Industry 4.0: Processes and IT intelligently interlocked
Our experts Dr.-Ing. Christian Barysch, partner and head of Business Unit Factory Design at io consultants, and Marco Lederle, managing director of io DigitalSolutions, were interviewed by ZDF presenter Ralph Szepanski on June 6, 2019. The questions focused on the challenges and strategies posed by industry 4.0 and digital transformation – two topics that have recently been dominating the industrial and business sectors.
After the hype in recent years which was characterized by prototypes and stand-alone solutions, the time has finally arrived for more concrete projects. The technological prerequisites are now in place and companies have accepted the necessity to use these new developments to their advantage.
Disruptive technologies as a challenge
Understandably, there is high demand for profitable and cost-effective solutions for digital transformation. Nevertheless, many companies are simply overwhelmed by the multitude of trends and technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital twins, IoT or blockchain. There is a lack of technological know-how and experience to select and implement the appropriate technologies.
In addition, the steady introduction of suitable new technologies is creating completely new business models and competitors. Well-established products or services are being replaced or completely pushed out of the market. Disruptive technologies give low-resource companies, in particular, the opportunity to challenge large and established organizations, which has a significant impact on the competitiveness of companies.
This is why companies need assistance in selecting the right technologies, identifying relevant business cases, and developing an implementation strategy. Professional support is essential.
Finding a path through the digital jungle
io-consultants has developed its own structuring and decision-making tool – a framework that helps clients identify and select the most suitable technologies from the broad range available. As Industry 4.0 applications often require substantial investments, this framework helps clients to carefully evaluate and select the right option. It is vital to avoid technologies that will ultimately not be flexible enough to keep up with the constant market changes.
Together with our customers, we use our framework to determine their relevant, and very individual, value drivers. In a second step, we select the suitable technologies and applications. Only those that will directly improve the relevant KPIs (e.g. throughput times) will be shortlisted. This approach limits the number of eligible technologies significantly. Compact profiles and practical examples help to generate a common "big picture" for everyone involved.
Digital Twins and Virtual Reality in industrial planning
At io-consultants we put a strong focus on Digital Twins to provide a digital image of the supply and value chain. This can be, for example, a virtual model of the planned factory and its facilities, providing a real-feel experience long before implementation. It enables interactive and efficient collaboration in a realistic model.
It becomes even more interesting when existing planning models and information are merged across all disciplines (for instance, from process to building) in a Digital Twin. This way, we can simulate and answer complex questions about operational scenarios and the feasibility of conversion and expansion measures in advance.
Potentials in the supply and value chain – interlocking processes and IT
Industry 4.0 affects all business processes. Many companies still need to optimize the interfaces and processes between thei organizational units, however, and this is where potential for improvement exists. The full scope only becomes apparent when competencies and methods are smoothly connected – and this requires a holistic approach to processes and IT.
The io-Group is ideally equipped to master future challenges: io‑consultants covers process-related areas, our subsidiary io‑DigitalSolutions specializes in IT and SAP. This is how we guarantee the seamless integration of production, logistics, facility management and IT.
Click here for the White Paper Industry 4.0 Roadmap.