“Digital” has become the new normal in both individual and organizational profiles. The “Go Digital” was in the air for the past decade but covid has given the concept a swift momentum. Organizations started creating visions and missions keeping the digital pillars in the system. The way digital created the business transformation in a few sectors gave inspiration to others for “Digital Transformation”. Manufacturing is no exception to this, and the industry has already started working on some digital innovations and solutions.

The industry 4.0 revolution is not just technology enablement for the factories. To adopt digital manufacturing there should be a clear vision and goal identifying the necessity. This concept of digital manufacturing is not just a decision made by the management, but it also demands a contribution from the team from the technician level.

The leadership has a clear understanding of the concept of digital manufacturing and its applicability to their factory. The making of Digital Twin should not just be understood and promoted as a brand pride factor. The leadership team and the management should have a clear understanding of What is Digital Manufacturing? A long-term goal should be identified for adopting digital transformation. The leadership team should ensure that the digital goals are aligned with business goals.

A vision statement should be prepared with the identified digital transformation goals. It is always recommended to study the existing system with respect to the following aspects before preparing the goals.

1.     What is our current digital status!?

This is applicable to both infrastructure and manpower. What level of digitization is already implemented in the plant!? What are the automation and digital twins built in silos or integrated models? How effectively is the existing system working and what are the key results delivered from the current digital systems. Whether the digitization is left a digital shadow or true digital transformation models are created.


2.     What is our pain/gain points?

When we are adopting digital solutions we should ensure thoughts and vision are falling in at least in one of the portions of either pains or gains.  The identification of the problem you are solving with digital transformation is very vital for adaptability. The outcomes of the digital twinning and the gain model should be realistic and preferably in numbers for easy evaluation.


3.     What are the solutions and best practices?

One must understand digital transformation is not the solution for everything. Thinking “Can the problem be solved with Digital Solutions!” may lead you in the right direction. Exercise on the available solutions and technologies in the market. Evaluate if, the solution can address your pain or gain points in full or partial.  Calculate the capital investment they invite. Determine accurately when would be the return on investment. Most importantly examine if the solution is adaptable to our environment.


4.     Resource readiness & culture development!?

Digital is swiftly changing its shape and technology requirements in the market. We should understand the skill set our team currently has and what are the skill sets required to match our digital transformation goals. We should also ensure the culture and harmony doesn’t get disturbed and team should be able to see it as an opportunity instead of a threat. Keeping a responsible in-house digital team is recommended though consultant engagement is needed.


5.     POC & Agile models

Any new journey is to be predicted as adventurous and no exception for digital transformation. Take one step at a time with clear milestones and short-term goals. This will give you an opportunity to experiment and quickly change the plan if things are not working as desired. Adopt agile methodologies with measurable outputs. Group companies may pick a pilot plant or factory for Proof of concept and understand the journey. This way we keep hold on our investment and cost sheet and keep observing the burning factors.


Digital Manufacturing goals always should be more realistic than fantasy. The rule of digital twinning everything may not be true and necessary in every case. Use the solution as per requirement and not as per the availability. Team comfort and culture development for digital manufacturing and training them on it are very vital for successful implementation. Digital Manufacturing should be driven by leaders, powered by management, and engaged & embraced by executives.