There are many changes facing the manufacturing industry. Make sure you’re ready to succeed by adopting these four habits for today’s digital age.

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You know your business is resilient when it withstands the shock of change. Big change is happening right now, driven by digital technology.

“As manufacturing goes digital, it will change out of all recognition.”

Paul Markillie, The Economist.

Resilience and the ability to succeed through change can be learned. The best teachers are manufacturing companies whose culture already embraces adaptation.

Habit 1:

Increase connectivity throughout the organisation. Integrating the entire manufacturing process through IT brings consistency, quality and profit. It also removes reliance on specific individuals within the business.

Connectivity today is not limited by working conditions, time or location – so there’s no reason to keep what happens on your factory floor ‘offline’.

 “The factory floor is the nucleus of a company and when properly optimised, it is a competitive advantage.”

Jody Markopoulos, CEO of GE Intelligent Platforms.

Habit 2:

Get it right first time. Successful manufacturers don’t use changes in technology or the marketplace as an excuse for allowing quality to dip.

For inspiration look at Coats Viyella’s Thread Division, who has introduced a “Right First Time” system, meaning there is no need to reprocess – saving energy, labour and raw materials. This keeps them as market leaders in an industry where almost the entire product range changes twice a year.

Habit 3:

Eliminate unnecessary administration. Paperwork can tie up your experts in unproductive activities and it has a nasty habit of creating work that adds little or no value.

One global manufacturer is saving themselves $500 million a year after consolidating their administration functions into one location.

That’s obviously the big end of the scale – yet here in the UK, small single site manufacturers are embracing ERP software to ensure less staff time (and bottom line) is lost to administration.

Habit 4:

Be open to new markets and new ideas. Business history is littered with the wrecks of manufacturing companies who failed to adapt what they did.

In 1996, Kodak had 80% of the US market for photographic film, but in 2012 it filed for bankruptcy. Despite inventing the digital camera in 1975, the company chose to focus on making and selling film.

When Steve Jobs went back to Apple in 1997, the computer manufacturer was so sick that Michael Dell told him to shut it down. Jobs ignored him and went on to make innovative new products that transformed Apple into one of the world’s most valuable firms.

Be resilient in the face of challenges. Be ready for them – download our guide: Top 3 Management Challenges for Manufacturers That Will Dominate 2015

This post first appeared on the Sanderson blog