Operational Excellence and the Smart Factory: A Perfect Match

70% of manufacturers are not satisfied with their smart factory pilot project and that’s a scary number! To fully capitalize on your shift to 4.0 Industry there is one key element to consider: your operational excellence team. Weather you are installing a new information system, deploying an IoT platforms or connecting your machines for data retrieval, they all must be done in close collaboration with your operational excellence teams.

Now, let’s take a look at the two because cause for failure in implementing new technology and how to make your digital transformation a success.

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First cause of failure: Heavy reliance on technology

Flashy dashboards, automated report generators, manufacturing operations management software, electronic tracking beacons are some of the multiple technologies that can be integrated into a plant. Although these solutions seem magic and easy when not implemented properly it is easy to experience dissatisfaction with performance, scalability, security, and integration.

This is due to the fact that when you begin retrieving data from your equipment on the floor, you have the initial impression that visibility and understating has improved, however in the long run you are not more aware of what data will bring you the most value. The lure of the so-called turnkey solution might bring the illusion of short-term benefits, but it is not always aligned with your future goals and needs

Lorsque vous récupérez des données via vos équipements sur le plancher, vous avez soudainement l’impression que la visibilité est améliorée. Comment savoir quelles données apportent le plus de valeur à votre entreprise ? L’attirance d’une solution soi-disant clé en main peut vous apporter des bénéfices à court terme, mais celle-ci est-elle alignée avec vos besoins futurs ?


Second cause of failure: underestimating the impact of EO teams

Business processes are often developed and managed by an operational excellence team. Therefore, when these teams are not included in the planning and deployment of a new technological solution a number of difficulties can arise, including:

  • The solution does not integrate well with the existing software systems.
  • High levels of effort are required to recode, integrate, and adapt to the new technology.
  • The digitised processes are outdated or poorly mastered.

In the medium term, you will see issues such as “the solution does not support artificial intelligence extensions well”, “the solution does not fit well with our business objectives” and ultimately, “the solution leads to catch-up and unexpected costs”.

The following diagram illustrates the situation described above:


A KPI approach is necessary for your success

When integrating new technologies into your plant, take a KPI approach. This will insure you generate gains that quickly create value and are aligned with your business objectives. In addition, a KPI approach allows you to validate the production processes in your plant BEFORE you integrate new technologies. Since you will have put in place performance indicators that are used and understood by your company at the centre of the decision-making process, you will avoid major corrections and the potential withdrawal of unnecessary or costly technologies. The choice of performance indicators will be closely linked to the achievement of business objectives, ensuring positive year-end financial results, and facilitating approval of these digital and operational excellence initiatives in a traditionally conservative environment.

Of course, the inclusion of manufacturing consultants in the definition of your digital strategy and smart factory transformation process will provide peace of mind.

By providing a structured approach to technology decisions, your journey to the smart factory will be safer and your deployments will be aligned with your business needs. In this way, you maximise your chances of making minor adjustments.

A rigorous approach is the secret to success!

An approach that merges smart factory, digital strategy and operational excellence is the key to successful business transformation. Contact your Merkur expert today to discuss!

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