Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit: The digital economy is here. Are you ready to scale up?

Posted on 5 Dec 2019 by Jonny Williamson

Ralf Schulze took to the main stage at Manufacturing Leaders' Summit 2019 to share the best practices HCL Technologies has jointly learned with its customers regarding innovating and scaling digital.

A growing number of manufacturers have embarked on their digital journeys cutting across IT, OT and data.

The vision, approach and outcomes may be different, but there are some common lessons around how businesses have innovated by embracing data from their products in the field, (re)designing their value chain process, and using the scalability of cloud to get real-time manufacturing insights.

Digital Economy - The fourth industrial revolution is being driven by digitisation, big data and other rapid advances in technology - Digital Disruption Manufacturing

“Data has taken over from oil to fuel the economic growth of the future,” noted Ralf.

“Digital isn’t just a buzzword anymore. In the ongoing race to attain competitive advantage, improving business agility and drive higher profits, digital transformation has emerged as the defining paradigm for modern global enterprises.”

Ralf provided an insight into what HCL Technologies believes the manufacturing industry’s next frontier will look:

Individualisation – customers are continuously evaluating the added value of the products and solutions they buy, and they only pay for what they like.

Sustainability – the environmental footprint of product and production has evolved from a cost factor to a differentiator.

Platform-centricity – the product ties the customer to the seller and is the basis for a variety of services which are taking over as main source of revenue and profit.

Speed – innovation cycles are ever shortening, and the windows of opportunity require manufacturers to build high performance supply chain.

Efficiency – manufacturing needs to leave the traditional asset intensity and find new ways to provide ROI.

“Digital technologies offer enterprises unrivalled opportunities to work smarter, move closer to customers and innovate their way to success,” Ralf noted.

“The problem is that in many cases, these are isolated initiatives, often undertaken in response to narrowly defined issues and existing apart from any comprehensive digital strategy. Such piecemeal initiatives only scratch the surface and offer little or no value to enterprises.”

To become a truly digital enterprise, Ralf recommended manufacturers adopt a more joined up approach, going beyond piecemeal and incremental digital projects to fundamentally reinventing the business model, the capabilities and the organisation in its entirety.

“It requires digital execution and innovation at scale. It requires scaling digital to the power of the enterprise.”

Successful transformations require a change in the way executive leadership teams operate, he added.

Engage and understand – learn and understand the business landscape and the barriers to achieve your digital transformation vision

Assess and envision – understand the current state and define what agile culture looks like and how to achieve it

Manage impact and prepare – develop the ‘change’ roadmap, identifying the challenges and opportunities, focusing on culture and people.

Build and deploy – deploy and roll out the roadmap