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Stephen Laaper
Ben Dollar
Mark Cotteleer
Brenna Sniderman

Drawing from those interviews and building on Deloitte’s in-depth, collaborative study with the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), which investigates the state of smart factory deployment across the United States, and our initial 2017 smart factories study, which offered an initial exploration of the concept, this paper offers insight into lessons that can be drawn from leaders’ experiences with smart factory transformations.

Despite the range of industries of those we interviewed, an overarching set of considerations, challenges, lessons learned, and strategies for success remained consistent. We’ve divided our findings into two sections:

  • Positioning smart factory initiatives for value: Lessons in smart factory transformations from those who have done it. This section relates common themes encountered and lessons learned when transitioning to smart factory functionality. In this section, we take insights from our interviews to uncover the key elements of smart factory transformations.
  • Turning lessons into outcomes: Realizing the value of smart factory transformations. Here, we examine the question of “what’s next?” Now that organizations have positioned their factories for value, how can they make that transformation pay dividends? These opportunities result from the data, improved processes, and optimization opportunities that smart factory deployments illuminate. Each builds upon the one before it, amplifying value and driving results at scale. Early identification of potential pathways and their impacts can be critical to maximizing the value delivered by smart factory efforts.

Positioning smart factory initiatives for value

In our research, several common themes emerged. Some are the same that emerge in any transformation: those related to culture and change management and rooted in the notion that transformation is only as successful as the people who embrace it. Others are far more specific and unique to the smart factory and its technologies, and can be critical considerations that leaders should address (figure 1).

  1. Punit Renjen, Industry 4.0: At the intersection of readiness and responsibility, Deloitte Insights, January 20, 2020.

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  2. For further information, visit Deloitte Insights’ suite of articles on Industry 4.0 and Digital Supply Networks.

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  3. Gerald C. Kane et al., Accelerating digital innovation inside and out: Agile teams, ecosystems, and ethics, Deloitte Insights, June 4, 2019.

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  4. For more information on future roles in the smart factory, see Deloitte Insights’ series on manufacturing personas.

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  5. Mussomeli et al., The digital supply network meets the future of work; For more information on future roles in the smart factory, see Deloitte Insights’ series on manufacturing personas.

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  6. Renjen, Industry 4.0 .

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