Today we live in a hyper-connected world and this is the most exciting times for Industrial sectors. During last year (2017), I am sure you must have come across at least one of these terms- Industry 4.0/Digital Twin/ Smart Manufacturing/ IIoT.
Following are the trends for these search terms for the last 5 years.
Industry 4.0 is one of the most searched terms in this area.
More and more companies and CIO’s have started thinking about getting started with Industry 4.0. But the big question is How do I get started? What is really needed for me to get started?
3 Tips to Get Started With an Industry 4.0 project for your Company:
1. Define the Problem Statement
Industry 4.0 is a big term and it can be very confusing. To get started you have to think and choose one or two small areas where you believe there are big losses and data is available. The Industry 4.0 levers below could help you choose and assess the potential of each of these areas and respective losses.
e.g. If you are a wind energy or solar energy company then your asset utilization area might be more important than rest, or if you are a manufacturing company with a lot of emphasis on quality and have a lot of manual work processes, then Asset utilization with Quality area might be the areas you may want to start with depending on losses/opportunities.
2. Start Easy
In early stages it is very important to demonstrate value, hence choose an area where you believe there are very high chances of early success. If you are a manufacturing company then Asset utilization is pretty easy to start with. This is one of the areas where getting data will be fairly easy and you can demonstrate value almost instantaneously.
To get started you can use the following tools to assess your readiness:
An Industrial or Manufacturing capability can be divided into the following areas:
1. Connection Ready
2. Visibility Ready
3. Efficiency/Advanced Analytics Ready
4. Transformation Ready.
I personally like the approach of Technical and Organizational Readiness, because here you can identify specific focus areas and make an action plan accordingly.
Connection readiness is the Foundation in this journey. The project can only start if data is available and is accessible. In some cases, historical data may also be a part of the requirement to initiate the project. Once the data is available and accessible, the visibility across lines/plants/regions is easy to achieve. This is the phase an organization starts implementing standard KPI’s like OEE, Availability, Cycle Time, Defects, PPM in a seamless manner. Manufacturing partners start seeing inefficiencies in the system and the immediate impact is to take action. The areas in which you can drive value are improved productivity, improved availability, improved throughput.
3. Organizational Capability
Organizational capability is as an important component, this includes seeking a right level leadership sponsor for your program, funding, getting the project team resources. My earlier article on “Starting a Data Science Project for your Organization” could be used as a reference.
Leadership sponsor on Industry 4.0 project must understand that this is one of the fastest growing areas, new emerging technologies and solutions are being developed very fast. Hence keep Learning and Experimentation mindset vs conventional Cost and ROI. Some of the pilots might fail and some might succeed, however, we must account how much we have learned during the pilot.
Think of Industry 4.0/Smart Manufacturing as a tool to improve your speed and agility of decision-making.
In case you or your company has already started on Industry 4.0 /Smart Manufacturing journey I would like to hear your experiences. In case of questions or comments feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.
Disclosure: I work for P&G, but the views expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. #PGEmployee