Why is Digital Transformation Important in Manufacturing?
The digital world has been a part of our lives for a long time. In business life, everyone has at least one smartphone and computer and uses the internet. In our opinion, the two actors that started this transformation are the internet and mobile phones. With the Internet, the world can quickly access information and share information easily. In addition, they can access any applications, software, or real people with their mobile phone anytime, anywhere. When we sent an SMS message from our mobile phone to someone we wanted, we pioneered the conversion. At the end of this process that started at the end of the 1990s, we have acquired many technological devices such as smart buildings, refrigerators with display, and coffee machines with remote control.
In short, we live with technologies today. Technology has improved so much that chips can now be placed even on cows. Apps on our mobile phones can tell us the nearest parking lot or even another app that can follow our diet. We are so used to living with such applications now that we have made this technology our lifestyle. The sense of “being a part of the majority” of the mass production approach has been replaced by the concept of “products produced for me, tailored to me and adapting to me”.
Nowadays, we expect to place an order as soon as possible and to receive the product the next day. When we have any complaints, we would like to communicate them immediately and receive the necessary attention immediately. Otherwise, we may switch to another manufacturer or service provider instantly. Of course, these facilities have arisen due to the concept of speed brought about by digitalization. In the past, maybe it was necessary to write a petition, send it and wait for the result. We could go out of the house to go shopping, go shopping and waste time.
Now, we can spend those times on other productive jobs and shop online quickly. This shopping can be at our door whenever we want. When we investigate all these from the perspective of a manufacturer-independent of scale and industry, we see that the conditions of competition are getting more and more difficult as a result of the globalization brought about by the internet. However, we can easily analyze that new approaches are brought to the agenda in business models.
Today, being able to deliver a product to the customer in the fastest, best quality and least costly way emerges as one of the most important strengths. In this case too, quality, speed, and cost must be measurable. With the mass production of the same product on the production line, the presence of personalized products appears as an inevitable need of the new world. Another important factor is to be able to foresee the product that the market will need before your competitors with the ability to collect and analyze data, to gain the ability to create designs accordingly, and to take part in the market before competitors.
Ecommerce in New World
Online traceability production stages and direct communication between the customer and the manufacturer will become more and more important. For a digital transformation example, suppose you go to a vehicle manufacturer dealer. You will be able to choose from the vehicles available there or in the catalog. You will choose the color of the car you will buy according to the color scale in the catalog. Instead, it will be a more preferable option to go to the manufacturer's website and design your vehicle according to your specifications and configuration, and that your vehicle will be delivered and delivered to your door a week later. In today's conditions, it is not impossible to design your shoes in a way that suits your clothes that you will wear on that day and to remove this shoe from your 3D printer.
For example, suppose you are a white goods retailer. Let's assume that the customer using the smart refrigerator you produced guess before the refrigerator breaks down and send the service. Customer satisfaction will be very high here. In the past, we could call for service when the refrigerator had a malfunction, which would cause us not to use our refrigerator for a long time. Now that the refrigerator gives pre-failure warnings, problems can be solved without any problems. Companies that do not instantly capture the customer's complaint and produce the necessary solution should also bear the consequences. The more digital and fast businesses can be, the more easily they can develop. If you cannot do these, your customer will prefer another manufacturer that is located in another part of the world and can realize these.
Thanks to the internet, it has become easy to reach not only one country but also all over the world. For example, we can buy a product that is not currently available in our country from a foreign country. Companies that cannot achieve this, that is, do not comply with the digital order, will fall behind in the market. The report issued to the decision-maker cannot be up-to-date in a business that has systems that cannot collect and evaluate instant data and that do not work integrated. Since collecting data with digital infrastructure is very fast, perhaps an employee's 1-week job can be made feasible in one day. Data collection that is not done through the system may be erroneous. Therefore, digitalization should be present in absolutely every company.
So, what will happen when the new generation called “technology native” born and living with technology becomes your employee?
To get the efficiency you want from technology natives, you need to digitalize your processes and working environment as much as possible. Children born with tablets and children born far from technology cannot do a job in the same way. Waiting for a technology resident to memorize commands related to software he uses while doing his job, asking him to do routine work, or running with paper and pencil will be the old generation management methods. Working environments blended with technology, revealing creativity, not being foreign, and immediately are among the sine qua non of the management approach that wants to be successful in the digital world.
To sum up; If we want to adapt to the changing customer, employee, and world market profile, we have to be able to embrace, grasp and turn digital transformation into a chance.
How Should the Digital Transformation Strategy in the Industry Be?
Most of the businesses use 10-15-year-old machines. The majority work with old machines and do not have new technologies. Events such as products that these machines produce incorrectly and human errors involved create disadvantages for the company. We can instantly learn from the machine operator how many hours the machines work, how much raw material they produce, how much product they produce, and what is waste. The information we receive from the operator may be wrong and it may take days to receive that information. On the other hand, is conveyed to senior management, whether it is true or not. It is necessary to set up a system to analyze the report and collect the data and receive instant information. Thus, we can measure the efficiency of the machine and even the machine operator.
Even when a bulk order is received from a customer, "I wonder if it is enough or not?" and "Should we make this order now?" Analysis time of such questions will be shortened. Let's assume that robot technologies are being used. These robotic technologies minimize the error and also produce more products with less raw materials. We can intervene in the machines remotely by phone. We can reveal how much raw material is needed. Thanks to robot technologies, there will be no human errors, so there will be cost-cutting situations.
To implement digitalization, first of all, market analysis is required. Digital infrastructure should be created according to market analysis. Machines must be connected and data can be collected. Being aware of and applying technological developments will bring companies to a more advantageous position against their competitors and they will be preferred companies. Companies using the latest technology exhibit more efficient work and are very successful in speed.
Examples of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
High volume, high speed, and highly variable data require innovative solutions for processing. Examples of data types to be used; Information from sensors, production parameters, waste and quality control measurements, supply and sales transaction records, customer feedback records, internet statistics, and social media publications can be displayed. Big data projects; can be used in the fields of production, planning, stock, tracking, procurement, marketing, management, and decision support, logistics, and energy use. This technology will be very helpful to companies because it provides us reports on topics such as raw material number, uptime, and yield.
Internet of Things
Things are a system that enables the communication between interconnected physical objects (machines, robots, tools, sensors, actuators, controllers) and increases the level of digitalization by performing data transfer infrastructure from these objects to central databases and cloud systems. With the software solutions on the servers, the current and old data are evaluated and the actions related to the objects are implemented. While these activities are sometimes in the form of informing or warning the relevant users, sometimes they may result in physical changes such as motor movement, switching, and differentiation of environmental conditions in production systems. Internet of Things application project; It can be used in the fields of monitoring and control of production processes, stock control, quality control, logistics, and energy use.
Industrial robots are automatic, reprogrammable, and multipurpose manipulator devices with three or more programmable axes, which can be fixed or dynamic, used in industrial applications. These robots are used for transporting, assembling, disassembling, sorting, cleaning, polishing, cutting, riveting, and so on. It is used in welding, painting, stocking, loading, unloading, casting, control, and measurement automation. Industrial robots can also provide efficiency in energy use. In addition, they can perform work in dangerous places. Industrial robots; can be used in the fields of production, control, testing, measurement, stock or loading, unloading, and energy use.
Smart Sensors are low-cost sensors with a bidirectional communication interface, that can directly analyze the perceived data, easily integrate it into machines. Smart sensors; can be used in subjects such as adapting a process to a rapidly evolving situation, increasing productivity, fault management, machine performance management, and industrial automation applications. Smart sensor projects; can be used in the areas of monitoring and control of production and/or stock entry-exit processes, energy use, loading, unloading, maintenance, and error prevention.
Cybersecurity is a technology that protects networks, computers, programs, and data from cyber-attacks. For example, data from machines and devices in the production system can be kept accessible only to authorized persons. Data can be secured and data accuracy can be determined. Cybersecurity technology projects; can be used in the fields of production, procurement, marketing, management, and decision support, and logistics.
Artificial Intelligence is a technology that can imitate human intelligence. Thanks to artificial intelligence technologies, cyber-physical systems can become autonomous. In manufacturing, AI can be used to fully or partially autonomously convert data from processes and sensors into preventive actions. In addition, data-based autonomous error prevention, predictive maintenance, robotic process automation, data-based autonomous inventory control can also be performed. Artificial intelligence projects; can be used in the fields of production, monitoring, and control of processes, planning, flexible and smart manufacturing, digital process management, inventory management, maintenance, and energy use, and fault detection.
Intelligent and Flexible Automation Systems
It is a control mechanism capable of producing and testing different products from the same group without human intervention in businesses with a large variety of products? Materials move in automatic conveyors or conveyors under the control of the host computer. For example, the product on the production line can be detected with label sensors. Smart and flexible automation systems projects; can be used in the fields of production, testing, quality control, and energy use.
Virtual Reality Technology
VR Technology is to be in a digital environment with sound and images transmitted by a computer. So how is virtual reality used in the manufacturing industry? Simulation can be carried out for vocational training in risky areas or subjects with high trial costs. Simulations of technical operations such as assembly and maintenance can also be provided. Virtual reality technology projects; can be used in product design, production training, testing, and quality control areas.
Application Areas of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
Increased Production Area
It ensures that problems are recognized and addressed before they arise to gain more insight into the production floor, ensure quality control, adjust uptime and improve maintenance planning.
Intelligent Supply Chain Management
Sensors provide inventory tracking and process automation.
Reduced Total Cost of Ownership
Smart grid technology reduces power consumption; the Internet of Things predicts and optimizes heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and load balancing.
Facilitated Human Resources
It means continuous analysis, risk assessment, and process coordination. Fewer field service calls are targeted. Remote monitoring, diagnosis, and proactive equipment maintenance are performed. It allows teams to focus on value-adding activities by reducing routine work.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Sensor networks and machine learning increase the energy and material efficiency of factories. It also offers better monitoring of outputs to ensure regulatory compliance.
Interdisciplinary collaboration requires improving data flow between facility systems and business applications. Thus, product development teams can easily access production line data. Manufacturing engineering can digitally pre-test processes to minimize error and speed time to market.
It is necessary to add links to products. This allows manufacturers to launch a core-featured product and recursively add advanced features through firmware updates.
Smart factory optimizations provide more efficient operational results, new business opportunities, cost savings, and increased revenue.