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6 Steps to Supercharge Your Industry 4.0 Pilot Projects

McKinsey research on how to supercharge your Industry 4.0 pilot projects.Most manufacturers recognize it’s time to get onboard with digitally transforming the way they work — so much so that in a McKinsey survey, “Digital Manufacturing – escaping pilot purgatory,” more than two-thirds of respondents say digital manufacturing leads their operations-strategy agenda. The question is: how do you get your Industry 4.0 pilot projects up and running quickly and on the path to success?

Manufacturers are so intent on getting to Industry 4.0, in fact, that more than 60 percent are already well into pilot programs or adoption, the survey said. On average, McKinsey found, manufacturers are piloting eight digital manufacturing solutions, primarily around connectivity, digital intelligence, analytics and flexible automation.

All that is the good news. But there’s bad news as well. Rehana Khanam, a partner at McKinsey & Company, writes in a blog, “Only just over a quarter of respondents told us their companies had successfully taken the next step on the industry 4.0 journey: the transition from pilot project to large-scale roll-out…scaling is a bigger hurdle than getting the ball rolling.”

It needn’t be that way. Khanam offers six tips to help you supercharge your Industry 4.0 pilots and turn them into large-scale rollouts.

Six tips to hep supercharge your Industry 4.0 pilots.Six Tips to Help Supercharge Your Industry 4.0 Pilot Projects

  1. First, he says, make sure that the Industry 4.0 projects focus on business value rather than technology. He says, “The key question is not ‘how can we use this new technology?’, but ‘how can we create additional value?’ Companies should be able to back up their answers with a detailed business case that balances implementation costs against value-creation potential.” This is particularly important because the McKinsey report found that “Sixty one percent of respondents see lack of ROI as a major obstacle when implementing Digital Manufacturing solutions at scale.”
  2. Second, he says, “establish a clear vision and a detailed road map.” This is absolutely critical, because 59 percent of respondents to the McKinsey survey said a lack of vision is a significant roadblock to their company’s digital transformation.
  3. Once the road map is created, Khanam says, it’s time to define the technologies, systems and processes that will allow the pilot to scale. He writes that in defining requirements, a manufacturer “should ensure they are comprehensive (considering data collection, connectivity, analytics and application requirements), scalable (keeping future capacity needs in mind), integrated (ensuring systems and processes are compatible and data is pooled to enable analytics), and secure.”
  4. Next, he says, build the right partnerships. Collaboration is king, he notes. The partnerships need to be internal (for example, among business units), as well as with outside technology partners and integration partners.
  5. The fifth step: “Drive from the top.” That means, he writes, “A senior executive should have overall responsibility for the transformation, and decision-making should be coordinated across plants, geographies and functions.”
  6. Finally, he says, to move from pilot to full implementation, a company needs to “get ahead of the credibility gap.” That means building skillsets for employees so they can spearhead the digital transformation. He writes, “The necessary skills and capabilities can be developed through a combination of internal training, the acquisition of new talent, and collaborations with technology providers and research and academic institutions.” Beyond that, companies must create culture that “encourages creativity and supports innovation.”

The Best Platform For Piloting and Full Scale Deployment of Industry 4.0

To create pilots and move them to scale for Industry 4.0, manufacturers need to choose the right platform. Alpha TransForm is designed to help manufacturing employees succeed with Industry 4.0 and digital transformation. Users can start with a pre-built app that they can customize for their business: from a safety inspection app, to a Gemba walk app, to a non-conformance reporting app, to an equipment inspection app, and more. If users have a form they want to make into a mobile app, they can use Alpha TransForm to craft new manufacturing apps in minutes that utilize the latest mobile features (camera, GPS, etc.) for fast, accurate data capture. Learn more about Alpha TransForm for manufacturing companies, try it free for 30 days with free pre-built manufacturing apps included.


Mobile: The Secret to Industry 4.0 Success
Additional Reading on Industry 4.0:

Mobile: The Secret to Industry 4.0 Success


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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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