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Digital factory: Cracking the code to success


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Manufacturers are on a quest to establish the Digital Factory of the future.
Some have made significant progress; however, many haven’t. Those manufacturers are at risk of being left behind as the race heats up and digital leaders parlay their strategic and operational advantage into stronger financial performance. To keep pace, manufacturers must take a much more strategic, targeted approach to their adoption of digital based on an understanding the business outcomes they seek and the specific digital enablers that are best suited to help deliver them.



Most manufacturers are losing the race to build the digital factory of the future because they are falling short in several key areas:

  • They simply aren’t embracing digital robustly enough; specifically, they are not adopting the right digital technologies.

  • They aren’t aligning their investments to specific desired business outcomes and don’t fully understand the benefits the technology they are implementing will deliver.

  • They struggle to address the non-technical factors related to digital adoption, which collectively far overshadow technology issues as the biggest challenges in digital transformation.

  • They haven’t determined how digital will impact their talent needs, business processes, organizational structure and other key dimensions of their operating model.

  • Despite aggressive hiring, they continue to have large skills gaps in key workforces—including the digital skills that are necessary to position themselves well for manufacturing in the digital age.


Manufacturers must move away from developing a “digital strategy” and, instead, create a manufacturing strategy that’s informed and enabled by a new generation of digital.

  • That starts with being very clear about the primary business outcomes the company desires and then formulating its manufacturing strategy accordingly.

  • Within the manufacturing strategy, the company should articulate key areas of investment and operational improvement required to deliver the business outcome.

  • It’s only at this point that a company can precisely select digital technologies—those that have a proven track record in generating the type of improvement the company seeks.