Manufacturers have a lot of challenges inside the four walls of the plant as well as in their marketspace. ERP systems, efforts like Lean and Six Sigma, and others aren’t able to solve these larger challenges. The successful companies are turning to data to solve their challenges. They are realizing they need to move from being an Industry 3.0 company (automate manufacturing processes with a plethora of unused data in the plant) to Industry 4.0 company (automating business processes by using that data for short- and long-term challenges). We call this transition a Digital Transformation.
A Digital Transformation is a process or journey of becoming more data-driven, moving from disconnected systems and silos, spreadsheets and pieces of paper, and data trapped in PLCs and controllers, to connected systems, real-time data, a single version of the truth. We help companies make that transition to become Data-Driven Manufacturers, aka Smart Manufacturers.
The Digital Transformation process must be thoughtful, supported by Leadership, and planned out. Below are some of the highlights of the planning process and how we help manufacturers through the process.
Before you start a journey, you need to stop and take an inventory, clarify the vision, define the goals, create a viable roadmap, create guidelines for various decisions, and plan the next steps. We have a DTMA (Digital Transformation Maturity Assessment) process we go through with manufacturers that addresses each of these points. Without that common clarity, roadmap, and plan Digital Transformations often flounder. The DTMA process produces a very valuable assessment and set of deliverables, outlined below.
Any major effort must have guidelines or a framework to follow for making decisions. Otherwise, the train could be quickly derailed. A company should have a Digital Strategy, along with some rules and principles for selecting technologies, architectures, and team members to enable success in the Digital Transformation journey.
You can’t get “there” from “here” without knowing the path. We use the goals and “guardrails” above along with some simple concepts like a BCG matrix to evaluate the optimal projects to execute in the right sequence. Keep in mind, this roadmap isn’t written in stone and will likely change based on new learnings along the way. That’s ok. You can always revisit and revise the roadmap later.
A first project should be defined to prove the value of data, capabilities of the teams, and feasibility of the technologies. This first, small project should prove to the organization that embarking on a Digital Transformation to become a Data-Driven Manufacturing company is the right choice. Our DTMA process defines the details of the pilot including scope, architecture, technologies, plan, investment, and schedule.
Let’s Start Something new
Get in touch with us. We’re happy to answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction.