4 minute read 31 Aug. 2022
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Personalize tech transformation, unleash greater potential

By Paul Vail

EY Canada Advanced Manufacturing and Mobility Leader

Improving performance today, driving long-term sustainability for the future.

4 minute read 31 Aug. 2022

Co-authored by: Maria Zambakkides, Partner, Technology Consulting, EY Canada

It’s time for manufacturing and mobility organizations to boldly realign technology transformation with strategic and long-term business goals.

In brief

  • Could roadmaps help build stakeholder consensus?
  • Does our strategy simplify our global manufacturing model?
  • What technologies do we need now, next and beyond?

Good technology is no longer enough for advanced manufacturing and mobility (AM&M) organizations hoping to seize the upside of disruption and capitalize on market opportunities. It’s time to boldly realign technology transformation with strategic and long-term business goals — or risk missing out on the opportunities that abound amid market disruption like we’re experiencing now.

Right across the AM&M industry, disconnected systems and disparate platforms are holding organizations back from achieving the kind of efficiency that motivates talent, drives innovation and spurs growth. Important acquisitions are creating inadvertent silos that limit manufacturers from capitalizing on global scale. 

Patchwork tech solutions layered onto legacy systems make it difficult for leaders at the local, regional or global level to tap into operational clarity, data and insight when making decisions. Without any unifying technology to link manufacturing models, strategy development and execution plans across regions, organizations are spending more on everything from source materials to plant employees. Organizations that invest in technology, concentrate on integration and focus on adoption to generate additional efficiencies can react to change much more quickly in this competitive market. 

At best, these realities can hamper an organization’s ability to improve performance, standardize safety, maximize capacity, retain talent and minimize costs. At worst, they can threaten organizational relevance and the company’s very ability to compete.

We know digital transformation holds a ton of potential for AM&M. Same goes for the way integrating business planning can improve the underpinning of your operations. Strong technology can fuel these kinds of transformational efforts and help close gaps that out-of-date platforms generate. High-tech ERP systems go beyond automating operations to help you run the business in a much more meaningful and connected way. Still, it must be the right technology for your particular organization to make the biggest impact. That’s critical if you want to unleash the full power of the system itself.

Getting started doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Tech transformation shouldn’t be about boiling the ocean all at once. Rather, looking inward at the actual problem you’re trying to solve can be a great first step towards a thoughtful tech transformation. Then keep these four guiding principles in mind to find the right-fit tech for your AM&M organization:

1.       Embrace a common roadmap to get stakeholders from across the business on the same page. Vision, architecture and desired outcomes are the foundation for any tech transformation. Don’t underestimate the importance of this initial stage. It’s the groundwork that will ultimately allow you to employ technology to unify the team. It helps leaders focus on manufacturing performance, operational excellence, high-performance work systems and digital tools in a collaborative way. It’s a gateway to standardizing operations across plants in the spirit of growing market share through consistent performance and compelling employee experiences. Invest here. It matters.

2.       Create a global technology view that reflects the realities of your current technology environment and operations. Many AM&M leaders don’t realize strategy should be agnostic of the tech solution itself. By getting a clear view of current state tools — and the ways they’re helping or hurting operations — you can create a pathway to the right tech platforms for your specific needs. Remember: this tech transformation is about clarifying and simplifying the manufacturing model globally, so you can drive excellence and augment performance with ease, agility and efficiency. Getting there means first understanding where the bright spots, and the trouble spots, lie across your existing tech programs.

3.       Determine what does and does not require centralization based on projected needs to better ensure your operations are future ready. Effective tech transformation can make things better now. Exceptional tech transformation can make things better for the long term. Make key decisions about where you should connect operations with an eye to the future. Consider where you hope to expand, innovate and grow. Think about what the business could look like down the road. Then assess the technology for its ability to foster culture, teaming and collaboration across plants and geographies as you work to pursue that growth in the years ahead. All this bolsters operational performance across the network and fosters an inherently innovative environment where people want to work.

4.       Armed with that holistic view, layer in the right technology to bring it to life. The irony of any tech transformation is that the tools are chosen not first, but last. Make no mistake: the technology is incredibly important. But it’s the upfront analysis, discussion, research and assessments you make through the initial phases that will determine the overall success of the tech itself. When you implement technology based on robust discussion and data, it can create a platform to drive future growth and profitability.


The market’s changing far too quickly for AM&M organizations to settle for anything less than the right technology platform, and a tech transformation strategy that enables new ways to innovate, get ahead and succeed. Thinking through tech transformation with your specific needs, goals and opportunities in mind can help close gaps and serve as an important springboard to profitable and sustainable future growth.

About this article

By Paul Vail

EY Canada Advanced Manufacturing and Mobility Leader

Improving performance today, driving long-term sustainability for the future.