Ilya Billig, Director at Hitachi Vantara, discusses the changes manufacturers should prepare for in the time after quarantine.
Today’s situation is unique – a global business shutdown for several months has never happened before.
While most countries are slowly opening for business (and some countries didn’t shut down at all), there is no doubt that the profound effects of the shut down on businesses and people’s behaviour will be long lasting.
In the years to come, we won’t just go back to normal, it will be the ‘New Normal’. An obvious example of the New Normal is everything Tele (-medicine, -presence, -conference, etc.)
In this article, I will discuss the possible effects of quarantine and social distancing on manufacturing businesses.
We can expect significant changes in business, manifesting in acceleration of trends, disruption in relations, vertical integration and local sourcing
Firstly, watch closely trend acceleration. Things that had been developing slowly will speed up. It’s critical not to miss these changes as the next two years will define the future of the business for the next two decades.
Disruption of established relations are happening already. We see companies having supply chain challenges and expect multiple mergers and acquisitions to reduce the number of players. For many companies this is an opportunity to expand their market share.
Cross company integration. The gap between the global challenges and the ability of society/business to respond to these challenges must be closed.
In manufacturing, we expect companies to look beyond their own immediate business. Companies will need more predictability and transparency across the whole chain: from mining to metals, parts to products. This will call for better intercompany integration at the data and process level.
Local sourcing will become even more important. Regional protectionism will be a factor we cannot ignore. As a result, we expect significant growth of on-demand in place manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing and robotisation.
In conjunction with The Manufacturer, Hitachi Vantara is running a webinar on the economic impacts of this crisis on manufacturing businesses.
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To prepare for these changes companies need to secure uninterrupted business and increase efficiency. These obvious goals will now have some new objectives
Worker safety will go beyond gloves, helmets and jackets and will focus on workers’ health. Solutions for social distancing, hand washing, disease detection will be the New Normal.
Work with suppliers will require more attention. Some companies will even establish funds to support them in times of need. Manufacturers should integrate their data and systems to predict and prevent supply problems.
Margins will be put under huge pressure, so it ; critical to Identify higher value products and monitor the changes in demand and business. Staying in touch with customers is critical.
Changes will be fast. Learn and adapt. Explore new ways to communicate and sell to customers.
Your business should become even more efficient. If you don’t have near real-time view and understanding of key KPIs, costs and losses across all business areas, you will not survive.
You must become a smart factory that makes smart products and do it fast. And remember, look beyond your immediate business – both up and down-stream.
Free your management from mundane tasks. Automate decision-making support.
Hitachi as a 110-year-old global manufacturing and IT company, and is working hard to solve these problems both internally and for our customers.
We have developed methodology to support digitisation projects that is focused on Digital Value Enablement, we have solutions to build strong data infrastructure (data integration, discovery, governance, compliance) and our data scientists and manufacturing experts are building asset and process analytics models alongside the Lumada Manufacturing Insights solutions.
This is the time of big opportunities. Some economists believe that global quarantine replaced the economic crisis that was long coming.
While during the “ordinary” crisis, money would not go into the economy, during government introduced quarantine restrictions, money has been provided to support people and businesses, so we can expect a faster recovery.
And remember, this is the time for decision and actions. In the past the biggest competitor for Hitachi was the “do nothing” attitude of some businesses. Now, no one can afford to “do nothing” – it is simply too expensive and becomes a matter of survival.
Ilya Billig is an Industrial IoT Sales Director at Hitachi Vantara responsible for the manufacturing sector in EMEA.
Ilya specialises in developing digital strategies and solutions with clients to deliver improved business outcomes for clients such as increased asset utilisation, improved operational uptime, lower maintenance costs, improved quality and the delivery of a single version of the truth through data presentation and visualisation.
Ilya was one the people that started Microsoft in Russia, he built several IoT start-ups in the US, and was part of the original Lumada development team in Hitachi. Ilya is passionate about delivering business value through the right combinations of people, process, technology and data.
*All images courtesy of Shutterstock