When it comes to the implementation of digital transformation plans, major manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region have been leading the way, relying on technology to accelerate growth across their organisations at a much faster rate than their foreign counterparts.
With 32% of APAC manufacturers already boasting mature digital eco-systems, compared to 24% in the Americas and 15% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. APAC businesses are expecting a 16.6% growth in revenue from their digital properties over the next five years. 
This global movement toward technology by the manufacturing industry, commonly acknowledged as “Industry 4.0”, has supported the rise of inter-connected factories and a hybrid approach to the business, involving the utilisation of physical and virtual warehouses.
Harnessing the power of data for manufacturing
Within the Philippines, the manufacturing sector is of particular importance to the government, as it views the industry not only as a bridge between other economic sectors, but also one that can drive productivity and innovation initiatives, as well as the demand for value-added services. 
Digital means, including mobile technology, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things, are expected to have a hand in creating 40% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product by 2021.  As such, Filipino manufacturers must be prepared to keep pace with the demands of this digital revolution. They can start by investing in technology to help them capitalise on data.
Tapping on and analysing data can support the discovery of new market insights and inspire the creation of new products and services based on customer demands. With modern consumers expecting intuitive products, it is necessary for manufacturers to constantly be innovating in order to match up to changing trends and needs.
To deliver an intuitive and immersive driving experience, automotive manufacturer Toyota invested in and built a data science hub, establishing it on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure.  Housing broad and complex data sets, the hub has been extensively utilised by Toyota in their quest to create more intelligent automobiles.
Organisations that understand and prioritise data are also better able to sync business functions as well as units in different geographical locations. Representatives across levels, from the “shop floor” to management, can be provided with necessary access to data concerning inventory, quality control, and analytics, placing the company in a strong position to meet the needs of customers and partners in a timely manner. In fact, supported by integrated technology and data insights, “smart” manufacturers can expect a 20% increase in production capacity. [3, 4]
An industry backed up by the cloud
With digital content already growing at an exponential rate, manufacturers in the Philippines must implement plans to manage, update, and analyse their sources of data. Moving to the cloud with Azure is a natural solution, as management and accessibility can be streamlined and improved using the platform.
The increased transparency that comes with cloud usage will also encourage collaboration across departments while decreasing downtime. Additionally, cloud platforms are scalable, allowing businesses to start their foray with a single asset or production line, before enlarging the scope accordingly.
Digital transformation has and will continue to change the manufacturing industry in the coming years. As digitisation extends its influence further, read more about the impact it will have on manufacturers in the Philippines here.
2 – https://blogs.microsoft.com/transform/2016/04/04/toyota-and-microsoft-connect-drivers-to-the-future/
3 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2017/08/08/top-5-digital-transformation-trends-in-manufacturing/#758559c0249f
4 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/06/26/10-ways-machine-learning-is-revolutionizing-manufacturing/#3628afb128c2
5 – http://industry.gov.ph/category/manufacturing/
6 – https://www.networksasia.net/article/asia-pacific-manufacturing-companies-are-leading-way-digital-transformation.1525355058