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World Class Manufacturing 4.0

How we can build a state of the art manufacturing exploiting the whole potential of Technology and Digital solutions

by Filippo Mantegazza

Last week I attended the yearly show of digital and manufacturing 4.0 at the #HM19. I had the chance to visit and, as anybody else, I was really impressed by the level and numbers achieved by Technology. Today the industrial and logistics environments can really take a big step forward. The technology is ready, available and more accessible than before. All the consolidated companies are continuously progressing, and new companies are rising to the challenge. Digital and Virtual Reality are developing dramatically and increasing the depth of process management and productivity and widening the manageable horizons.

I was really impressed by the level of dynamism of the exhibitors where I could see many components becoming reality. There is a huge effort from the big vendors to provide this infrastructure, but there is not yet the capability to deliver the potential value of all this in the way they visualize it. I saw a digital PCS (Performance Control System), a virtual solution working with mobiles or wearables for guiding and supporting inspections and operations; many VR solutions for training and supporting a difficult or new task; the power of Microsoft and Siemens in connecting infrastructure as well as specific solutions (Microsoft Glasses, Siemens Solutions for process industry, …), simple small very interesting things such as gloves to scan barcodes without moving, gloves that can follow the movement of fingers, all kind of sensors and robots together with smart material handling devices, and much more. It is vastly different from what we witnessed years ago with computer integrated manufacturing. Today we can progress through a sequence of steps integrating different systems and solutions in a smart scheme. Allocating investment and focusing on the most promising opportunities.

Most of the companies are stuck at the level of pilots and struggle to find a way forward. Why the combination of digital opportunities into a smart structured and progressive approach is not going faster

It is our challenge now to combine all these opportunities into a smart structured and progressive approach guided by a clear vision, built on sprints, supported by a robust and agile methodology. What then is the barrier for not going faster? The roadblock is us, the people. When you think about it, it becomes clear. Let’s look at the changes each role must go through:

  1. Top Management should develop a new vision, connecting E2E from Clients to Suppliers and committing to a journey of progression done in a sequence of steps toward that vision but where the individual steps are not yet defined
  2. ICT should open space for new user-based initiatives brought forward in sprints instead of major, sometimes overstructured, initiatives
  3. Engineering should learn and get confident with new technologies, not proven yet and in continuous evolution
  4. All employees from Staff to Operators must adopt a new way of looking at their jobs and adopt new behaviors. By making the effort they have a lot to gain in improving the effectiveness of the development and maintenance of capabilities and in quality, service and cost. But they must raise the profile of their own competences or they may feel threatened that the new system will take over their jobs.
  5. Everybody should grow their own capabilities to manage and keep under control an intelligent, often virtual and fast system highlighting critical issues, proposing and sometimes activating countermeasures and decisions.

To accelerate progression, we need to develop a new Leadership Style so people become aligned to new behaviors.

This is a complex progression opening a new era to provide a new competitive edge. In order to protect our competitiveness and our employees from international competition, the key will be the speed of implementation. We need a clear vision and an Agile-4.0-Plan, WCM (or maybe we should say World Class Operations Management operating E2E) will provide the way to a successful implementation. WCOM™ (World Class Operations Management) will provide an updated Pillar structure including the 4.0 features and opportunities, to create and maintain the Digital Framework, the needed Support Solutions to empower the people and the sequence of development and automation sprints that will compose the future state of the smart-chain. We need a new conscious Leadership Style to manage the engagement of people, guide their development and encourage their adoption and alignment to these new required behaviors. The development of this new culture will be the main accelerator of progression, an accelerator which does not address people, digital and Robots as three separate entities but approaches them as one: the key meta-element behind successful Progression.

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About the author:

Founder of EFESO Consulting Group, CEO for 38 years and currently Vice President of the Supervisory Board, Filippo Mantegazza focus is Operation Strategy, Execution and Improvement, and in this field, he has been involved in hundreds of projects for Multinational Companies in highly competitive industrial sectors. Today he is responsible for the Buy & Build Strategy for the EFESO Group as well as on the development of Manufacturing 4.0.

After many years of cooperation with large public authorities and international experts as Fuji Consulting, the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance and Richard J. Schonberger, a World Class Manufacturing guru, he led a team developing and implementing WCOMTM (World Class Operations Management).

Filippo Mantegazza is the author of many publications and has chaired international conferences in Europe, America and China.