Applying Digital Asset Management to improve manufacturing operations

Let’s face it. Some sections of the manufacturing industries have been slow in adopting a customer-centric approach to their business. In fact, recent research from Industry Week and OpenText found that digital leaders were almost twice as likely to be using their Digital Transformation initiatives to create an omnichannel customer experience that provides a consistent view of information vs. other manufacturing companies.

Customer Experience Management (CEM) is essential to provide the correct, personalized information at each stage of the customer journey but it can also improve performance in other areas of manufacturing. In this blog, I’d like to look at how one CEM component – enterprise Digital Asset Management (DAM) – can help organizations make more of the rich content they are creating in operations and maintenance.

The concept of CEM has really taken off within the retail sector and there is a great deal that manufacturing companies can learn about how an enterprise CEM solution can build long-lasting and profitable customer relationships throughout the entire individual customer journey.

Digital Asset Management is an important element of CEM as it is very effective at managing all digital assets and data for a product portfolio across the entire product lifecycle. However, for understandable reasons, Digital Asset Management has for the large part remained the province of the corporate marketing department. I think that manufacturers may be missing an opportunity. The fundamental technologies within a Digital Asset Management solution can be quickly and easily applied to other areas of the business.

Industry 4.0: as much content as data

When thinking about Industry 4.0 and the industrial Internet of Things it’s easy to concentrate on the data being created by connected devices such as sensors and actuators. Increasingly, the volume and velocity of data within Industry 4.0 will come from the rich content created by other disruptive technologies such as drones and wearables.

The use of drones is set to explode. According to BI Intelligence, the sale of drones will more than quadruple between 2017 and 2021. The greatest growth area is commercial drones and they offer manufacturers some important benefits. Drones can be used in areas such as asset monitoring, visual inspection, real-time inventory, and preventative maintenance. Today, manufacturing accounts for just 1.5% of all drone sales.

The quality of rich content and the speed with which it can be accessed will see the adoption of drones within manufacturing increase in the next few years. In addition, the adoption of wearable devices – such as Fitbits – offer very similar benefits to drones. They can help in many of the same areas.

The difference being that wearables allow for much greater employee-to-employee communication – for example, a maintenance engineer can be contacted by the wearable about a potential issue and the engineer can contact the person wearing that device to gain a clearer perspective of what’s happening. Drones, on the other hand, can cover great areas and get into inaccessible areas to help with a wide range of maintenance activities.

What both drones and wearables have in common is a major shift from simple data to much richer media – most notably video. The benefits of video are obvious – you can actually see, in real time, what is happening. But, the value goes way beyond this and, if the video is not properly captured, classified, tagged and managed the bulk of that value is never realized. The rich content being created by drones and wearables has to be considered and treated as a digital asset.

A holistic approach to managing digital assets

An enterprise Digital Asset Management solution can help manufacturing companies to take a holistic approach to capturing and managing digital content and assets across the organization. Content from operations and maintenance is available to analyze trends and assist continuous improvement strategies. The activities within sales and marketing can be more closely aligned with production and support. All content can be managed from a central point – with secure and effective sharing – rather than the current situation where valuable content is siloed throughout the organization in multiple file shares, SharePoint sites, and other repositories.

It’s clear that enterprise Digital Asset Management allows organizations offers manufacturing companies more than a means to deliver more effective marketing. It allows you to create a central, secure and accessible system of record to enable effective discovery, managing, tagging, curating and optimizing of all digital assets. You gain a ‘single version of the truth’ for all the assets you hold. Something that will let manufacturing companies begin to fully exploit the rich media already being created within their production facilities and supply chains.

A Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform is only one part of an overall CEM solution and both are areas where manufacturing lags behind other sectors – such as retail, financial services or utilities. In my next blog, I’ll look at the 5 key capabilities, you should looking from in an enterprise DAM platform.

From February 2018, OpenText will be holding Innovation Tour events in many locations worldwide. Attend and  you’ll be able to learn from other industry sectors about how they are already benefiting from their DAM investments. We’ll also be continuing the conversation – with some of the world’s leading manufacturing companies at OpenText Enterprise World in July. It would be great if you could join us there.

Tom Leeson

Tom is Industry Marketing Strategist for the Manufacturing Sector globally. An Engineer by Trade, and Mathematician by Education, Tom’s entire career has been spent in Engineering, Manufacturing and IT helping customers digitally transform their business and their manufacturing sector. With Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, Manufacturing lives in exciting times, so there is much to talk about.

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