Once the pilot project is complete and considered a success it’s time to continue the next steps in the Digital Transformation journey. This is where manufacturers experience the real value of becoming a Data-Driven Manufacturer.
Long Term Value
Was the pilot project a success? Did it provide valuable data that helped the company reduce downtime, improve quality, increase production? Was the data actionable and the results measurable? If so, then it’s time to consider repeating the process of Plan, Connect, and Learn from the Pilot stage, and do it on additional machines in the line, or connect other lines.
The good thing is that the flexible, scalable, affordable, secure architecture is already in place. There is not a significant spend requires to do that. Adding more machines to the IIoT ecosystem in place should be minimal. The spend of effort and resources should now be placed on creating data visualization and analysis solutions to solve new challenges in the plant while following the same Digital Strategy, technology rules and principles, along with the existing architecture and technologies.
It’s helpful to remember that this process of building up should be an incremental process. Digital Transformations are not a single project, they’re a journey. Implementing a single, bloated system in one go shouldn’t be the focus. That old adage of how you eat an elephant is apt…one bit at a time, or one project at a time. Keep in mind the process of selecting one project after another won’t be a random process if you’re keeping your eye on the vision and goals, staying within the bounds of the Digital Strategy, and following the roadmap.
Too often we see examples where companies lose their way because they’ve lost their momentum. That usually happens because issues come up in the moment and companies move their focus to the latest issue. Even major pandemics have not prevented the successful companies from losing their way. Those companies are able to keep the focus, keep the momentum by having support from Leadership, a culture that understands the value of strategies and planning, and how to get ahead of issues rather than living in a reactive world. If your company is lost in the reactive realm, real-time data from the plant floor could be the way out. That real-time visibility along with a small effort to start planning an improvement here or there can go a long way to digging you out of the reactive chasm.
Long Term Value
Early in the Digital Transformation journey companies will be focused on the short-term challenges inside the four walls of the plant. There is massive value in solving those challenges. However, the value from Digital Transformations and becoming a Smart Manufacturer doesn’t stop there. The challenges outside the four walls of the plant can also be solved by intelligent use of data.
Consider what it might be like to securely share quality data with your customer, how valuable that might be to them. Then consider how much stickier that customer relationship might be come. Massive value. What about setting up a simple, secure supplier ecosystem to drive real-time updates of inventory levels, order status, etc. to reduce lead times and inventory levels, freeing up cash and enabling better on-time delivery to your customers. More massive value. The list goes on.
Innovative, forward-thinking manufacturers are able to continue driving more revenue and profits, longer and more valuable customer relationships, a stronger supply chain, better competitive positions in the market, and increase company valuations.
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