Earlier in the year, a World Bank report into Asia Pacific confirmed something many of us assumed – disruption in business across Asia Pacific has been severe.
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There are signs of recovery – for example, another report found that new business formation has lifted 35 per cent year-on-year across the region, however businesses still face ongoing disruption into 2022 and beyond, and this is informing an Industry 4.0 mentality towards transformation.
For example, one sector that has been particularly disrupted has been the manufacturing industry. As Sebastien Ory, Vice President, APAC Operations Business, AVEVA, noted in an exclusive interview with IDG, the disruption will continue, so for enterprises in the manufacturing space, the recovery will be in how they adapt to the new environment and ways of working.
“What is paramount here is agility and resiliency,” Ory said. “Disruption and uncertainties will keep going for the following years, and being agile and resilient needs to become part of t the manufacturer’s DNA.
“What we see as part of the solution to this ongoing challenge is the concept of a digital thread, which is really about adding end to end visibility to your business, and it is really important so that you are able to have realistic data for sales and operation planning and consistency.”
Achieving this “digital thread” means first getting a real-time view on the entire enterprise in the first instance, Ory said. Then, he added, drawing analytics from it, helps to deliver the insights that allow business to be further optimised and new opportunities to be identified.
“Then, in the second phase, it’s more about supply chain optimisation and enterprise visibility,” he added. “It’s these two elements that are driving opportunity of optimisation and additional profit for our customers.”
Industry 4.0 for manufacturing
For one example of this in action, AVEVA worked with Campbell Soup Company to implement a predictive analytics solution that would allow the company to monitor multiple lines, sites, and equipment as an extension to existing systems. This solution had over 20 behaviour models deployed, and saw results immediately, with two early-warning catches occurring within the first quarter to prevent downtime, and anomalies in the dough laminator and oven oxidizer being detected early and minimising production losses.
Meanwhile, Olam leveraged AI-analytics readiness with contextual manufacturing data availability, based on AVEVA Manufacturing Execution System software, to drive higher product quality and consistency with end-to-end traceability, and better tracking of materials and energy usage throughout the manufacturing process, leading to improved cost efficiencies, sustainability, and improved customer satisfaction.
“Think big, start small and scale fast is very true in the concept of industry 4.0,” Ory said. “The CIO has a key role in aligning the business behind that vision. The second part is plan about what to do once the first pilot is successful. Being able to answer the question ‘what is your plan to scale?’ is important because you don’t want to do something successfully and not be unable to scale it.
“The third element is to understand that it’s important to scale up to operational phase as soon as the pilot is okay. We see many pilots where the business wants to perfect it first, but technology must be agile and continue improving.”
“The fourth element is to invest in a team that you maintain and improve process and operations. One of the big differences we see with successful deployment is the investment in a dedicated team that is driving the technology change management.”
The role of the CIO
Ultimately, Ory said, the CIO is the one that needs to drive the digital transformation necessary to accelerate Industry 4.0, and this has multi-faced implications for the CIO and their role.
“There is a need for the CIO to be more aware of the constraints of the shop floor and the day-to-day business,” Ory said. “They need to develop the holistic view of the organization, and how it will all interface together. This comes with building up data analytic capabilities, but it’s not necessarily about having an army of data scientists. It’s more about having the ability to screen the market, and to understand which technologies will resolve the specific challenges that the company has.”
The CIO needs to be the change agent, and while that’s not necessarily easy, the reality is that Industry 4.0 will leave any organization that doesn’t adopt it behind. Now is the opportunity for the CIO to step up and articulate a digital-first future for the business that is agile, innovative, and well prepared for the future.