A lot can be done just by changing the mind-sets and skill sets
Published by : Industrial Automation
Bhadresh Dani, Vice President (Drives & Automation), Bharat Bijlee Ltd.
After a decade of Industry 4.0 what is the extent of digital transformation in the manufacturing space in India?
So far we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Industry 4.0 will increasingly connect machines and systems to allow seamless data transmission across all departments of a workplace, and even beyond; this opens up opportunities for entirely new business models in manufacturing. The Government of India has taken many initiatives to support Industry 4.0. For example, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been developing a ‘Smart Factory’ which will be a demonstration centre to explore factories of the future, and to support Industry 4.0 in MSMEs by developing solutions that are ‘advanced yet affordable’.
The SAMARTH Udyog Bharat 4.0 programme of the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI), aims to bring together Industry, Institutes, Industry Associations and the Government. The purpose is to enhance global competitiveness of manufacturers by reducing costs, improving quality, and accelerating customer response. Four centres have been established, at IIT Delhi, IISc Bangalore, CMTI Bangalore and C4i4 Lab Pune.
In India a few industries, notably FMCG, telecom, automobile, machines tools, and healthcare have adopted Industry 4.0 as first movers; other industries are making inroads at a slower pace. According to analysis by McKinsey, if Indian companies adopt Industry 4.0 across functions like manufacturing, supply chain, logistics and procurement, they can enhance operating profits by 40% at less than 10% of the planned capital expenditure. The opportunity lies in digitising existing machines and assets by embedding connectivity devices instead of fresh capital expenditure.
In my opinion, penetration of Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing sector is less the 10%, and a lot can be done just by changing the mind-sets and skill sets while addressing the insecurities that accompany automation.
How should an enterprise begin the process? Is there an ideal roadmap to follow for companies beginning their digital transformation journey?
It begins with the objectives of the business; the project must contribute directly to improved business performance and by understanding that many limitations that existed up to now can be eliminated by the new technologies. It is said that competitive advantage is a function not just of size and scale, but the ability to innovate, adapt, and to seize opportunities. There is no single ideal road-map, but most important is clarity and consensus on what is to be achieved, and how. Often, this needs an internal champion – sometimes self-appointed – who has acquired knowledge on Industry 4.0, and is able to create excitement within the organisation.
Set a long term strategic road map with clear objective: With the current IT systems in most organisations, data is abundant, and operational data is growing easier to harvest. Digital success involves setting measurable and “global” improvement targets, ones that can gain from automation, and will have an impact on competitive advantage. These could include one, or several, or even all of:
1. Increased production capacities and throughput.
2. Improved OEE, and automated notifications in case of machine failure.
3. Improved worker safety by reduction in number and frequency of accidents.
4. Reduced cycle times and conversion costs.
5. Improved timeliness of customer delivery by flexibility in adjusting production/operations according to demand requests.
6. Visibility and monitoring of live production data of multi- location factories.
7. Improved component availability and lower inventories by synchronisation of the entire supply chain.
8. Reduced cost of poor quality by data-driven preventive actions and responding quickly to product/service issues.
9. Remote condition monitoring to predict and prevent failures before they happen, or to diagnose them when they do.
Form agile teams: Put together a team of like-minded people from across functions, people who are adaptable, curious, receptive to change, innovative, and willing to collaborate. This will likely involve a convergence between the operating and IT teams to a greater extent than hitherto. As with any such project, the team must have clarity on the desired outcome, and yet be comfortable with the uncertainties inherent in exploration.
Manufacturing Process mapping: In my opinion, the company needs to follow steps similar to the implementation of a new ERP system across departments and processes. For an Industry 4.0 project, the team needs to map the complete as-is manufacturing process. The focus is to create a single pipeline to capture missing or imperfect process elements, obstructions to flow, etc. that can be addressed by digitalisation. After due analysis, this should ultimately lead to the desired to-be digitalisation road map.
Prepare scope of Industry 4.0 Document: In line with the strategic objectives, the scope of work must be defined by identifying how process limitations or gaps can be addressed by automation, and how value can be gleaned from operational data. The Scope document should include the digitalisation road map, and cover expected improvement not only at the relevant machine or line, but the higher-level “global” benefits that will follow after deployment.
Discuss and agree with Industry 4.0 system integrator: If there is an external consultant or integrator (with appropriate references), the scope of work must be explicitly agreed, and the contract drawn up covering the usual performance and commercial terms. One possibility is to agree fees based on a minimum and graded RoI.
Prepare, plan and review: Project management is crucial for success. Gantt charts are commonly used to track tasks or events against time, and there are many excellent software tools available for monitoring and review of progress against defined milestones. It’s important to celebrate mid-course successes even in small way.
Go live: Start monitoring data flow and dashboards, check authenticity of data, and maximise the value of merged IT and operational data streams.Moving to Operational Performance management (OPM): OPM involves all departments working towards achievement of common objectives and with uniform, non-conflicting metrics. These must be goals that engender competitive advantage, and are quantifiably
measurable: for example, improvement in quality, reliability, throughput, and cost. After deployment there will be large volumes of data coming in through sensors and other devices. The challenge now is in managing the interconnectivity and to enable decision-making, scenario-mapping and outcome-prediction from all the operational data (possibly using Artificial Intelligence) based on analysis.
Data Driven Decision making: This hinges even more on collaboration and integration between the operating and IT teams to create engines for insights that help decision making. This can be a source of market differentiation: using all the acquired data to make crucial competitive decisions.
What is the role for various stakeholders in the organisation in this endeavour?
The roles may be summed up under different heads:
Business Unit Head: He decides the strategic objective of the Industry 4.0 project: how will it improve business performance?
Operational excellence (Industrial engineering) team: They are the experts on process, flow, productivity, and 5S practices. They have a very important role to play.
Production team: They must take ownership for the operational and quality improvements that are to be achieved at plant level. IT team: Enabling the IT infrastructure, integration with the existing ERP, Cloud connectivity, etc.
CFO: Evaluate the financial impact of expected benefits and evaluate project viability, based on projected RoI.
Maintenance team: Owns the impact of the project on OEE.
In general, what are the key challenges to overcome in the process?
Technology is growing increasingly sophisticated and at the same time affordable. This makes it tempting to embark upon automation projects simply because the concept is presently in vogue. But ultimately, there must be a business case whereby business performance is measurably improved in a meaningful way. Technically exciting, and even very innovative solutions, often do not pass this test, at least as of now. Even so, it is
important to remain aware and curious, and to take on projects at least as proof of concept. A clearly defined limitation or constraint to be overcome will often breed an automation solution that in fact does make business sense.
There are also the usual organisational challenges inherent in any project of this nature. There is always resistance to change, fear of the unknown, and conflicting priorities. Often there are concerns about whether internal skills can be developed, and about data security. The key lies – at leadership level – in first understanding how Industry 4.0 can help the organisation, and to make peoples’ lives easier. If this is articulated clearly and convincingly, consensus and commitment usually follow.
Will the current scenario act as a catalyst, or rather the companies use this opportunity?
Yes, the current scenario will certainly act as a catalyst. The way we work and communicate within organisations has changed dramatically in the last few months. We have all already seen the benefits of virtual presence and connectivity. It is seamless and user-friendly and highly effective. At an individual level we understand that the obstacle is not availability of technology, but our mind-sets. This will increasingly transform our attitudes towards welcoming automation in our factories and supply chains.
Bhadresh Dani is Vice President (Drives & Automation) at Bharat Bijlee Ltd in Mumbai. He is a husband, father, marathon runner, and Power Electronics engineer with Management qualifications from Henley Management College, UK and IIM-A, and Leadership Development education from the Scandinavian Institute of Management, Denmark. He has worked in development, production, customer support, sales and marketing, and business development. In prior experience, he has worked with the Danish multinational Danfoss from inception of its operations in India on various assignments in sales and marketing roles.
He is passionate about sales, digital marketing, new technologies like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), AI and machine learning. He believes in creating unique value for customers and for organisations he works with. His professional career is built on three strong pillars – vision, innovation and connection.
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