On top of the common challenges facing manufacturers in the wake of the digitalization of the industry, discrete manufacturers face added layers of complexity due to the specific nature of their organizations. The market segment in which these organizations operate is characterized by volatile markets that are subject to sweeping technological changes and short product lifespans. This forces discrete manufacturers and in particular lean manufacturers to have high visibility and control over the entirety of the production process in order to remain flexible and quickly adapt to unforeseen market shifts.
The introduction of IoT technology is quickly changing the way organizations operate. More and more companies are turning to IoT with the goal of optimizing production processes and increasing automation regardless of what industries or industry segment they belong to. However, nowhere is this more noticeable than in the manufacturing sector which has been undergoing a true technological revolution.
In the past 10 years, we’ve seen the forces that shape the manufacturing industry – such as regulation, global competition and emerging markets – increasingly shrink profit margins. With so little room to maneuver, companies had to increasingly focus on cutting cost to maximize their ability to stay competitive. The perceived solution to this issue was for a long time seen in offshoring. Cheaper labor costs in South America and Asia allowed US manufacturers to continue their growth at the expected rates over the first two decades of the 21st century.