management, Monitoring, Tracking, and Analytics to detect anomalies, accelerate decisions, and enable customers to constantly innovate, to answer business-centric questions, and provide actionable guidance for decision-makers. It is particularly focused on IBM MQ, Apache Kafka, Solace, TIBCO EMS, ACE/IIB and also supports RabbitMQ, ActiveMQ, Blockchain, IOT, DataPower, MFT, IBM Cloud Pak for Integration and many more.
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