Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit: Putting pragmatism into digital manufacturing

Posted on 20 Nov 2018 by Jonny Williamson

Technology is not itself the panacea to your operational excellence problems, but it can be used practically to supercharge your efforts. A.T. Kearney’s Nigel Pekenc explained all in his keynote.

Digital Manufacturing Digitalisation of Manufacturing Digital Tech Robot Automation Robotics - Stock Image
What does it take to create a digital manufacturing success story in established operations?

When it comes to digital manufacturing, what does it take to succeed? How can your projects and investments yield the expected results, or even surpass them?

Those were the key questions Nigel Pekenc, director of A.T. Kearney, posed to the Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit audience.

According to Pekenc, many manufacturers feel like they’re only seeing digital manufacturing from afar, and are asking experts, analyists, consultants and each other how to not only get there, but get there quicker.

“Here’s the rub, there is no short-cut to the promised digital land; and many have taken a heavy fall by assuming there is,” he warned.

However, if it’s so difficult, why do we see so many digital manufacturing success stories? Pekenc noted that the digital ‘genie’ is already out of the bottle, and while young competition take huge strides forwards, long-established operations are being held back by legacy technologies, systems and infrastructure.

5 key pitfalls in digital manufacturing implementation

‘One size’ doesn’t fit allIndustries and clients are at different maturity levels, some require upgrades to foundational capabilities to capture value from digitalisation.

Technology doesn’t serve business needs Digitalisation must address fundamental business issues.

Project marred by complexity Digital projects are often stunted by complexity issues and reasons ‘why not’.

Lack of focus It is commonly hard to gain momentum as activities are often seen as a ‘side-line project’ with unclear resourcing and governance.

Search for the short-cut Successful digital manufacturing adoption requires enhancements in technology, operating processes and organisational capabilities.

So, what does it take to create a digital manufacturing success story in established operations? According to Pekenc, the key lies in rebuilding from the bottom-up.

“Rebuilding bottom-up means starting with the business needs, fixing the basics first and supercharging that with digital. If steps one and two aren’t in place, then three won’t work; so, don’t be tempted to skip them and get to the exciting new kit quickly.”

“Look for traditional value levers from the bottom up and once you’ve found them, look at how digital technologies can help solve or create them,” he concluded.

Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit has been bringing together senior industry executives for more than a decade, and is the biggest manufacturer-to-manufacturer conference in the country.

It is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Digital Manufacturing Week, an annual celebration of UK manufacturing excellence that takes place every November in Liverpool. This year saw 887 delegates attend Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit (up 45% on 2017) and 5,322 visitors to Digital Manufacturing Week (up 36% on 2017).

Clear your diary and join us next year: 13-14 Nov 2019!