Since the beginning of 2020, there has been a constant state of uncertainty punctuating global markets and supply chains as the COVID-19 pandemic causes large-scale disruptions and chaos. As 2023 approaches, the uncertainty is fueled by war in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and a brewing financial crisis and talent shortages. Manufacturers must figure out ways to circumvent or overcome these challenges through strategic moves centered in technology. One thing is certain where value creation through technology is concerned: businesses and manufacturers in particular will move toward solutions that can deliver value with minimal internal efforts, solutions that are intuitive, easy to use, and can be scaled to meet challenges worldwide.
CIO.com analyzed ten trends highlighted by Gartner that will drive business decisions around technology in 2023. These trends focus on three major themes: optimize, scale, and pioneer. Our experts at Webalo reviewed these trends and came up with key factors for manufacturers to watch out for as they strategize for 2023 and pave the way forward. Spoiler alert: these factors are all about digitization at scale, cloud computing, data analytics, and the concept of superapps. Let’s examine these trends with a focus on workforce digitization and manufacturing operations.
Getting Cloud and Application Infrastructure Right:
In any manufacturing value chain there are multiple applications in place, mostly point solutions dedicated to a particular functional area within manufacturing, and then there are enterprise applications dedicated to a part of the overall operation, resource management, supply chain management, or warehouse management. With many applications hosted on premise and newer ones on the cloud, the infrastructure may become too complex for internal IT teams to manage. Add several manufacturing locations and various possible combinations of cloud and on-premise applications to the mix, and there is a major challenge to contend with.
Gartner proposes a solution for manufacturers: use a cloud platform that is modular, industry specific, and easy to modify and scale for rapid deployment. This would imply that internal teams need not worry about the platform’s infrastructure and could focus on deriving value through deployment. Platforms with reusable components that allow citizen developers to create their own apps would be ideal.
The Webalo platform fits the bill perfectly for manufacturers since it is cloud agnostic and allows internal IT teams to focus on delivering value through its deployment rather than worrying about modifications, coding, and integration with other local or cloud-based applications. It allows subject-matter experts to create their own apps within the main app, and this reduces complexity when it comes to deployment. Once baseline apps are set, they can be deployed across multiple manufacturing plants to deliver maximum value at the fastest rate possible.
The platform perfectly fills the gap between enterprise and shop-floor applications, connecting them not only from a data perspective but also from an operational standpoint. As the platform covers the entire operation end to end, it ensures that the process moves toward a more digitized and data-driven state regardless of the inherent complexity of the deployed infrastructure.
Digitally Immune Systems and Data-Driven Decision-Making:
Gartner predicts that building digitally immune systems, which use the concepts of observability, chaos engineering, and reliability engineering, can reduce downtime by up to 80%. This translates directly to revenue. The use of AI to improve the way systems work and the analysis of decisions made through data analytics will also become increasingly important for companies and especially so for manufacturers.
The ability to build and deploy dependable apps that not only use data to help decision-making but also have the capability to optimize the very models on which they are based will be the future of data analytics, AI, and platforms deployed within organizations. AI applications need to be less risky, more trustworthy, and more secure before we can cross the current deployment rate threshold of 50%.
First, manufacturers need to build the right base for AI deployment, and that happens when all shop-floor transactions are captured and analyzed in Webalo’s Workforce Intelligence Center. In order for AI to truly deliver value, workflows and paper-based forms must be digitized. Transactional data must be captured and contextualized to add intelligence to shop-floor and process decision-making, and only when that happens can AI truly deliver value for manufacturers.
Superapps and the Role They Play in Manufacturing:
Superapps do not only have their own differentiated features; they also have the ability to build out third-party applications with a data model that is shared between the core app and the third-party software. Basically, superapps are adaptable platforms that allow fast deployment and scaling within owned and cross-platform infrastructures. Manufacturers need superapps to build mobile and intelligent workforces that utilize everyday data for better results and cross-functional collaboration.
Webalo is one such superapp that encompasses the entire process: it allows users to create their own apps on their mobile devices, digitizes data capture, and helps integrate with all enterprise and automation applications. The platform also provides contextualized event data that can feed an AI engine, spur innovation, and fuel the future automation of the entire process. When deployed using the lighthouse methodology, the platform offers a faster possible ROI than any other similar platform.
Webalo works best when deployed across the entirety of a process, and this is what Webalo deployment experts refer to as the lighthouse approach. This approach allows users at a given site to fully adopt the platform and create cohesive applications that then envelop the entire manufacturing process. Once a site fully adopts the platform, it forms the baseline for other sites and allows for faster rollouts with fewer modifications.
The lighthouse approach is ideal when deploying superapps like Webalo as opposed to a use case-based method, which relies heavily on selected pain points and has a larger chance of failure since only a few users experience a limited part of the overall functionality gamut.
For manufacturers, 2023 will be the year to take a long, hard look at their operations and ask themselves where the gaps and hindrances are when it comes to digitization at scale. If the answers are dependent on paper and disconnected IT applications, they need to consider Webalo as a resource to help them bring everything together and form the basis for future resilience and digital nirvana. With Webalo you can work on all three of the 2023 deliverables mentioned by Gartner and you can optimize your operation, scale the platform across the value chain, and pioneer your industry segment with a world-class workforce digitization platform!