Practical lessons learnt from GKN’s digital journey

Posted on 16 Nov 2017 by Jonny Williamson

The key learning, challenges and advice surrounding GKN Driveline’s digital journey was given by its worldwide lead for Industry 4.0, Mohammed Zammer, during his keynote presentation at The Manufacturer Leaders Conference this morning.

The two-speed system GKN produces for the BMW i8 - image courtesy of GKN Driveline.
The two-speed system GKN produces for the BMW i8 – image courtesy of GKN Driveline.

GKN Driveline’s digital – or Industry 4.0 – journey only began around 18 months.

The organisation still has a long way to travel and is by no means an expert, Mohammed Zammer explained.

But it’s progress so far has given rise to some valuable learnings, which Zammer was happy to share:

Stakeholder involvement:

  • Achieve early buy-in from stakeholders
  • Plants need to lead and own
  • Senior management need to be aligned
  • Mid-management need to be won over

Skills & Resources:

  • Identify where you have a shortage of skills and resources
  • Turn local pilots into global standards
  • Encourage innovation, but ensure alignment


  • Create a vision and communicate it effectively
  • Hold regular knowledge sharing reviews
  • Offer regular updates to shareholders
  • Share success stories across all levels and functions

Manage expectations:

  • Clearly define your expectations
  • Not all pilots will be successful
  • Cannot do it overnight, but start now
  • Think big, start small


  • Avoid getting lost in ‘technology maze’
  • No perfect solutions in the market
  • Accept the limitations of chosen tools and run
  • Standardise as much as possible

Mohammed Zammer 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.