How to Survive in the Era of Orchestrated Manufacturing
Manufacturers face numerous challenges — low-growth forecasts, hypercompetition, and increasing demand for speed, reduced costs and product innovations from increasingly savvy customers. Meeting these challenges is no easy feat. Many are saddled with aging, siloed systems that make it difficult to collaborate across products, geographies and suppliers.
With most manufacturing sectors focused on reducing costs, little has been spent on addressing major technology-driven opportunities made possible by the "Internet of Things" (IoT) — interconnections between machines, systems, assets and people that enable collective intelligence and smarter processes. This paper by CSC's manufacturing experts explores the best strategies for responding to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and next steps to embracing disruptive technologies and new business models.
IoT, cloud, mobility and other technologies are combining with other disruptive forces:
- Additive manufacturing, 3D printing and more agile operations are enabling new players to change the competitive landscape.
- Low-cost sensors, with some form of embedded intelligence and emerging smart materials, are creating huge volumes of valuable data that can be analyzed for business insights.
- Emerging power-by-the-hour business models deliver services on a pay-as-you-go basis — requiring better analytics tools to understand and manage service-delivery quality and costs.
- Augmented reality tools enable maintenance and repair workers to visualize equipment and remote infrastructure to streamline maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and increase first-time fix rates. Other wearable devices can monitor productivity, protect, employee safety and health, and support new ways of connecting products with customers.
- Increasingly sophisticated threats to intellectual property, connected manufacturing cyber and physical systems, and connected products require more sophisticated cybersecurity strategies.
These disruptions not only pose technology challenges, but in some cases, could put individual companies and entire business sectors at risk of becoming obsolete. However, these same disruptions can create new opportunities for fast-moving organizations in the new era of manufacturing — the fourth Industrial Revolution.
Key enablers of the new era
Unlike in previous eras, manufacturers have access to a variety of technological advancements that can enable rapid changes in operations and business models — but with a smaller window of time to exploit these advantages. There are four key enablers for manufacturers to address these trends:
- Smart Operations. Typically, operations today have too many information silos and disconnected players. Improved data analytics technology and algorithms can integrate these silos. Only with integrated operations systems and processes will organizations be able to gain real-time insights into products and processes and leverage the potential of orchestrated manufacturing.
- Connected Devices. While most companies have invested heavily in traditional automation, many machines still lack real-time integration with other machines, systems and processes. To achieve higher levels of efficiency, manufacturers can create networks of smart, context-intelligent devices that share relevant information and insights and make autonomous decisions.
- Cyber-Physical Systems. A major driver for innovation is the growing proliferation of tightly integrated cyber-physical systems, which collaborate with other systems to collect and process information, make intelligent decisions and execute tasks in changing environments. In manufacturing, cyber-physical systems are taking various forms, such as intelligent control systems, fully integrated assembly lines or safe, fully integrated human-robotics assembly lines.
- Intelligent Materials. Design and development teams have historically been limited to using materials with mass and structure only. Today, more materials gather and store relevant information and actively respond to external input — creating many new opportunities to connect products. The combination of intelligent materials with new technologies, such as 3D and 4D printing, will result in major disruptions across many industries.
Framework for orchestrated manufacturing
As smart manufacturing systems and processes are orchestrated through preconfigured, digital interactions and cyber-physical production systems, traditional organizational barriers and stovepipes are being eliminated — opening up new opportunities to connect with customers, rapidly design innovative products, transform operations and compete more effectively for innovative aftermarket services.
To guide manufacturing organizations toward this future state, CSC established an Orchestrated Manufacturing framework, which focuses on four core components of the manufacturing value chain: Make, Move, Support and Synchronize. Download the paper to learn more.
The question facing many organizations is “What’s next?” Here’s some advice from CSC’s manufacturing team:
Define your unique selling proposition. Make an honest assessment of your differentiators in product design, materials, user experience and more.
Move from inside-out to outside-in. Innovations such as Everything as a Service, post-PC mobility, consumerization of IT, social media and crowdsourcing are all happening outside of your four walls.
Create a roadmap , but begin with quick wins. Define a desired future state for each segment of manufacturing, but identify quick wins that bring instant value to the business.
Assess your technology readiness. Evaluate the need to consolidate IT infrastructure and applications. Modernize and retrofit operational and IT systems for closer integration, introducing technologies such as cloud, in-memory data analytics and mobility to drive the basic design and usage.
Include industrial-grade cybersecurity. When rolling out “Internet-of-Things”-enabled products and programs, ensure that you have industrial-grade physical security and cyberframeworks, including advanced intrusion-detection and rapid incident-response protocols.