On the occasion of the Drive the Factory of the Future event on April 12th, 2018, Guillaume Vendroux, CEO of the DELMIA brand, revisited the subject of the digital transformation of industrial operations to understand the challenges it brings and to get a concrete idea of what the factory of tomorrow will look like. The following is a translation of a blog post that originally appeared in our French-language blog.
Today, we’re confronted with a need to drastically change our industrial practices. As a result of globalization, markets are always growing, but investments remain limited. This means more production using our existing assets. Manufacturers absolutely must find drivers of productivity.
Conversely, manufactured products are becoming more and more complex due to greater richness and diversity. Manufacturers are therefore caught in a vice between productivity and complexity, and if nothing is done, this dual pressure turns into problems with quality, product maintenance, and logistical breakdowns.
The virtual world of the future factory must allow us to break out of this restrictive framework and reach a higher level of productivity and anticipation. Creating models for our industrial operations won’t be what allows us to anticipate problems. We will achieve this through confronting this virtual model and the reality of execution using real-time data from the field.
What does this mean for manufacturers and all of their employees?
The digital transformation of the industrial world is not simply digitizing the practices we used before; it goes much deeper than that… It means changing our practices to maximize their efficiency using the power of the virtual world.
It’s a real company revolution, centered more on practice and the way people will be integrated into all of these processes than on simply factoring computers into the equation.
It’s a major redesign of our model; that’s the true digital revolution.
Digital transformation doesn’t take place to the detriment of operators; on the contrary, it’s there to help them work more comfortably and with the greatest possible efficiency. When it comes to this transformation, people are at the center. We must make each operator understand their role in the company’s value chain and give them all of the information they need to make the right decisions. We will then automate the repetitive tasks with no added value. We’re not just talking about physical robotization, but also automation of processes to allow for better decision-making and have the agility required to resolve problems effectively.
The same goes for managers: they are no longer the only ones with information and the ability to make decisions. They become the facilitators for their group’s performance. There is a real change to their role, but it does not in any way devalue them. From now on, they’re responsible for activating the levers that’ll allow their team to perform their operations correctly based on information that comes to them directly.
This post originally appeared on 3D Perspectives, the Dassault Systèmes blog
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