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What does digitalization mean for SMEs??

Is digitalization suitable for SMEs? Any company of any size can define a deep industry 4.0 transformation roadmap, or this is just a big players game? How to find what it takes to start a rollout?

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are at the core of business development in Europe. 25 million companies, producing 50% of European GDP and 2 out of 3 jobs are coming from SMEs. Digitalization should be the cornerstone for business success but somehow we need a final push to jump from the springboard, when it comes to implementation.

What it brings. Clarifying goals to be achieved.

Opportunities coming from an Industry 4.0 roadmap are on everyone’s lips, but sometimes it’s not so easy to find arguments to justify our own case and move ahead. Here are some clues that can be helpful in order to understand what digitalization brings to a SME.

Cost reduction It’s easy to think that one of the first source of benefit that can be identified is close to direct labor cost reduction. Automatization of manufacturing operations and tasks performed by workers comes to direct headcount savings.

Nevertheless, the impact in indirect labor is also relevant. Information gathered from the shop floor is downloaded into a data lake creating a structured plant information map. Dashboards and both real time and historian analysis tools are deployed to help decision taking. This deployment comes with the reduction of non value tasks and the optimization of indirect labor.

 

Increase of plant capacity OEE and LTA (lost time analysis) metrics allow to identify hidden sources of waste.

Plant teams are trained in lean manufacturing techniques and waste reduction initiatives become part of day to day factory culture.

New machine capacity arises as waste is been reduced.

 

Eco compliant

factory

Resources usage (water, coolants, energy ….) can be easily gathered from IoT devices. When included in the equation, sustainability metrics are calculated and so the impact on the environment can be tracked.

Very often environmental care can easily be translated to cost saving figures.

 

Customer loyalty Production follow up, idle times identification and wip optimization come to lead time reduction. Depending on the manufacturing strategy (product structure and process flow) savings can be huge.

Variance reduction (with 6sgima, SPC or deep knowledge models) increase process robustness and therefore lead to higher quality standards.

Both lead time and non-quality reduction are key factors to increase customer satisfaction.

 

People development and organization growth

Data becomes a new raw material. The smart use of factory data leads to new disruptive opportunities.

o   Machine learning models based on real data allow to create explicit knowledge on how processes work, and to deploy this knowledge organization wide.

o   New capabilities are developed in existing workers mixing up both manufacturing and IT skills.

o   Business as usual is continuously questioned and innovation processes are part of day to day job.

o   Plant is a technological entity plenty of attractive for new talent recruiting.

Adding the specifics of each industrial sector and the maturity level of each company, the above arguments, and for sure many others, can be the basis for setting up a reliable transformation project.

What it takes. Best practices tips

Transformation roadmap is not an easy process and there are many decisions to be taken that can make the project fail. There are some tips that can help in the early stages

  • Make your customer the hearth of the process. Market trends and customer needs are changing. Define your goal starting from your market/customer requirements and then design the transformation roadmap
  • Think Big. It needs to be challenging. No limits to creativity must be set. Opportunities can be hidden anywhere.
  • Think global. Transformation process demands and holistic approach to lead to success. Think global even though you have to start local.
  • World class transformation. Digital transformation needs to be combined with and organizational transformation based on world class manufacturing principles and methods.
  • Full commitment. Involve the whole organization from manager board to workers
  • People Centric. Technology is not the goal is just an enabler. The competitive key is how our teams are taking advantage of new techs deployed. People transformation is mandatory since Human Factory is one of the key axis.
  • Set up a partners network. Industry 4.0 enabling technologies are evolving really fast. A wide collaborative network will allow accessing digital specialists when needed.

Once our goal with digitalization is fully understood a tangible case study can be set and will clarify the benefits of deploying a transformation roadmap. Financial figures based on short term benefits are needed, but beyond this, there are insights that if properly focused to cultural change that can boost ROI. Don´t forget to add them to the magic formula.

Protegido: Product engineering for the Cyber Factory

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Protegido: Applying TPM in the Cyber Factory

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Now, maunfacturing in Europe and USA comings from abroad

Supply chains breakdowns are being one of the handicaps for recovery. This CV-19 crisis is showing us how dangerous excesive dependence could become.

These are, in general, low tech added value – low cost products (LTAVC), but that are an essential part in our manufacturing industry: from sanitary commodities and equipment to electronics, aerospace and car parts.

All of them were brought there by means of new facilities or subcontracting, the first by the lure of a blooming local demand. Apart from geostrategical considerations, an unbalanced LTAVC may lead to excesive dependence, and more worrying, the lost of ability to produce with high efficiency and agility when today’s manufacturing technology gives the opportunity to do so.

Anyway, we have to be ready for coping with the next disturbing event, sure they will become frequent in angry world: periods of superficial non-rigurous doings create the anger for deep changes, and deeping means transitory unpredictability.

So’s likely à world-wide or world-area crisis will stall in the next future.

And so we have an opportunity and an emergency to re-industrialize developed countrys, like Spain is one, with those LTAVC products that once we mispriced. But we have to do that over solid-competence shield plants: Cyber-factorys.

One operative sheet-metal parts Cyber-F is the Sisteplant engineered AIC-ASF in Amorebieta (Basque Country – Spain). It performs the features of such manufacturing sites must have:

  • Powerful Design for Manufacturing skills.
  • Near full flexible Automation with “zero” set-up time.
  • Very reliable machines with high throughput.
  • Predictive A.I. (artificial intelligence) software to operate the plant from quality, maintenance, scheduling and flows integrated sides.
  • Near Unmanned operation, but computer-aided virtual manned engineering and control.
  • Round the year round the clock operation.

All of them aiming to get extreme high quality and reliability, and low-competitive cost.

The CAPEX (ROI) is justified this way:

  • Direct costs differences made very small, and possibly cheaper than before.
  • Supply chain costs reduced to almost zero.
  • Scheduling and supply overhead costs reduced to almost zero.
  • Inventory carrying costs reduced also to zero.

If interested in more, please contact with Borja Arenaza, R+D Dtr,

barenaza@sisteplant.com

Protegido: Carefully

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¡Industria ahora!

En tiempos normales prudencia y cobardía se confunden, y agresividad y valentía también. La trivialidad lo permite. Pero hoy estamos en conflicto.

Tienen algo bueno las guerras:

  • Crean ilusión y solidaridad.
  • Ponen a cada uno en su sitio.

En tiempos de “estabilidad” (eso que tanto reclamamos las empresas, y que en realidad significa “déjennos en paz”, que lo hacemos mejor) es sencillo innovar e invertir. Y es sencillo que consigamos materializar ese potencial, que por nuestra sencillez relativa tenemos, de ser “minisociedades ejemplares”.

Pero ahora estamos en guerra.

Lo del 2009 no fue una, fue aburrimiento y degeneración originada por un sistema financiero obeso que no hacía deporte. Había que sanear, y por eso duró.

Hoy, eso que entonces fue pura decadencia, es un accidente (maldito o bendito bicho?) que nos empuja a revolución y salida repentina; el polo opuesto:

  • Reindustrializar con valor añadido de verdad.
  • Invertir en tecnología y cyber-fábricas.
  • Promocionar su simbiosis con el “hombre tecnológico”.

Esto no tiene por qué esperar a nada, pararlo no es prudencia, es cobardía, y nos volverá a dejar atrás para cuando muy pronto todo rebote.

Reindustrializar con cyber-fábricas ( de otro modo no merece la pena) no es un conjunto de planos de máquinas y edificios. Ambos responden a un modelo profundamente interactivo entre generación de valor garantizable, flexibilidad y agilidad límites, informática inteligente, y modelos de organización adaptativos en tiempo real. Esto último es el motor y lo más delicado de obtener. Todo esto requiere un estudio estratégico-tecnológico profundo, y no algo meramente oportunista. Nada más lejos.

Hay dos razones técnicas para adelantarse; 1- Las oportunidades que ahora salen son atractivas y alguien se adelantará. Mejor nosotros, y 2- Las nuevas fábricas o cambios organizativos relevantes deben salir con el modelo mejorado desde el tiempo cero, pero su diseño e implantación son laboriosos. Entonces, como la salida en el 2021 será en “V”, tenemos que aprovechar desde ya lo que nos queda de año para concebir y lanzar el cambio.

Diseñemos y planifiquemos con cuidado esto ahora para tenerlo todo listo y poder fabricar en otra categoría desde primeros del 2021.

Precisamente porque estamos en guerra y necesitamos moral y futuro. Y ganar.

Diagnóstico de Eficiencia Industrial

Vivimos una época de gran incertidumbre. A corto plazo, porque nuestros negocios luchan por sobrevivir. A medio y largo plazo, porque será necesario reinventarse para recuperar lo perdido. Ahora y después nuestras operaciones se deberán sostener sobre un pilar fundamental: la eficiencia de nuestros procesos.

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