Manufacturing as a culture is data driven. Talk to anyone who has worked in the industry for some time—from an operator leading a cell to a manufacturing executive—and they should be able to point to the numbers around output, efficiency, and productivity, among others.

With this in mind, however, the manufacturing industry has been conservative when it comes to factory modernization projects. These projects can provide useful data that encompasses an immense amount of value to operations.

A recent article from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation

(MAPI), demonstrates some of the reasons behind this approach:

“More than 60% of surveyed manufacturers admit their company is a late adopter of new technologies and prefer to wait until it has proven its value in the marketplace before making an investment.”

The article also notes that despite being late adopters, manufacturing leaders also recognize that this phase of digitization is coming:

“However, this gap is not because manufacturers do not recognize the benefits of digitalization. Nearly three-quarters rank digital transformation as a critically strategic imperative for their company’s long-term success.”

How digital transformation can benefit system integrators

The upside to this digital transformation is that it will create new business models for companies that can understand the technology shifts while providing valuable guidance for manufacturing clients.

System integrators (SIs) will especially benefit from digital transformation. Their reputations are built on the implementation of critical manufacturing projects, as well as their expertise in developing them up. SIs have long been at the forefront of architecture design, installation, project management and training, and support of new technologies. The shift to digital manufacturing could also shift the conversation for SI’s from one-off projects to larger lifecycle projects and new annuity streams that ultimately deepen relationships with their manufacturing customers.

Join our business expansion strategies webinar

Recognizing this evolution—and based on conversations with industrial system integrators—we’ve partnered with the Control System Integrator Association (CSIA) to present an SI Top 5 Business Expansion Strategies webinar. This event is completely dedicated to the SI business and focuses on where SIs can make themselves more relevant and more integrated with their customers. In this webinar, SIs will learn about the technology affecting this space, as well as best practices, architecture design, and key considerations for working with customers. We’ll cover topics such as:

  • Unmanaged vs. managed switches
  • Designing security into architecture
  • Network considerations such as orchestration, automation, standards, and deployment
  • Wireless
  • Physical infrastructure

If you’re a CSIA member or an SI who wants to learn more, I invite you to join us on Thursday, September 14. You can register here.  I hope you’ll join us, and we welcome any feedback on topics you’d like to see us cover in the future.


I also invite you to explore the following manufacturing topics:



Eric Ehlers

Marketing Manager

Manufacturing and Energy