Industry 4.0? Go for Competence, Collaborations, and User Engagement

Industry 4.0? Go for Competence, Collaborations, and User Engagement

Ulrika Mann
Ulrika Mann,

Already before the pandemic, Industry 4.0 was gaining momentum. Now, the increased urgency is fast-forwarding digital development. How can companies advance progress with internal initiatives as well as through external partnerships? During Reimagining Manufacturing, Orkla, Scania, Sandvik, Chalmers and Microsoft shared their views on this matter.

When it comes to technology and process modernization, Covid-19 has served as a wake-up call within manufacturing. Without a doubt, digitalization of operations is important to strengthen resilience, agility and flexibility – capabilities that have proven extremely essential during the crisis. 

However, as Industry 4.0 surely increases competitiveness, the progress of adoption has been slow, according to Sven Jagebro, Nordic Head of Consulting at Cognizant. For most manufacturing companies, advancing beyond the pilot phase is still a big challenge, according to a McKinsey survey. How do you succeed with Industry 4.0 initiatives then?

Step-by-step at Orkla
Consumer goods company Orkla offers strong local brands in the Nordics but is also a global player. It has implemented a business-driven, step-by-step approach for accelerating digital initiatives across its 108 factories.

According to David Chauca, Chief Solution Architect, industrial digitalization is primarily about being able to gather and use information. With clearly defined business goals, such as reducing waste, improving quality of products and overall equipment efficiency (OEE), David Chauca and his team are creating a common solution portfolio to be reused across the organization. It’s a continuous work that needs to be anchored across the organization and adapted to the maturity of each factory. 

Scania’s internal lab
At truck and bus manufacturer Scania, industrial development is systematically handled within the Smart Factory Lab. Lars Hanson is Team Leader at the lab and explains that the mission is to adopt new technologies to Scania’s needs. New technology is tested in the lab, and after a pilot, it might be turned into a larger solution and put into production. Involving end-users is an important factor.

All work is related to improving Scania’s production systems and is driven both by internal requests from the workshops and from technology development elsewhere. One of the current projects is the implementation of sensors on equipment to measure when maintenance is needed. The knowledge gained at the vicinity of the lab is shared with the rest of Scania. 

Huge upskilling needs
One of the main obstacles to realizing Industry 4.0 initiatives is a lack of competence. Johan Stahre is a Professor at Chalmers University of Technology and also the Co-Director of Produktion2030, a strategic innovation program. According to him, we are in the middle of three crises: Covid, competition, and the climate crisis. This means we must work with resilience on all levels. 

According to a report from the World Economic Forum, 50% of the workforce needs some kind of upskilling in the coming years. What skills are needed? It's about technology use, monitoring and control, but also about critical thinking, analysis and leadership. With respect to this, the demographics in Europe, with its high proportion of people over 40 years old, is a challenge. 

External collaborations
Johan Stahre is encouraging companies to look for private/public partnerships to accelerate initiatives. For example, universities and institutes provide testbeds and the initiative Produktion2030 can also help testing digital initiatives.

Another kind of partnership is the new Factory-Insights-as-a-Service, where Microsoft, PTC and Rockwell have teamed up. The purpose is to help manufacturers unify data to get real-time insights throughout the enterprise, according to Microsoft’s Tayo Carvahal,

Andreas Rosengren, Principal Consultant Manufacturing Cognizant Nordics, says that one shouldn’t even shy away from collaborating with competitors. It’s all about understanding your role in the ecosystem and the value you add. 

Define your ”why”
Industrial enterprise Sandvik is taking a broad perspective on Industry 4.0. It has received international attention for its development towards Industry 4.0; among other things, the World Economic Forum has recognized Sandvik Coromant plant as an advanced Industry 4.0 site.

Vahid Kalhori, Digital Portfolio Manager for Cutting Inserts Production at Sandvik, emphasizes the necessity to ask “why” and not “how” before embarking on the digital journey. In Sandvik’s case, that journey started in the 90s when digital twins were created. Since then, the company has had a strong focus on the full range of capabilities for realizing digitalization: communication, user experience, collaborations, and competence. According to Vahid Kalhori, it’s important to understand that you have to reach a level of internal maturity to create real benefits.     

Because, as stated by Andreas Rosengren, there’s no real lack of technology. Your focus should be on how it supports your business goal.
 

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