By Nicholas Ismail, Global Head of Brand Journalism, HCL Technologies Ltd.
Most industries are still experiencing the disruption, and at times chaos, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, great resignation phenomenon and lately the war in Ukraine. The challenges of remote work and global uncertainty have been exacerbated by the Great Resignation, a direct result of the pandemic, with a significant proportion of the workforce re-evaluating their priorities when it comes to their careers.
This disruption to the norm has placed “the entire supply chain into disarray, because of an increase in the cost of raw materials and transmissions, on top of a workforce shortage,” said Shankar Gopalkrishnan, Senior Vice President – Manufacturing & Utilities Vertical at HCL Technologies.
The war in Ukraine has also impacted the interconnectedness of the global supply chain system, which has directly impacted the Manufacturing industry.
For example, access to items like Neon or Palladium, which are critical for sensor manufacturing, have been disrupted and “that is having a significant impact in the consumer goods segment,” added Gopalkrishnan.
“The Automotive industry is also experiencing shortages of wiring harness [due to the ongoing conflict],” he said.
The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have highlighted a very complex problem with the global supply chain that has existed for a long time. Its interconnected nature means that any disruption in one part of the world is going to cause significant operations disruption in the other.
“There is no easy solution to this problem of globalization,” said Gopalkrishnan.
Globalization to Glocalization
To address some of the challenges of globalization, governments and businesses are increasingly focusing on glocalization – the strategy of international organizations adapting their methods, products, or services to suit and be influenced by local markets.
To adopt glocalization strategies, Gopalkrishnan explained that “a fundamental change in the entire ecosystem is needed. It will require significant investment in time, people, and money to make this happen.”
He continued: “Governments and industries need to bring in new policies to increase their supply chain resilience, build the necessary infrastructure and risk mitigation strategies to stress the global supply chain on a periodic basis.”
To do this and mitigate supply chain disruption, it is important that organizations in the Manufacturing industry invest in resilient solutions and digital technologies.
Embracing digital in Manufacturing
Digitization has formed the backbone of Manufacturing for a long time. These processes, combined with continuous improvement and development philosophies, have been routinely used to run operations.
Adopting these methods has helped companies drive operational excellence and maintain efficiency. However, not wanting to stand still, the key to moving forward is to become more resilient, innovative, market driven, and customer focused.
According to Gopalkrishnan: “This is where IT and Operational Technology (OT) integration, as well as Industry 4.0 principles are required. There is an absolute need for near real time information that provides detailed insights on various performances, which also brings in analytics to assist in the overall decision-making process across the entire manufacturing supply chain. These companies need to become data-driven organizations.”
He continued: “By leveraging analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud, blockchain and other similar solutions, organizations can build robust supply chains and resiliency solutions that significantly improve productivity levels.
“There is also a benefit in Manufacturing organizations building digital technologies into their products to bring value added services, such as servitization.”
Creating a digital roadmap: driven by partnerships
The fundamental goal for Manufacturing organizations is to have a digital strategy and plan in place. The next step is to establish a digital roadmap that plots certain technology priorities for digital initiatives that align to the business’ goals.
Becoming a digital-ready enterprise is a significant undertaking, because it requires a fundamental shift from traditional business processes, that are often siloed.
To do this, organizations need to instill a culture change, “which is powered by modernizing legacy and application environments,” said Gopalkrishnan.
“There is a need to bring in an agile and optimized operating model that can generate cost savings which can further fund their digital transformation,” he added.
However, while many companies realize the importance of becoming digital and more data-driven, many of them still lack the experience to build the digital roadmap and execute it. Organizations need a trusted partner.
The importance of working with a partner for digital ambitions is accelerated by the existing technology and engineering talent gap.
“There is a lack of strong resources around areas like data architecture, data science, and cybersecurity, which is required to drive the latest technologies,” continued Gopalkrishnan.
“Working with large partners and service integrators can help organizations overcome this challenge and build and deliver a digital roadmap for transformation success,” he said.
To find out more about how your organization can embrace digital in Manufacturing, visit HCL’s MVision framework