Are you ready for 4IR?

Posted on 15 Nov 2017 by Jonny Williamson

Chris Beadle, head of manufacturing IT at JLR, gives a short lesson about JLR’s digital journey.

The Evoque being manufactured at Halewood. Photography attributed to JLR.
The Evoque being manufactured at Halewood – image courtesy of JLR.

Beadle points out that 4IR technology makes the difference, in every manufacturing branch.

Furthermore, he underlines, there are eight crucial steps on a company’s digital journey.

Firstly, it is important to adopt a model.

Company’s accomplishing the digital transformation need to convert their concept into a realistic model which people can see with their own eyes.

In a second step, it is necessary to use the data and skills which are already available within the company.

The head of manufacturing IT at JLR says: “Look at your own company with open eyes, seek out individuals and put together their skills.”

Mostly, he adds, a company has to start with the information that is to hand.

Thirdly, when it comes to the financial aspects of a successful implementation of 4IR technologies, Beadle suggests: “Create a business case and think about it as early as possible. In the end – let’s be honest – money is most important.”

In the fourth place, it is necessary to collaborate and to bring the IT department to the shop floor. The data and information must be floating between the traditional functional silos as smooth and productive as possible.

In a fifth step, it is important to create product teams instead of project teams. Beadle states: “An IT project team is only formed for a certain limited period, whereas a product team is something that exists for a very long period, and it is more sustainable.”

Moreover, Beadle mentions, there should be enough space for experiments in every company, factory or office.

He says: “Just give the new digital native a bit of space to act out their love of experimentation.”

A seventh very important point is to go agile. JLR conducts on a monthly basis sprints that turn the work into a prototype, according to the motto ‘Show and Tell’.

Finally, the company has to stay agile to be ready for 4IR.

Chris Beadle was speaking at The Manufacturer Leaders Conference which is co-located with Smart Factory Expo and is taking place this week at Exhibition Centre Liverpool.

You can follow all of the action through the hashtag #UKmfgWeek on Twitter.