The continued digital transformation of the manufacturing industry has made operations easier for workers on the floor, plant managers, and supervisors alike. While digitization enables workers on the floor to be more efficient and even safer, technology also helps plant managers and supervisors get real-time information about how the factory is performing, from identifying the smallest of microstops to recognizing a second’s delay in equipment start-time.
While all of this is great news for people within a manufacturing organization, the digital transformation of the customer experience has been significant. Organizations are now using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to put themselves ahead with their customers.
What’s the connection between digital transformation and customer experience?
Connecting the dots between factory digital transformation and a better customer experience is easy. Using convenient cloud technology, smart sensors, and a Wi-Fi connection, manufacturers around the world are getting real-time, real-life pictures of how their factories are operating, from overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) to line worker performance.
This means identifying the smallest of microstops, measuring equipment actual performance against it’s calibrated, and recognizing when a floor employee doesn’t complete manual processes as quickly or as efficiently as they can. All of this leads to better customer service.
Today’s digital factory technology can help improve your customer service by:
- Preventing late deliveries
- Improving attainment
- Giving customers a market edge if there’s a shortage
- Predicting outcomes more accurately
- Providing a higher-quality product at a better price
How can your digital factory improve the customer experience?
Too many organizations try to increase factory performance to no avail. Or maybe they can’t determine exactly why unplanned downtime is never low enough. These are just two factors that can lead to bad outcomes like late deliveries and poor-quality products.
If you consistently present your customers with these problems, they’re taking those problems and making them worse along down the supply chain. If they can find someone else to give them what they need, when they need it, and at the right price—they’ll do business with them.
The digital transformation of manufacturing has given factories a huge advantage. Using IIoT cloud technology has turned digital factories into lean, efficient, and more profitable operations.
Let’s look at three crucial digital factory technology elements that will help you make the most of your digital transformation customer experience.
1. Real-time dashboards: The secret to improving the customer experience
The only way to find out how well your factory equipment is operating is to monitor every second. And the only way to do this is by using a digital sensor that you can connect directly to your equipment that interfaces immediately with cloud-based software that gives you a real-time dashboard. With this type of instant information available on the digital shop floor, your team gets more accurate, timely data to empower them to make the best decisions.
When your people are empowered to identify what’s holding back progress, they’ll be able to pivot, adjust, and make smarter factory decisions, which will only improve the customer experience.
For example, if a factory is having issues meeting KPIs for production attainment, customers aren’t getting what they need when they need. This can impact the entire supply chain, including—especially—price. If a factory’s customers can’t provide their customers with on-time, quality products at the price they need, they’ll find another factory who can. In today’s IIoT world, you’re likely to have a competitor who is using digital transformation technology to tighten up factory floor operations.
2. A smart software platform that shows opportunities for continuous improvement
Real-time dashboards are a crucial aspect to any smart software platform. These cloud-based platforms store and organize your factory floor data so workers can make meaningful changes to ensure that customers are never let down. When your customers are forced to make negative business decisions because you failed to meet their needs, it’s a devastating customer experience.
A central post-production intelligence system keeps everyone on the same page and helps drive better, more productive decisions. However, if the software isn’t flexible enough for your operational needs, it won’t get the results you want for your customers’ experiences.
3. Custom reporting: Better predictions to head-off shortages and supply chain bottlenecks
Custom reporting, where factory managers can organize and view industry and company specific information, can be a secret weapon when it comes to supply chain shortages.
Most cloud-based software available to the manufacturing industry involves some sort of reporting. To make reporting easier on managers, there are often built-in reports that almost any factory could use. But digital factory software should include custom reporting. With custom reporting, factory managers can organize and view industry and company specific information.
When competitors are hurting their own customer experiences by not digitizing, or using too many manual digital processes, they won’t have the knowledge to predict shortages and bottlenecks so they can pivot to avoid them. Using smart factory analytics, manufacturers can use data to better predict potential shortages, so when most other factories cannot meet a sudden supply chain need, your organization can gain a competitive edge by using factory-floor data that predicted the shift.
4. High-quality digital connection device that collects all factory data
Whether a manufacturer is going from completely manual processes or manual digital processes, the switch to high-performing smart factory software is a continuous improvement game-changer. Factories can meet their KPIs and be on time with not just enough of a product, but enough of a high-quality product at a competitive price.
The software platform you choose for your factory will need top-notch hardware to collect all of the intel you need to make smarter decisions. This is the hub that collects the info you need to link all of your production systems. Before you invest in software, make sure the hardware that comes with it can keep up with your needs. You’ll want to look for a solution that has a collection device that can:
- Perform batch processing
- Measure cycle time, setup time, and downtime
- Use continuous processing
- Measure production speed, number of rejects, and downtime
- Track overproduction in real time
The simplest route to maximizing the customer experience is using smart factory solutions.
When it comes to what digital solutions can do for your factory’s customer experience, we’re just getting started. The benefits are both large and small, and they touch on every aspect of manufacturing from operational oversight to on-the-floor performance.
Using Worximity’s automatic data collection, monitoring software, and manufacturing analytics is the simplest way to enjoy the benefits of being a smart factory. When factories use Worximity’s Tile+ sensors in concert with Tilelytics real-time data analytics—all powered by our TileConnect data collection device—they see bottom-line changing results.
Get more information about what becoming a digital factory can mean for your organization’s customer experience. Download our Smart Factory Analytics e-book now.