Has time arrived for digital transformation?

Experts have been discussing digital transformation in the mining and metallurgical industries for years. They have been trying to figure out how the new digital world would actually impact their respective environments. COVID-19 pandemic have changed it all.

The post pandemic growth is going to require moving from a digital crunch to a digital rush mind-set. Being just digital won’t be enough. The successful companies will be the ones that create intelligent experiences that people have come to expect.

The losers will be those companies that failed to adapt quickly enough in their digital transformation roadmap to new artificial intelligence (AI) and data-powered experiences imperative. Companies will have to realize that they need to go beyond just being digital, to be truly relevant in every digital interaction with their customers.

They will have to harness the power of data and AI to make it happen – and the gap between the leaders and the rest will only grow wider.

This type of approach is nothing new. It has happened repeatedly again and again, as new technologies have entered the market. Often it takes a big success from an emerging competitor who made the investment or some other event that forces others into action.

The direct next step is for the top management teams to instantly recognize the acceleration that COVID-19 is driving. Producers, manufacturers and suppliers who choose to stay with the status quo and wait for the ‘back to normal’ stage to begin will fall behind.

Customers’ expectations and preferences are changing and the industry will not be going ‘back to normal’ as we know it. It may not happen.

What was anticipated to be a three-to-five year timeline for digital transformation is now shortened to eight to eighteen months. Getting your resources around this reality is paramount for successful survival. 

The digital economy began more than a decade ago. Producers and manufacturers who have embraced flexible processing and manufacturing, 4.0, digital supply-chain optimization, digital commerce, digital service and the cloud, are currently thriving.

Applying AI has become vital to deliver personal and effective experiences that digital leaders have trained people to expect. The technology load has been democratized and is now available to every business, so they too can participate in this new low-touch experience economy.

AI has the power to analyse your existing customer dataset, including data coming from consumption, use and products themselves, understand the patterns of customer intent and context, and then apply that data to predict and improve every interaction in the customer journey.

In the conservative mining and metallurgical industries, these technologies may not be as easy to apply as they seems. AI, however, can revolutionize intelligence by delivering service and knowledge experiences that are relevant and personalized to customers’ situations.

These technologies are available to every business. Companies who adopt them will make huge strides forward.

AI-optimized manufacturing

Paper and pencil tracking, luck, significant global travel and opaque supply chains are part of today’s status quo, resulting in large amounts of wasted energy, materials and time.

Accelerated in part by the long-term shutdown of international and regional travel by COVID-19, companies that design and build products will rapidly adopt cloud-based technologies to aggregate, intelligently transform, and contextually present product and process data from manufacturing lines throughout their supply chains.

By 2025, this ubiquitous stream of data and the intelligent algorithms crunching it will enable manufacturing lines to continuously optimize towards higher levels of output and product quality – reducing overall waste in manufacturing by up to 50%.

As a result, we will enjoy higher quality products, produced faster, at lower cost to our pocketbooks and the environment.

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