The smart factory is making industrial production even more intelligent. All over the world, the link is being forged: The digital world and the Internet of Things and Services are merging with the world of production. With its promise of improved productivity and more rapid innovation, the smart factory marks a new strategic direction, particularly for companies in the automotive industry. Strategy consultants from McKinsey expect networked and smart factories in Germany alone to drive additional growth worth over EUR 200 billion by 2025.
Networking with process Expertise
A smart factory can only be as smart as business processes allow. That is why when undertaking transformation projects, T-Systems always looks beyond the immediate production environment. From change management in Research & Development, to order management in ERP, to the tracking and tracing of material stock levels – only when a process chain has been fully optimized, a smart factory can make full use of its intelligence. The platform is based on standard IT equipment and practices chosen for their high reliability: fast and reliable networks, machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and data management from the cloud, as well as real-time big data analysis to enable predictive control.
Professional system integration
Thanks to T-Systems integration expertise, organizations can continue to use their existing networks and IT landscapes while adopting those incorporate processes that have already been digitalized and establish new connections one step at a time. Tools and operating resources, for example, can be networked using a preconfigured template based on the FlexNet MES software from DELMIA Apriso. This guarantees easy implementation, rapid deployment and a professional roll-out.
Manufacturers need a clear strategy when setting up an intelligent factory. Only when all the necessary information is available at the planning level, it is possible for all partners in the value network of a smart factory to collectively respond quickly and flexibly to customer requirements. At the same time, operational reliability and capacity utilization will be improved. And there is also the matter of smart maintenance . Because sensor data is continuously monitored for errors and failure patterns, production tools and equipment are less likely to fail and critical parts can be swapped out well before they have a chance to become unreliable.
More resilient processes - new business models
The information collected in a smart factory can be used to develop new business models that enhance, expand and complement existing processes. Properly interpreted, digitalization provides the basis for a profound change affecting not just manufacturing and logistics but the entire product lifecycle. T-Systems' transformation teams look not only at the factory and warehouse, but also at the upstream and downstream interface structures that make it possible for all processes to work together efficiently. For example, tried and tested interfaces to SAP allow the exchange of information between production, engineering and business administration
Intelligent production systems
Test and demonstration lab systems secure the entry into networked production, while flexible cloud models expand as the number of interconnected business locations increases. The objective is automated control, not only within the smart factory itself, but across all stages of the value chain. The ultimate goal is to replace rigid, preplanned manufacturing systems with autonomous, self-organizing production units. This allows to consider completely new business models – even for batch sizes of one.