Here’s Why Manufacturers Struggle With Digital Transformation

digital transformation pain points

Here’s Why Manufacturers Struggle With Digital Transformation

The IMPACT Smart Manufacturing Summit brings C-Suite leaders and globally-recognized exhibitors together in a unique, invitation-only trade show twice a year. RhinoDox CEO, Justin Ullman, and Senior Account Executive Robert Heimdal exhibited at the Las Vegas show May 19-21.


Digital transformation continues to have an outsized impact on companies in every industry around the globe. But, at this year’s IMPACT Smart Manufacturing Summit, we heard a lot of the same things we heard a year ago. That tells us there are still a number of challenges regarding workflow automation, communication and document discovery that aren’t getting solved. It also means that the manufacturers who address these challenges sooner will have an unfair competitive advantage over their competition.

Here’s the rest of what we heard at the IMPACT Summit. If any of it sounds familiar, schedule a call today to discuss high-ROI, easy to implement solutions with RhinoDox.


Manufacturers Think of Technology as an All or Nothing Project

Manufacturers typically take on big, move heaven and earth technology projects or they do nothing. The big ah-ha moment is when people realize they can actually eat this rhino one bite at a time.

Every manufacturer has supply chain problems and many are thinking about the factory of the future and Industry 4.0, which are big next-level concepts. A lot of people are already talking about taking these large processes and breaking them down into tasks, which we preach all the time with people who should create replicable steps that are digitized and automated.


Manufacturers Waste a lot of Time Looking for Their Own Information

We talked to a lot of manufacturers about shared drives, documentation across departments, (ISO) audit issues, supply chain communication issues, silos, and lost productivity on the shop floor (due to poor integration). Basically, they spend a lot of time looking for information.


Manufacturers Understand the Concept of the “Digital Twin”

There’s a physical way we do things in a factory. The concept of lean helps manufacturers streamline–or cut the unnecessary and unhealthy fat from those processes. The “digital twin” is the digital equivalent of that.

“Everyone gets the concept of lean on the factory floor. The opportunity is to think about the computer screen as the factory floor and how to drive inefficiencies and waste out of there. And then there is paper. That’s the equivalent of using a hammer and chisel as opposed to using a CNC machine in your shop.”

Justin Ullman – RhinoDox CEO

For example, the typical process to get a quote out the door is to use email or physically walk across the factory in person to go through revisions, approvals, inputs. Email is a terrible workflow tool. It lacks transparency has a high degree of uncertainty as to the “One Source of Truth”. Look at the paths people take to get things like this done. They tend to be inconsistent, if not tribal knowledge at some point. So, much of what we provide is knowledge management and communication automation so the left-hand knows what the right hand is doing, which saves time and increases productivity.


Many Available Platforms Don’t Do Communication and Workflow Very Well

We discovered a lot of the available PLM, PDM, and ERP platforms are either underkill or overkill. They fail to address the real, everyday problems manufacturers are facing.

Almost everyone has a weekly meeting between sales, customer service, and operations. To know what’s going on in the company, we have to gather a bunch of people around a table to give updates. If that information could be a self-service, we could use that extra hour of everyone’s time to get a quote out the door faster, answer a customer’s inquiry faster, get a product shipped faster, etc.


Manufacturers Are Paralyzed By The Way Things Have Always Been Done

One conversation we had involved a company developing a handbook for their onboarding process and it was taking forever. But, that’s the sort of project that could be implemented in an afternoon, maybe two days with user testing. They’re all paralyzed by the fact that things have always been done a certain way and they have to keep a number of plates spinning.


How Can Manufacturers Get Started in Digital Transformation?

We know manufacturers are invested in move heaven and earth projects or nothing at all. Unfortunately, that mindset doesn’t end up minimizing the overhead time they’re spending on the pitfalls of bad communication. They need to identify the low-hanging fruit.

“We encourage manufacturers to start by finding tasks inside processes in areas like Sales, Engineering, Operations, or Customer Service where they’re using manual processes for doing certain things. That could be executing contracts, facilitating communication with their offshore contract manufacturing source, or managing purchase orders and change requests, or something else. Then we encourage them to start by automating and digitizing even just one of those processes and its related task and documents and then see how quickly the benefits are realized.

Zach Debelak – RhinoDox Senior Vice President of Product

IMPACT Smart Manufacturing Summit Wrap-Up

Every person gave us some specific problem that they’re struggling with, whether it was having all of their content on a shared drive, using Excel files and emails, FDA regulated and related auditing issues, supply chain communication. It all deals with communication, visibility regarding where things are so you can find information when you need it.

Everyone has these continuous improvement projects, which is where RhinoDox helps. Emotionally, they feel the pain. They field a lot of questions and spend a lot of time looking for information. But, they don’t realize how it drags down the business. We give people the technology and the tools to quickly implement continuous improvement (especially in their computer screen) and let them take it in small bites.

Work With RhinoDox Today!

If any of these issues sound familiar, contact us today to speak with a RhinoDox consultant. We’re here to help your organization streamline processes and digitize your workflow. Contact us today to get started!