Edit This Guide Record
Guides Strategy Transforming Manufacturers into Industry 4.0 -Smart Manufacturing Leaders

Transforming Manufacturers into Industry 4.0 -Smart Manufacturing Leaders

Published on 08/03/2016 | Strategy

466 3

Marlon Hiralal

Marlon Hiralal has over 20 years of international technology and business experience at Big 4 consultancies and Top 10 R&D product development companies, focusing on solution and business development.



Nowadays, manufacturing enterprises face the pressure to transfer into the new Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0, also known as Smart Industry. This 4th Revolution goes a lot faster than its predecessors and words like “Internet of Things, Big Data, Mobility, Robotics, Cyber Physical Systems” buzz so hard it makes you dizzy. Keeping track of the many solutions on the market is a time consuming job.

So where is the tele-transport button into Industry 4.0?

It doesn’t exist. This paper explains how to make this transition wisely, sustainable and profitable.

The goal is to modernize your manufacturing plant, enhancing legacy automation and meet today’s (environmental) requirements. All to keep your customers happy and respond to their demands for products and services, as they direct market agility consequences to you.

Why your customers expect something different

Digital has given end-users and consumers tremendous power and the sky seems to be the limit. Decennia of old business models are been replaced by modern digital outside-in enterprises. At least, it seems like that.

All of this leads enterprises to think and act more customer centric to remain competitive in this transformation towards the digital enterprise. More than ever, business agility and innovation are a must. What is the value of your digital strategy towards your customer experience, if you cannot deliver up to their core expectation?

Why the Industry isn’t there yet

The cost of energy, raw materials / semi-finished products and labor have only increased in recent decades. The margins and the competitiveness against upcoming countries have come under pressure. During the 90’s and following years enterprises start to cut costs and 'lean' production processes and six sigma quality method for product quality improvement were introduced.

Today we are at a point where the options to realize more cost savings using traditional manufacturing approaches are running out: still more cutting and 'lean' does not lead to a healthy future anymore. The majority of those manufacturers are facing huge legacy automation, standardization and workforce challenges. Operations and maintenance take the majority of available resource time and budget, limiting the manufacturers to act on today’s market dynamics to further improve operations and ramp up innovations at the same time. The only proper way to growth and prosperity is the ability to innovate, and support innovations from idea to market and vice versa.

Here is where Smart Manufacturing technology and solutions offer a range of recognized possibilities to transform enterprises into manufacturing leaders, enabling them to capture business value. So not joining isn’t an option.

Traditionally there has been a large focus on the business process administration systems landscape.

Now interaction with the customer and end users is becoming more important. Improvements are being addressed by business process re-engineering and subsequently the “business administrative” application landscape is working towards capturing both the ‘first’ contact of the customer with the enterprise as well as the aftermarket processes.

Manufacturers however, should make sure that the two other existing and currently separated application landscapes are ready to support customer market demands and ideas to market innovations. Those other application landscapes are:

- IT for Product/Process Engineering, supporting Innovation and the Product Creation Processes

- IT for Production, supporting Manufacturing and the Product Realization Processes

In both landscapes there is an often large amount of obsolete and homegrown applications. As a consequence, seamlessly integrating the 3 landscapes to support Smart Manufacturing needs is complex and not that straightforward, whereas this is absolutely essential.

How to make the right plan and keep the business alive

Manufacturers struggle to get a clear roadmap to make their steps into ‘Smart Manufacturing’, and gain the benefits that come with that.

First, most manufacturers deal with legacy shop floor automation and homegrown applications, whether or not combined with partly standardized systems. Fully replacing this legacy IT environments with more recent versions, is hardly ever an option or something that can be done overnight. As this could mean that the total or majority of the machine park should be replaced, which brings high investment and high risks, in most cases not a realistic option.

Second, major important and probably more challenging, are the semantic levels of the associated process models. These should be made inter-transferable and inter-operable, creating end to end digital workflows, to give the enterprise maximal usage of the digital enterprise, which is usually not the case.

Third, knowing where and how to start such a journey to realize the Smart Manufacturing Plant. How to get a clear vision and strategy that are aligned with your abilities to execute, highly depend on available competences, resources and investments.

Where to start?

It is understandable that many manufacturers hesitate: they want to, but look up to the extensive and complicated operation. They have difficulties to justify budgets for such large investments and they lack the knowledge, positioning and integration of new technologies. They fear the dismantling of an environment that brought them where they are now. On the other hand they realize that ignoring the digital age and carry on as before, could bring them in a hopeless position.

Multiple solutions will be needed to realize the Smart Manufacturing Plant that ensures the enterprise to maximize scores on Customer Intimacy, Innovation and Operational Excellence. The roadmap should embrace all these solutions that can be positioned in the following 5 main streams:

1. Plant IQ: brings in Smart Blocks, with the ability to collect, process and store multiple data sources, in a modular, scalable and hybrid approach. This allows to deliver services for real-time predictability and advanced analytics to be used by human and machines, as well as using models and simulation for ‘what-if’ scenarios.

2. Digital Foundation: provides the fundament for an integrated Administration, Engineering and Manufacturing IT environment. The digital foundation could be included with an integration bridge to optimize re-use of existing systems, as well as an intelligent data layer, to carry information over the coupling planes. This enables the enterprise to meet the dynamics of their Outside-In Strategy and fulfill demands and agility due to human interaction.

3. IT-OT Organization: The organization should be shaped in such a way that it adapts to the Enterprise’s Digital Strategy and incorporates the Operational Technology competences needed for seamless agility in innovation and production;

4. User Centered: Stop thinking from technological possibilities only. Start understanding the different users in your organization and their needs to optimize performance, so solutions can be adapted to those needs. Align vison with ability to execute and vice versa.

5. Global Ops management: makes it possible to real-time manage, compare and adjust plants. It gives maximal flexibility within plants as well as minimal change over time in case of product changes or production switches over plants and fast deployment of maintaining system and software changes and upgrades.

Understand the journey

There are multiple entries to get on the digital journey within the 5 main streams. Enterprises should assess and define their strategy, and then distillate the roadmap and decide on the entry to follow for their digital journey.

Enterprises have to comprehend which resources and competences they should have in house and what investments to make there. Have a look at the current situation and map out where your resources are spending their time and effort now. It shouldn’t surprise you if it were the components of obsolete operating systems and home grown applications that are taken more time, resources and budget in the current operations than desired.

On a high level enterprises in the ‘make-industry’ needs to take strategic decisions towards fulfilling their Smart Manufacturing needs? We have defined three:

1. Fully focus on the Smart Manufacturing journey, outsource the legacy: you want to be in the lead using own resources as much as possible for your Smart Manufacturing journey, but at the same time the current legacy environment of the production IT landscape does not allow your resources to move away of the day to day operational hectic? An option could be to outsource support and maintenance of those legacy applications, and free up your resources and budget to focus on Smart Manufacturing strategy and roadmap.

2. Go Smart Manufacturing competence shopping: compensate the lack of competences and experience in defining and developing a detailed Smart Manufacturing strategy and roadmap. Choose to work with independent partners that brings in broad and in-depth experience and knowledge of Smart Manufacturing and is capable to map this within the landscape of the manufacturer.

3. Recycle and be sustainable while facing Smart Manufacturing: re-usability and lifecycle expansion of existing systems are key. Smart Manufacturing deployment capabilities in these specific areas will be an important requirement when looking for external support of independent suppliers.

Aligning the enterprise goals with the 5 major solution streams that makes a Smart manufacturing Plant, the multiple entries for this journey and the possibilities fulfilling competence and expertise should give an overview of the possible roadmap.

test test