When the digital transformation strategy becomes reality

Posted on 16 Aug 2022 by The Manufacturer
Partner Content

Once a clear enterprise strategy has been defined, it is time to execute the digital transformation roadmap to scale learnings across the enterprise and drive internal adoption.

The execution is the fourth step of the Industry 4.0 journey (with Educate, Prepare and Define being the previous steps) that will make the digital transformation vision come true, and will fulfill defined use cases and implementation. It is the phase that aims at driving value and enables advanced technologies to help deliver sustainable breakthroughs in performance. During execution, all different manufacturing stakeholders come together, including OEMs, technology vendors, consultants, and integrators that contribute to making the strategic planning process reality and drive internal adoption.

Industry 4.0 User Stories

Before starting the execution, manufacturers need to define the end state and the benefits of implementing the pilot technologies, using the user stories exercise. The Industry 4.0 User Stories, is a focused process, based on the agile methodology that:

  • Engage bottom-up, all personas that will interact with the technologies
  • Cultivate a collaborative way of working and interacting among departments
  • Help the enterprise focus on what new technologies can do for the acceleration of capabilities
  • Align all stakeholders around technologies strategic objectives
  • Help understand how technologies can improve the employees’ day-to-day work life
  • Create the right mindset for new technologies implementation.

Implementing the Industry 4.0 vision

After the completion of the user stories exercise and the enterprise alignment on the use cases to focus on, comes the definition of the reference enterprise architecture. This is core to enabling the enterprise digital transformation roadmap, which then becomes the blueprint for each plant throughout the enterprise to follow. Of course, given that very few plants will have identical systems, the blueprint will not be applied in the same way across plants. At this stage, it is crucial to select the best implementation partners to successfully deploy the Industry 4.0 vision.

When the right enterprise architecture is in place and selected plants have built their plant reference architecture it is time to define the specific vendor solutions. Manufacturers should deep dive into the functional and non-functional analysis of vendors by clearly defining their requirements, then engaging vendors through a request for proposal, scoring them objectively, and – as the last step – finalising their contract.

The next part of the Execute phase is the deployment of the Enterprise Industry 4.0 Roadmap across the company. The deployment usually starts with a small-scale implementation per plant of one or two technologies, so that the learnings can be adopted, the business case proved, and increase stakeholder trust. The deployment, which is supported by a specific, enterprise-wide PMO software contains the following stages:

  • The proof-of-concept which proves that the technology can deliver value and get enterprise-wide buy-in
  • The pilot stage will test the effectiveness of solutions in the real-operations environment to showcase robustness and be ready for user adoption
  • The scaled deployment stage brings exponential value to the enterprise. Tracking savings during this process is crucial for enterprises to measure benefits, highlight incremental opportunities and establish effective governance.

When the enterprise-wide Industry 4.0 strategy is deployed and enterprise value is being unlocked at scale, continuous re-calibration of the strategy and re-education of key stakeholders is crucial to ensure alignment with external ecosystem changes.

On top, participation in an ecosystem of excellence together with industry peers and other manufacturing leaders, in which best practices and common challenges are shared and embraced in partnership will be another catalyst for ongoing value creation.

Find below some useful links to realise your digital transformation vision:

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