A Digital Transformation Journey: Implementing Digital Technologies to Unlock New Opportunities

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In the aftermath of the pandemic, the UK manufacturing sector has experienced a resurgence of interest and renewed ambition in the application of digital technologies, but this time, with less cynicism and hype.

This can be largely attributed to the publication of many excellent accounts on how manufacturing businesses have either maintained, adapted, or enhanced their operations by leveraging digital technologies. From the application of collaboration software to connect remote teams, to the adoption of greater levels of automation to deal with a ‘lights out’ production scenario, in the past 18 months, digital technologies have been leveraged to enable better collaboration, intelligence, efficiency, transparency and risk management in manufacturing.

Across the majority of manufacturers, the embrace of these technologies has been motivated by the need to survive, but for many, it has created new opportunities to thrive. As COVID-19 retreats and we adjust to working under the ‘new normal’, many businesses are continuing with their digital journeys. Many manufacturers are now rethinking their digital systems and are engaging in far more drastic and committed change to business operations. Under the ‘new normal’, the companies that will thrive, are the ones that go beyond the adoption of basic digital systems and towards more expansive and innovative solutions which are ingrained within the businesses’ operating models. Those that do not embrace digital technologies will not be able to compete with the efficiencies that new adopters are able to unlock under the new working conditions

In this white paper, HSSMI presents a framework for how businesses can move from ‘survive to thrive’ through digital transformation. This is based on embracing 6 key steps, with each step incorporating 3 phases of digital maturity. These steps are:

– Define your Purpose

– Develop your People

– Harness your Data

– Establish a Digital Thread

– Understand the power of a Digital Twin

– Utilise Digital Tools

This white paper explains each step as part of a digital transformation journey, as well as presenting insights from industry on the challenges, drivers, applications, and potential benefits that can be achieved by adopting digital technologies.

This white paper has been collated and written by HSSMI’s Digital Manufacturing Team. They have a wealth of experience from both research and commercial projects related to the development and application of digital technologies in the manufacturing sector. Previous work has included:

– The development of augmented reality applications for supporting operator training

– The build of accurate and hyper realistic 3D models of factories to enable. ergonomic assessments and secure investment.

– The virtual commissioning of robots to aid automated part picking in a high-volume production environment.

– The build of a discrete event simulation model of a high-volume battery cell manufacturing facility to model production scenarios and optimise.

– The development and application of digital readiness tools for UK consortium and Scottish government to create national standards and language on what constitutes digital readiness.

– The application of mixed reality tools within a 5G test bed environment.

– The definition of digital roadmaps for a range of manufacturers to prioritise projects to follow.

– The development of animated build instructions to support remote training as part of the UK Ventilator Challenge.


A Pathway to Digital Transformation


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