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Manufacturing is facing seismic change; the Fourth Industrial Revolution has arrived, delivering new technologies that transform the way things have previously been done.



The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows machinery and equipment to be computer programmed to gather, receive and communicate data. Intelligent, connected systems inform decision making to generate growth and increase business value.

In manufacturing, smart technologies enable greater visibility into operations.

By knowing how the assembly line is tracking, manufacturers can:

• Make better decisions

• Improve risk management

• Ensure quality control

Gain efficiencies and

Reduce costs.

According to PwC’s 2019 IoT survey, 70% of manufacturers in the United States have IoT projects that are either live or in development.

Industrial Revolutions

The first was the advent of mechanical production (late 18th to early 19th century).
The second was the age of science, mass production and use of electricity (late 19th to early 20th century).
The third is the period of digital revolution and automation (mid to late 20th century).
The fourth has just started and involves interconnected digital technologies via cloud-based applications, AI systems and automated robotic processes, rapidly changing the way humans create, exchange, and distribute value.

Digital transformation is inevitable


Digitisation, automation and robotics will power the future. For some, it’s a brave new world; but for others it’s a natural evolution with tremendous opportunity to unlock human potential.

In fact, as digitisation becomes an increasingly fundamental part of everyday life, transformation will become essential to remaining competitive.According to a 2019 Fujitsu survey, in mid to large-sized manufacturing companies worldwide:

69% have already initiated a digital transformation program

40% of these programs are focused on driving efficiencies

The companies that are innovating and embracing change are quickly winning market share; those who are ahead of the digital curve in Australia are currently growing at ten times the rate of those who have not digitised.

By transforming plants and processes, manufacturing companies can:

• Increase worker safety

• Improve quality with negligible error rate

• Heighten productivity and throughput

• Enhance risk management and financial control

• Reduce operational costs

All these factors help to drive growth and ultimately boost the bottom-line!

    5 new tech trends in manufacturing

    1. Internet of Things (IoT)

    2. 5G Internet

    3. Artificial Intelligence

    4. ERP and AP Automation

    5. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

    2020 is a turning point


    While the winds of change have been blowing for many years, COVID-19 will undoubtedly accelerate digital investment. In fact, in response to the crisis, many manufacturing businesses have embraced digital technologies to make operations safer for customers and employees.

    This includes ‘click and collect’ sales and distribution, contactless payments, and virtual interactions replacing face-to-face contact. Companies have had to quickly adapt to the new normal and, as efficiencies are realised, are unlikely to revert in full post-pandemic.

    The use of cloud-based platforms has been particularly beneficial during this period, allowing real-time communication and collaboration between stakeholders in different locations. This accessibility enables off-site work – and business continuity – despite the current disruption.

    ‘’In just the first few months of the pandemic, 96% ofbusiness-to-business organisations shifted their operating model to emphasise digitally enabled self-serve, remote and contactless operations.”- McKinsey & Co, ‘From defense to offense: Digital B2B services in the next normal,’ August 28, 2020

    2021 ‘future ready’


    With over 95% of manufacturing companies in Australia being small to medium-sized enterprises, the IoT may feel out of reach for many for now. However, with so many companies forced to change to remain relevant and operational during this time, many have laid the digital foundations for their future growth.

    From a platform of increased digitisation, for example, automation and robotics will follow on. The efficiency and productivity gains – together with the long-term cost savings – make the case compelling. Transforming operations in this way will also help companies better manage risk, while maximising safety for their people.


    The key to successful and sustainable business transformation is to develop a digital strategy, starting where the gains will be clear and the return on investment quantifiable. In the finance department, for instance, over 30% of back-office tasks can be automated, immediately lifting productivity and reducing costs. From this starting point, change can be implemented in phases.

    History tells us that businesses that respond pro-actively to disruptions grow disproportionately to their competitors when the bounce-back happens. The time to invest – and future-proof – the business is now.

    Going digital at Hyundai


    Hyundai is passionate about automotive innovation and technology and reaps the rewards as Australia’s third most popular vehicle choice. The company’s ethos is to create a better, smarter and more sustainable future.

    As a result, Hyundai automated their accounts payable function many years ago. Hyundai currently processes around 60,000 invoices per year; most are approved within just two days, with over 99% approved within five days

    The technology is extremely good. We had to get 100% of allinvoices approved through the system, and we had to eliminate 100% of manual handling. We’ve succeeded in achieving both goals.” Bala Kothandaraman, GM, Information & Communication Technology, Hyundai

    In response to COVID-19, Hyundai has adapted its operating model to minimise person-to-person contact. Customers can now buy and configure their cars online if they choose; their local dealer can then deliver the car to their door for a contactless experience.

    By navigating the ‘new normal’ and further embedding technology solutions into the business, Hyundai will be better able to respond to the threats and opportunities of the future.

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