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Hannover 2017: integral capabilities required for mastering industrial change

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Industrial businesses must prepare to digitise their operations, products and services now if they are to make the most of the industrial Internet of Things, analytics, AI and other upcoming industrial technologies, according to a new book from Accenture, written by Eric Schaeffer.

Launched alongside this year’s Hannover Mess trade fair in Germany, ‘Industry X.0 – Unlocking Value in Industrial Sectors’ makes a stringent case for companies to switch their strategies from products, towards services, value and outcomes.

The book is based upon the findings of a study conducted by Accenture Research in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, which found that, if adequately prepared to leverage the industrial internet of things and digital resources, industrial manufacturers could contribute to unlocking an estimated $100 trillion in value over the next seven years.

To do this, Schaeffer says that industrial businesses must first mastering what is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, and continue to move toward the next iterations of Industry X.0.

“The ship has clearly sailed for digital sceptics. The industrial sectors, comprising two thirds of the world’s gross domestic product, will be changed beyond recognition by digital technology, disrupting decades-old business habits, conventions and operating models,” said Schaeffer, book author and senior managing director at Accenture.

“Businesses need to embrace this change, and to harness its potential. For this, they need a clear strategy for managing the necessary organisational pivots, and the right digital capabilities for this new era of digitised manufacturing.”

To help kick-start this process and give manufacturers the advice they need to succeed, the books focuses on six ‘core competencies’, that is, critical aspects of IIoT, which have been identified by Accenture as having the biggest impact on industrial companies.

  1. Synchronising lifecycle clocks by having a superior product lifecycle management approach is vital. During digitisation traditional production assets will age more slowly than the new software that steers them. Increasing early integration and synchronisation of hardware and software cycles will help avoid production complications later.
  2. Embedding software intelligence and connectivity in sheet metal products enables interaction with the production environment, such as people or machines, including other connected products.
  3. Using analytics to get the most out of data gathered by connected products. Unhindered data flow, gathering, and data analytics will soon be the mainstay of highly digitised businesses. A manufacturer that does not use data analytics, even at a project level, will be at a major disadvantage.
  4. Companies must make manufacturing agile by adopting industrial automation wherever possible to increase shop floor speed and flexibility. We have already seen how automation is transforming manufacturing in the automotive and industrial equipment industries with sensors and control mechanisms now embedded in most machinery, business should follow this lead.
  5. Transitioning to ‘as a service’ business models is already on many executives’ strategy as they seek prepare for the shift towards the outcome economy. Combinations of products and services will soon no longer be acquired as property, but rather hired out as a service when required.
  6. Creating ecosystems and running them will is key to success, as no single company will be in a position to own the whole digital value chain in the outcome economy. Coordinating ecosystems of suppliers, customers, technology partners, start-ups, academia, competitors, and other stakeholders will become the norm.
‘Industry X.0 – Unlocking Value in Industrial Sectors’ (ISBN: 9780749481469, £26.99) is published by Kogan Page and available purchase from 3 May 2017. 

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