By Rodney Phillips, EVP, Spyglass
Most manufacturers are in various stages of their digital transformation, factory of the future or industry 4.0 initiatives. However, there is still real skepticism from many operational executives on where and when these investments will deliver real value. Value that can be measured on the bottom line can look months, if not years, away.
The phrase digital transformation is an umbrella term covering all the ways manufacturers are transforming themselves into digital businesses. Why does this transformation imperative even exist if you are currently operating with healthy margins? As Jeff Bezos has famously stated, “your margin is my opportunity.” Margin is threatened everywhere by competitors using every possible advantage to squeeze out more efficiency. Everyone is looking to digital technologies because most manufacturers have already realized the most significant gains to be had implementing lean, six sigma or kaizen methods. They’ve also made the continuous improvements necessary in industrial automation. Now, CEOs and COOs are looking for new tools that go beyond what humans and factory machines alone can achieve.
The secret to meeting executive skepticism about the value of digital transformation is to meet it head on by starting small, thinking big, and going fast. Just as you’ve implemented lean into your operational processes, you need to think the same way with going digital. Pick one business problem that is worth solving and can be solved fast with minimally invasive changes to your procedures or business model. Gain momentum from that first project when it returns value quickly. Learn as you scale up so that you can avoid risky, upfront investments of capital or employee time driving potential outcomes that you’ve not yet proven.
At Spyglass, we are working with discrete and process manufacturers across the U.S. today to connect one or two production lines to our cloud-powered analytics solution. In as few as 15 days, Spyglass customers are monitoring production line data from their machines in real-time and planning their counter measures so they can reduce unplanned downtime, improve product quality and balance production.
This is digital transformation ‘done scrappy’. It’s not long PowerPoint decks or endless rounds with consultants. It’s leveraging the investments you already have – machines you already have, data you already have – and using them now to provide insights you haven’t seen before. It’s also minimally invasive. There is no requirement for OT to upgrade their equipment or for engineering, sales and marketing to create new business models.
Said simply, this is using the assets and data that you already own, to begin your digital transformation journey toward improved OEE.
You are a production line less than one month away from having a mini factory of the future up and running. As you see value and scale up, the impact to your bottom line and margin protection is order of magnitudes greater from improved production uptime, reduced maintenance and decreases in scrapping due to quality issues. Let your competitors knock on some other factory door looking for their opportunity – they won’t find it at yours.
We created Spyglass Connected Factory to enable manufacturers to fast track their digital transformation – one factory at a time. Avoid unplanned downtime, improve product quality, and balance production by starting small, thinking big, and going fast. To learn more, Watch our Spyglass Video.