Rather than haphazardly employing every digital program all at once, creating a digital strategy ensures that you choose the best tools for your company and use them in a way that empowers rather than overwhelms your reliability engineers.
In this post, I’ll briefly unpack why I think you need a digital strategy, and in my next post, I’ll give you five steps to develop your own plan.
There are an abundance of strategies out there, so why do you need a digital one? As we mentioned before, digital tools are quickly determining the way companies manufacture just about everything.
Take for example, advanced predictive maintenance (PdM), which enables machines to warn you before a problem occurs. Studies show that employing PdM has the potential to increase companies’ asset availability by 5 to 15 percent, and reduce maintenance costs by 18 to 25 percent.
Digitized sites and plants now communicate across online networks in real time. This means companies can “react during production to the availability of certain raw materials based on price, quality and other factors for optimal efficiency.” This real-time communication empowers teams to adjust almost instantaneously to outside circumstances, saving them energy and resources.
Digital technology has also given engineers on many plants the ability to create virtual twin replicas of their production lines to test and contrast new ideas, as well as tweak current methods. These digital simulations allow them to quickly find the most efficient processes without requiring any hard costs.
These tools are creating more sustainable solutions by reducing waste, improving communication across teams, and helping companies find the most efficient means to manufacture the highest quality products. Virtual, networked tools have been proven to increase productivity, but they also allow your reliability engineers to focus on more complicated or critical problems while technology handles the rest.
Bottom line: If you’re a manager or leader in the manufacturing industry who plans to recruit and retain reliability engineers in today’s environment, you must think digitally.
Why a Strategy?
As we’ve seen, digital technology is the future of reliability engineering. The way to set yourself apart is by using this technology in a strategic way that is both progressive yet realistic, innovative yet practical.
In talking with manufacturing leaders, I’ve learned that most recognize the need to take advantage of the digital realm, but they simply don’t know where to start. That’s why you need a strategy.
A digital strategy provides a disciplined structure to using digital tools that is tailored for your specific company or team. In creating a strategy, you evaluate a number of important aspects of your company, take stock of your current position, and make necessary adjustments. You then determine which initiatives should be pursued, set goals within an outlined roadmap, and prescribe the means to accomplish those goals.
Two of my favorite philosophers argued for the importance of planning and strategy, albeit in slightly different ways: