We’ve all been hearing about the incredible promise smart factories hold for manufacturers. From leaps in capacity utilisation and a rise in production output to jumpstarting labour 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 are dealing with what once seemed like science fiction—robots, artificial intelligence, computer learning—doesn’t mean the rules of organisational 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.