Why quality control is central to digital transformation

You may have seen a joke going around the Internet, which asks the question ‘Who pushed for digital transformation in your company?’ It offers a choice of possible answers, the correct one being, of course, COVID-19.

The truth behind the joke is borne out in a recent survey by Gartner of 2,000 CIOs. It suggests the technological response to COVID-19 is set to be much more transformative than shipping out laptops to employees who are now working remotely.

The research company stated that as a result of the pandemic approximately 70% of CIOs have deepened their knowledge of specific business processes and a similar proportion did more to measure and communicate IT’s value to the business.

CIOs “now have the attention of the CEO, they have convinced senior business leaders of the need to modernise technology, and they have prompted boards of directors to accelerate enterprise digital business initiatives,” according to Gartner.

Many manufacturers are part of the move to make greater use of technology to automate and improve operations. And as they put in place or accelerate plans for greater automation and remote-working, they need to ensure they give quality control an important seat at the table. Failure to do so could undermine the efficiency of their wider digital transformation programme.

Enterprise-wide collaboration

One of the longer-term goals of digital transformation is to achieve real-time collaboration and information exchange between systems and people across an organisation so that operations become more flexible, faster and smarter. Armed with highly relevant, real-time data, people will find it easier to innovate and take and implement decisions that improve customer experience and employee satisfaction, as well as business performance.

So, why does quality control have an important role to play in delivering a more connected, analytical and collaborative way of working? The traditional argument for investing in quality control is that it’s the cost of doing business. Inspection performs the essential role of ensuring customers receive the quality they have paid for and guarantees a manufacturer’s compliance with regulations. In addition, spotting errors quickly through regular quality control reduces waste and the need for rework, thereby lowering costs and raising throughput. But all these activities can be – and even today often are — performed within a silo.

Any manufacturer, however, that wants to benefit from digital transformation needs to be able to rapidly feed real-time quality data into design, engineering and production systems. Only in this way can they enable fast, intelligent improvements to product development and manufacturing based on an understanding of physical reality as well as virtual designs.

Digitally transforming inspection technology will also enable manufacturers to adapt to a changing workforce. New recruits to manufacturing have grown up with open, collaborative IT systems that enable agile working. Forcing them to work within closed proprietary industrial technology systems limits their capacity to take on new responsibilities and adapt swiftly to changing business requirements.

That’s why at Hexagon we’re investing in designing inspection systems that help our customers build on their existing investments in equipment to develop a real-time, connected and collaborative environment for tomorrow.

Contact us to find out more about smarter, data-driven manufacturing.

 

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