Since digitization has become a must and not just an option, companies are actively seeking the best digital transformation strategies. However, there isn’t a universal solution for all. In this blog post, we try to summarise the most common misbeliefs about digitization and provide some solid examples from our own professional experience. We are Haris Digital, and we aim to make data collection, digitization and the move to Industry 4.0 simple for every small and medium size manufacturer.
1. Digitalization is expensive
We aren’t here to make you a finance expert, but to share some basic information about the cost to bring your company into Industry 4.0. It’s time to recognize that digitization is trending and is no longer something you can ignore. In a report by McKinsey Global Institute, experts estimate there will be around 13 trillion dollars potentially invested in the continued digitization effort thru 2030. This is saying something!
Every time we talk about costs, we have to talk about benefits as well. Going digital in manufacturing is one of the best opportunities you have to reduce your operating expenses and increase your efficiency. This may sound like a contradiction, but as you get more hard data about your processes and get a closer look at the operation, you will find the pain points in your process faster. This also means post implementation, quickly gathering accurate data will deliver predictions on the business as well as insights into machine maintenance and access to remote monitoring answering production questions with higher levels of accuracy.
How can we implement this on a budget?
One of the most important cost factors is to ensure that you don’t have to change everything on your shop floor to make a digitized system work. People usually think that the digital transformation process is too expensive for their companies. The process can involve buying new “connected” machines, new measurement devices and building a new network (wired or wireless) between each machine. You could also potentially require developing a new IT infrastructure. These are just a few of the pieces that may come to mind to get a digital transformation in place.
All this being considered, the opportunity to start things small makes everything a bit more easily adoptable and cost effective. The team at Haris Digital believed there should be a way to keep all of your current machining tools, workflow processes, IT gadgets and not have to add or remove cabling. And this is the key: you don’t have to start spending all your profit on sensors, new devices and cloud technologies. Starting your digitization journey should be made with small baby steps. The first of those steps could simply be data collection of a few machines.
Innovative solution to battle cost.
The Haris Digital’s smart sensor and web-based dashboard is an innovative and simple idea. Deliver an easy-to-implement smart sensor that can be applied to every machine and collect movement data. Since the device is wireless and almost universal, you only need to install it on the machine and then you can start flowing data. It’s an affordable and easily scalable way to try out digitization.
It sounds easy because it is! Read some testimonials and case studies from our customers and partners. They all developed their first data collection processes with Haris Digital.
Take a moment and check out our solution that can gain many of the digitization benefits without being obligated to any of the components associated with full scale digitization.
2. Digitalization is too complicated
Absolutely, it’s more complicated than making a paper airplane that’s for sure. Or maybe it isn’t? Have a look at your master excel spreadsheet you use for production planning. How many macros are you using?
Choosing the simplest option
Companies always look for the best solution for their problems. Typically the best solution ends up being custom made. Many will consider and implement a plug and play solution to lower their cost. All this considered, in the end we all want the best for ourselves. Best is not always the most complicated, highest priced or sophisticated option – a less complex solution is a good first step that increases adoption and improves success.
On the other hand, you should make a detailed analysis of your processes and requirements before investing in any digitization product. The process of incorporating an Industry 4.0 initiative requires a lot of attention and determination from your entire team. If you have a good big picture idea of what you want, you will be even more effective implementing the digital transformation process from start to finish.
One sensor for all
At Haris Digital, we believe that the more straightforward option, that can get you started quickly and easily, with a reasonable cost is always a great place to start when looking for a solution. Because of this, we have developed a product that fits a wide range of machining tools and helps each user determine how to work more efficiently. With this easy-to-implement solution, our customers have quickly adjusted their production process by analyzing real-time data to improve machine efficiency.
SME-s and custom made solutions.
In the SME (small and mid-size enterprise) manufacturing sector, implementation costs, project complexity and attitude come together to drive decisions. Smaller companies have less financial resources to make digital transformation happen and typically get one chance to get it right. However, SME-s also need tailored options in some cases and can get stuck in the evaluation phase. That said, they can manage their digital transition with easier and less complex (low cost) solutions.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t need any of the complex digital solutions. We need to focus on problem-solving, not getting every option available.
3. Digitalization is something you can fail easily
We must admit that many companies fail at successful digital transformation the first time they attempt to implement. One can quickly fail in anything and sometimes the easiest things are the hardest to complete. Digitization is not an easy task to accomplish. The main reason for this challenge is it involves not only integrating hardware and software, but integrating people and personalities as well.
Consider the fact that digital transformation started almost thirty years ago. During the last decade, it has become more and more popular in many industries and will continue to grow. Because of this, solutions in this space have grown in price and complexity. In many ways this has taken away from the original intention of digital transformation. Instead of supporting a companies’ production efficiency, it is about how many features the solution offers.
All that said, we won’t say that it’s impossible to get it right the first time. You have to get your team to believe that measuring in a digital way creates a common ground of information. By having a single source of data, the whole team begins at the same starting point. Underlining the importance of practice, determination and experience, we can find simplicity in using actual numbers to drive decisions. This leaves opinions out of the conversation.
Industry 4.0 and the digitization of manufacturing are paradigms beginning to rule the world at a global level. Naturally, most people have fears and some bad feelings about tracking information. This is yet another reason why starting the journey slowly and collecting input along the way helps support the adoption of a new system.
We all start from at zero
Our recommendation is to imagine digitization as a progressive concept that requires a strong foundation before you begin to build. This way, you can easily have a zero point to return to. In the case of a machine, this is put simply as UPTIME and DOWNTIME. This becomes the easiest unit of measure and more profound when it is shown in real-time for all to see. By starting here, the conversation begins and strong adoption can now have a chance to survive.
Once you start to feel the power of data, it empowers all involved. Building up small systems based around the feedback you receive paves the way to customization and/or supports the continued practice of simplicity. Haris Digital offers an intelligent solution for a fresh start with the ongoing ability to expand as you grow. The OEE system has the capacity to report on a handful of machines and potentially the whole production line. Testing is simple, helping you fine tune to highlight the critical pain points in the production process and make the line more effective step by step.
So, is digitization a myth?
On the path of digitization you will likely face several challenges, from lack of resources to the failures of implementation. The key is persistence and identifying an easy way to start. Maybe the best advice we can give you is to write down the questions you would like to answer about the business. This exercise can lead you toward a great place to start your journey. Begin the practice today and start your digital transformation. Get a reliable data collection device and analyze the information with your team. Try out new things, fail and start over! Be mindful of falling into analysis paralysis…