Deloitte share their insights on smart factories and how to optimise your digital transformation exclusively in The Manufacturer.
When thinking about the recent rise of smart technology, factories are not often the first thing that come to mind. However, the development of ‘smart factories’ will completely change manufacturing as we know it. The implementation of digital technology to monitor production processes will upend the way we think about the supply chain, while improving performance and automating key processes.
Smart factory transformations use always-on connectivity to drive greater value
Once a facility and its assets are connected, they unleash a flood of information to be untangled, translated, and acted upon. The infusion of new data allows organisations to see things that were always there, but previously impossible to observe or quantify.
- Illuminating the hidden factory: Connected smart factories provide data that leaders have often never had access to before, illuminating things that were perhaps always there but in the “dark” due to lack of digitisation.
- Augment current systems for new value: Companies can evolve and improve their familiar methodologies and disciplines, such as lean manufacturing and talent management, to uncover new ways to create value, drive greater productivity, make faster decisions, respond faster and more effectively leverage talent.
- Harness AI to get to the next level: Once everything is connected, data abounds. Companies need tools to make sense of all that information in a way that humans cannot—to drive value quickly, proactively and flexibly.
- Scale the smart factory throughout the network and ecosystem: While significant benefits can be realised by transforming a single facility into a smart one, the value that can be realised by scaling across the facility network is exponentially greater.
While data is the new king, it won’t mean anything without people to interpret and use it. A question that keeps coming up is, “how do you make sure that you can effectively change your processes and people when they have been working the same way for so many years, and then suddenly give them new tools to engage with?”
A few simple things to help answer this question are to:
- Take a human-centred approach to understand what your team’s pain points are.
- Make sure you understand how they need to use information, what they need to look for, why they need to investigate it and how they need to act on it.
- Think of how to make the tool relevant and valuable to your team.
Deloitte is the headline sponsor of Smart Factory Expo taking place 9-12 November. Connect with Nick Davis, UK Industry 4.0 leader at Deloitte who will gladly share his perspectives and lessons learnt from others who have been down this path before.