Posted by Ron Fijalkowski on Thu, 05/09/2019
Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a-changin.” You can’t argue with a Nobel Prize winner, and if you haven’t started swimming in Industry 4.0 already, chances are you’re feeling like you’ve already sunk like a stone. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk about Industry 4.0, beyond the hype on LLR Partner’s Growth Bits Blog. LLR Partners is the top private equity firm for growth capital, and SDI is in their Industrial Technology and Business Services portfolio. In that article, we talk about how lowering hardware costs and greater availability of powerful cloud computing capabilities has brought the digital supply chain within reach of so many more companies, regardless of size, than ever before. At the foundation is data. The democratization of data has given people enough knowledge to be dangerous, but it is how we use that organizational data that will determine what opportunities we have to streamline operations, slash operating costs, and improve product/service quality.
Enabling the Digital Supply Chain
Recently, SDI launched ZEUS, our cloud-based B2B technology platform. ZEUS provides industrial manufacturers, universities, and other asset/facility intensive organizations Supreme Power over their Digital Supply Chain. The cornerstone of the platform, which includes modules for Data and Analytics, eProcurement, Storeroom Technology, and Inventory management, is a dynamic marketplace enabled by AI-automated item categorization, intelligent part recognition and identification, and buying automation through the use of bot technology. Essentially, SDI ZEUS enables better business outcomes through data-driven insights. The potential is limitless.
In the article, I outline several real-world examples of clients who have implemented MRO 4.0 technology to align their MRO supply chain with their reliability and production strategies. It doesn’t have to be Earth-shattering change. It’s small steps like applying vibration sensors to the areas of your production line that you know vibrate the most. It can be as simple as applying machine learning to consolidate and analyze sensor data in order to predict failures before they happened, so that production line operators can prevent failures completely. Or something as outside-the-box as using 3D scanning to reproduce obsolete parts and thus extend the lifespan of older production equipment.
Where Ever You Start, Just Get Started
- Start small. Every Industry 4.0 expert that I’ve talked to says pick a pilot, build proof of concept, and use that to either make your case for broader enterprise change or to add incremental projects.
- Have a business objective in mind. Don’t go digital just for the sake of going digital. Have a specific problem in mind where you want to impact meaningful change.
- Get help. Cloud providers have invested the time and money in infrastructure, security, systems, ect. Take advantage of plug and play solutions and the domain expertise offered by cloud providers to start on your journey.
- Follow the data. Industry 4.0 is about using real-world data to learn something valuable, so identify the areas where you’re already collecting data and look for ways to collect, consolidate and analyze it.
- Prioritize based on industry and platform experience. When seeking partners, look for companies with prior experience working within your platform and your industry.
- Create some guardrails. While you should empower your team to launch pilo programs, there needs to be a process in place to identify and sponsor those projects. There also need to be processes that ensure the learnings that come out of the project are shared with the wider organization.
If you are willing to support this kind of intrapreneurial model, you can empower people to experiment and innovate freely at minimal cost, and the potential is incredible. Read the full article here.