In the debate over how to revitalize manufacturing, the implementation of digital technologies is a core concern. Both the BDC and CEFRIO recently released studies on Canadian companies’ digital maturity. The studies should come as a wake‑up call for businesses that haven’t yet embraced digital transformation. 

A Few Statistics 

According to the BDC, 39% of Canadian manufacturers have started implementing digital technologies. But the same study finds that “only 3% of manufacturing SMEs have fully digitized their production,” while “42% of Canadian manufacturing businesses have not yet initiated their digital shift.” 

In Quebec, 45% of manufacturing businesses have started their digital transformation—the highest tally for any Canadian province. 

In the Quebec City area, 81% of manufacturing businesses are still in the first phases of digital transformation, whereas 19% are securing growth through advanced digitalization. Even with the province in a lead position, most Quebec manufacturers aren’t very far along on the road to digital maturity.

Digital Maturity 

CEFRIO sets out five levels of digital maturity to help businesses gauge their progress. 

The five levels:

Artisanal 

The company relies largely on manual processes, supported by basic business software (e.g., Microsoft Office). 

Disciplined

A number of digital tools are used, but in isolation. For example, Microsoft Office, an accounting program, and social media. 

Integrated 

Company processes are supported by a software package or integrated digital solution, with CRM software, a transactional site, and/or an extranet. 

Predictive 

Data is used to make decisions. At this level, analytic applications are used to synthesize massive quantities of information, known as big data. 

Autonomous 

Tools with high added value, such as traceability software or robots, are integrated into the company’s business processes. Some of these companies will also have an adaptive website that responds to analytics. This fifth level is largely characterized by process automation. 

Business size is often a factor with digital maturity, as is exporting. Each business needs to move forward according to its own objectives. For some, there won’t ever be a real need to reach that final level. The first step is to integrate basic digital technologies. Then you can start to link your tools, add higher value technology, and automate your processes. 

So, how digitally mature is your company?  

Sources

Quebec International . http://www.quebecinternational.ca/media/3232000/usage_numerique_entreprises_manufacturieres.pdf.

Therrien, Yves Secteur manufacturier : virage numérique à faire. Le Soleil. http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/affaires/techno/201705/30/01-5102890-secteur-manufacturier-virage-numerique-a-faire.php. 30 mai 2017.

Tremblay, Diane, Virage numérique à faire : un retard qui affecte les exportations. Journal de Québec. . http://www.journaldequebec.com/2017/05/30/virage-numerique-un-retard-qui-affecte-les-exportations. 30 mai 2017.

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