Business Drives Smart Manufacturing Part 1

Business drives Smart Manufacturing: Part 1

Business drives Smart Manufacturing: Part 1

  • By

    Ms. Sujata Tilak, MD - Ascent Intellimation Pvt. Ltd.

  • /
  • Posted

    08 May 2017

Business drives Smart Manufacturing: Part 1

Smart Manufacturing (referred also as Industry 4.0 based on German Govt. program) is a journey. It is a journey which starts from the top in any organization and has to percolate to the bottom for ensuring success. I interact with several CxOs on this topic. These discussions always focus on “why” of smart manufacturing. I also interact with operational leaders and they focus more on “how”. Both are important.

IIoT, big data, cloud, digital twin etc. are all concepts / technologies used in this journey. But this journey is undertaken by companies those are into discrete manufacturing to achieve some specific strategic goals and business objectives. Any smart manufacturing / industry 4.0 project must not lose business focus and drive every activity within the project to achieve these goals. But it is not uncommon to find technology overtaking the business objectives.

In this series of articles, I would like to discuss both “why” and “how” aspects of Smart Manufacturing and establish the vital link between business goals and smart manufacturing solution areas. As we go along some more areas will come up based on feedback received from readers as well as my continued interactions with manufacturing companies.

Strategic Goals

Strategic goals spell out ‘why’ of smart manufacturing. Common high level strategic goals are

  • To increase competitiveness

  • To optimize/ maximize utilization of available resources

  • To become more agile and flexible to changing needs

  • To achieve faster time to market

  • Openness and transparency on shop floor

  • To increase safety and environmental compliance

  • Ultimately, to satisfy all the stakeholders of the organization (internal/ external such as investors, promoters, employees, suppliers and customers)

Smart manufacturing alone does not fulfil these goals, but it definitely contributes significantly in the fulfilment. Each of these high level goals translates into one or more operational goals which further translate into tactical actions. It is the vision of the management to improvise its processes

Operational Goals

Operational goals also spell out ‘why’ of smart manufacturing. These are generally measurable and time bound goals. Multiple operational goals contribute to fulfilment of strategic goals. Some examples of operational goals are

  • Reduce unplanned downtime

  • Improve performance

  • Improve quality

  • Improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

  • Reduce raw material inventory

  • Reduce finished goods inventory

  • Reduce product changeover time

  • Reduce scrap

  • Reduce energy consumption

In the next article we will examine ‘how’ operational goals are converted to tactical actions and ‘how’ smart manufacturing helps in this journey.

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