Manufacturing Digitalisation Symposium 2021 – How could you benefit?

Posted on 7 Jul 2021 by Tom St John

Ahead of the Manufacturing Digitalisation Symposium 2021 on 15th July, we asked some of this year’s speakers for their top tips to help manufacturers implement their own digitalisation strategies.

The digitalisation of manufacturing is changing how products are designed, produced, used and maintained as well as transforming the operations, processes and energy footprint of factories and supply chains.

Our expert digitalisation leaders will share their insights at this fantastic virtual event. They have had successes in developing their own digital production processes and want to share with other UK manufacturer’s the benefits that such projects can bring and the pitfalls to avoid along the way.

Why should manufacturers think about digitalising their production processes?

The paper-and-pen approach, opinion-based decision making and the whoever-shouts-the-loudest ways of working are no longer tenable in the industry. Digitalising processes will help to cut through the noise and make decisions based on real time information and relevant metrics or KPIs.

The opportunities available to businesses who implement digital processes are endless – to name a few:

  • Improved time to market
  • Freeing staff to be up-skilled
  • Real time and accurate data gathering
  • Faster business decision making
  • Maximising production efficiency
  • Driving sustainable growth

Digitalising a production process can allow the full performance potential of a business. Advanced analytics in order to identify, resolve and sustain both systemic and real-time factory improvement opportunities.

“Understanding your production process via useful data presented in an easy-to-use way is the first step to improving productivity and reducing cost though digitalisation. Once the data has been gathered, then additional value can be extracted through advanced analytics.” David Forrest, Senior Engineer Digital Innovation, Nissan.

What are the key elements of a successful digitalisation project?

Our speakers agree that, firstly, you need to know the problems that you are trying to solve. This is key and ensures a benchmark that can be revisited to keep focus as things progress and start to grow.

Starting with an existing problem or challenge is best. Start small and prove the benefit of the solution and then grow. The problem should always be fixed before trying to push new technology for the sake of it.

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A successful project should deliver on the current needs of a business and be applicable to future products. Also, all departments must buy in to the project, which means that a clear project scope, with clear objectives is critical. Technology roadmaps and embedding day-to-day operation and maintenance activities could help with this.

“Technology is not an alternative to a manufacturing production system – it is an enhancement of it.” Paul Turner Vice President I4.0 Applications & Analytics, Stanley Black & Decker

“The technology is the easy bit. Bringing the business, the team, the individual staff members along on the journey is the ‘make or break’ for adoption.”  Helen Anderson Head of Business Improvement & Systems TMD Technologies

What pitfalls should manufacturers avoid when thinking about digitalisation?

Our experts say it would be a mistake to assume digitalisation and technology alone will deliver value. For this, digitalisation requires change management and training. If, for examples, a factory doesn’t use the data or technology and if the solution doesn’t impact the way people work, then value will be difficult to capture.

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The amount of solutions and systems on the market currently and the terminology used around digitalisation, can be daunting. The advice is to not take on too much too soon – start small and grow. It’s a massive topic and one that needs the right time to build knowledge and skills that will allow real benefits to be achieved. Use experts to get solution one working and prove the benefit, before worrying about internal skills and systems issues.

“Perfect digitalisation strategy does not exist, start with a connected system framework based on the minimum business needs and gradually extend the integration/intelligence touchpoints based on the business case and value.” Hosein Torabmostaedi, Digital and Innovation Manager, Unipart Manufacturing and Hyperbat

Why do experts think the Manufacturing Digitalisation Symposium 2021 is important for the industry?

Our digital champions believe this event is important because attendees can:

  • Share knowledge
  • Learn best practice
  • Network
  • Improve productivity of their business
  • Capitalise on digital opportunities
  • Inspire new ideas

“Knowledge sharing is a great tool. Many businesses are trying to achieve the same thing, and could all be making the same mistakes, or having great success. Sharing these experiences helps others to learn and grow faster, with less pain.” David Roddis, Subject Matter Expert – Digital Manufacturing, Meggitt

“These types of forums bring so many benefits to companies as well as individuals who might be looking to up-skill and begin their journey in the digital space. Key takeaways come from networking and the ability to benchmark yourself and learn from other companies who are maybe further down the road to you.” Andrew Carroll, Manufacturing Systems Manager Rotork

Learn more from these experts by booking your place at Manufacturing Digitalisation Symposium now

Images courtesy of Shutterstock