Posted: 04 Mar. 2018 8 min. read

Why an assembly line use case proves that 1 plus 1 equals 3 | David Haslach & Sebastian Scherer

Present day’s lean manufacturing systems illustrated that the effect of increasing invests in lean measures is vanishingly small due to increased complexity. To provide practical experience on how manufacturers can overcome this “complexity barrier" by benefiting from IoT in a daily business, Deloitte’s Digital Factory has elaborated a corresponding lean manufacturing use case: The simulation of a lean production realized with today’s technical capabilities. Planning and producing a Lego digger in a lean environment seems to be a feasible challenge, but using additional IoT solutions enable the full potential of an assembly line.


Use case: An IoT supported assembly line

Starting with a speedy ramp up and its characteristic hustle and bustle, users learn the pioneering benefits of lean as well as its barriers. To overcome these barriers and add additional value, the use case utilizes an IoT solution. The last-round simulation starts with the user configuring the digger via CPQ – a cloud configuration tool. The order is subsequently and automatically fed into the production via the manufacturing execution system (MES).

The effect of increasing invests in lean measures is vanishingly small due to increased complexity.


Once on the assembly line, RFID technology enables a simultaneous tracking of the product and the support of the worker, by visualizing needed process steps on smart glasses. In addition, the required parts are commissioned automatically. Missing or individual parts can be further printed in 3D to assure a full customization of the growing product. Further, the product’s status is constantly tracked and transparently reflected on a monitor. At the end of the assembly line a product pops out, whose conception and production meets the requirements of a digital enabled manufacturer:


Overcoming the manufacturing complexity barrier

But why is it exactly this use case that captures the spirit of the digital age? Today’s ever complex manufacturing systems cannot be enhanced by improving gradually customary lean management, as the constantly increasing level of manufacturing complexity is not manageable by any employee. To overcome this complexity barrier the Deloitte Digital Factory combines the two approaches of lean production principles as well as digitized production and demonstrates at the same time that 1 plus 1 can equal 3.

An increase of a product’s complexity makes it obvious, that the optimization curve only can be improved by additionally using IoT technologies, not by a constant improvement and adaption of lean principles. The process results in the highest value creation and plannability possible in a world of constant changes and more complex demands the production has to meet. The result in simple terms: a Smart Factory. The use case showcased, that - if approached the right way – a combination of the two worlds of lean and IoT foster a significant increase of value added. Or short: 1 plus 1 equals 3. q.e.d.


Use case deployment by Deloitte’s Digital Factory

In a nutshell industrial IoT has already proven its versatility with deployments going live in various enterprises, showing off dozens of different use cases (e.g. condition monitoring and retrofitting). However, a few key use cases consistently present themselves within the same trade, and even throughout different industries. By combining traditional with innovative supply chain operations, such as predictive quality management, data driven demand forecast or automated planning Deloitte supports its clients in developing creative solutions and provides guidelines on how to benefit from IoT on an operational as well as strategic level. Especially that is why Deloitte is already able to offer a broad portfolio of innovative and customized end-to-end IoT solution approaches. Interested? To learn more just visit the Digital Factory or contact us to start your journey towards your own digital factory.

Contact us

Andreas Staffen

Andreas Staffen

Partner | Technology Strategy & Transformation

Andreas Staffen verantwortet das Offering IoT and IT Architecture (Smart Manufacturing) für Deutschland und gestaltet die Digitalisierung der Supply Chain seit 2004. Dabei begleitet er deutsche, europäische und globale Unternehmen bei der erfolgreichen Umsetzung schlanker und integrierter IT Architekturen für die Entwicklung und Produktion. Durch die Umsetzung des Industrie 4.0 Gedanken in der Deloitte Digital Factory werden die Auswirkungen auf die Geschäftsmodelle unserer Kunden erlebbar und die weitere Gestaltung einfacher realisierbar. 

Florian Ploner

Florian Ploner

Sector Lead Industrial Products & Construction

Florian Ploner hat mehr als 18 Jahre Beratungserfahrung mit einem starken Fokus auf produzierende Industrie. Er hilft seinen Kunden in Europa, Amerika und Asien bei globalen Transformationsprogrammen, digitaler Transformation, neuen Businessmodellen und Business-Prozess-Optimierungen unter Berücksichtigung neuester Technologien. Florian Ploner ist Industrials Lead in Consulting und Partner in der Practice Technology Strategy & Transformation.