In 2011, Gartner recognized IoT as one of the emerging technologies to keep an eye on. Since then, this technology has garnered a lot of attention and popularity. Several industries like healthcare, engineering, retail, manufacturing, and supply chain have leveraged the power of this technology.
The Global IoT in manufacturing market is expected to grow to USD 53.8 billion in 2025.
However, a study conducted by Cisco shows that nearly 75% of IoT projects do not qualify as successful.
This brings us to our conversation about the high failure rate of these initiatives.
Most of the time, interoperability issues arise on the legacy platforms, or the projects are not planned as per the business strategies, leading to their cancellation. Such failures then intimidate and restrict many manufacturers from embarking on their digital transformation journeys.
But like any other good action plan, it’s all about planning and awareness. So, we will now focus upon some of the most common reasons why your digital manufacturing initiatives could fail.
Key Reasons behind Digital Manufacturing Initiatives Failure
Poor Strategic Roadmap
To keep the competition at bay, most organizations strategize all their plans at the highest level. But oftentimes, they fail to integrate this vision across all levels of the organization.
Sometimes, organizations also tend to establish unrealistic strategic objectives that do not bring any improvement in the internal and external environment. Executing such a poor strategic roadmap leads to failed projects.
On the other hand, some organizations keep on refining their strategic roadmaps without taking any initial action, because they are too afraid of the ever-evolving technology. This puts the company into an analysis-paralysis state where there is a lot of conversation about ideas and analysis, but nothing is ever implemented or realized.
Many enterprises have limited experience in the digital domain. Digital transformation in manufacturing is a recent development and it is possible that there are no internal resources with experience in similar projects.
Many-a-times, this lack of experience comes in the way of budgeting where funds are not allocated based on the actual expected cost, but some random amount deemed to be adequate. In other cases, the cost can also tend to exceed expectations with lengthy development timelines. Budgeting needs to consider not only the cost of technology but also training and change management.
When enterprises struggle to budget for their projects and stay clueless about when and how much to allocate, the digital manufacturing initiatives mostly fall apart.
Poor Collaboration Between Tech Teams and Business Stakeholders
One of the most significant challenges to the success of digital manufacturing initiatives in any enterprise is the collaboration between all the teams and stakeholders. Digital initiatives demand collaborative inputs from all departments where the subject matter experts from various departments like IT, finance, engineering, production, and supply chain provide insights to the technology teams.
If the stakeholders are not on board with the tech teams, then there can be a cultural clash. Even the lack of communication and trust between different departments can lead a digital transformation initiative to fail.
Therefore, it is important to facilitate smooth communication and collaboration between all the departments, especially the business stakeholders and tech teams to make the digital transformation machinery work.
Lack of Required Skill Set
IoT and digital manufacturing are relatively new concepts. Implementation of digital manufacturing initiatives needs a strong knowledge of the latest technologies, deep domain expertise, and the ability to match business goals with the roadmap. It may be hard to find all such expertise in-house and the lack of these can make the initiatives crumble. In such situations, it makes it prudent to partner with an IIoT expert who can understand your specific business goals and map those with the implementation roadmap.
Expecting Magical Results in Short Time
Stakeholders often come with their own points of view to get their projects executed. Without any exposure to the scope of the project, their expectations can be unrealistic in terms of resource allocations and scheduling. Therefore, issues may arise in the completion of such projects where the expectations are very high, but the resource allocation is not sufficient.
If the expectations are not managed well to go along with pragmatic planning, digital manufacturing initiatives can be stalled. It is only with a well-defined plan and properly assigned responsibilities that the project can be delivered with good quality.
Lack of Focus on Change Management
Another widespread challenge in IoT success is enabling the employees to adopt this new technology. Most people are very apprehensive about accepting new technology and that can lead to stuck projects. There are also misconceptions about job losses because of automation.
Furthermore, the new technology can simultaneously exist along with the old one, expecting the employees to balance and smoothly transition between the old and new. Most employees can find this operational method challenging.
To make the digital transformation really successful, employees should be involved in improving the initiatives taken. Company leadership teams need to make conscious efforts to sensitize the teams about the many benefits of digitization and how those could help people do their jobs better. Regular training sessions and feedback loops can help in getting everybody on board.
Along with their future-ready solutions for your business, you can also optimize the chances of success by following some best practices –
- Start small: It is easier to get overwhelmed if you focus on your entire plan. Try beginning with a smaller focus area in any one project and expand from there, increasing your chances of success.
- Define success: You have to be very clear about what you want to achieve with your digital manufacturing transformation with clearly defined KPIs. The initiatives can be kept on track through regular measurement of the KPIs.
- Understand and address security risks: Digitization of your operations and shop floor have several security implications. Carefully analyze all the potential threats and stay prepared to mitigate those risks.
Always keep in mind that transformation does not happen overnight. It is a journey with a learning curve to it. Stay prepared and stay on course!