We’ve all been hearing about the incredible promise smart factories hold for manufacturers. From leaps in capacity utilization and a rise in production output to jumpstarting labor productivity, the smart factory represents a radical and critical new competitive driver. And a radical new driver clearly needs a radical new process of implementation, right?
Well, yes—and no.
Though there are nuances, smart factory implementation really doesn’t have to differ all that much from the way many transformations worked in the past—that’s according to Deloitte’s upcoming report, Smart Factories 2.0, which interviews manufacturing professionals who’ve embarked on their own smart factory journeys. These executives are witnessing how smart factory strategies are unfolding on their factory floors right now. To them, a successful smart factory implementation could depend on understanding what processes shouldn’t change—and those that should.
So let’s talk about what hasn’t changed. Just because we’re dealing with what once seemed like science fiction—robots, artificial intelligence, computer learning—doesn’t mean the rules of organizational life no longer apply. Any successful project would adhere to well-established implementation principles and a smart factory is no different. These include:
It would be a mistake, however, to deny that implementing a smart factory doesn’t present its own set of unique challenges. A smart factory reimagines the functioning of a factory via connections and networks and a nuanced approach will be required (how to do that is the topic for a future blog and one the report discusses in detail).
For now, though, if you’re a manufacturer looking to find a way into the smart factory journey, it should be reassuring to know that getting started doesn’t necessarily require sweeping, new thinking. And given the value smart factories represent, simply getting started could be the ticket to a competitive edge.
Vincent Rutgers is the global leader of the Industrial Products & Construction (IP&C) sector at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) and a Consulting Partner at Deloitte Netherlands. As a consulting partner, he has been the global lead client partner (GLCSP) for a large Dutch IP&C client since 2013. Vincent has more that 25 years of experience working with major companies in the manufacturing, telecom, and utility sectors. His key areas of expertise include providing management consulting advisory on cost management, pricing, strategy development, new start ups, cost reduction, change management, and large transformations. Vincent studied production process optimization and initially worked for global manufacturing companies. He joined Deloitte in 2012 and led Deloitte Digital in the Netherlands before focusing on his GLCSP role.