Connectivity: Foundation of Digital-First Manufacturing


Today, manufacturers that embrace digitalization have a unique opportunity to surge ahead of their competition. Advanced digital technologies have become essential for any organization to navigate disruption — and the more severe the disruption, the bigger the potential benefits of digital tools.

Manufacturers are accustomed to modernizing to meet shifting conditions in their business, operational and regulatory environments. Typically, these upgrades have stopped short of full adoption of digital technologies. Overall, manufacturing has lagged behind other sectors on digital transformation. Poor data connectivity is a common reason many manufacturers have yet to realize significant benefits from digitalization. This problem is not always obvious. Improvements to production automation and workflow require immediate access to rich data from several sources. The underlying network must be extremely fast, reliable and scalable to support advanced software and hardware. This increases agility, helping manufacturers respond immediately to supply chain fluctuations.

A new survey by Supply Chain Dive’s studioID and Comcast Business reveals that supply chain disruptions are the top challenge faced by a wide range of manufacturing businesses — ahead of cost control, efficiency, labor shortages and other serious concerns. A robust data network is the foundation of any technological solution to supply chain challenges, from 3D printing to real-time monitoring and analytics. It’s also needed to support solutions that involve artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Therefore, the first step toward realizing the full advantages of digitalization is to assess and upgrade the manufacturer’s existing data network.

This playbook explores how manufacturers view their future needs for automation and agility. How do they evaluate data networks, and what are their strategies to maintain the flow of data needed to achieve business and operational goals?

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Manufacturers have new needs for automation and agility

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