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New value propositions materialize through digital manufacturing

By Romeo Pruno, Digital Advisor, Microsoft on September 20, 2017

Filed under IT Leader

I have a confession to make: I love companies that create real things! In particular, I have always found manufacturing fascinating. Why? Besides making real things, manufacturers manage many different value chains and integrated production processes, generating tons of data. While Digital Transformation is impacting all industries, its impact on manufacturing is huge. Digital Manufacturing is here.

I am Romeo Pruno, a Digital Advisor based in Italy. Microsoft Digital Advisory Services is a team within Microsoft Services. Digital Advisors bring their expertise, as well as Microsoft’s resources, experience and innovation, to empower organizations to reach their digital aspirations. We partner to drive a program of change to build our customers’ digital business, and our website can be found here: Microsoft Digital Advisory Services.

Unlike organizations that are born digital, traditional enterprises must develop new digital businesses on legacy foundations. Only by redefining their value chains and opening the door for new business models and services can they compete against digital natives.

Digital Manufacturing happens when a company thinks differently about product design. They increase their competitiveness by offering customer-facing services and content, and turning post-sales into customer success opportunities. 

Recently, I worked as a Digital Advisor with Tenova, a metal and mining company with over three thousand employees across five continents. Tenova is successful when their customers can reduce costs, save energy, limit environmental impact and improve their customer’s employee safety and working conditions.  

Our partnership with a business transformation workshop in Milan with 25 Tenova leaders. One of the key strategies the leadership team agreed upon was to create a new level of partnership with customers worldwide. This strategy became the basis for a Digital Transformation plan, and will require an unprecedented amount of data sharing between Tenova and their customers. Tenova now uses data to develop increasingly efficient and innovative metal production facilities. Tenova is now positioned to be a leader in Digital Manufacturing.

The plan we jointly developed ensures digital transformation across many facets of the company, including:

    • Improving self-monitoring and self-healing of machines. When Tenova machines can detect their own health through artificial intelligence algorithms, they support machine operators and reduce production stoppages. These AI algorithms monitor and evaluate sensor data and modify operating parameters to reach the plant’s optimal configuration. Success here relies upon harnessing the knowledge base that resides in the company.
    • Enhancing the quality of operations and internal processes: Sensors, actuators, cloud computing, IoT, machine learning, decentralized intelligence and client and supplier interaction will all factor into making Tenova’s steel production and manufacturing assets more productive. These innovations will increase productivity and scalability, and also help them reach their safety and environment targets.
    • Creating a continuous improvement model for innovation.  Tenova is monitoring operations remotely to gain insights on equipment performance, equipment utilization, and new product requirements – supporting product lifecycle management and R&D. By discovering new ways for robot systems and humans to communicate, Tenova can shift away from traditional manual and semi-automated tasks and embrace emerging robotics technologies.

As I mentioned earlier, I love manufacturing, and it’s very satisfying to see Tenova succeed in Digital Transformation and take a position of leadership in Digital Manufacturing.

Resources:  Tenova Builds the Future of Plants

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