How do you find a balance between craftsmanship and digitization?

Finding the right balance between craftsmanship and digitization is more of an art than a science. Staying flexible is a challenge for many companies, yet you want more standard processes that ensure consistent output: scalability.

Digitization helps companies improve productivity, but not all software systems work without limitations. And there are some cases where it is not possible or desirable to follow the defined flow of a software system.

Many sheet metal companies also don’t all want to become like the big established online players, such as 24/7 Tailor Steel. They want to do something with a personal touch, an experience.

From a strategic point of view, you may also want to bring in your own personality to build a reputation with an innovative attitude and good technical skills. Employees want more than to push a green button and wait; they also want to be proud of what they can do.

The problem is that without digitization, you are always behind with ad hoc management. So you are more concerned with putting out fires than preventing them.

As for the future, I think the more I learn about digital manufacturing, the more I realize that the digital factory has much greater potential than just making a product more efficient or faster. It is a new way of thinking about business.

This is not about a future where digital manufacturing replaces craftsmanship. It is about overcoming the limitations of separate software systems by bringing together the best of several systems into a connected whole. And how this can be set up to best serve the customer’s challenges.

There will always be a need for craftsmanship, but it is not the first step to successful growth. You put that on top of the technical foundation, the digital system. If you want to grow, stay competitive and continue to make a profit, it starts first with a good digital foundation.

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