In the third post of this series dedicated to helping small and medium manufacturers (SMMs) get started on their Industry 4.0 journey, I will discuss the task of building your own “Smart Manufacturing Roadmap” (SMR). In the first post, I focused on how to conduct an Industry 4.0 self-assessment and in the second post I discussed the task of identifying organizational constraints. In the fourth and final post I will focus on implementation and follow through. In this post, I will cover two key steps required to develop a Smart Manufacturing Roadmap:
- Choosing where to focus
- Building out the Smart Manufacturing Roadmap
Choosing where to focus
In the second post, in which we identified organizational constraints, I referenced a 50-person machine shop producing parts in the automotive supply chain. I’ll continue with that example using the information from this same organization’s self-assessment developed from the steps described in the first post of this series.
From the self-assessment, the machine shop identified four critical capability gaps that needed attention in their SMR. These four all were rated as a 3 in terms of strategic importance and all four also had a capability gap of 3 between current state and future state according to the following rating scale:
- Low importance – “we’ll get to it when we can”
- Moderate importance – “important to long term success”
- Critical importance – “essential to short-term survival”
|Dimension||Strategic Importance||Current State||Future State||Capability Gap||Prioritization Score|
|Vertically Integrated Operations||3||2||5||3||9|
|Shop Floor Automation||3||1||4||3||9|
|Workforce Learning & Development||3||0||3||3||9|
After multiplying the strategic importance factor of 3 by the capability gap of 3, these four dimensions all received a prioritization score of 9. The following table outlines the current state and future state for each of the four critical capability gap dimensions:
|Dimension||Current State||Future State|
|Vertical Integration||Defined: Resource planning and technical production processes are managed and executed in silos, based on a set of formally defined instructions||Automated: OT and IT systems managing the resource planning and technical production processes are formally linked, with the exchange of data across functions mostly executed by equipment, machinery and computer-based systems|
|Shop Floor Automation||Basic: Production processes are executed by humans with the assistance of equipment, machinery and computer-based systems||Flexible: Equipment, machinery and computer-based systems can be modified, reconfigured, and re-tasked quickly and easily when needed. Limited human intervention required for unplanned events|
|Enterprise Connectivity||Connected: There are formal network links that will enable computer-based systems to interact or exchange information||Real-Time: Interoperable and secure network links across the different computer-based systems are able to interact or exchange information as it is generated without delay|
|Workforce Learning & Development||Informal: There is no formal L&D curriculum to on-board and train the workforce||Integrated: There is a continuous L&D curriculum that is integrated with organizational objectives, talent attraction and career development pathways|
Building out the Smart Manufacturing Roadmap
Now that we understand the four most critical capability gaps and the current state and future state of each, we need to build out the action items according to the crawl, walk, and run phases. Here is a reminder of what these phases entail:
- Crawl: For most organizations, the crawl period is the most difficult because they need to build internal capability for the future by paying outside solution providers to bring that knowledge. This “outsiders do it” time period will often require the most financial investment with the longest payback, as the investments are often in Industry 4.0 infrastructure.
- Walk: In this phase, the organization begins to build more capability in house as it works with outside solution providers during this “do it with me” time period. Using factory floor automation or software system integration as an example, the organization becomes more self-sufficient. The result is less financial investment and quicker ROI when compared to the crawl phase.
- Run: This is the payoff period. Many process improvement projects can now be planned and executed by in-house staff. Once a manufacturer has arrived at this “do it yourself” phase, they have likely increased their competitiveness and are well positioned for profitable growth.
The SMR can be visualized from a high level as follows:
To illustrate how to build out the SMR, we can take a deeper look at the Industry 4.0 capability dimension of enterprise connectivity. We know that the machine shop has assessed their current state as Band 1 (Connected), which is described as “There are formal network links that will enable computer-based systems to interact or exchange information.” Currently, the machine shop has many paper logs and spreadsheets for data entry and communication that are causing production delays.
For the Crawl phase, the machine shop wants to advance to Band 2 (Interoperable), which is described as “Computer-based systems are able to interact and exchange information without significant restriction.”
For the Walk phase, the machine shop wants to advance to Band 3 (Interoperable & Secure), which is described as “There is a vigilant and resilient security framework to protect the network of interoperable computer-based system from undesired access and/or disruption.” In this phase, the machine shop will add shop floor level PLC capability.
For the Run phase, the machine shop wants to advance to Band 4 (Real Time), which is described as “Interoperable and secure network links across the different computer-based systems are able to interact or exchange information as the information is generated without delay.” In this phase, the machine shop will add additional ERP modules such as gauge control, HRM, quality, etc.
Coming in the next post
In the fourth and final post in this series, I will focus on implementation and follow-through in order to ensure that the Smart Manufacturing Roadmap guides action planning and delivers results for the organization.
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