Industry 4.0 is reshaping the entire business landscape. It has led to a shift from IP-Centric business to ecosystem-centric business. Enterprises want to participate in the industry 4.0 movement and reshape their value chains. In the manufacturing industry, the goal is to create a factory of the future – an autonomous factory, as we call it. Digital engineering service providers like HCL Technologies can help enterprises create a strong foundation in digital thread and autonomous operations capabilities so that they can ‘lead’ the change in their respective ecosystems, not just follow it.
Today, service providers build solutions by creating an ecosystem where customers can access all production services through a single-access gateway. Given the high levels of maturity that exist today in data structures and architectures, underlying technologies such as edge computing, quantum computing, additive manufacturing, digital migrants, and digital natives are coming together to create a new future for the manufacturing industry.
The industry has moved from B2B or B2B2C to C2B. Customers are at the center, and the focus is on their experience. It is the era of customer and experience-defined businesses. Service providers must reimagine how to rewire IP generation into operations and offer this through different omnichannel solutions. Here, virtualization is a crucial factor in driving our customers forward on this journey.
If you are a manufacturer, here are the two things you must look at in your engineering service provider:
Will they digitize and digitalize your manufacturing enterprise
Your service provider’s solutions must be AI-enabled and extend from design to supply chain to enable your business to become truly digital. Else, it is just digitization and not digitalization. If your service provider can reimagine industry processes end-to-end with an intelligent core, it can only accelerate your transformation journey.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Creating a connected enterprise with vertical integration from assets (including employees) to consumers and horizontal integration from engineering to aftermarket unlocks the potential for monetization, internally and externally
- Data from multiple sources bring in new fidelity. Data must be at the center of your business transformation to create value
- You will benefit by transferring your value chain into a network ecosystem that brings several stakeholders into focus
Industry 4.0 is not the end. There will be an industry 5.0, 6.0, and more. What is important for you to understand is that your peers have very different capabilities. Some are still moving up from industry 3.0, and some are masters of industry 4.0. You will need a service provider who understands and addresses your brownfield operations; who can ‘model’ your enterprise to visualize, optimize, and innovate new avenues of significant competitive advantage. This is where ‘phygital’ and virtualization play crucial roles in your business transformation.
Across the manufacturing industry, the ask is to provide ‘executable’ digital twins from ‘as engineered to as operated twins’. Creating an executable digital twin requires the capability to create a digital thread. Vertical integration is happening in the manufacturing industry that connects assets on the shop floor up to the top floor. This vertical integration entails assets, employees, warehouses in the ecosystem, sales, customers, and the end consumers.
But it doesn’t stop here. Service providers can further create a horizontal integration by combining the engineering, manufacturing, after-sales, and supply chain in a single ecosystem. This creates a seamless horizontal value chain connecting all entities and increasing fidelity at each level. For an enterprise, the outcome of this integration (digital twin at both the vertical and horizontal level) is increased synergy among entities, reduced costs of operation, and increased productivity.
Higher the fidelity of the digital twins, higher the business value for your enterprise
Vertical integration has been traditionally happening at the shop-floor level using standard approaches such as the ISA95 stack. But now, it is going all the way up to ERP integration and cloud where our customer’s customers or consumers are present.
The opportunity lies across these vertical and horizontal integrations of different systems where executable digital threads are employed. On top of this, digital twins and experiences get created for end customers.
The main differentiator for service providers like HCL is their ability to provide digital threads across these vertical and horizontal integrations by incorporating different systems and technologies from MBSE to IIOT. These service providers will play the role of a digital transformation partner to enable you to achieve your business goals by focusing on a portfolio of services designed around digital innovation and design, digital manufacturing and logistics, and digital platforms and services. HCL offers deep capabilities to transform the enterprise with persona-based twins, business function twins and even incubates new ‘open-source twin’ capabilities to co-create through global engineering and technology crowdsourcing.
HCL has a framework to measure the impact made through these transformations, and it is called APEX (ROI with improvement in asset performance, process performance, environmental impact, eXperience impact). Our catalog of services offers consulting, manufacturing transformation, and value-added integrator services across virtual manufacturing and product innovation, manufacturing innovation and controls, and an industrialized new-gen technology incubation through a ‘manufacturing value center’.
The impact must be long-lasting and hence should be derived by the ‘network effect’ on the ecosystem and not just IP-centric. A service provider like HCL will do all this without shifting focus from your sustainability goals by leveraging digital tools for carbon management. Core objectives of continuous efficiency improvements and optimum vitality index are measured and achieved through the risk-modeled process and asset twins. ROI is always important when starting a digital transformation journey since there is a limit to how much you can spend from digital R&D to GTM value chains, more so when you need a totally new talent engine. Longevity is derived by investing in more impactful use cases and recombinant manufacturing innovation to create more monetizable experiences.
The fundamental aim is to make this business transformation a ‘self-funded program’!
The pandemic has impacted our enterprise customers, and there has been a shift in their expectations as well. Enterprise customers have understood the importance of accelerating the digital transformation of their businesses.
We see that our customers in manufacturing today want the flexibility to design anywhere, build anywhere, and service anywhere. This provides huge opportunities to service providers like HCL to cater to these new business needs of our customers with an array of cutting-end engineering services and solutions that take you closer to your customer.
It is crucial to analyze the impact of COVID-19 in different regions in real-time and rearrange the supply chain functions as and when required accordingly to service your customers. You need a transformation partner who can help you create programs that are equipped with alternate supply chains, provide increased visibility into their operations and service delivery, and enable you to move closer to your customers.
The manufacturing industry is transforming rapidly. Its processes, systems, stakeholders, and the entire ecosystem are experiencing a sea of change. Digitization and digitalization of the manufacturing industry will happen over the next decade. There is a lot of scope for enterprises like HCL to contribute significantly by helping customers transform their businesses to stay competitive. With a wide array of solutions designed to cater to specific business outcomes, we will become the partner of choice going ahead.