It’s no secret that the global pandemic has acted as both a lens and a catalyst for the role of IT in manufacturing, exposing vulnerabilities in some sectors of the industry and excellence in others.
The manufacturers who navigated the widespread shift to remote working with little interruption or difficulty tended to be the ones that had already embraced digital transformation in their drive for efficiency: those who had failed to keep pace with innovation suddenly found themselves floundering. As the saying has it, “it’s when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.”
As the chief information officer of Red Bull Racing, four-time winners of the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship, Matt Cadieux knows all about the need for speed, resilience and agility. An engineering and manufacturing specialist with 750 employees, Red Bull Racing has its headquarters in Milton Keynes, a separate state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility and a race team attending events globally.
Cadieux’s top priorities are the delivery of flawless communications and IT across these highly pressurised, time-sensitive environments and to an increasing number of employees who now find themselves working from home.
“We need to get data and applications to our employees no matter where they are and to deliver those with a friendly user experience,” he explains. “By getting the tools and data to these people, it allows them to make decisions quickly, and improves people’s productivity and mindset.”
The team’s ability to work remotely is made easier by a ‘digital backbone’ of hyper-converged IT that connects engineering, manufacturing and racing activities while leveraging real-time data from races and simulations. The result is an innovative ecosystem that enables continuous communication, monitoring and improvement.
“The business is always pushing us to provide more capacity as we use more simulation and analytics and as our models get bigger and bigger. However, we also have significant cost and resource constraints that we have to work within, and we work with our technology partners to do that,” says Cadieux.
One of those partners is Citrix, a software company that specialises in providing work-from-anywhere experiences.
“Citrix gives us the ability to be able to react to data in real-time, enabling faster performance and increased agility. A lot of the data and applications that we need to deliver to stakeholders, wherever they’re at, is hugely graphically intensive – we have an excellent wide area network (WAN) solution, but that on its own is not enough to satisfy user demands,” Cadieux admits.
Citrix’s work with Red Bull Racing focuses on delivering the benefits of centralisation to its distributed workforce while creating greater efficiencies and resilience. This is primarily delivered through the Citrix Virtual Applications and Desktop service (CVADs).
“Red Bull Racing uses Citrix to deliver digital twins to engineers irrespective of where they are located, and this allows them to work with a digital representation of a physical object. This is a long-lasting trend that we see across all sectors of engineering and manufacturing. Engineers have always worked with a lot of graphic applications, but these are now becoming more complex and sophisticated, so we support them to increase the scalability and productivity,” explains Saša Petrović, a Citrix solutions strategist.
This streamlining of work practices and processes is particularly notable in Citrix’s collaboration with Red Bull Racing’s aerodynamicists, whose requirements are particularly exacting. One of the most important elements of the team’s engineering effort, aerodynamic analysis is used to determine the shape of a car, which has a direct impact on its performance.
Citrix developed a unified and centralised solution, eliminating the dependency on endpoint operating systems while providing a seamless experience from a single workspace.
For Petrović, Citrix’s work with Red Bull Racing allows both partners to innovate, not least in the areas of scalability, agility and resilience.
“Our work with Red Bull Racing has shown that streamlining and accelerating processes associated with third-party suppliers and supply chains can have a direct effect on time to market,” says the strategist. “Onboarding new suppliers can be achieved quickly, securely and at scale.”
Looking to the future, Petrović believes that Citrix’s ability to stream applications and to optimise the delivery of data through the network, including consumer-grade broadband, will deliver significant advantages to remote workers who perform critical tasks that depend upon frictionless communication and a reliable connection. “We use the phrase ‘any device, anywhere, at any time’. For us, it doesn’t matter where the data centre or the users sit,” he says.
Citrix digital workspace solutions empower companies to securely deliver the apps and data people need to be as productive as possible, no matter where they work. Discover more here.
This content was paid for by Citrix and produced in partnership with the Financial Times Commercial department
Image supplied by Citrix.