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Are Companies Ready for Next-Level Decision-Making?

By Gustavo Zecharies - Rockwell Automation
Regional Vice President


By Gustavo Zecharies | regional vice president - Mon, 11/08/2021 - 13:07

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Chances are, you’ve heard the expression “drowning in data.” And if you’re in the industry, you’ve seen the proliferation of intelligent devices and data collection systems on the plant floor – and the quest for more data extending across all functions of your organization.

Marketing tracks consumer trends and must respond to consumer expectations for supply chain transparency. Strategic sourcing gathers supplier data and the plant floor collects production KPIs, along with other sources of information produced by functional groups looking to meet their specific needs.

In most cases, data remains trapped in “functional silos” and companies miss the opportunity to leverage it more broadly and enable better visibility to actionable information across the enterprise.

Here’s one example. Manufacturing has at its fingertips a great deal of data related to yield and quality that can be traced back to raw material providers. That type of information could be very beneficial to the sourcing organization as it makes buying decisions to fully optimize desired outcomes. However, when sourcing chooses suppliers, it typically does not have the tools to easily integrate production-related performance data with historical supplier performance data.

Connecting that information and making it useful is the riddle digital transformation promises to solve. But while the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation journey for some, most companies are struggling to maintain that momentum.

Why Digital Transformation Stalls

During the past few years, we have had the opportunity to work with many companies that are looking for better ways to leverage their digital investments. During our engagements, we have uncovered some of the most common reasons why they have made limited progress. Maybe some resonate with your organization:

  • Company efforts are halted because senior leadership isn’t convinced of the ROI on key digital concepts.
  • Good progress is made during proof-of-concept and pilot phases but projects don’t move forward because they are not designed to easily scale – or they lack buy-in across the organization.
  • Solutions are focused on challenges faced by a single function in the business – for example, engineering, operations or supply chain – rather than approached holistically.
  • The company takes a “technology first” approach to digital transformation and initial investments are skewed heavily toward technical capabilities, which results in a longer time to value.

What do all these issues have in common? Typically, all result from a lack of both executive sponsorship at the outset – and a cohesive digital strategy tied to an end goal.

The successful path to digital transformation does not start with technology or data. It starts with a clear vision of the outcomes you want to achieve – and the problems you are trying to solve.

And when it comes to maintaining momentum and executive support, it’s important to “think big, start small and scale fast.” In other words, identify a few of the most impactful outcomes on high-value use cases from the start – and prioritize proving that value rapidly and incrementally.

Taking that first step – and identifying both a clear vision and the roadmap that will lead to success – isn’t easy. And as more companies set their sights on transformative outcomes that require insights from across the enterprise – like yield optimization – they are beginning to realize that it takes an ecosystem of partners to achieve their goals

I’m sure you have noticed that today’s ecosystem is very complex and rapidly changing. Every day, new companies enter the market claiming to have technologies, services and solutions for smart manufacturing and connected operations. Some of these organizations and technologies will survive and thrive. Others will not.

So how do you limit your risk and move forward? I recommend that companies align with industry leaders that have both the subject matter expertise and the technology to support digital transformation. Pick a handful of leading companies that understand the OT (operational technology, i.e., plant floor) space and the IT space and that know how to leverage OT/IT convergence. Even better, choose companies that have already formed strategic partnerships and working models to help minimize your risk.

Learn how Rockwell Automation partners with other complementary organizations to create an ecosystem that simplifies the digital transformation process. And helps customers take a strategic, outcome-based approach.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), is a global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation. We connect the imaginations of people with the potential of technology to expand what is humanly possible, making the world more productive and more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rockwell Automation employs approximately 24,000 problem solvers dedicated to our customers in more than 100 countries. To learn more about how we are bringing The Connected Enterprise to life across industrial enterprises, visit: www.rockwellautomation.com

Photo by:   Gustavo Zecharies

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