The world of manufacturing is going through a major shift and there is an increasing trend towards the adoption of Smart Manufacturing. As per a latest research by McKinsey, Smart Manufacturing is a top priority for 70% of the companies.
When you hear the term “smart factory,” what comes to mind? If you’re an SME, it may involve leveraging robotics to boost automation, efficiency and throughput. If you’re a large aerospace OEM, it may involve autonomous AGVs, connectivity and real-time decision-making.
If you are in manufacturing, you probably have heard of Industry 4.0, smart factories, the fourth industrial revolution, and smart manufacturing. But what exactly is the difference between all of these? The maybe not-so-surprising truth is that they all describe the same thing: the power of data for manufacturing and its incredible availability, thanks to digital technology. A business can now know more about its industrial assets and value chain than ever before, while creating a competitive business model.
With the advent of Industry 4.0, the idea of the smart factory is bandied about regularly. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making your factory “smart”. And that’s why simulation and digital twins are crucial tools in the smart factory journey.
1. Selecting the Right Technology:
The implementation of Smart Manufacturing requires integration of multiple technologies with different technology options such as type of Field Devices, Connectivity, Cloud, IoT Platform, etc. Selecting the right technology components to achieve the required performance can be quite challenging.
For the first time, these enabling technologies are affordable to the masses, not just the Fortune 100 companies. They will allow businesses to take action in real time by getting the right information to the right people at the right time to drive breakthroughs in competitiveness and efficiency.
2. Selecting the Right Implementation Models:
There are choices involved in all the implementation steps of the Smart Manufacturing journey such as team structure (in-house vs outsource vs hybrid), deployment (Cloud/on-premises), etc. The key to success of Smart Manufacturing initiatives depends on identifying the right use cases which help in demonstrating quick ROI wins.
The critical thing is to take the first step quickly. With a pilot project or with a more complex and impactful project, it’s important to buy the ticket and start the journey.
3. Start from People:
The initiative must start at the top of the organization. It’s not a matter of implementing a new technology, or new software. It’s defining a new business strategy that impacts the entire company at all levels and has to be designed correctly and consistently with the company goals.
Smart manufacturing is not about replacing people; it’s about focusing on people to empower them as much as possible to provide the intelligence that the machines or software cannot guarantee. In smart manufacturing, people become more important, not less.