Digital Manufacturing is a hot topic with multiple research reports highlighting the abundance of business opportunities and benefits it offers. According to the recent Capgemini report “Smart Factories: How can manufacturers realize the potential of digital industrial revolution,”  “76% of manufacturers either have a smart factory initiative underway or are working on formulating one.” That’s good news. However, as Forbes analyst Bruce Rogers writes: “84% of organizations fail at Digital Transformation.” So the big question is whether Digital Manufacturing will follow suit.

These failures are not just about advancements in technology or a lack of skilled resources. Organizational capability and culture are at play here—and there’s more to it. Surprisingly, only 14% of manufacturers are satisfied with Digital Manufacturing and only 6% are able to lead the way as what some analysts call “digital masters.” Despite this, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore Digital Manufacturing, since smart factory initiatives are poised to increase the global economy by $500 billion over the next five years.

Digital Manufacturing is about “cyber-physical systems,” smart manufacturing equipment, connected machines, and digital assets that are revolutionizing how manufacturing is planned and executed. “Digital twin” helps integrate information technology with operational technology, while the Internet of Things and predictive analytics enable actionable insights. This not only improves capital efficiency, but also enhances production capacity and capability.

I agree with Douglas Rushkoff: “We are looking at a society increasingly dependent on machines, yet decreasingly capable of making or even using them effectively.” In other words, we can’t expect to be sustainable in the digital era if the assets aren’t reliable.

Digital Manufacturing depends on asset performance management (APM), and enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions are key enablers. The EAM market itself is growing by 12% annually and is expected to reach $6 billion by 2022. Clearly, manufacturing organizations—especially asset-oriented value chains—see APM as a key profitability driver. Organizations are increasingly willing to invest in new solutions that address asset visibility, efficiency, and effectiveness, but they remain concerned about controlling capital spending and return on investments. I believe that a systematic approach toward APM can help prioritize initiatives and ensure substantial ROI.

Capgemini’s whitepaper “Asset Performance Management Maturity Model—Strategic Roadmap to Digital Manufacturing” calls for a systematic approach toward APM using a comprehensive maturity model. The paper highlights six important dimensions of APM along with capabilities and potential business benefits in terms of financial and operational performance.

So, in answer to that big question—yes, there is much at stake, and indeed certain organizations can’t afford to fail. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Digital Manufacturing can offer a wealth of new opportunities so every organization can leverage connected machines to be profitable and build sustainable business models for the future.