Industrial Automation

Improving Process Manufacturing Begins with Advancing Your Digital Maturity

Saurabh Gupta

Is your process manufacturing plant ready to roll out digital technologies to edge out competitors and meet aggressive KPIs? Evaluate your plant’s digital maturity to find out.



Business as usual won’t cut it in a new-world environment. Is your process manufacturing plant ready to roll out digital technologies that will edge out competitors and meet aggressive KPIs and business objectives?


According to a 2023 survey from Deloitte on the development of digital transformation among global manufacturers, only 2% of surveyed companies have not started their digital transformation journeys.


Innovations like 3D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are viable options to improve plant performance, but your business operations and manufacturing processes have to be ready before these technologies can be integrated successfully.


Measure your plant’s digital maturity level

Using a digital maturity index (DMI) can help you evaluate your plant’s current digital maturity level, pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, and track progress along your journey.


They take into account your plant’s culture, level of innovation, organizational structure, policies and technology. There are several indexes you can follow, but most have a basic framework similar to this structure:

  • Level 1: Digital maturity is not a priority, and we’re not structured for it; we’re happy with what we have, how we work and our plant’s performance.

  • Level 2: We have some small digital initiatives under way, but we lack many of the processes and technologies needed to move digital transformation forward.

  • Level 3: We have basic digital capabilities and recognize the value of data collection, but our technologies are not integrated, and we haven’t established a way to bring our OT and IT data together.

  • Level 4: We have a digital strategy in place to support data and technology optimization, which helps us improve customer satisfaction and are working on implementing the strategy.

  • Level 5: We’re focused on our digital transformation journey and have the technology and infrastructure in place to create an agile, productive and secure process manufacturing environment; we are able to use our data to make decisions and take action. 


Determine where to put your effort to grow digital maturity

If you need help moving your digital maturity forward, there are a few places to start.


Your first area of focus should be on your people and culture. Before you bring in new tools, technology and automation, take a look at your environment.

  • Assess the skills of your people. How comfortable would they be if they have to work with new tools, systems and technologies? How much training would they need? What skills gaps exist that need to be filled?

  • Evaluate your culture. Does your plant operate using a business-as-usual approach or is it open to change? What values and mindsets are promoted? How do employees communicate, innovate and work together? How do customers perceive your company or brand?

  • Get the C-suite on board. In order to advance digital maturity, you need willingness and commitment from decision-makers to champion initiatives and collaborate with vendors across the supply chain. This often involves education and training to help them understand the impact of digital maturity and how continuous progress can increase manufacturing competitiveness.

Once you’ve addressed people and culture, then you can look at processes and workflows more closely.

  • Establish a digital initiative. This is a strategy that can help you prevent a piecemeal approach to digital transformation and maps out digital framework to tie systems, processes and technologies together. It should be created as a team and shared with all stakeholders.

  • Consider how you manage data. What data do you collect from your sensors, devices and equipment? How is that data gathered, managed and used? Is it housed on silos or integrated? Are you able to gather insights from your data, or is it a jumble of numbers coming from different places at different times?

  • Find a partner to help. Process manufacturers often lack in-house resources and knowledge to scale digital maturity on their own. Find a partner that can help you assess your current state, develop a plan, provide the systems needed to support data and digital initiatives, and provide your team with training when and where it’s needed.


Find out where digital maturity can take you

Belden can help you evaluate where you are on your digital maturity journey so that you know where you stand and what’s ahead.


We’ll also help you determine where you can go with innovation and automation, and what it will take to get you there.


The experts at our Customer Innovation Centers (CICs) can show you how to grow network capacity, achieve better connectivity and accelerate flexibility to advance digitization and integrate your OT and IT systems to eliminate data silos while meeting stringent safety, security, regulatory and industry mandates. You’ll have direct access to our solution architects, digital automation consultants, solution consultants and service engineers.


We’ll bring the right expertise, systems and partners straight to you to build seamless, efficient and secure networks that allow you to collect data for analysis at the network edge or in the cloud.



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