The Next Big Leap in Manufacturing: How Technology Can Enable “Connected Factories”

Until the third industrial revolution, manufacturing was one of the most stable sectors with age-old processes still in place. Now, with the emergence of new technologies, new consumer demands, and new operational models, digital transformation is sweeping across the manufacturing sector. Consider, for instance, that 86% of the top 100 companies investing in research and development are manufacturers. Key areas of interest include advanced analytics, cloud computing, 3D modeling and product simulation, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT). Together, this has led to an “Industry Renaissance” where real-world factories and manufacturing processes are being optimized by virtual experiences, making way for “Smart Factories”.

Key Areas of Challenge and Change for Modern Manufacturers

Traditional manufacturing infrastructure was marked by poor visibility, where it was difficult to access complete and detailed insights into the entire industrial ecosystem across different plants. Today, digital technology is making it possible to simulate before commencing production, leveraging heightened connectivity across manufacturing units. At Dassault Systèmes, we believe this is the future of manufacturing    , where we connect the physical factory with virtual factory for continuous improvement and digitalalized manufacturing informed by an innovation-ready mindset creating efficient and sustainable Connected Factories. To reimagine plant ecosystems on these lines and build Connected Factories, manufacturers are looking at six pressing challenges:


  1. Digitalized operations – The first step to any large-scale transformation is the transition to digital operational models. The Industry Renaissance will necessitate intelligent modes of operation from manufacturers, making digitalization an imperative
  2. Accelerate innovation – As the pace of business accelerates, along with consumer demands for high-quality products delivered at speed, manufacturers have to achieve faster time-to-market.
  3. Overcome complexity – Mass customization is a significant trend, posing fresh challenges for manufacturers. Also, supply chains are expanding rapidly, alongside a scarcity of skilled professionals. It is important to use technology for breaking across disciplinary barriers, easing collaboration on the factory floor.
  4. Operate globally, serve locally – Scalability must be balanced with a keen eye on geo-specific requirements where pan-enterprise, multi-locational standardization does not stand in the way of serving regional customers.
  5. Increase responsiveness – As age-old manufacturing processes quickly become obsolete, sufficient agility is required for adapting to technology disruptions, demand fluctuations, and process changes.
  6. Drive operational excellence – To stay competitive in a dynamic marketplace, manufacturers are adopting methodologies such as lean production, supported by adequate investments.


Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA solutions help manufacturers establish digital continuity, breaking traditional silos and paving the way for connected factories. Watch DELMIA CEO, Guillaume VENDROUX, speak more on these issues:

Leveraging Technology for Meaningful Transformation

In order to take that leap into the future of manufacturing — by digitalizing operations, accelerating innovation, overcoming complexity, sharpening the “Glocal” focus, increasing responsiveness, and driving operational excellence — it is vital to explore the latest technology advancements and apply them strategically. This can help manufacturers to:


  • Enable the highest level of efficiency within and across plants – As Guillaume VENDROUX, CEO- DELMIA, Dassault Systèmes, says – 60% of production activities in a typical manufacturing environment qualify as “waste.” Clearly, there is an opportunity to deploy technology for better demand-to-supply alignment. This will help to take better and more informed decisions, weaving in lean production methodologies into the entire manufacturing cycle. Our Industry solution experience, Lean Production Run, based on our 3DEXPERIENCE Platform integrates each planning horizon (strategic, tactical, operational and execution) on a single plane. Here, OEMs and suppliers from transportation & mobility industry are able to connect component plants to the enterprise ecosystem — optimizing performance at each plant.


  • Respond quickly to changes and manufacture any product anywhere with agility – As mentioned, global capabilities combined with a localized focus will prove key in order to thrive during the Industrial Renaissance. That is why a virtual environment is needed where processes can be rapidly developed and adapted to cross-geography requirements. Our Industry solution experience, Ready to Make, brings new economies of scale to fast-growing industrial equipment manufacturers by blending machine intelligence, human ingenuity, and agile production.


  • Expand capacities to meet new production targets – A big part of succeeding in this new era of manufacturing is the ability to ramp up production capabilities without incurring exponential costs or operational complexities. Equipped with greater capacities while maintaining margins and schedules, manufacturers could achieve genuine operational excellence. By leveraging our industry solution experience – Build to Operate, based on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, Aerospace manufacturers can obtain full visibility of process across multiple connected factory floors, certifying as they build, detecting quality issues in real-time, and delivering exceptional volumes.


Build to Operate helped Airbus Helicopters stay ahead of the competition by overcoming complexities. Watch how operations across components machining, sub-system assembly, and final assembly lines were streamlined using our technology.


Envisioning a Smart Future for Indian Manufacturers

There is a definite push towards reimagined manufacturing processes barring which enterprises could risk falling behind. As Guillaume VENDROUX explains, “Those who don’t digitize their industrial operations in the next five years will find themselves in a peculiar situation because they’ll lose out to their competitors in terms of response time. These modern approaches are much more efficient, and that’s what makes them so valuable.”


Some of these approaches, which promise genuine value addition for manufacturers, include lean management, advanced production scheduling, model-based operations management, manufacturing analytics, and 3DEXPERIENCE Twin. Lean, as discussed, is a key principle for manufacturers undergoing a transformation. Production scheduling is a core manufacturing area, which requires digitalization, while the model-based approach could help address mass customization challenges. Finally, digital twin solutions like Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE Twin helps simulate physical assets and processes in a digital format, allowing rigorous testing and validation before executing changes in the real world and connect with real time data coming from the physical factory.

To increase access to the latest manufacturing technologies and share insights on next-gen approaches, enabling Indian manufacturers to actualize their Smart Factory objectives, Dassault Systèmes presents “3DEXPERIENCE On Wheels: Connected Factory”. We are eager to present insights on today’s pressing challenges and showcase our digital assembly line, encompassing five Experiences on the essential levers for a smart and connected factory. We look forward to seeing you there – click here to register.