The Malaysian manufacturing industry growth recently declined for the third successive time, driven
by faster drops in output and new orders according to Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing PMI 1 . Based
on the declining results, it looks like Malaysia’s manufacturers and businesses are still a long way
from competing with other Southeast Asia countries, such as Singapore and Thailand 2 .
Digital transformation can be an exceptionally complex process. With that in mind, here are five key
steps companies need to take to prepare for a successful digital transformation journey.
1. Align your business transformation strategy to your business goals
Avoid investing in new technology for the sake of it, or because you feel you should. It is essential
that businesses identify where technology change is needed most.
Start by assessing your overall business goals and ask what objectives your business wants to
achieve in the short, medium, and long-term. Then ask what technology will help achieve those
goals. For example, it might be that your primary focus is to expand into new markets quickly, in
which case it might be sensible to hold off on that AI investment you’ve been planning, and instead
make sure you have a solid cloud infrastructure that can support your mission-critical processes
from multiple locations.
2. Invest in the right technologies
Digital transformation means different things to different businesses and certainly, heavy spending
alone is not going to guarantee success. The Aberdeen Group 3 has identified three digitalisation
technologies that have the potential to impact operations–the Internet of Things (IoT) because of its
ability to provide operational intelligence, the cloud for its scalability, and big data analytics, which
can transform data into predictive and actionable insights.
There are multiple options, and businesses must ensure that they are investing in the technologies
that are right for them. While one business may see immediate benefits from implementing cloud
infrastructure, a manufacturer operating out of just one facility might want to look at other options
first. For example, they might instead see more immediate ROI from keeping data on-premises, but
implementing an ERP solution that uses big data to track orders against stock and supply chain
information in real-time. However, if they choose right, their ERP technology should be flexible
3. Turn insight into action
Businesses today are collecting more data than ever, but simply amassing vast amounts of
information as a result of digital transformation, is not enough. The key lies in being able to use
insights effectively, to guide change or identify new revenue streams.
The latest data analytics suites can provide businesses with crucial information about customer
trends and predictions, or information about how products are performing. Some businesses are
already using this sort of data, to turn insights into action.
4. Continually reassess your digital strategy
Understand that digital transformation is a journey that is never complete. New technologies are
being launched all of the time—from robots that complete tasks on the production line quicker than
humans, to machines that can fix equipment problems without intervention. All of these bring with
them multiple possibilities for Malaysian manufacturers and businesses.
Adapting to the digital world can be a challenging undertaking, however there are plenty of online
resources that can help you along the journey. An international study by Epicor shows that two-in-
five industry professionals agree that digital transformation will offer them strong opportunities for
growth in the future—proving that the benefits at stake outweigh the costs.
Innovative enterprise resource planning solutions (ERP) solutions, combined with Industry 4.0
developments, are already helping to automate production lines, streamline supply chains, and
provide the intelligent data manufacturers need to react quickly to changing consumer demands.
For Malaysian businesses to take a place among the world’s production leaders, deploying advanced
technology to drive manufacturing efficiency and business growth, is going to be the way forward.